Old Ghosts Haunt Again

Maybe I’ll try this whole website thing again.

I’m beyond stoked to share the new cover (and synopsis) of Old Ghosts.


After barely escaping Boston with his life, Beto has settled in Baltimore and now leads a quiet life, working construction and carving a tiny existence for him and his wife, Luz, whose family was driven from Mexico by warring cartels. What they really want is a child, but they are unable because of Beto’s accident with a piece of rebar. At least, that’s what he tells Luz. But when a pair of old childhood friends come into town unannounced and threaten to tear apart Beto’s life by exposing his criminal past, Beto learns that not all family is blood, and no amount of blood can save all family.

Haven’t I already seen this?” you’re probably asking. Well, yeah, but also no.

Revisiting old work is weird. I’ve been doing that a lot recently, both with Old Ghosts and a collection of short stories I’ll have coming out sometime next year (did I mention I have two books coming out with Down & Out next year? Probably not, because I can’t remember anything, but huge shout-outs to Eric, Lance, and the rest of the team). It’s interesting to read through seven years of stories and see your preoccupations pop up here and there, through different stages of your life. I wrote Old Ghosts in an apartment in Butcher’s Hill, East Baltimore, just my girlfriend and I and our cats. Writing this post eight years later, we’ve been in a couple different houses and have two kids. Our oldest just started second grade yesterday, which is insane but a whole different post.

Anyway. When Eric approached me about reissuing Old Ghosts after the former publisher went dark, I jumped at the chance. I’ve always loved the story and hoped more people would be able to read it. But I’ve also written a metric shit-ton of stories and books since then and was stoked to have the opportunity to look at it with a good amount of distance, to make it better. Names changed. Relationships changed. The context of characters changed. The stakes changed. But through it all, it was fascinating to see how heavy an influence  Velvet authors like Stephen Graham Jones, Craig Clevenger, and (especially) the-ghost-that-was-once-Will Christopher Baer had on the writing. Ditto with how my voice (or what I think was my voice) was developing back then into what it is now, to see the threads of that early voice that have remained to this day. Maybe it’s not an early voice but a different sort of voice, different from the one I use with  thrillers and sci-fi. Maybe that’s also another post.

Also, aside from me being in a much different place from 2009, the world is a much different place, and I wanted the novella to explore that a bit more. (Don’t worry: it’s not a straight-up commie pinko book. I already learned that lesson.) It helps that the story already lended itself well to exploring these things—identity, outrunning personal history, the notion of home, etc.—things that will also pop up again and again in the collection (but again, that’s another post).

At any rate, I can’t wait for people to read it. Hope y’all dig it. More info soon, like the official launch date and pre-order info.

2 Responses to “Old Ghosts Haunt Again”

  1. Hey, that’s great news! Looking forward to reading both of these, and the final part of the memory thief trilogy.

  2. Christoph Koch Says:

    Old ghosts is still my favorite work of yours. 🙂

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