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Last Known Position
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summary
Most of the nine stories in Last Known Position were written upon James Mathews’ return from combat deployment to the Middle East with the D.C. Air National Guard. Life under fire provided the author with both dramatic events and a heightened sense of observation, allowing him to suggest the stress of combat as the driving factor behind extreme yet believable characterization and action. Military experiences and settings cause certain human elements and truisms to emerge more profoundly and dramatically. These stories portray desperate characters driven to make desperate choices. Always on the edge of a dark and unpleasant reality, Mathews’ characters survive by embracing fantasy, humor, violence, and sometimes redemption. Each story bears its own brand of hopeless quirkiness. Four teenagers on an army base steal a grenade and are stalked by a parade horse. A drifter returns home to rob the grandparents who raised him. A national guardsman faces a homicidal superior officer in Iraq on the eve of war. An elderly man worries that his wife’s new house guests are unrepentant cannibals. Always tense, sometimes ridiculous, and never dull, Last Known Position brings the reader to places unknown before and unforgettable after.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Half Title
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. 1. Grenade
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. 2. Roar
  2. pp. 25-56
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  1. 3. The Fifth Week
  2. pp. 57-63
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  1. 4. Last Known Position: 2,000 Feet Above the World and Descending
  2. pp. 64-82
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  1. 5. Strong Arm
  2. pp. 83-97
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  1. 6. Seven Rifles at Dawn
  2. pp. 98-123
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  1. 7. Man Swallows Goldfish while Sleepwalking, Chokes to Death
  2. pp. 124-138
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  1. 8. Cannibals in the Basement
  2. pp. 139-166
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  1. 9. Our Deepest Sympathies
  2. pp. 167-175
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