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Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackies mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesnt know what to do but she doesnt let that stop her. She picks up the biggest rock she can carry and puts it through the window of a car. Smash. She intends to leave before the police arrive, but theyre early.

Ann is Jackies best friend, but shes got problems of her own. Her mother is chained up in the basement. How do you bring that up in casual conversation? Oh, sorry Ive been so distant, Jackie. My mother has more teeth than shes supposed to, and she wont eat anything thats already dead. Ann and her sister Margaret dont have much of a choice here. Their mother needs to be fed. It isnt easy but this is family. Its not supposed to be easy. Itll be okay as long as Margaret and Ann still have each other.

Add in a cantankerous old man, his powerfully stupid dog, a headless ghost, a lesbian crush and a few unsettling visits from Jackies own dead mother, and youll find that One Bloody Thing After Another is a different sort of horror novel from the ones youre used to. Its as sad and funny as it is frightening, and it is as much about the way families rely on each other as it is about blood being drooled on the carpet. Though, to be honest, there is a lot of blood being drooled on the carpet.

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