Claudia Dey writes in her new novel, Heartbreaker. What begins as a simple mystery — a daughter attempting to investigate the sudden disappearance of her mother — turns into a much stranger and more engrossing tale, as it turns out that the family is part of a secretive cult that's located in a remote settlement known only as The Territory. Dey deepens this dark fantasy through the imaginatively detailed, keen observations of teen narrator Darlene Fontaine, who muses about her place amid this blank landscape while anchoring the proceedings with sly pop-culture references. Dey's rich prose drives the story with poetic acuteness, whether she's describing "heartsick, immortal gulls cawing and bombing like psychotic confetti" or "the smell my mother was giving off now in our front hallway — an unfinished space, an open body cavity, an open grave."
"There is no such thing as permanent,"