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Willie Davis' debut novel NIGHTWOLF is available

July 31, 2018 from 7.13 Books, Brooklyn, New York. 



with Patricia Ann McNair for The Lit Pub

LAST WORDS, Audio Interview with

DARK SPOTS, Interview with the Chicago Literati

ONE QUESTION, Davis's Interview with Hypertext Magazine


The dialogue is some of the best I’ve encountered in a long time, the story is equal parts empathic and devastating, and what Davis has accomplished is to show us a different type of growing up book, one where the past is not escaped, where it digs its claws in and doesn’t release. Our society is not made of happy endings. In many cases we are a society defined by our damages, just as Milo seems defined by his. It will be a long time before I forget Milo. It will be a long time before I forget this novel’s closing words, which I heartily invite you to discover for yourself.

- After the Pause,  Full review here.


And, just as importantly, Milo is a tragic figure, along with his friend, the even more tragic Meander Casey (how’s that for an incredibly good character name?). But in Davis’s hands, tragedy becomes a chance for growth and introspection rather than moving the narrative into overly serious territory. And when his characters are doing this, Davis is at his best — plain spoken, honest, and insightful. But it’s not all fields of deeper meaning. There is fun to be had in Nightwolf. A book with a fair amount of crime and violence, there are some of the usual suspects, including a roughneck named Hallahan, who is every bit as nasty as you picture him. There’s the wise old man, if you’re interests veer more toward the Jungian, and, of course, the enigmatic and entirely mysterious Nightwolf, the graffiti artist whose identity mysteriously twists throughout the narrative.

A novel replete with the disturbing and seedy aspects of a smaller city and rife with characters that should only ever be referred to as splendid creations from the midst of that torn community, Nightwolf will certainly not be the last we hear from Willie Davis. Davis undoubtedly has more wit and cleverness to deliver to us his message about seeking truth and purpose in life. There are books to come. Be sure of it.

- Author Sheldon Lee Compton for Enclave, Full review here

"I can see a direct line from Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor to Willie Davis — particularly the latter. She’d be disappointed in Davis’ attitude toward religion, I think, but she’d note a kindred spirit, I think. That should give you a spirit of the flavor of the novel — agnostic, 21st century O’Connor-ish. Better yet? Davis has the talent to pull that off."

- The Irresponsible Reader, Full review here

"The reader needs to tread carefully, or he (or she, as the case may be) will wind up as a character in Nightwolf, and never be seen alive again. Happened to me. Nightwolf is delightful, compelling, utterly original, funny as hell, such a bright new light on the literary landscape it makes the turn of the century seem like ancient history. Linguist are applying for NEA grants in such numbers to study Nightwolf, they have had to resort to handwriting because of declining access to digits."

- Gurney Norman, author of Divine Right's Trip, Poet Laureate of Kentucky

"Even among Nightwolf's vivid landscape of smart-assed car thieves, bruised oracles, and horribly named bar bands, Willie Davis's tender, witty voice utterly steals this show. Every page of this brilliant, tough-willed novel is so alive with laughter, vulgarity, insight, wonder, wisdom, and heartbreak, often within the same impossible breath. What a book." 

- Mike Scalise, author of the Brand New Catastrophe

" Davis, a master of wit, one-liners and dead on observations, has done everything right. Nightwolf, often funny and always smart, is told through the eyes of Milo, a devastatingly funny and keen social critic. And through him, this story of Kentucky and youth and angst and self-discovery gleams." 

- Natashia Deon, author of Grace

"This is a story of profound loss- missing mothers, brothers, babies, hearts - populated by trash-talking, drug-addled, thieving, violent, wickedly funny, elegiac, fail and fail better profits and preachers. Part Elmore Leonard, part Padgett Powell, part Eugene Ionesco if he'd trained his eye on the seediest corner of Lexington, Kentucky, Davis is a wild fire talent who understands there is no end to seeking, only endless reckoning with desire and mystery." 

- Maud Casey, author of The Man Who Walked Away

"Nightwolf is by turns hilarious and tragic, acerbic and tender, dispairing and triumphant- and brilliant with all. Willie Davis's kick-ass debut novel heralds the arrival of a major new talent."

- Ed McClanahan, author of The Natural Man

"Like a shot gun blast at the moon, Willie Davis's debut novel enters the world. At its heart is Milo Byers, wayward son of Prospect Hill, a derelict Kentucky neighborhood where violence is arbitrary and opportunity nil. Haunted by the memory of a brother who disappeared and caught up in a power struggle between petty criminals, Milo must navigate the injustices of growing up poor in a forgotten place. And yet this isn't your standard coming-of-age fare . . . sure, teeth are broken and scars are formed, but Milo manages to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. He's literary kin to the protagonist in Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son - a princely fuck-up and a worthy companion. Tragic, comic, and brilliantly perverse, Nightwolf is a bighearted novel that heralds the arrival of a gifted storyteller.  Read this book."

- Jesse Donaldson, author of The More They Disappear

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