Notes: Steve’s a friend, former colleague, and a good soul. This here’s his second book–the first’s a novel called Morkan’s Quarry–and the winner of University of Massachusetts Press’s prestigious Juniper Prize. Befitting a story collection, the range varies more here than in his novel, and some of these things get downright grotesque and upsetting and visceral, which is even more jarring if you know (as I do) that the author wears suspenders and slacks on every workday. Every one. The novel’s set in Civil War-era Missouri, as are some (but not all) of the stories, and the Morkans and their kin make appearances here. Little by little, Yates is building his fictional universe. I’m curious to know what comes next. You should be, too. Oh, the beer: C’mon. It’s a Hoegaarden–light, citrusy, sweet, a little bland but it does the trick.