Olive Kitteridge meets The Mars Room in this powerfully unsentimental work of fiction—a portrait of nine lives behind the concrete walls of a New Hampshire jail.

David Moloney’s Barker House follows nine unforgettable corrections officers over the course of one year on the job. While veteran guards get by on what they consider survival strategies—including sadistic power-mongering and obsessive voyeurism— two rookies, including the only female officer on her shift, develop their own tactics for facing “the system.” Tracking their subtly intertwined lives, Barker House reveals the precarious world of the jailers, coming to a head when the unexpected death of one in their ranks brings them together.

Timely and universal, this masterfully crafted debut adds a new layer to discussions of America’s criminal justice system, and introduces a brilliant young literary talent.

Praise for Barker House

HERE is a voice to listen to!  Moloney’s voice is as true as a voice can be. Concise, with the right details rendered perfectly, these sentences come to the reader with marvelous straight forwardness, clean as a bone. And they deliver.”

Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton

At a time when mass incarceration is increasingly a feature of American life, David Moloney’s Barker House isa great and important book. Without romanticizing, demonizing, or candy-coating the work of his corrections officers, this novel-in-stories offers an experienced insider’s view of their lives, in stainless-steely prosethat easily matches the best of Raymond Carver and John Fante.”

Tony Tulathimutte, Whiting Award winning author of Private Citizens

In over thirty years of writing and teaching, I have not witnessed a stronger artistic debut than David Moloney’s; in fact, Barker House does not remotely read like a debut but more as the seasoned work of a writer with enormous gifts.

Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

How fortunate we are that a brilliant and honest storyteller was embedded in the American prison system as a corrections officer for years. Moloney went to the underworld and came back. The setting in Barker House has the unmistakable aspect of a real place, the dialogue the unmistakable ring of real speech. I loved my visits to this terrible kingdom.”

Benjamin Nugent, author of Fraternity (forthcoming) and winner of the Paris Review’s 2019 Terry Southern Prize

A deeply felt novel about the soul-sucking grind of life at the margins of the labor force. The men and women whose interwoven stories comprise this unforgettabledebut aren’t the prisoners, they’re the guards, and yet their lives are hardly less violent, precarious, and desperate than the lives of the people under their authority. David Moloney’s vision is brutal but honest, and punctuated by moments of improbable grace.”

Justin Taylor, author of Flings

David Moloney has approached one such group, corrections officers, anddone exactly what great novelists do: he’s revealed their situations and their struggles without denying them their dignity. Barker House is a book that offers readers a new perspective, as lived through vividly-drawn and engaging characters, told in a well-structured and potent novel. And it’s a debut!”

Keith Mosman, Powell’s Books Inc., Portland OR

“David Moloney’s Barker House aims its razor-sharp gaze at the machinery of mass incarceration — and the men and women at its controls. Moloney’s frank and humanizing depiction of corrections officers in a county jail is lush with regret, longing, cruelty, and hope, resulting in a novel as unflinching as it is unforgettable. A brutal and beautiful portrait of lives shaped–and warped–by a toxic system.”

Robin Wasserman, author of Girls On Fire

By turns fascinating and deeply disturbing. Moloney’s work is an unsentimental, moving collection of voices—complex, flawed and rooted in humanity. He combines the detestable with raw moments of kindness in a way that mimics the polarities of life. I am absolutely blown away by this debut.”

Hillary Smith, Copperfield’s Books, Calistoga CA

Nailing the taste, smell, noise, and borderline madness of the jailhouse, Moloney paints fully realized portraits of those planted both behind bars and before them. His COs are a ball team of misfits and strivers—regular Joes tasked with keeping order among the disorderly while living with their own broken marriages in broke-down apartments and strip clubs. Moloney writes tight. Nothing wasted, nothing missed.”

Bruce Jacobs, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita KS

“Compassion can prove to be dangerous and sentimentality is completely banished. The author’s prose is as solid and unforgiving as the stone and concrete that surrounds his characters. I occasionally looked up to make sure that there were no bars on the window and that I could catch a glimpse of blue sky.”

Alden Graves, “Staff Pick,” Northshire Bookstore, Manchester VT

Voyeuristic and haunting, Barker House is a look into the lives of the jailers in a prison both on and off shift. David Moloney has written a book for when you want to sink into the darkness a little.”

Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Book Shop, LaGrange IL

An accomplished debut novel with real heart and grit. Moloney digs deep using his experience as a correctional officer to paint a convincing portrait of the lives of those who work within the prison system. The result is a great book filled with characters that will captivate the reader and linger in your head long after you’ve turned the last page.”

Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford MS

Barker House is, strangely, a series of case studies about not only the conditions of incarceration, but the vagaries of enduring free life, on the other side of the cell: the freedom to behave badly, feel lonely, and articulate ‘the dread that comes with realizing you overshot your life.’”

John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic CT