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Zero Zone

List Price: $26.00

ON SALE: October 6, 2020 | Hardcover | 320 pages | ISBN 9781640093737
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From Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award winner Scott O’Connor comes a literary thriller about an infamous desert art installation, the cult it inspired, and a series of violent events.

Los Angeles, the late 1970s: Jess Shepard is an installation artist who creates environments that focus on light and space, often leading to intense sensory experiences for visitors to her work. A run of critically lauded projects peaks with Zero Zone, an installation at the once upon a time site of nuclear bomb testing in the New Mexico desert. But when a small group of travelers experience what they perceive as a religious awakening inside Zero Zone, they barricade themselves in the installation until authorities are forced to intervene. That violent showdown becomes a media sensation, and its aftermath follows Jess wherever she goes.

Devastated by the attack and the distortion of her art, Jess retreats from the world. Unable to work, Jess unravels mentally and emotionally, plagued by a nagging uncertainty as to her culpability for what happened.

Three years later, a survivor from Zero Zone comes looking for Jess, who must move past her self imposed isolation to face down her fears and recover her art and possibly her life from a violent cult intent of making it their own.

About Scott O'Connor


Praise for Zero Zone

"Zero Zone held me from the first page with its precise prose and willingness to interrogate deeply what art can and cannot do for us--and to us. Scott O'Connor has written a profound novel about the human search for transcendence and meaning in our often alienated and confusing lives--and it's full of suspense and mystery, with a gaze that's wonderfully cinematic. I can't stop thinking about it!" --Edan Lepucki, author of California

Praise for A Perfect Universe

"The 10 stories gathered here are remarkable in their simplicity . . . With the popularity of short story collections on the rise, O'Connor's addition to the ranks stands out and shines." --Booklist (starred review)

"The reader is immediately drawn in . . . as O'Connor shows, our vices are what make us so delicately and chaotically human. A catalog of imperfections neatly packaged within a book." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A] sometimes wry, sometimes cutting story collection . . . entertaining stories accessible to all." --Library Journal

"I sat down to read the first story in A Perfect Universe, only to look up several hours later having read the entire book in a single sitting. I fell in love with these characters from the first page. The storytelling in this book--tender and attentive, starkly poetic and always surprising--moved me at every turn." --Attica Locke, author of Pleasantville

"The stories in A Perfect Universe describe lives torn by violence of all kinds--physical, emotional, judicial--and they do so with immense intelligence and heart-stopping clarity. Scott O'Connor's vision of Los Angeles as a place both sprawling and strange, given to both radical privacy and startling intersection . . . has a gnostic brilliance that is entirely his own." --Matthew Specktor, author of American Dream Machine

"Scott O'Connor's beautifully wrought stories are sharp-edged, unflinching, and filled with the kind of precision of language that etches images into the mind. His characters' lives are ingeniously connected by a '70s cult sci-fi film, but what really binds them is the often heartbreaking and always surprising ways they attempt to find purchase in the world they inhabit, one which can feel as out of reach and inscrutable as the farthest star." --Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin

"Part Don DeLillo, part Little Big Lies, under O'Connor's careful direction, Zero Zone pulls the reader through a fascinating explication of guilt, influence, art, family, history, and meaning, all encased in a slowly unraveling mystery. A masterful novel." --Christian Kiefer, author of Phantoms

Praise for Half World

"O'Connor writes with vivid descriptive detail and acute psychological insight, as well as flashes of searing, wry humor and occasional moments that simply break your heart." --The Boston Globe

"[A] beautiful literary thriller, as political and philosophical as Graham Greene's strongest work." --The Los Angeles Review of Books

"O'Connor's spare prose amplifies the horror of his story. It also compels the reader to inhabit his characters' lives. Half World is a stunningly grim and emotionally harrowing read and an astute and evocative portrayal of government paranoia during the Cold War and Vietnam War eras." --Booklist (starred review)

"Gripping . . . The perfect book for our present moment." --The Daily Beast

"O'Connor writes with grace and force." --Publishers Weekly

"Fascinating . . . O'Connor is a gifted stylist, and he vividly captures the rabbit hole that swallows agents, their families, and their victims alike." --Library Journal

"An invigorating historical thriller . . . Intimately gripping . . . O'Connor writes with fire." --Kirkus Reviews

"O'Connor shows the beauty, the complex blend of dirty truth and high ideals that reveal the human in all of us with an intimacy, elegiac gravitas and deep respect. A strong voice." --Chris Abani, author of GraceLand

"Half World is all in. A taut and suspenseful narrative. Well-wrought flawed characters. Prose that is pitch perfect. The truth is, Scott O'Connor is a beautiful, sage-like, and terrifying writer." --Andrew Krivak, National Book Award finalist and author of The Sojourn

Praise for Untouchable

"Scott O'Connor speaks softly and somehow manages to make something beautiful of unspeakable matters . . . a voice so insistently stirring, you want to lean in close to catch every word." --The New York Times Book Review

"Astonishing . . . Introducing an amazing new talent to the world of fiction." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Once in a very long time, a book comes along that resonates and sings with heart. It's characters so real you want to touch them, hug them. Their peril so well told you are filled with fear as you are a mere observer of their adventure. You find yourself holding your breath as you read the last pages of the story for all could be lost or won in the confines of this bound paper. And when it is over you wish you could read it all for the first time, again. That is how good this book is." --Crimespree magazine

"O'Connor's prose is as beautifully terse as his plot . . . squeezing the reader's emotions so that when the myth of the "perfect" family begins to dissolve . . . it feels like the inevitable waking from a halcyon dream." --Booklist

"Heartfelt . . . the story is involving and moves easily through material that could smother with treacle, but O'Connor's strong characters--especially the Kid, whose elementary school humiliations are especially well handled--and his ease with conveying their emotions keeps the novel afloat." --Publishers Weekly

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