EXCERPT: I didn’t answer the phone when my brother, Toby, called. His name appeared on the screen of my cell like a bad biopsy result, and instead of answering, I threw back another slug of beer and returned my attention to the television set. The sitcom wasn’t particularly interesting, nor was the company of my wife, who’d already decided our marriage was unsalvageable, though it would be another month before she let me in on the fact. She sat on the sofa, frowning. I didn’t bother to ask what was wrong.
EXCERPT: Two years ago I moved to a rural town of 8,000 people, twenty miles from the border between Kansas and Missouri. It’s the kind of place most people only pass by on the way to someplace else. Unless you live here, the most you’ll ever see of it is the truck stop by the freeway, where you might stop to fill up your gas tank and take a leak. It’s the last outpost of civilization you’ll see for a while. Twenty minutes or so outside of town, there’s a long stretch of highway where cell phones don’t work. We drive it often, and I still haven’t quite accepted the concept of this dead zone.