N.B. Dennis is an old friend and I'm ride or die with him since small times.
SO. Mahoney's first book is a story about neighbors, and how their lives come together and apart after a fire.
The white lower-middle-class suburb Dennis chose as his setting here is the kind of neighborhood I grew up in, and I would have bet money beforehand that Mahoney would be UTTERLY UNABLE to make me feel any emotion whatsoever for this type of setting or the characters who inhabit it.
Luckily we didn't make an official bet or anything. He sketches the characters and their changing relationships beautifully, in small moments that are by turns sad or funny or weird or creepy. Both the dialogues between characters, as they try to suss out each other’s agendas, and the internal monologues, as they try to suss out their own, are light and accurate and find their marks gently and gracefully. Like is the dude is not even trying.
I am excited to read more from this promising young author.