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Stranger Will Hardcover – March 13, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Otherworld Publications LLC (March 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936593068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936593064
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,085,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is an original--unlike anything you've ever read before." -Rob Roberge, author of More Than They Could Chew and Drive

"Stranger Will is a nightmare landscape littered with the carcasses of fatherhood and various social mores. This is one paranoid, challenging, beautiful, and pitch-dark book. I'm a little afraid of this Ross guy now; but I'll also read anything he writes."-Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep and In The Mean Time

"Just like a Palahniuk novel, Stranger Will reads volatile: it could go any way. Caleb J. Ross leads you with a wry smile into dark places, but by the time you realize it's too late. You will follow him anywhere." -Alan Emmins, author of Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners

"Caleb J. Ross is a dangerous are letting Caleb J. Ross into your mind at your own risk." -Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Angel Dust Apocalypse and Extinction Journals

"More nihilistic than a chainsaw-wielding midget who wants to be the tallest man on Earth." -Bradley Sands, author of Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy and editor of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens

From the Inside Flap

William Lowson has two months to start believing in the world again.

William works as a human remains removal specialist, removing stains left by the dead. Whether by a bloody crime scene or a quiet domestic death, William is reminded each day of the frailty of human life. As his fiancée, Julie, nears term with their first child William becomes increasingly desperate for a way to overcome his belief that to birth is to kill.

But Mrs. Rose, an elementary school principal and messenger pigeon hobbyist, nurtures William's depressive outlook and claims to have a way to prove that William's hesitancy toaccept fatherhood is not only natural but necessary. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A satisfying read with a satisfying ending.
Mr. S. West-bulford
He has excellent powers of observation and he knows where YOU live !! "Stranger Will" Excellent book, you need to read it.
Vicki In Crete
It is full deep imbibing metaphors to immerse your psyche in.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thomas on April 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Caleb Ross writes lyrical prose that pulls you into the politics and morality of this story, Stranger Will. For most of us, children are the future, they represent hope and dreams. But in this novel they represent the fated, the already lost. Conspiracies only seem paranoid and insane if they have no base in reality. One of the most compelling images that has stuck with me in this novel, for years now, is the carrier pigeon, message tied to its tiny clawed foot, shot from the sky. The note stuck up on a wall, strings stretching from one place to another, one person to another, tying together layers of deceit, love, and failure. This is a novel you won't want to put down, and will compel you to check out more work by Caleb Ross. Keep a candle lit to keep away the stench, a light on to force away the dark forces, and a prayer in your heart that none of this comes anywhere near you. Or your children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lea on June 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I keep procrastinating on writing a review for this book, mainly because I just don't know what to say about it. I'm not even sure how I feel about it!

Let's get the boring, nitpicky stuff out of the way -- as usual. Typos, which seemed to get worse as the book went along. Everything from misspellings to what seem to be misused words. Why?? I expect this in a goodreads win -- because they're most likely sending out proofs rather than finished editions -- but this wasn't a win, I bought this on Amazon, so I expect the quality to compare to any other book I'd pick up in a store. This kind of sloppiness just doesn't make me a fan.

Now that's out of the way . . .

This is a very interesting story. William and Julie are expecting their first child -- a child William is determined not to have. He works with heavy duty chemicals as a "human remains removal specialist", and fears the damage the chemicals may have already done to the unborn baby. In his endeavor to be rid of the child, he is helped by the mysterious Mrs. Rose.

This idea was so compelling to me that I had Amazon overnight a copy when I couldn't find it locally -- something I almost never do. I'm just too cheap to pay for that kind of postage, but I just had to read it as soon as possible.

Was it worth it?

I don't know. I found the characters and their lives grotesque and unlikable. Even Julie, who -- as a mom -- I felt I should have been most sympathetic to. They're all so mired in these ridiculously pointless lives, it's difficult to empathize with them. On the other hand, has any parent escaped having an instant (or more) of doubt and fear when faced with the reality of having children? It's such a huge responsibility, one I know I felt vastly unprepared for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Krauska on May 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
In his first full length novel, Kansas City native Caleb J. Ross waxes prosaic the age old case of jitters that comes with impending fatherhood. William Lowson, Ross's protagonist, works cleaning up, not the dead, but the stains they have left behind. Will wonders throughout the book about the impressions people make on each other, on the walls, ceilings and floorboards of their demise, and most importantly their children. Ross is not afraid to take the unruly facts of reality and rub them in your face using whichever of the senses he can get his hands on. Speaking of his fiancé's home-style cooking, his nasty line of work and the inescapable ills of a terminal existence Will soliloquys, "onion and paprika cannot mask the taste of chemicals used to absolve blood and skin from highways and dashboards," and that's just the first page.

Stranger Will begins as something of a dark comedy. A reluctant father, trying to convince his fiancé to not carry the baby to term, or at least give it up after the fact, crudely makes jokes comparing the child to a tapeworm he once had, curiously named Paul. Will's chiding of Julie at first evokes chuckles and sighs for both their perversion and truisms but, counter to one's expectations of a leading figure in a novel, the jokes do not hide a nervous-yet-well-meaning-heart, rather something more pessimistic and Nietzsche-esque.

As the novel continues, the plot gets increasingly dark and starkly less comedy and Ross's writing all the more pointed. It reads like a nightmare you wake up from in the middle of the night and spend the next day wondering how much of it was real. The twists are shocking and terrifying, but somehow founded in reason and not entirely unbelievable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Pastorella on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a very picky reader. I gave up reading formulaic so-called `Bestseller' fiction years ago, primarily because most `Bestsellers' cater to what I call the Highest Common Denominator Reader. Being a Highest Common Denominator Reader doesn't make you a bad reader. But if you read the same things over and over, eventually you're going to get bored with the subject matter, then bored with reading altogether, which is a bad thing in my view. Ten years ago I became bored with reading. Oh, I still read, but mainly I was rereading the books I liked, afraid to venture out on a literary limb and try something new, lest I get burned again. There's nothing worse than checking out the back of a book and feeling that thrill that yes, maybe, this one will be the one, this book will be enjoyable and rewarding, only to find the words inside are stagnant. Dead.

Saying Stranger Will is compelling is the understatement of the year. The main character, William, removes the stains the dead leave behind, literally. William's whole life is calls at 3 am in the morning, chemicals in the back of a van working into his pores, his life. He's in a dead-end job and in a marriage teetering on failing miserably. His pregnant wife is focused on their soon to be born child while he is focused on spending as much time away from her as possible. The harsh reality settles in: When all you see is death, what's the point? A principal of the local elementary school takes William under her wing, determined to show him there is another way. Her group is intent on making the world perfect, one child at a time. Once William is in the group, he realizes perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Quality fiction is both compelling and unpredictable. It's also dangerous, which is why we read it.
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More About the Author

Caleb J. Ross' fiction and nonfiction has appeared widely, both online and in print. Develop an unhealthy relationship with him at Voyeur at YouTube ( Stalk him on Twitter ( Pester him on Facebook ( Circle him at Google+ (