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Cover image for Hitchers

First edition.
San Francisco : Night Shade Books, [2012]
Physical Description:
283 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
After a terrorist attack in Atlanta kills 500,000 people and causes the dead to half-possess many of the survivors, Finn Darby must surmount his own ghostly "Hitcher"--His abusive, deceased grandfather--if he is going to find a way to send the dead back to where they came from.


Call Number
McIntosh, W.

On Order



Two years ago, on the same day but miles apart, Finn Darby lost two of the most important people in his life: his wife Lorena, struck by lightning on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and his abusive, alcoholic grandfather, Tom Darby, creator of the long-running newspaper comic strip Toy Shop.

Against his grandfather's dying wish, Finn has resurrected Toy Shop, adding new characters,and the strip is more popular than ever,bringing in fan letters, merchandising deals,and talk of TV specials. Finn has even started dating again.

When a terrorist attack decimates Atlanta,killing half a million souls, Finn begins blurting things in a strange voice beyond his control. The voice says things only his grandfather could know. Countless other residents of Atlanta are suffering a similar bizarre affliction. Is it mass hysteria, or have the dead returned to possess the living?

Finn soon realizes he has a hitcher within his skin... his grandfather. And Grandpa isn't terribly happy about the changes Finn has been making to Toy Shop. Together with a pair of possessed friends, an aging rock star and a waitress, Finn races against time to find a way to send the dead back to Deadland . . . or die trying.

Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.

Author Notes

Will McIntosh is a Hugo Award winner and Nebula Award finalist whose debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was published by Night Shade in 2011. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's (where his story "Bridesicle" won the 2010 Reader's Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story), Strange Horizons, Science Fiction and Fantasy: Best of the Year, and others. A New Yorker transplanted to the rural south, Will is a psychology professor at Georgia Southern University, where he studies Internet dating, and how people's TV, music, and movie choices are affected by recession and terrorist threat. In 2008 he became the father of twins.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hugo-winner McIntosh ("Bridesicle") delivers a moving tale of individual grief and recovery against the backdrop of a devastated world. When an anthrax attack on Atlanta devastates the population, widower Finn Darby loses two of his few remaining friends. Shortly after, he finds himself randomly uttering sentences that have no meaning to him. They seem to be connected to his late grandfather, an abusive man who created the comic strip that Darby now writes against his grandfather's dying wishes. As these bouts of babbling increase in frequency and length, Darby discovers other sufferers, including a washed-up rock star and a waitress who might be possessed by Darby's dead wife. Darby, with his personal grief serving as synecdoche for the entire city, is forced to confront his guilt over his wife's death and his co-opting of his grandfather's work. From a premise designed for over-the-top bombast, McIntosh pulls a quiet, un-treacly, and often beautiful tale of complex love and grief. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In the second novel by an up-and-coming sf-fantasy author, a terrorist bioweapon attack wipes out a substantial portion of the population of Atlanta. Not long after, the spirits of the dead begin taking up residence in the living. Cartoonist Finn Darby is one of the unwilling hosts, finding himself inhabited by his deceased grandfather, who originated the newspaper strip Finn now writes and draws. Desperate to rid himself of his unwelcome guest he never got along with Grandpa when the old man was alive Finn hooks up with an aging rock star, who's been inhabited by his former writing partner, and a diner waitress, whose hitcher is Finn's dead wife. The trio tries to find a way to send the dead back to Deadland before the hitchers take full control of their bodies. The story could easily have been played for laughs, but McIntosh takes a far more daring approach, playing it straight. Like Ira Levin or a good mystery writer, he lays out the facts and leads the reader to the only reasonable conclusion. By the time he reveals the truth of the situation, it feels not only plausible but self-evident. This is a charming novel, with well-drawn characters, a smartly constructed plot, and some real drama and emotion. Horror and sf-fantasy fans shouldn't miss it.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist