American Elsewhere

A perfect town, an abandoned lab, and countless secrets

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Some places are too good to be true.

Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map.

In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.

After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different ...

From one of our most talented and original new literary voices comes the next great American supernatural novel: a work that explores the dark dimensions of the hometowns and the neighbors we thought we knew.


  • WINNER of the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award
  • Optioned by BBC America for television
  • One of Publisher’s Weekly’s best books of 2013
  • 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List

"Bennett (The Troupe) gives the idealized image of the American dream a pan-dimensional twist with this alien invasion tale, part Bradbury and part L’Engle with a dash of Edward Scissorhands. Mona Bright, a former cop with a tragic past, inherits her long-dead mother’s house in Wink, N. Mex., a picture-perfect hamlet built as a support community for a government lab conducting experiments in quantum physics. As Mona pieces together a history that bears no resemblance to the childhood she remembers, Bennett’s epic narrative unveils a chronicle of dysfunction masked by Wink’s mechanical obsession with normalcy. The quibbling, displaced characters are vile and sympathetic by turns, and always startlingly American. Through sharp empathetic detail, the horrific becomes both achingly poignant and comic; a wholesome diner where no one can ever order just one piece of pie shares space with a harsh alien landscape where a quivering blue imp cowers in terror while pleading for his life. Readers will be captivated from start to finish. (Feb.)"
- Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly

"Bennett (Mr. Shivers; The Company Man; The Troupe), winner of the Shirley Jackson Award and the Edgar Award, takes us on a creepy, thrilling journey into a small town under a pink moon, where reality is relative and whose residents are very, very different. You’ll want to linger over this riveting and scary novel that straddles sf and suspense to startling effect. This wonderful offering is perfect for fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman."
- Library Journal (starred review)

“American Elsewhere” conjures up echoes of the best works of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. Among its many virtues, Bennett’s convincing portrayal of Mona may be his greatest accomplishment. This strong yet flawed woman drives the novel’s success. When she pistol-whips a very large man, we feel both her competence and the weight of the act. During a tension-filled exploration of the eerie abandoned laboratory and observatory, we fully experience her fear and her levelheaded determination under duress."
- Library Journal (starred review)

"Mad and humorous, gory and poignant, “American Elsewhere” is a sort of mid-20th-century retelling of the embodiment of Lovecraftian Elder Gods by way of Alamogordo’s legendary atomic tests. It’s not to be missed."
- Nisi Shawl, Seattle Times

"Robert Jackson Bennett is masterful when creating the strange atmosphere of Wink. This section of the novel is simply eerie, in much the same way Twin Peaks was eerie. It offers a recognizable slice of American small-town life, but it’s abundantly clear that there’s something really odd going on underneath the surface. Exactly what it is doesn’t become clear for a good long time, but until then you can simply enjoy the way Bennett slowly unveils hints and occasionally drops a bombshell of pure, unmitigated weirdness into the flow."


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