The Hermit Next Door (preorder)

The Hermit Next Door (preorder)

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(preorder—to be published in June)

Dust jacket illustration by Dominic Harman.

Kevin Hearne, author of the acclaimed Iron Druid Chronicles, returns with an otherworldly new novella!

Newly widowed and trying to cope with her grief, Winnie Mae Chisholm moves from Tennessee with her teenage son, Pax, to Oregon, hoping the change will let them both heal and move on. She’s warned when buying their new home that the next door neighbor, Mr. Fisher, is a famous recluse and no one has seen him in years, but that’s fine with her—she’s looking for quiet.

She’s not going to get it, however, because when Pax meets the neighbor, he discovers that the reason Mr. Fisher hides from the world is that he isn’t actually from this world. He’s been stranded for decades and he’s trying to get home, and he could really use some help. 

Abruptly part of the best-kept secret on the planet, Winnie Mae and Pax have to protect Mr. Fisher from a nosy neighbor who would ruin his work and doom him to die among aliens, but they also have to ask themselves: How far would they go to escape their grief? Would another world be far enough?

Limited: 1000 signed numbered hardcover copies


The Hermit Next Door

Benny used to say that the mysteries of the universe are hidden in the sounds of water. Not in the sight of it, or its taste, or touch, and definitely not its smell. The chuckle of creeks, the roar of waterfalls, the hiss of tides, the patter of rain: he said they were all whispering secrets to us that we couldn’t decipher. And like him, I used to listen to water and be content that I couldn’t translate its language into anything meaningful. But now that Benny is gone, I listen to water and wonder if perhaps it’s trying to explain why good things don’t last.


Tennessee was full of too many memories after Benny’s accident, smothering us with the past and preventing us from seeing a future. Every eye we met drooped in pity, lips and tongues undulated in the same pattern to express sorrow for our loss, and our refrigerator filled with sympathy casseroles until I wanted to toss a grenade in there and detonate them all. We never ate a bite of that food baked in consolation at four hundred degrees.

No. I sold the house, looked at the unexpectedly large life insurance settlement, and bought a swank rural property in Oregon on the Willamette River, over the objections of our son, Pax.

“Mom, if we have to move—and I get it, I’m on board with the general idea—then let’s at least move to a city where there’s something to do. And somewhere closer. We can live anywhere, so let’s live somewhere good.”

I didn’t want anywhere closer because anything that sounded like home would summon Benny’s memory to my head immediately. “You can live wherever you want in a few years, starting with college,” I told him. “But I still want riverfront property.”

“Some rivers run through cities,” he pointed out. “We don’t have to disappear into a small town.”

“You just want access to gigabit Wi-Fi.”

“No, I also want access to gigabit Wi-Fi. I’ve got a whole list of reasons to live in a bustling metropolis. I can draw up a list of river cities in the South and print you a hardcopy since you’re old.”

“I’m not that old, Pax. It’s not like I have a fax machine.”

His eyebrows drew together in confusion. “What’s a fax machine?”

Dear Lord in Heaven. What if I am that old?


Kevin Hearne
United States
96 pages