Can’t Wait Wednesday | Reprieve by James Han Mattson

Posted April 14, 2021 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 1 Comment

Can’t Wait Wednesday | Reprieve by James Han MattsonReprieve: A Novel by James Han Mattson
Published by William Morrow on October 5, 2021
Pages: 416
Genres: Horror
Format: Hardcover
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A chilling and blisteringly relevant literary novel of social horror centered around a brutal killing that takes place in a full-contact haunted escape room—a provocative exploration of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment.

On April 27, 1997, four contestants make it to the final cell of the Quigley House, a full-contact haunted escape room in Lincoln, Nebraska, made famous for its monstrosities, booby-traps, and ghoulishly costumed actors. If the group can endure these horrors without shouting the safe word, “reprieve,” they’ll win a substantial cash prize—a startling feat accomplished only by one other group in the house’s long history. But before they can complete the challenge, a man breaks into the cell and kills one of the contestants.

Those who were present on that fateful night lend their points of view: Kendra Brown, a teenager who’s been uprooted from her childhood home after the sudden loss of her father; Leonard Grandton, a desperate and impressionable hotel manager caught in a series of toxic entanglements; and Jaidee Charoensuk, a gay international student who came to the United States in a besotted search for his former English teacher. As each character’s journey unfurls and overlaps, deceits and misunderstandings fueled by obsession and prejudice are revealed—forcing all to reckon with the ways in which their beliefs and actions contributed to a horrifying catastrophe.

A startlingly soulful exploration of complicity and masquerade Reprievecombines the psychological tension of classic horror with searing social criticism, and seamlessly threads together trial transcripts, evidence descriptions, and deeply layered individual narratives to present a chilling portrait of this tangled American life.

About James Han Mattson

James Han Mattson was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in North Dakota. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has received grants from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America and Humanities North Dakota. He has been a featured storyteller on The Moth, and has taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Cape Town, the University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Murray State University, and the University of California – Berkeley. In 2009, he moved to Korea and reunited with his birth family after 30 years of separation.

He is the author of two novels: The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves (Little A: 2017), which was an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a New York Post Required Reading, and Reprieve, forthcoming in Fall 2021 from William Morrow/Harper Collins. He is currently the fiction editor of Hyphen Magazine.

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