In The Perp Walk, his latest collection of linked stories, Daniels maps out the emotional capitals and potholes of coming of age in a blue-collar town in the Great Lakes State, though it could be any state where people work hard, play hard, and aren’t paid nearly enough for their efforts. Alternating flash fiction pieces with longer narratives, Daniels captures both the shooting stars and the constellations that build into earned insights and honest reflections. Sometimes we need both the long version of the short version and the short version of the long version, he suggests. Daniels invites his readers to settle on some truth in between the versions. Humor and heartbreak. Coming to terms, coming of age, or just plain aging. U-Haul trucks full of bad behavior and messy goodbyes. In Daniels’s work, the check is always in the mail but somehow never arrives, and honor is more than a certificate—it’s something we strive for, even while doing our various perp walks through life. Compromises are made, as they must be. Sometimes we get what we want for just a second or two, but for these characters, that has to be enough happiness to live on.
“These are vivid, evocative stories, rich in voice and imagery, full of humor and heart, and redolent of the great human mysteries. A collection to be savored!”
—DAN CHAON, author of National Book Award Finalist Among the Missing and Ill Will