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A failed suicide, a failed writer, and a failed husband, Ches is tragically depressed–that is, until he finds his muse in punk rocker/ militia-marketer/ free-spirited Thalia. Ches is haunted by Thalia’s ghost–or perhaps a hallucination–and grows obsessed with writing her story…but due to his increasingly erratic behavior, he is quickly self-destructing. The pressures of public school IT work, a middle school revolution, an ex-wife, a crazed father, and an emotional crime spree culminate in a fantastic meta twist, creating a surprising end to this fabulously witty dark comedy.

314 Pages



Those who have attempted something artistic, only to find themselves tempted by a sea of impulsive despair over the eternal-seeming war between art and commerce, will identify head-over-heels with the tragicomic sojourn of Ches Smith’s metafictional protagonist. — Mark Dostert, author of Up in Here: Jailing Kids on Chicago’s Other Side, a Houston Chronicle Best Books of 2014″

The Author is Dead is a deliciously metafictional romp that weds ennui and action to tell a gripping story. Definitely a horse of a different color, read it to believe it. — David S. Atkinson, author of Apocalypse All the Time and the forthcoming Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from My Pockets While I Sleep.

Ches Smith is an intelligent, gifted writer who makes the aberrant and bizarre seem not just possible, but reasonable. His ability to script twists and turns and the slightly askew, obsessed personality he gives the protagonist both lend themselves well to metafiction. There is a risk an author can run of the story becoming an exercise in narcissism, the protagonist being too self-absorbed when the main character is in his head much of the time. No problem here. The author deftly counteracts that with intriguing secondary characters, a well-integrated plot, and unexpected action. The Author is Dead is a disquieting, engrossing read, making you wonder how much of it is fact and how much is fiction. Ches Smith definitely has the writing chops to keep you reading while you try to figure it out. — Colorado Book Review


About the Author

Ches Smith was born in 1974, spent six confused years in elementary school, three awkward years in middle school, four invisible years in high school, found Jesus, went to college, graduated, got ordained, got married, went to seminary, had a kid, dropped out of seminary, went back to seminary, had two more kids, became increasingly insane, dropped out of seminary again and then lost Jesus. He soon discovered there isn’t much an agnostic atheist can do with a degree in Biblical studies and half a Masters of Divinity and there isn’t much anyone can do with a minor in philosophy. So, to kill time until his inevitable demise, he works to support his family and writes to support his mental well-being. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, Silvia, and their three children, Sarah, Cristian, and Max.