• Quick Kills, the latest novel by Lynn Lurie is out on Etruscan Press, Fall 2014

    Lynn Lurie's latest novel:
    quick killsavailable by Etruscan Press.

Quick Kills
   Quick Kills, 2014

I am limp in his arms as he rushes me inside. So many stingers the nurses lose count. I hear the sound of their rubber-soled shoes as they move across the linoleum. I am unable to open my eyes. Maybe they closed them the way I have seen in the movies. I want no one to see me, not even when I am dead.

He takes me from the emergency room to my parent's house. I bend over for the spare key my parents keep under the WELCOME mat and feel how swollen my face is. The Photographer waits on the front stoop while I go inside.

Flickering candles on the dining room table turn the seated guests into shadows that rise and fall across the raised velvet wallpaper. Mother sees me first and gasps.

Hornets, I say slowly. Maybe wasps. My mouth is swollen shut on the left side.

Where were you?


The Photographer, he knew what to do.

Father does not look up from his conversation with the woman to his left.

I was going to tell them he is no savior but the maids were serving dessert.

I'm ok, really, I am. On my way to the stairs I stop at the front door and waive the Photographer on his way.

Mother and Father didn't even know I was out. I hear the Photographer's car turn the corner and the last sound I am able to make out before I fall asleep is Mother's high-pitched giggle, the one she uses when she isn't amused, then, I hear everyone's laughter.

For the next year an allergist threads tiny needles beneath the skin on my inner wrist, injecting dozens of allergens. I ask if this is necessary, after all I know what caused it—wasps or hornets—I saw the hive.

Eventually the doctor says I am desensitized.

"Quick Kills is terrifying. In vivid snapshots, this small book chronicles a life too immense and wrong to be made okay. The threat of men is everywhere. You won’t be able to stop reading, and you’ll ache for the narrator to be safe, for everything and everyone in her past to be undone."
-David Vann, author of Goat Mountain

"Lynn Lurie's Quick Kills is fraught with lessons, not least among them this: if the heart is a lonely hunter, what it tracks can never be helped. But loneliness itself, we also learn, is never really alone. It runs hand in hand with fear, which, most of all, is what this book is about. In this ruthless examination of a family's corrosion beneath the shadow of secrets and lies, Lurie takes us, sentence by sentence—through the mind of a girl who somehow finds a way past the horrors inside so seemingly harmless a thing as a seashell or beach ball—deeper into menace, lower into vice, farther into dark. Lines lose meaning in this world. Boundaries don't exist. What we think we see might be what is, but at every turn, we have to look again. Where is shelter? Where is safety? What does it mean to trust? I'd say not to read this book unless you're ready to see, yet that would prevent my saying how much you'd otherwise lose. You must absolutely read this book." -D. Foy, author of Made to Break

"In deft, seemingly effortless sentences that give us neither too much nor too little, a girl intensely scrutinizes herself and her family, not always sure of what she's really seeing, but knowing enough to be afraid. Filled with quiet menace, Quick Kills is a clearheaded and merciless examination of the damage that shapes us, for better and for worse."
-Brian Evenson, author of Immobility

"Spread your hair above your head like a halo," insists The Photographer. Then he gets her. Each tense vignette in Quick Kills is a photo of quiet terror; the girl nude is everywhere and flayed. Like Nobel-winner Herta Muller, Lurie dissects, with terse particularity, the destruction of a girl-child, image by image. A book of great courage."
-Terese Svoboda, author of Bohemian Girl

"Quick Kills is a chronicle of bewilderment sprung from the terrible want to be wanted, the paralyzing flux of allegiances that keeps us pinned where we ought not be. Girls go missing as readily as shoes in this darkly suggestive novel; nobody's paying much attention but the predators, who are everywhere and swift. the reader is left to navigate by images, flashes in the dark- a drawer stuffed with frogs, a spatter of blood, a child in an empty swimming pool. Lurie insists that we look, keep looking, make beauty from the ruin, and live."
-Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First