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Gideon's Confession

By Joseph G. Peterson

Gideon's Confession is about a dead-end averted by the kindness and foresight of others. About what those who care about us see that we don't see in ourselves. About a  way out when we think there isn't one. About deserving love when we don't believe ourselves deserving.

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In his fourth novel Peterson tells the story of Gideon Anderson, a young man alienated from his father and two brothers who have gone into the family business. Unlike them, he receives checks from his rich uncle every month. In exchange for the checks, the uncle asks Gideon to come up with a plan for his life, essentially a blueprint about how he intends to enter the job market. Gideon, who went to a prestigious university, puts his uncle off and spends the money on alcohol, the horses, and a miscellany of useless purchases partly because he doesn’t know what to do, partly because he doesn’t want to do anything.

Book Specifications

  • Publisher: Switchgrass Books: NIU Press
  • ISBN-10: 087580702X
  • ISBN-10: 13 978-0875807027
  • Book Type: Trade Back Original
  • Dimensions:  5 inches x 8 inches
  • Page Count:  134
  • Price:   $15.95 | £11.00 | €13.20
  • Available Rights:  All Rights Available
  • Selling Territory:  Worldwide
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2014

During a deadly Chicago heat wave that’s claiming hundreds of lives, Robert, who’s stuck in his apartment alone, fears he’s going to be the next victim. In the apartment above him lives a shell-shocked Vietnam veteran who talks obsessively about the corpses of his war experience while alternately listening to Die Meistersinger and Madama Butterfly.

One day, Robert ventures forth into the searing heat to gas up his car. Immediately he encounters enigmatic Lucy who is trying to escape her brutal fiancé, Matthew Gliss. On a whim, Lucy invites Robert to her apartment where she shows him her mysterious tattoo and tells him of her dangerous life with Matthew Gliss. She warns Robert that if Matthew ever catches them together he should run, not walk, because Matthew won’t think twice of killing him.

So begins the risky, short-lived relationship that leads to a chilling climax. Each of Robert’s increasingly hallucinatory recollections of what happened during the heat wave leads him to profoundly question his own culpability.

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Gideon's Confession

About the Joe, the Author

Meet Joe Peterson

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Joseph G. Peterson grew up in Wheeling, Illinois. He worked in an aluminum mill and in the masonry trade as a hod carrier to pay for his education at the University of Chicago. He is the author of three novels: Beautiful Piece, Inside the Whale, and Wanted: Elevator Man. His latest novel, Gideon's Confession, was released in April of 2014. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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Listen to a brief audio intro from Joe.

Dig Deeper

An author is much more than one book. Click here to see Joe's professional Storiad profile, including his short stories, videos and radio interviews.

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Gideon's Confession

Videos: Book Trailer & More

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Gideon's Confession

Read the Reviews

Praise for Gideon's Confession

For me Joe Peterson's voice is a fresh pair of feet on the very dusty road of contemporary American literature. 

— Dan Fante, author of Chump Change, Mooch, 86'd, and Spitting Off Tall Buildings

The world that Gideon inhabits in Joe Peterson’s Gideon’s Confession, is never less than recognizably real.  That attractive realism might at first seem to make a fantastical book like Steppenwolf, an odd comparison, but like Hesse, Peterson traces the journey through that potentially lethal combination of the self-doubt and towering self-absorption of youth, and as in Steppenwolf the escape is into love. Frankly, of the two, it is Peterson’s ending I prefer.

— Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago and Ecstatic Cahoots

Joe Peterson’s Gideon is a rollicking antihero who moves through these pages as he does through his rich uncle’s checks: quickly and lyrically. Gideon shops, drinks, and gobbles the money away, observing the world from its periphery until the checks stop arriving, the engine of his romance revs dangerously, and he is forced to make an active choice about how to live and love. Peterson's stylish, clean prose is a pleasure, and watching Gideon come of age, albeit a bit late? Absolutely delightful.

Rachel DeWoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing, Repeat After Me, and Big Girl Small

One of my new favorite authors [is] Joseph G. Peterson. I am haunted by his book Gideon’s Confession. I’m haunted by the amount of action and inaction in this book. Gideon reminds me in so many ways not just of myself at a younger age but a lot of people I once knew who were kind of paralyzed.

Rick Kogan, WGN Radio

Gideon’s Confession is a powerful meditation on the allure of inaction and the paralyzing effects of choice.

South Side Weekly

Gideon’s Confession is about a dead-end narrowly averted by the kindness and foresight if others. About what those who care about us see that we don’t see in ourselves. About a way out when we think there isn’t one. About deserving love when we don’t believe ourselves deserving.

Dmitry Samarov, author of Hack

Peterson knows his characters inside and out and because of that the reader becomes equally intimate with them. Gideon's Confession brings shades of Salinger, Nick Hornby, and Michael Chabon together in one powerful read.

Ryan W. Bradley, author of Code for Failure

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