Prose, paperback, 172 pages, from Civil Coping Mechanisms.
Pastor Sheldon Long was born of the woods, raised in a secluded cabin by a mute mother and an abusive father who preached God’s vengeance. Forced to take control of his own destiny, Pastor Long found God in his own way, melded with the mythologies of his mother s tribe. Now he’s out to send the wicked, as he has judged them, to heaven. Steven, Pastor Long’s son, is simultaneously pining for his former babysitter who has moved to Hollywood and crushing on nearly every girl he goes to school with. Soon his preoccupation with the opposite sex lures him into investigating a string of drownings that local police are declaring accidents. Ryan W. Bradley’s novella weaves religiosity and mythology into a tale of drugs, sex, and murder set against the frozen backdrop of blue-collar Alaska.
“Written in spare, unadorned prose reminiscent of Willy Vlautin and Raymond Carver, Ryan W. Bradley’s Winterswim is an edgy, fast-paced story about a psychotic preacher and his good son. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.”
-Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All The Time
“Bradley’s novella about a meth-addled preacher and his teenage son manages to be fast-paced without sacrificing complexity, moral but not moralistic, and thrilling without a hint of pandering. I read Winterswim in a single sitting on a summer evening in Chicago, but it feels like I just survived a harsh Alaska winter.”
-Christian TeBordo, author of The Awful Possibilities
*Readers that purchase the paperback copy will have an opportunity to download “Uninvited” by the Mutts from the official Winterswim site. (keep an eye out for a QR code in the back of the book).*
Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic’s shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children’s bookstore. He now splits his time between working for an audiobook publisher and designing book covers. He received his MFA from Pacific University and has been published widely online and in print. He is the author of a story collection, Prize Winners; a novel, Code for Failure; and three poetry collections, Mile Zero, The Waiting Tide, and The Memory of Planets. He also collaborated with David Tomaloff on the poetry collection, You Are Jaguar. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons.