We are pleased to share that Kay Chronister’s DESERT CREATURES has been listed as a Best Book of 2022 by Book Riot!

“While reading Desert Creatures, I often found myself teary-eyed, shaking and grieving with the characters. Set in a dystopian American West, it follows Magdala, born with a clubfoot, and her father as they seek refuge from unimaginable violence. They embark on a pilgrimage across the Sonoran Desert to the holy city of Las Vegas, hoping Magdala might be healed with a miracle.

Chronister pierces with her prose. You’ll find hope and acts of kindness in an unkind world. Desert Creatures is not a comfort read — it is rife with horror, betrayal, and a landscape that will burn itself on your consciousness. But in the end, this book will comfort you.”

– Lyndsie Manusos

Congratulations, Kay, on this fantastic book!


In a world grown desiccated and treacherous, one young woman will find salvation or become just another rot-lonely skull in the sand.

Nine-year-old Magdala and her father have been exiled from their home; they flee through the harsh landscape of the American West, searching for refuge. As violence pursues them, they join a handful of survivors on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Las Vegas, where it is said that vigilante saints reside, bright with neon power. Magdala, born with a clubfoot, is going to be healed. But when faced with the strange horrors of the Sonoran Desert, one by one the pilgrims fall victim to a hideous sickness—leaving Magdala to fend for herself.

After surviving for seven years on her own, Magdala is tired of waiting for her miracle. Magdala turns her gaze to Las Vegas once more, and this time, nothing will stop her. She recruits an exiled Vegas priest at gunpoint to serve as her guide, and the pair form a fragile alliance as they navigate the darkest and strangest reaches of the desert, on a journey that takes her further from salvation even as she nears the holy city.With ferocious imagination and poetic precision, Desert Creatures is a story of endurance at the expense of redemption. What compromise does survival require of a woman—and can she ever unlearn the instincts that have kept her alive?

Combining the subversive inventiveness of Inland by Téa Obreht with the eco-surrealism of Jeff Vandermeer’s Dead Astronauts and the themes of survival and morality in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, award-winning short fiction writer Kay Chronister transfigures genre and the myth of the West in this stylish and original debut novel.

To see the full list of BookRiot’s Best Books of 2022, please visit: https://bookriot.com/bestbooks2022/

Kay Chronister is represented by Laura Cameron.