Zero Zone by Scott O'Connor
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Zero Zone

A Novel

List Price: $26.00

October 6, 2020 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 320 pages | ISBN 9781640093737
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A literary thriller about an infamous desert art installation, the cult it inspired, and the search for a missing young woman that is “cinematic . . . readers will be compelled to start again at page one to discover how O’Connor pieces together his suspenseful, incredibly well-written narrative” (Library Journal, starred review).

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

Scott O'Connor is the author of A Perfect Universe: Ten Stories and the novels Half World and Untouchable, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction. His stories have been short-listed for the Sunday Times/EFG Story Prize and cited as Distinguished in The Best American Short Stories. Additional work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, ZYZZYVA, The Rattling Wall, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of Zero Zone. Find out more at


Praise for Zero Zone

"After finishing this cinematic novel, readers will be compelled to start again at page one to discover how O'Connor pieces together his suspenseful, incredibly well-written narrative." --Library Journal (starred review)

"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

"Scott O'Connor's new novel is a tour de force, an elegy to a lost time and forgotten city--the Los Angeles of the 1970s--which burns with artistic longing and cultural politics that are just as relevant and necessary today. With an innovative structure and a cast of dynamic characters, Zero Zone takes you on a journey that makes the world disappear while opening a new space, a possibility beyond what I thought of. O'Connor will make you feel like a time traveler: you won't want to go back home; you won't want this wonderful book to end." --Rachel M. Harper, author of Brass Ankle Blues and This Side of Providence

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

"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 Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home

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)

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

"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

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