forthcoming soon from PS Publishing. Cover design by Chris Roberts
"The Fair Grounds" features Francis North, acclaimed designer of graveyards. Rising from a dismal childhood in the historic village of Kaaterskill, which helped inspire Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," North becomes celebrated for his outlandish reinvention of cemetery design. But his most controversial achievement is the Fair Grounds, constructed at Kaaterskill. Emblazoned with the words "All's Fair under the Valley of the Shadow of Love," the cemetery is a series of exhibits out of North's embittered past. A primrose maze spells the memento mori, a barrow called "The Cairn" represents the bank that foreclosed on North's family farm, and reigning supreme is a monstrous bronze of the Headless Horseman. Obsessed with the cemetery, North haunts the grounds like a hunchbacked exhibit himself until trouble stirs. The town becomes concerned over rumors of ghosts, while North's wife will leave him unless he abandons his deranged creation. Everything reaches a head during a Halloween carnival when the cemetery transforms into a spectral stalking ground. Filled with nods to Irving's original, "The Fair Grounds" is a fabulist examination of the funereal, where the living and the dead alike are ruled by the baleful spirit of the Horseman.