Trigger Man is a superb collection of stories capturing the gritty spirit of Detroit and the sometimes grim circumstances of the characters shaped by its industry and economics. Grounded on the bleak streets of the Motor City, these stories also explore the mythical “Up North,” the idealized country of many Detroit workers’ fantasy—an escape from the concrete and metal reality of their daily lives. Daniels’ characters are resilient and defiant, inhabiting a world that has often placed them on the margins of society, scouring a declining region for spiritual providence. Building on Daniels’ earlier collections of stories, Trigger Man brings vivid life to individuals struggling both to remain in and to flee the city that once sustained them.
Trigger Man is riveting, revealing—full of gritty detail, atmosphere, beauty, and meaning. I savored this collection the first time through. . . . The second time, I read for the fun, shock, and memorable (life-changing!) epiphanies of the stories. The Motor City has found in Daniels a true bard. He has put to words a kind of secret history for the ages.—Laura Kasischke, author of In a Perfect World and The Raising
Jim Ray Daniels’ characters in Trigger Man inhabit an emotional demolition derby, where even the “winners” do as much damage to themselves as they do to others. Stories as close to desperation as the city they’re set in.—John Sayles
- 2012 Midwest Book Award