NORWICH– Endearing, funny, and smart; three unconventional, if not offensive (but possible), ways to describe local author Shelly Reuben’s newest novel about a nice man – who is incinerated in a fire. That’s the wonderful achievement of The Skirt Man. Set in Chenango County, it is a sometimes macabre mystery whose unusually large number of heroes force you, despite such a horrific premise, to witness the overwhelming good that still exists among mankind, and among the people of Reuben’s fictional village, Killdeer, N.Y.
“Sure there are evil shadows,” Reuben said. “But I like to show that my characters aren’t going to give up.”
In an optimistically suspenseful manner, her protagonists, narrator and news reporter Annie Bly, her husband, state police investigator Sebastian Bly, and brother Billy Nightingale, a New York City fire marshal, drive the reader through a calmly twisted terrain of horror, absurdity and compassion that is clipped with the local flavor of this area.