by Sarah Jilek
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A CULT KICKS YOU OUT?
All Beth Riddle wanted was a family, but having failed to rescue her childhood friend from the clutches of a dangerous cult leader, the twenty-something graduate student must gather her own legion of devotees to take revenge. Beth’s return to her childhood home sparks a war between the cult, a powerful local family, and a violent biker gang. When she flees, the armed conflict only follows, luring her back to her own destructive destiny. A darkly hallucinogenic modern noir romp through sex, crime, and comedy.
“Dark, trippy, and exquisitely visceral. If Flannery O’Connor’s and Daniel Woodrell’s fictional worlds collided, Jilek’s writing would be their wild and precocious literary love child.”
—Laura Benedict, Edgar-nominated author of The Stranger Inside
“Emotional and gritty. A Machiavellian story about the cult of female friendship and fleeing home only to find it in yourself.”
—Kathleen Hale, author of Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker
“Like hopping on the back of a Harley-Davidson chopper, the novel St. Catastrophe is a full throttle ride through fistfights, shoot-outs, drug-induced visions, and at least one creative writing workshop. For the reader who thought the only thing missing from Mona Awad’s Bunny was Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels, this book is for you.”
“Smart, gritty, and ecstatic—this book breathes fire in all the right ways. Get ready. It comes at you fast: haunting visions, swarming violence, strange sweetness, holy mystery, savory vengeance. It keeps masterful control, but you’re not safe. Jilek is a real talent, and this debut roars with a whirlwind of honey and blood.”
—Josh Woods, author of O Monstrous World! and The Black Palace
About the Author
Sarah Jilek has always been fascinated with religion and with cults—specifically with how charismatic leaders gain power and attract their follower’s total devotion. By the end of her stories, her greatest hope is that readers have cried, laughed, vomited, and secretly masturbated. Most importantly, that they’ve felt true empathy for all the weirdos and freaks they’ve encountered. She writes everything from myth to slasher fiction, but especially tales in which women gain power—over each other, over men, or, in the case of Saint Catastrophe, over entire legions of adoring fanatics. A decent shot with a Glock 9mm, growing up a practicing Catholic has been the single most definitive experience in her life. In 2020, Sarah received her MFA from Southern Illinois University.
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