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Biography's Source: From the publisher
In an everyday voice, still as the air before thunder, Billy Dead introduces Ray Johnson and his kin. In their small Michigan town, the Johnsons are the family that starts all the trouble, has all the hard luck, and fuels all the gossip. Ray's older brother Billy has just been found murdered--by someone who watched him crawl a mile down the road, head bloody; who smoked four Marlboros while watching Billy die. The question isn't who killed him, but who didn't want him dead. Now Ray--knotted up with sorrow and a strange relief--bears the weight of the town's curious gaze as they dredge up all the past he's been trying to live down. But Ray insists on telling his own story, one of shameful abuse transfigured by impossible love: shocking, violent, tender, and redemptive in ways we have never known before. Lisa Reardon reshapes the American landscape of Annie Dillard's The Living and Peter Matthiessen's Killing Mr. Watson in this novel of shocking depths and soaring heights--and Ray Johnson emerges as one of the most heartrending and endearing characters in recent literature.