Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
Published: October 2018 by Harper Perennial
Harcover, 321 pages
From the New York Times bestselling co-author of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.
“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”
Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.
Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job as a long-haul truck driver and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.
In the same vein as Welcome to Night Vale, Alice Isn’t Dead started as a podcast under the banner “Night Vale Presents”. Creator Joseph Fink presents the complete story in the form of a novel.
Our protagonist is determined to find her missing wife. She takes on a position as a truck driver to fuel her mission. She will stop at nothing to find her and makes herself at home driving the highways of America until she has answers. Her quest finds her encountering zombie-like creatures, emotional distress, members of a secret government agency and a group of timeless mythical beings.
Fans of the podcast will need a minute to readjust from listening to Jasika’s Nicole’s narration to reading, but the written story finds its rhythm quickly. The pace established is flawless, parsed with revelations about the protagonist’s past and relationship.
Kudos to the refreshing portrayal of anxiety, implying that mental health is not something that needs to be fixed. This story takes on a load of factors and is able to tie each off with a bow. Fink demonstrates a true talent for the intricate details of the human condition as the story of Keisha and Alice’s relationship is developed. Night Vale Presents, establishes a hero with a natural progression, rather than going with typical tropes.
Alice Isn’t Dead covers so many things at once. A scrutiny of time, analysis of conspiracy theories and an intimate portrayal of the human condition. By far the strongest story from the Night Vale Presents Team, Alice Isn’t Dead plants the seeds for new nightmares to bloom. Best read on an empty stomach with all the lights on.