UAM Publishing News

Spencer's latest novel is a twist of life, death, and love

In Mark Spencer's latest novel, An Untimely Frost, 16-year-old Cadillac (his vanished father loved cars) witnesses a church bus plunge off mountainous Devil's Elbow Road into the Ohio River. The next day, July 4th, 1971, Cadillac and other locals of Devil's Elbow, Kentucky, watch as dead people start walking out of the river--not just the young people on the church bus, one of whom is Cadillac's secret crush, but dozens of people who have disappeared over the past six decades. The Living are divided over how they see The Dead. Some see beautiful, normal-looking returned loved ones. Others see horrible walking corpses. Conflicts intensify between those who accept The Dead and those who want them gone. Soon The Dead discover they cannot sleep and have no desire for food--not until a terrifying hunger overcomes them. Cadillac, looking back from fifty years later, describes in vivid detail the horrific and redeeming events that follow.

In 2016, Spencer's novel Ghost Walking came out, a follow-up to his best-selling nonfiction A Haunted Love Story. In Ghost Walking, forty-nine-year-old Southern society belle Ladell Allen commits suicide on Christmas night 1948 in the wake of yet another failed love affair. The dead Ladell spends the next six decades revisiting the past, observing the living Ladell, in an attempt to understand what her purpose in life was, as well as watching the world change within and beyond her home, the Allen Mansion, as she tries to figure out what her purpose in death might be. Looking back, she is mortified by her own foolish desperation in life. Moving forward, she is touched, amazed, and horrified by the living tenants in her home, some of whom she reaches out to with affection, some of whom she terrorizes. She also interacts with other ghosts--her sister, her mother, her son, her infant brother, and her beloved papa, who persistently over the decades pulls up in front of the Allen Mansion in a ghostly black Cadillac, urging her to join him for a ride into the unknown, a ride she is unwilling to take until she has answers to her questions about the meaning of her life and death.

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