Dead Cats is an unpublished manuscript - representation or publication inquiries please contact me through jessemckinnell.com
Joel Peterson’s bottom is deeper and darker than he ever imagined, but with the help of the ghost of Kurt Cobain he hatches a plan to capture the attention of his estranged family and reclaim his life.
Dead Cats and Other Reflections on Parenthood is a dark comedy that tracks the downward spiral of Joel Peterson, a once successful dentist and proud member of the upper middle class as he falls into a spiral of drugs and vanity. When a car crash leaves him battered and homeless, he finds comfort in the restless lost soul of Kurt Cobain. Together, the two cut a path across southern Maine, chasing the meaning in their lives as husbands and fathers. Featuring a cast of characters that blur the lines between reality and madness, including two bumbling cops, a bombastic divorce attorney, a hoodie-clad mad man with an insatiable appetite for the truth, and of course one dead, yet impossibly opinionated cat. Joel and Kurt fight against their nature, desperately trying to be the men they expected to become.
Plot: Most on-the-road stories don’t involve fathers, dentists, or dead grunge rock idols—or an attempt to return to normal suburban life—but this unusual and winning novel turns the genre inside out.
Prose: The writing here is sharp, knowing, and bitingly funny.
Originality: This novel take a conventional plot device—the road trip—and turns it into something unexpected and enchanting.
Character Development: The author provides dead-on, quick, and funny character studies. Even minor players are well defined.
Blurb: The author of this unlikely, funny novel is one to watch.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2017