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The Ice Cream Truck at Midnight: Stories & Sketches
Ken Priebe. Priebelieving, $21.95 (58p) ISBN 978-1-7752-5594-9
Priebe’s (Let There Be Owls Everywhere) collection of 10 short stories that vary in length and format is an imaginative and unique escape. The narratives center a range of simultaneously mundane and uncanny situations, as well as the emotions these events evoke. The titular “The Ice Cream Truck at Midnight,” in which a ghostly sweets peddler delivers wares that sometimes induce nightmares, and “The Storm,” in which an old man who lives in a tree house weathers a seemingly endless tempest of “thunder, rain, lightning, hail,” exemplify the collection’s sinister ambiance. The author employs enticing prose for “Congregation of the Crescent Moon,” in which voices can be heard from within a museum’s displayed sarcophagus; poetry for “The DJ”; and radio drama script in “Invader.” Priebe’s soft, charcoal-like b&w illustrations render eerie sarcophagi, intricate cascades of ballerina tutus, and lonely desert radio towers. While this assemblage has no clear narrative link, Priebe’s experimental-feeling prose and haunting illustrations depict serpentine and whimsical tales that collectively embody expertly atmospheric storytelling. Ages 12–up. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 05/06/2022

Release date 05/01/2021