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Cover art by Lisa Uhlig

At a glance, Acheron, Vermont contains all the people you expect to meet in an average New England college town. The bumbling, corrupt Sheriff Blivet, and his son Purvis, a junior paranormal investigator. Wilbur Erlanger, an alcoholic cinephile with a tragic past, and transfer student Denise, his mysterious and bewitching niece. And of course, local real estate magnate Jeremiah Castle, and his much younger, and far more ruthless wife, Jo. They all have secrets, and who better to compile them than Henry Hoffmann, blackmailer, tour guide, and adviser to Mr. Castle. In these capacities, Henry enjoys unlimited power and influence over the citizens of Acheron, until several strange events the week before Halloween put him at the mercy of the very people it is his job to control. The Moment Before an Injury is a novel of amoral ghosts, stolen dogs, creative revenge, petty criminality, vocational ennui, and the fragile politics of absolute power in a small town.

About the Author

Josh Amses' writing has appeared most recently in Nomadic Sojourns and Elohi Gadugi Journal. His first novel, Raven or Crow, was published in 2013, also with Fomite. He lives in Montana.

Author Website


“ This book delivers everything I crave from a great novel—intelligently portrayed characters, a remarkably original voice, a story that unfolds unexpectedly, the kind of story that rattles like music somewhere in the dark and you can’t help but go out into the night and follow it.Amses’ lyrical acumen equals his narrative gifts. I found myself both eager to turn the page, yet held captive by every striking image, clever turn of phrase, and often startled by moments of insight into the human condition.

The Moment Before an Injury is a book you’ll want to savor slowly and devour at the same time, the kind of book you keep in your library long after reading.

—Sara Michas-Martin, author of Gray Matter

With narrator Henry Hoffman, Amses illuminates not just the inner struggles of a slightly sociopathic, cynical twenty-something but the uncertainty of an entire generation working weird, new jobs too difficult to define for business cards. Moment calls to mind Sam Lipsyte in The Ask and Jonathan Lethem in Chronic City, with a hefty dose of heady vocabulary and a dash of Donnie Darko. Read this with a pen at the ready—with each new insight, Amses one-ups himself and you'll find yourself underlining it all—and enjoy as the wit and brilliance unfold.

‍ —Kathryn Roberts, author of Companion Plants

Photo by Carolyn Zuaro