About Michael Cadnum


Michael Cadnum is the author of thirty-seven books, including the National Book Award finalist The Book of the Lion.  Several of Cadnum's books have been released as audio books by Audible, and Open Road has published e-book editions of many of his classic thrillers.  His most recent books are Earthquake Murder:  short fiction, and a book of animal poetry titled Kingdom.  A new book of poems, The Promised Rain, is in-progress. He lives in Albany, California.

Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCadnum.


Now available--my animal poems in one volume. 





Here is a new flash fiction, just released in Stand Magazine:


Promise, Wet as Sharks

The rain wouldn't stop except to come back even worse where I grew up.
Persistent ground-dwelling creatures--crayfish and eels—impregnated the lawns. Not even winter, and the coffer dams up in the forest canyons would be spilling-over.

The town was eager for trouble, let me put it that way. You could not have festivals or holidays without something bleeding. So we felt we had outgrown the woodland of mossy corrals and Saturday night brawls, as we made arrangements.

We rented a trailer and hitched it to the four-cylinder with the one-hundred-and-ten-thousand odometer and we made it all way to the desert without a problem.  There was the new office, with a residence in the back. A cactus with big round green arms that were spiked all over.  Did we miss the wet, the Spanish moss, the way books stuck together, patches of empty space when you sat down to read? I got pregnant. 

Yellow weeds.  White gravel.  Dry-lip grins.  Scorpions angry, shivering-mad hooks in the closet.  And hiding in the patent high-heels baby rattlers.   Well, one, and that was enough. In the garage among bargain cartons of forty-weight—tarantulas. Welcome home.

This was a world of no dimensions at all.  No death. Nothing to reach for. Now and now and now=daylight. And at night I made my living naming what had no names, the underside. The echo. The to-be-determined. I played stocks, buying wind, making omelets.

I was called upon to spreadsheet the future. I thrived. Crows raided the eggs in the dovecote, and ravens plundered the quail, and in the broad empty river neighbors abandoned stoves, refrigerators, sofas.

I made money.  Even graffiti was bleached bare by the hard sun.  The airport at the edge of what was real whipped its light beam around and around. Anyone suffering illness or lovelessness would find solace in the leafless trees. Season by season. Until the county crews brought their chainsaws to the historic cottonwoods.

Husband vanished, went out for aspirin and never.  I had the kids, but my bed was a cot. I could stand at the kitchen window and watch the cargo planes grind in over the Mojave, and when one bought it you could see the smoke pile up and then pile up some more. Was I happy? 

In those days you didn’t use a word like nostalgia, and the past we boiled to a red paste. The landlord was a quick, thin man who dropped by late when no one was around.  The rent cash was always ready for him, and he never smiled, hungry and leaving with his shirt tucked in, all the way around.  I drank smoothies, and invented protein powder. I bought the house, and a vacation hole in Big Bear.  Years were like scratch pads. The kids learned to walk, drive, procreate. 

I shut up more, less talk, more tooth, getting back in shape. I started growing taller again, years after my last period. I switched from hi to good morning. I washed my grandkids in the kitchen sink, yodeling, winning contests with the songs I wrought, naked children in my hands.


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