She convinces her boyfriend, Landis, to help carry out her plan, but once the abduction is accomplished, Bernice—whose own mother was given to manic episodes and strange behavior—is plagued with doubts. Will Landis stay with her, given her volatile personality and his own drifter past? Will she and Landis both end up in jail for this crime? And, perhaps most importantly, will she fail at being a mother? Dovetailed with this is the story of the conservative Christian adoptive parents, Tessa and David, and the effect the kidnapping has on their troubled marriage. As Bernice and Landis journey across America, from Colorado Springs to Tucson to Baltimore, Bernice must confront her past and the secrets she has kept.
Geoffrey Becker’s book of stories Black Elvis won the 2008 Flannery O’ConnorPrize for Fiction and will be published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2009. He is the author of two previous books, Dangerous Men, a short story collection that won the Drue Heinz Prize, and Bluestown, a novel. His other awards and honors include an NEA fellowship, selection for the Best American Short Stories anthology, the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, and the Parthenon Prize. He teaches writing at Towson University in Maryland, where he also directs the graduate program in professional writing.