Elizabeth Searle’s short story, “And a Dead American,” was one of the earliest submissions accepted to Men Undressed: Women Writers and the Male Sexual Experience. In fact, it would not be far-fetched to say that this story—an excerpt of Searle’s new novel, GIRL HELD IN HOME —sometimes served as a reassurance that we were on the right track, back in the early days when so many of the submissions we received . . . well, didn’t actually have any sex in them, despite our blatant pleas for “explicit” material on our call for submissions. “And a Dead American” ended up exemplifying precisely the kind of risky, challenging literary work we sought, while also dealing overtly with bodies and desires. Searle is also the author of the books A FOUR-SIDED BED (new paperback edition in 2011), CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE (produced as a short film in 2010) and MY BODY TO YOU, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Prize.  Her theater work, TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA, has been performed on both coasts and has drawn national media attention.



My son and the money were missing.

Not knowing where to start, I burst into barely lit November drizzle and slammed but didn’t lock our front door. After all, what if Joezy had simply gone biking? Biking with a thousand bucks? Money meant for 9/11 victims’ families. And it was all — my boot heels clicked — my fault, my fault. I marched down our rain-glazed brick walk, my heels rat-tatting like shots. And I found myself picturing that strange house on the river. The house my husband and son had taken to calling, since September, our neighborhood’s Terrorist Cell.