By John Brandon
McSweeney’s Rectangulars; $22; 224 pages.
By Gina Webb
John Brandon likes his geography slightly warped — half-real, half-fictional corners of the rural South where almost anything might happen. He names his books after their locations: “Arkansas” (2008) and now, “Citrus County.”
The Gulf Coast native sets his newest in a desolate Florida backwater populated by rednecks, scorpions and missing dogs, a town where “you couldn’t keep anything unless you had a good hiding spot for it.”
He zeroes in on a handful of brooding misfits, two of whom are in middle school and one who teaches there, all of them eyeing the skies for something that will turn their disappointing, meaningless, mind-numbing existence into authentic gold. In a place where even the insects are “creatures with stingers and pincers and scorn in their hearts, ” you just know that whatever comes along to do the job is not going to be pretty.
Toby McNurse, at 14, would