A time before Netflix and Hulu seems like a scary thought. But Mountain Goats singer/songwriter John Darnielle ups the ante with his new novel, Universal Harvester.
Jeremy, the manager of a ’90s-era video store in Nevada, Iowa, is notified by customers that some movies have been taped over with menacing footage, most showing people in distress at locations eerily similar to his small town. Darnielle weaves in other parallel plot threads, one in the present and one in the ’70s, to bolster the mystery and piece together a hypnotic account of how sinister behavior permeates everyday life. Listen to the frontman/novelist at Brookline Booksmith on Feb. 9. / Cathryn Haight