At New Hampshire's Barker House, the correctional officers find ways to cope with a prison system that dehumanizes both prisoners and captors. In this lyrically beautiful debut, David Moloney follows sadistic Mankins, who nonetheless has a heart for the inmates; Brenner, a woman fighting the urge to abuse her power; and Big Mike, a part-time bouncer whose father is dying of cancer. Tracking their subtly intertwined lives for a year, Moloney reveals the precarious world of nine jailers, coming to a head when the unexpected death of one in their ranks brings them together.
"Moloney's voice is as true as a voice can be. Concise, with the right details rendered perfectly, these sentences come to the reader with marvelous straightforwardness, clean as a bone."—Elizabeth Strout