This powerful new novel by O. H. Bennett tells the story of a makeshift family struggling to stay together as life wears away at their bonds of blood and love. At the center of the family is Gail Neighbors, the hardworking single mother of two sons, Mason and Tyler. Mason, the older, grew up without knowing his father, a feckless gambler and womanizer. Tyler, the younger, sings in the church choir and enjoys a close relationship with his father, Dan, who left Gail a few years before still spends plenty of time at the house. To make ends meet, Gail has taken in two boarders: Annie, an elderly woman with a diminishing grip on reality, and Jackie, the 20-year-old single mother of baby Cole, who can’t fully accept her overwhelming new responsibilities. Creatures Here Below renders with tremendous richness and care the realities of a black teenaged male whose life is taking a turn toward the worse.