Nampa, Idaho: Fedogan and Bremer, 2014; $30.00 hc; 370 pages
Scott Nicolay’s debut collection consists of seven stories and one short novel. From what I understand, at one point the entire collection was be named after the novel; this is understandable, for that novel, “Tuckahoe,” is perhaps the most powerful and well-developed of all the stories presented within. A weird tale, “Tuckahoe” focuses on Detective Donny Cantu’s investigation of a tragic highway accident that took the lives of three people and left behind one arm too many, an arm that is clearly not human and which quickly deliquesces. Cantu’s estrangement from his wife, his sudden and heated relationship with the assistant coroner, and the investigation of the extra arm spiral into a descent into the unnatural. Through this, Nicolay evokes a sense of body horror and displacement with the skill of a master. Indeed, there is an intimacy to this story that makes the reader feel uncomfortable, intrusive, and perhaps even lecherous.