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"Going into an underground shelter is a strange midwestern ritual. We move to the cellar in the backyard, enter the doors that lead below the earth, and pray the rosary until the storm passes. At some point the sirens go off. That's when boys run to their mothers, and dogs tremble beneath the bed. Meteorologists and science teachers have been rehearsing the drills for years. Head to the basement. Stay away from windows. Cover yourself with a blanket. If you're in a car, pull over. Never try to outrun a tornado."

"Snipe Hunting"

– Mark Pleiss

"Mark Pleiss investigates small town corruption, mystery, loss, faith, family, metaphysics, and even aliens, all under the funnel of a tornado that warps the line between fact and fiction. A riveting debut of linked short stories, April Warnings whirled me around and lifted me into the sky."

— Erika Krouse, author of Contenders and Come Up and See Me Sometime

"Mark Pleiss' April Warnings is a revelation of rural life. The spirit of the Midwest and its people inhabit these connected stories like minerals in soil: subtle and vital. Tornadoes and livestock; farmers and worry, faith and cost: these are the building blocks of this part of the world. It's a place that too many people call "flyover country," but that Pleiss' fiction invites us into, to put up our feet and stay a while. You'll want to do just that."

— Teague Bohlen, author of The Pull of the Earth and winner of the Colorado Book Award for Fiction




"The interconnecting stories in Mark Pleiss’s April Warnings reflect the best qualities of the oral tradition and, in particular, of fantastic tales and parables. Gentle, revealing humor emerges naturally in the surprising plot elements uncannily related to the warping of time that occurs after, during, and just before tornadoes. Engaging wisdom about the slippery nature of ‘truth’ marks every page, and, in fact, the characters’ fates are often decided by fictions that ring ‘true,’ magically true."

– Kevin McIlvoy, author of "At the Gate of All Wonder", "57 Octaves Below Middle C", "The Complete History of New Mexico", and other works of fiction.

Buy "April Warnings" 

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