We are thinking about dread. Wallowing in it really. We recently riffed on dread during Short Story Month 2011 as we talked about some of the short stories that crushed us during the last year. We were struck that when read short stories especially, we want to be punched in the gut, be it with humor or pain, and in that riff we focused on the pain. Which got us thinking dread, which is where we find ourselves today having finished Old Ghosts by Nik Korpon, a book which we might have loved for being set in Baltimore alone, yet is so much more, neo-noir, or something post-apocalyptic possibly, but is most definitely full of dread from start to finish. And we clearly dig the dread, need the dread, and there isn't pain here necessarily, and to that we say fine, it isn't needed here. Because here's the thing, you can't run with the wrong people, do the wrong things, and then just disappear and start again, all full of love and happiness and possibility. It doesn't work like that, it can't work like that, and thank God for that. And for the Korpon, who writes, sparsely, and effortlessly, doesn't get lost in fantastical flourishes, and is always telling story, always moving forward, and always pushing us to the end, where he finally offers a glimmer of hope and allows us a moment, though only a moment, to believe the dread has passed and we can catch our breath again.