High Crime Area Tales of Darkness and Dread

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In these eight stories, Joyce Carol Oates, unparalleled as an investigator into the intricacies of human failing, deftly tests the bonds between damaged individuals—a brother and sister, a teacher and student, two strangers on a subway—in the fearless prose for which she is justly celebrated.

In the title story, a white aspiring professor is convinced she is being followed. No need to panic—she has a handgun stowed away in her purse, just in case. But when she turns to confront her black male shadow, the situation isn’t what she expects. In “The Rescuer,” a promising graduate student detours to inner-city Trenton, New Jersey, to save her brother from a downward spiral. But she soon finds out there may be more to his world than to hers. And in “The Last Man of Letters,” the world-renowned author X embarks on a final grand tour of Europe. He has money, fame, but not a whole lot of manners. A little thing like etiquette couldn’t bring a man like X down, could it? In these biting and beautiful pieces, Oates confronts, one by one, the demons within us, demonstrating that sometimes, it’s not the human side that wins out.


  • “The Home at Craigmillnar” read by Ray Chase
  • “High” read by Donna Postel
  • “Toad-Baby” read by Luci Christian
  • “Demon” read by Chris Patton
  • “Lorelei” read by Tamara Marston
  • “The Rescuer” read by Julia Whelan
  • “The Last Man of Letters” ready by Ray Chase
  • “High Crime Area” read by Julia Whelan

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