In the Shape of a Man by Paul Clayton

On the border between the necropolis of Colma, home to over two million dead souls and 1,794 somewhat live ones -- and the gritty industrial working-class town of South City -- At 1015 Crestview, little seven-year-old Reynaldo cowers under the escalating abuse hurled by an adoptive mother who now sees him as a burden. Allen, a workaholic Silicon Valley techie, seeks relief from domestic conflict by slipping away to sample the sweet brews at McCoy’s, a mysterious pub and Hell’s Angels hangout. Up the street, young adults Rad and Tawny drift between the worlds of skateboarding and community activism, free love and commitment. Sampling Buddhism and squabbling with the relatives, they avoid thinking about the 15-foot Burmese python in their garage.

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