When did you last visit Winesburg, Ohio, spend time in Staggerford, Minnesota, or listen in on the gossiping residents of Little Wing, Wisconsin? None of these places can be found on any map or atlas, and yet for readers of Sherwood Anderson, Jon Hassler, or Nikolas Butler, these fictional Midwestern small towns are just as real as those you might travel to by car. You only need to lift the book off the shelf to be transported once more.
Those who love speculative fiction may fondly recall spending time in Ray Bradbury’s Green Town, Illinois, or visiting the haunted regions of Stephen King’s Castle Rock, Maine. “It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state,” begins Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree,” which opens by describing an ordinary place in every way until sunset when “night came out under each tree and spread,” ushering the reader into the world of the strange.
Readers can now add a new town on the map of imaginary places. With this publication, prepare to travel to Effham Falls, Minnesota, a small town where reality and the supernatural coexist.
So, prepare yourself now for Effham Falls, Minnesota. The stories that follow traverse a terrain that includes both the literary and the supernatural, but no matter the genre, the characters here in this place face hard choices. How can a woman dispose of the ashes of a man who mistreated her in life? What mystery lies behind the discovery of a ring with a finger still attached? What mission brings a stranger from distant St. Paul? Demons and doppelgangers and antique dolls capable of possession await in these pages. Both books and bookstores may become doorways to magic. How far will the characters go to find fortune, even if it means resorting to robbery, cheating, or braving a curse? The only thing certain in Effham Falls, is that nothing will quite be the same again.
Welcome to Effham Falls, reader. May you enjoy your stay here and come again.
–Thomas Maltman, author of The Night Birds, Little Wolves, and The Land