The books that brought A.M. Homes her initial notoriety (and her work did become rather notorious), the story collection The Safety of Objects (1990) and the novel The End of Alice (1996) are clearly designed to provoke, especially in their choice of subjects. The first story in The Safety of Objects, "Adults Alone," chronicles the increasing degradations of a married couple who take advantage of the temporary absence of their children to behave very badly indeed (including buying and smoking crack). In "Looking for Johnny," a young boy is kidnapped by a pedophile only to be released when he turns out to be too annoying. "Slumber Party" and "A Real Doll" are disquieting accounts of pre-pubescent sexuality that evoke an atmosphere of equal parts innocence and menace. The End of Alice, of course, picks up the themes of predation and adolescent sexuality in its story of a child killer and his prison correspondence with an adult woman who confesses to her own desire for a young boy.