“If George Saunders and Russell Edson had a baby, he’d probably grow up to write like Timmy Reed.” —Jessica Anya Blau, author of Drinking Closer to Home
Miles Lover is an imaginative but insecure adolescent skateboarder with an unfortunate nickname, about to face his first semester of high school in the fall. In Kill Me Now, Miles exists in a liminal space—between junior high and high school, and between three houses: his mother’s, his father’s, and the now vacant house his family used to call home in a leafy, green neighborhood of north Baltimore. Miles struggles against his parents, his younger identical twin sisters, his probation officer, his old friends, his summer reading list, and his personal essay assignment (having to keep a journal). More than anything, though, he wrestles with himself and the fears that come with growing up.
It’s not until Miles begins a mutually beneficial friendship with a new elderly neighbor—whom his sisters spy on and suspect of murder—that he begins to find some understanding of lives different than his own, of the plain acceptance of true friends, and, maybe, just a little of himself in time to start a whole new year. When you’re green, you grow, he learns. But when you’re ripe, you rot.
With tenderness and tenacity, Timmy Reed’s prose—written in a confessional tone via Miles’s journal—captures the anguish and grit of adolescence, and the potential that comes with growing up.
Out from Counterpoint Press in January 2018!
Here is what folks are already saying about the book:
“Kill Me Now could be the story of Huckleberry Finn’s trip to Hell . . . or no, just the seamier sides of Baltimore—not so much the mean streets of The Wire as the postapocalyptic working-class neighborhoods of Matt Porterfield’s Putty Hill. Miles Lover . . . is as crusty a kid as they come, with a taste for strains of trouble that would stagger an adult. But as much as he thinks of himself as a moron, his perceptions of the weird world he lives in are subtly and precisely nuanced, and his story, inside its scaly carapace, has a surprisingly tender heart. At a deeper level, Timmy Reed’s arresting novel puts me in mind of Frantz Fanon: LE REBELLE (dur). Mon nom: offensé; mon prénom: humilié; mon état: révolté; mon âge: l’âge de la pierre.” —Madison Smartt Bell, author of Behind the Moon
“Timmy Reed writes like a whacked-out angel. Miles Lover is the perfect everykid, overlooked and underestimated and so sharply observant it makes you wince a little. I loved this book.” – Amber Sparks, author of Shut Up/Look Pretty, May We Shed These Human Bodies, and The Unfinished World
“Kill Me Now is the answer to all the literary fiction that ever bored you . . . A guide book on how to cheat death, smoke bowls, tre flip in the pouring rain. Tough, honest, beautiful in only the way the unashamed ever are. Kill Me Now is an M-80 in an open palm, fuse lit, world holding its breath.” —Bud Smith, author of Work and F 250
“Timmy Reed is one of the best. In Kill Me Now, he has created one of the great teenage narrators of our time. Like a modern version of Updike’s Sammy, Miles Lover is part philosopher, part screwup, and part skateboarding prince of Baltimore. He’s wild and buzzing and will say almost anything. Including the truth.” —Scott McClanahan, author of The Sarah Book, Hill William, and Crapalachia
“There was Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, then J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, and now there is Timmy Reed’s Miles Lover, the irrepressible narrator of Kill Me Now, which is itself a funny, compassionate, and twisted take on the coming-of-age novel.” – Michael Kimball, Author of Us and Dear Everybody
“Reed convincingly writes a three-dimensional teenager whose self-consciousness, emotions, and hormones threaten to crush him. . . . A coming-of-age story capturing male adolescence in all its disgusting, irrational, and messy glory.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“What distinguishes the book is Miles’ voice: introspective, self-aware, wry, and honest . . . The result is a delightful coming-of-age story.” ―Booklist
“Reed captures all the hilarious grossness of being a teenage boy in this solid coming-of-age story.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Written in the form of a journal, this novel is highly realistic and will be relatable for many teens. Reed’s highly descriptive writing style fully immerses readers in the often gross yet sometimes profound perspective of a 14-year-old boy.” – School Library Journal
“What’s most impressive about Reed’s work is his attention to detail. From his elaborate descriptions of Baltimore neighborhoods to evocative scenes of Miles smoking weed with his eccentric old neighbor (whom his sisters suspect is a serial killer), Reed meticulously takes readers on a summer-long journey that is as viscerally awkward as our own teenage years.” ―Baltimore Magazine
“You can’t help but believe that you’re reading the journal of Miles Lover, a real teenage kid who smokes weed and has crushes on girls and hangs out in the now-vacant house that used to be his childhood home. And even though Miles isn’t real and the journal is a novel, it still feels like you’ve come to know somebody a little better by the time you finish reading it.” – The Michigan Daily
“Reed constructs a warts-and-all depiction of being young and open-hearted and understandably very pissed off.” – Baltimore Beat
“The high promise in Timmy Reed’s work, however, mostly lies in his mix of unexpected humor with an overall shambolic aesthetics. This is evident not simply in the voice of this particular narrator, but rather a strength of Reed’s work in general—the style is genuine, not a pretension or a mimicry of some ideal of fictional craft. Miles Lover offers a rambling, weed-tinged voice that runs counterpoint to the often overly precious, lyrical (and quite dull) fiction doled out on a regular basis by many MFA programs. Reed’s work, on the other hand, is almost that of an outside artist, a writer who has created a memorable skateboarding protagonist who will introduce the reader to the oozing Osage orange, reflect upon the causes of his nose-picking habit, explain what a snizard is, and will notice that the fan catches the diplomas of his probation officer so they ‘tickled…off the wall like water through the gills of a shark.’ ”
- Nathan Leslie, The Adirondack Review