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Thrilling and Chilling Halloween Reads From TPG!

OUR TIME HAS COME……AGAIN!

What time is that, you ask? The time of October, which means Fall, which means…HALLOWEEN! And yes, we first posted this list LAST Halloween, but we will not be taking questions at this time, thanks.

We’re kicking off the scariest month of the year with some thrilling old, new, and new-in-paperback reads from Tor Publishing Group! Check them out below and let us know which is at the top of your TBR in the comments.


MordewMordew by Alex Pheby by Alex Pheby

God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city, a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength—and it is greater than the Master has ever known. So it is that the Master begins to scheme against him—and Nathan has to fight his way through the betrayals, secrets, and vendettas of the city where God was murdered, and darkness reigns.

Book of Night by Holly Black

Book of Night by Holly BlackCharlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall. Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless, and possibly soulless, boyfriend has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies. Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world—all trying to steal a secret that will give them vast and terrible power.

Last Exit by Max GladstoneLast Exit by Max Gladstone

When Zelda and her friends first met, in college, they believed they had all the answers. They had figured out a big secret about how the world worked and they thought that meant they could change things. They failed. One of their own fell, to darkness and rot.Ten years later, they’ve drifted apart, building lives for themselves, families, fortunes. All but Zelda. She’s still wandering the backroads of the nation. She’s still fighting monsters. She knows: the past isn’t over. It’s not even past.The road’s still there. The rot’s still waiting. They can’t hide from it any more. Because, at long last, their friend is coming home. And hell is coming with her.

Just Like Home by Sarah GaileyJust Like Home by Sarah Gailey

“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he’d built for his family. Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be? There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Black Tide by KC JonesBlack Tide by KC Jones

It was just another day at the beach. Then the world ended. Mike and Beth were strangers before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more. Following their drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two discover the astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a lost car key leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for their car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.

The Witch in the Well by Camilla BruceThe Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce

When two former friends reunite after decades apart, their grudges, flawed ambitions, and shared obsession swirl into an all-too-real echo of a terrible town legend. Centuries ago, beautiful young Ilsbeth Clark was accused of witchcraft after several children disappeared. Her acquittal did nothing to stop her fellow townsfolk from drowning her in the well where the missing children were last seen. When author and social media influencer Elena returns to the summer paradise of her youth to get her family’s manor house ready to sell, the last thing she expected was connecting with—and feeling inspired to write about—Ilsbeth’s infamous spirit. The very historical figure that her ex-childhood friend, Cathy, has been diligently researching and writing about for years. What begins as a fiercely competitive sense of ownership over Ilsbeth and her story soon turns both women’s worlds into something more haunted and dangerous than they could ever imagine.

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey by Sarah Gailey

“I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married. It took me so long to hate him.” Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

You Let Me InYou Let Me In by Camilla Bruce by Camilla Bruce

Cassandra Tipp is dead…or is she? After all, the notorious recluse and eccentric bestselling novelist has always been prone to flights of fancy—everyone in town remembers the shocking events leading up to Cassie’s infamous trial (she may have been acquitted, but the insanity defense only stretches so far). Cassandra Tipp has left behind no body—just her massive fortune, and one final manuscript. Then again, there are enough bodies in her past—her husband Tommy Tipp, whose mysterious disembowelment has never been solved, and a few years later, the shocking murder-suicide of her father and brother. Cassandra Tipp will tell you a story—but it will come with a terrible price. What really happened, out there in the woods—and who has Cassie been protecting all along? Read on, if you dare…Get it in paperback now!

Certain Dark ThingsCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized. Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

SlewfootSlewfoot by Brom by Brom

Connecticut, 1666. An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector. The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil. To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.mTogether, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan – one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake. “If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!” This terrifying tale of bewitchery features more than two dozen of Brom’s haunting paintings, fully immersing readers in this wild and unforgiving world.

The Last House on Needless StreetThe Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward by Catriona Ward

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three. A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time. A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory. And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

HEXHEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

The Living DeadThe Living Dead by George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

It begins with one body. A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead. It spreads quickly. In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come. Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead. We think we know how this story ends. We. Are. Wrong.

Nothing But Blackened TeethNothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw by Cassandra Khaw

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company. It’s the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding. A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested. But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart. And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

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ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE: Tor Books Style

UHHHH, DID YOU SEE THAT?? BEHIND YOU?!?!? Is that…A ZOMBIE?!?!?! Quick, what do you do???

To celebrate the Halloween season and this summer’s epic new zombie book, The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus, we asked our amazing staff/super professional (?) zombie experts how they’d survive an undead uprising and wow, what an array of answers we got. Check them out below, and let us know how you’d survive the zombie apocalypse in the comments!

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Kristin Temple, Assistant Editor

I’m a HUGE horror fan. So you’d think I’d be the exact kind of person who would survive a zombie apocalypse, right? I mean, I’ve seen it all. I know a good plan from an absolutely stupid one. So I’d survive, right?

Wrong. I’m also a clumsy, anxious bean who would be completely screwed if her glasses broke. So I’d probably have one week of good ‘ol zombie killing fun, and then I’d trip on a blade of grass, smash my glasses, and get eaten. Hopefully I’d at least make a good distraction?

Jordan Hanley, Marketing Manager

I have no interest in being eaten during the end-of-times. My first instinct would be to jump from the highest tower or otherwise end my existence on this plane in some pain free way. I would like to die fast. The end. 

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#BYE

a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat, Senior Marketing Manager

MAKE YOURSELF APPEAR LARGER THEN PLAY DEAD. IT’S FOOLPROOF AND THE SAME ADVICE I GIVE FOR BEARS.

Leah Schnelbach, Staff Writer, Tor.com

As a native of Pittsburgh, I think I’m obligated to live as long as possible in order to make George A. Romero proud. However, I am neither fast nor strong, so I think my best bet would be attempting an updated version of the plot of Dawn of the Dead. Rather than a mall (too many windows, too many entry points) I think I’ll flee to Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson, New York. Hudson isn’t that populous—I won’t be swarmed by the undead the way I would be in Brooklyn—and the store itself is small enough to fortify, has a well-stocked bar, and, best of all, it’s FULL OF BOOKS.

Assuming I can barricade myself in with shelving before the revenants eat me, I should be able to catch up on my reading, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all this to blow over.

Mordicai Knode, Senior Marketing Manager

It’s not so much a plan as…a back-up plan. If I get bit…just let me go. Don’t put me out of my misery before I turn, don’t put me down after…just me go. Worse case scenario? What’s one more walker? Best case scenario? When I’m Zombie King, think of how much I’ll be able to help you!

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Julia Bergen, Associate Marketing Manager

I always thought the Shaun of the Dead approach was the best one. Pretend to be a zombie yourself! I doubt the zombies could really tell I wasn’t one of them; I’m very good at shambling. I’m totally prepared to spend the rest of my life in a shambling hoard.

Rachel Taylor, Marketing Manager

If an actual, real zombie ever approached me, my soul would exit my body immediately. Thanks, no thanks, bye!

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Kelly Lonesome, Senior Editor

I’m not a fighter but I am scrappy and extremely stubborn, so I would go the route of hiding and scavenging in familiar areas, in a delusional bid to outlast the zombies and other threats. I think it’s a huge bonus that I love cheese so much, because that shit literally lasts forever, so I would probably die from clogged arteries first — which feels about as close to my own terms as I could get! Mmmm, cheese.

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Spooky SFF to Read This Halloween

What is that we hear? Is that…a bump in the night? A whisper in our ears? We think that means Halloween is approaching, and we’re embracing all the chills and thrills with our favorite spooky SFF novels. Check out our list of books that put a shiver down our spines here…if you dare.


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The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come. Everywhere, people are targeted by both the living and the dead. We think we know how this story ends. We. Are. Wrong.

Image Placeholder of - 98HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

Place holder  of - 97The Toll by Cherie Priest

Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon and have reservations in the Okefenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car. Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell him there is no such bridge on Route 177….

Image Place holder  of - 39Burn the Dark by S. A. Hunt

Robin is a YouTube celebrity gone-viral with her intensely-realistic witch hunter series. But even her millions of followers don’t know the truth: her series isn’t fiction. Her ultimate goal is to seek revenge against the coven of witches who wronged her mother long ago. Returning home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But then, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord interferes with her plans….

Poster Placeholder of - 25I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth…but he is not alone. Every other man, woman, and child on Earth has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Award-winning author Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

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At Last, the Night Has a Hero

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midian-unmadeWritten by Joseph Nassise

“At last, the night has a hero.” That was the subtitle given to the short novel, “Cabal,” by horror fantasist Clive Barker when it was first published in 1988 and I have to admit, it’s pretty catchy. Rather cool, too, in some indefinable way. But then again, the whole book is like that.

“Cabal” was first published in 1988, as part of the sixth and final installment in Barker’s Books of Blood series in the United States and as a stand-alone edition in the United Kingdom. Two years later the story was adapted into the film, Nightbreed, written and directed by Clive himself. I discovered both the book and the film about the same time and began my love affair with the Tribes of the Moon.

The hero in question is a young man by the name of Aaron Boone. When the reader first meets him in the opening scenes of “Cabal,” he is being treated by a psychiatrist named Decker for an unspecified mental disorder. To Boone’s surprise and horror, he soon learns, through Decker, that he is responsible for the savage murders of eleven people. This is too much for him to bear and Boone tries to kill himself. When that simple act fails, he attempts to escape his fate by fleeing to the legendary city of Midian, the place “where the monsters dwell” in the wilds of Canada, a place he has been regularly seeing in his dreams for some time.

Boone sees himself as a monster, and he hopes to find sanctuary in Midian, among those he considers his own kind. What he doesn’t realize is that the so-called monsters don’t consider themselves to be monsters at all. In fact, they reserve that label for humanity, for what else would they call those who have hounded, hunted, and slaughtered them through the centuries?

This juxtaposition is part and parcel of what makes “Cabal” so intriguing. In Barker’s world there is beauty in the monstrous. There is darkness in the light. There is horror in the normal and the familiar. And he shows that to us without hesitation or subterfuge. Characters that are supposed to represent the good of society—the doctor, the cop, the priest—are all figures of darkness. The doctor, Decker, is the actual killer. His plan to escape the swift hand of justice by pinning the killings on Boone falls apart when the younger man flees. The officer of the law whom Decker enlists to track down Boone is an egomaniac concerned only with his own brand of justice. The priest, the supposed moral compass of the authorities, is nothing more than a hypocrite.

Boone, on the other hand, represents the opposite path. His conversion from human to Nightbreed to the savior known as Cabal takes him on a journey from the human to the monstrous. Far from being a figure of evil, however, he becomes the savior of the Tribes of the Moon, tasked with rebuilding the city of Midian and saving the breed from destruction by those with far less humanity than they.

The stories in Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed are all extensions of this theme. Co-editor Del Howison and I sought to pick up where Clive left off, to select stories that not only illustrated what happened to the Nightbreed after the destruction of their beloved city of Midian, but also asked the reader to look deeper, to see beyond the surface, and to handle their expectations with care.

In “Cabal,” the night had a hero and his name was Boone. In Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, the night has many heroes and they are never what you expect them to be.

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This article originally appeared in the August 2015 Tor Books Newsletter.

Follow Joseph Nassise on Twitter at @Jnassise, on Facebook, or visit him online.

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Things That Go Bump in the Night

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The Rains by Gregg HurwitzWritten by Gregg Hurwitz

For every Halloween from kindergarten through third grade, I was Evel Knievel. The costume was not particularly sophisticated. There was a stuntman helmet with a logo and a jumpsuit that was vaguely Evel Knievel-y (and, alas, vaguely pajama-y). It didn’t take much to thrill me but thrill me it did. I imagined jumping my stunt motorcycle across vast ravines or tanks filled with live sharks. Generally, in my mind’s eye, I stuck the landing, but now and then I broke a limb or bruised myself in aesthetically pleasing fashion and humbly basked in the accolades and adoration of my fellow students.

It wasn’t just a costume. I was practicing being a daredevil. Without actually having to, you know, jump a stunt motorcycle across ravines or tanks filled with live sharks.

As I got older, I tried on various characters. Cowboy, bandit, Batman, the Punisher. I dressed up as heroes and villains and antiheroes, and for one glorious day each year, that’s who I was—and even grownups had to pretend to take me seriously.

How glorious.

hurwitz-buriedtreasureI didn’t realize it at the time but I wasn’t just dressing up. I was practicing being an author. I wrote my first thriller in fourth grade (Willie, Julie, and the Case of the Buried Treasure), and when I embarked on that not-so-glorious tome, I learned how to try on different characters, just as I did on Halloween. After all, that’s what writing is. It’s putting on costumes, looking through the masks of your characters, and experiencing the world through their eyeholes. You see what they see and feel what they feel—and then you try to capture those sensations as best you can for your readers.

As an author, you dress up as heroes and villains and antiheroes—and even grownups have to pretend to take you seriously.

Kids and teenagers need less help when it comes to imagination. That’s why I always knew that at some point I would write a YA thriller. When I started The Rains, I had two goals. I wanted to let my imagination run wild. And I wanted to live inside these characters and let them tell their story.

So I guess you could say that The Rains is the culmination of all those Halloween nights of playing pretend and make believe, of thinking like a hero, plotting like a villain, and keeping a nervous ear out for things that go bump in the night.

In The Rains, there are plenty of things that go bump in the night. I hope it gives you that feeling in your gut that I used to get when I pulled on a new costume on Halloween and trudged out into the dark, peering over my shoulder, sizing up the other gruesome outfits, and approaching haunted houses with caution.

I suppose that’s the great thing about writing and reading. We don’t have to wait for one special day a year. We get to do it whenever we want.

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Follow Gregg Hurwitz on Twitter, on Facebook, and on his website.

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Sneak Peek: Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells

Over Your Dead Body by Dan WellsIn Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells, John and Brooke are on their own, hitchhiking from town to town as they hunt the last of the Withered through the midwest–but the Withered are hunting them back, and the FBI is close behind. With each new town, each new truck stop, each new highway, they get closer to a vicious killer who defies every principle of profiling and prediction John knows how to use, and meanwhile Brooke’s fractured psyche teeters on the edge of oblivion, overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of dead personalities sharing her mind.

Chapter 1

“A.”

I looked up, holding the side of the truck bed as we rattled down the highway. Wind whistled in my face, changing its pitch as I raised my head. I’d fallen asleep, and my dreams—all blood soaked, all screaming—faded away in welcome relief. In a panic, I looked for Brooke, fearing the worst, but she sat beside me, her short hair whipping around her face, and she smiled. She hadn’t jumped. She was fine. She pointed at a billboard as we passed it.

“Proud America Motel,” she said. “Ten miles. I could get all the way up to E with that, but there’s no B.”

We were in farmland, by the look of it: low fences on either side of the road, the flat land beyond covered with wheat and sectioned into squares by fences and trees and old dirt roads. A cloud of dust hung in the air a few miles off to our left; some farmer or ranch hand driving a tractor on a dirt road. The truck jostled us again, and Boy Dog whined. He liked his floors stable, so they didn’t disrupt his sleep, but hitchhikers have to take what they can get. Brooke put a hand on his head, scratching the fur behind his floppy, basset hound ears. I scanned the farms again, hoping for an orchard, but it looked like nothing but wheat as far as the eye could see. An orchard we could have eaten in, but wheat might as well be a field full of sticks.

“There we go,” said Brooke, pointing at another sign. “This Highway Adopted by the Baker Community Church. B, C, D, E.”

“Are there really enough signs to play your game?” I asked. “We’re in the middle of nowhere.”

“Ten miles from a motel,” said Brooke. “That means we’re ten miles from whatever town we’re going to, maybe less.”

“That’s not too bad, then,” I said—and even though I knew the number by heart I added up our money again in my head: one hundred thirty-seven dollars and twenty-eight cents. I remember when I used to never count the cents—round everything down to the nearest dollar and lose the change in the couch. These days that was a luxury too painful to think about. Save enough change and you eventually get another dollar. A dollar could buy a burger in a truck stop, or some apples if we found a roadside stand. My stomach rumbled, and I put the thought of food aside. Don’t think about it until it’s close, I thought, you’ll just torment yourself.

Wind lashed my hair back and forth across my eyes. I needed to cut it. Brooke had cut hers short last month, a kind of page-boy cut that was easier to maintain on the road. I looked at her peering ahead, past the cab of the truck, searching for more road signs. She probably needed another cut soon, too. We both needed a shower.

“What’s the name of it?” she asked.

“Of what?”

“The town we’re going to.”

“I told you already,” I said, and instantly felt badly about it. The edges of her mouth tipped down in a frown, from frustration or embarrassment, or maybe both. “Baker,” I said softly. “Same as the church sign we just passed.”

“I don’t remember,” she said. “You must have told one of the others.”

I nodded, looking behind us at the road as it slipped away into the distance. Long and flat and lost in a faraway bend. One of the others. “Do you know which one?”

“F, G,” she said, letting my question slip by without an answer. “Food and Gas, Five Miles. Now we need that hotel sign again; we could get H and I.”

“And get stuck on J,” I said. “We never see Js.”

Brooke nodded, staring ahead, but her eyes looked blank—not searching, but simply staring, lost to the world and deep in some memory from another life. “Maybe Kveta,” she said at last, answering my question from earlier. “I’ve been her a lot lately. Or Brooke. I think I’m her more often than not.”

“That’s because you—” I started, and then stopped myself. Brooke was her default state, or at least it used to be. If it wasn’t anymore, bringing it up would only make her feel bad. It made me feel bad to think about it, because this whole problem was my fault. It was supposed to be Brooke’s body; I was the one who’d let all those other memories in there.

I used to never feel bad about anything, but now …

Well, that’s not true. I used to feel bad all the time. I guess the difference is that now, sometimes, I felt good, and the contrast made the bad times that much worse.

I kept my eyes on the road, avoiding her eyes. “Who are you now?”

She glanced at me, though in my peripheral vision I couldn’t tell if she was hurt or surprised or simply curious. “You don’t know?”

“Sorry,” I said. Brooke had been possessed by a monster who had previously possessed tens of thousands of other girls, maybe hundreds of thousands, and all of their memories and personalities had fused with hers. Barely a fraction of the memories in Brooke’s head were actually hers, and with numbers like that you could never tell which personality would rise to the surface in any given moment. “You all have Brooke’s face, you know. You need to … announce yourselves or something.”

“I’m Lucinda,” said Brooke. “You remember me, right?”

I nodded. She was Lucinda a lot, especially while we were traveling, though the little I knew about Lucinda didn’t suggest a lot of travel. “You died on your wedding day,” I said, then paused, looking at her curiously. “Lucinda died hundreds of years ago. How do you know the alphabet billboard game?”

“I don’t know,” said Brooke/Lucinda with a shrug. “I just do.”

I sat up straighter, curious, my back against the wall of the truck bed as I gripped it for balance. “Do you think that means anything? About how your personalities talk to each other?”

“We can’t talk to each other,” she said. “We just kind of share things—like, I know some things that Brooke knows, and some things that Aga knows, and different things from different girls. I don’t know how it works.”

“But do you want to?”

She said nothing for a long time, thinking and scratching Boy Dog’s head. The truck slowed slightly, and Brooke shouted abruptly: “H, I, J, K! Baker Junior High!” She pumped her fist and leaned against the side of the truck bed to look ahead past the cab. “Yes! Js are impossible! Let’s see what else we can find.”

We were driving into the town itself now—still a mile or two out from the main drag, but close enough that buildings were starting to pop up more frequently. We passed the Proud America Motel, but I hoped we didn’t have to stay there; I thought about money differently now that I was carrying our entire worldly possessions in a pocket and two backpacks. We could afford a night in a motel—probably several, if it was as cheap as it looked—but then what? Having money wasn’t the same as having income. If we spent it all today, where would we stay next week, and how would we eat?

One hundred thirty-seven dollars and twenty-eight cents. We could get more, sometimes, from the stashes Albert Potash had left here and there around the country. Money and guns and supplies, in bus station lockers and storage units and sometimes gyms or rec centers. We’d found the list in his gear after he’d died and it had kept us going for over a year now, but even that was running dry. There were only a few locations left, and the nearest one was thousands of miles away.

“L,” said Brooke, skipping from letter to letter without slowing down to say where each had come from. “M.” Pause. “N, O, P. Dangit, we’ll never find a Q.”

“Look for ‘equipment,’” I said, closing my eyes and trying not to fixate on our dwindling funds. “Someone’s bound to be selling farm equipment in this town. Or maybe there’s a quality … something. Quality Hair Salon.”

Brooke laughed. “You think they have hair salons that good in a town this small?”

“I think the scale of quality is relative,” I said, permitting myself a small smile. Anything that made Brooke laugh was a good thing. “The best one in town is the quality one, regardless of the wider world of hair care.”

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and find a place that sells quality farm equipment,” she said. “Then we’d have a Q for each of us.”

“I’m not playing.”

“But you could.”

“I suck at this game.”

“That’s because you try to spell things out,” she chided. “You can’t just see a car and claim the letter C, you have to see the C written somewhere.”

“But you never let me write it.”

“Obviously you can’t just write yourself, that’s cheating.”

I shrugged and looked at a passing restaurant. “I don’t think I get the allure of this game.” The restaurant was a greasy dive, some Dairy Queen knockoff called Dairy Keen. Probably out of our price range, unless there was literally nothing else in town. I saw a couple of teenagers in front of it, just hanging around, leaning on the front wall, and it reminded me of the old Friendly Burger back in Clayton. A tiny little place where nobody ate but the locals, and then only until a McDonald’s opened up. Brooke and I had gone on a date there. And Marci and I, too. There weren’t a lot of options in a town like Clayton. Or Baker, by the look of it.

I missed Marci. I tried not to think of her, but she was always with me, like a ghost in the back of the truck. Invisible and intangible yet relentlessly, inescapably present.

“No Q on the Dairy Keen,” said Brooke. “Come on, guys, think about the alphabet game when you name your restaurants. Doesn’t anybody plan ahead?”

I thought about our next moves. Our first stop would be a bus station, if we saw one, or a bank if we didn’t—not because we had any use for a bank, but because it was a good place to ask about a bus station. We couldn’t just ask anywhere in a little town like this; we looked so obviously homeless that if we walked into a store, word of the teenage beggars would spread too fast and we’d get locked out of any real assistance. Small-town shop owners looked out for each other. Bank tellers, on the other hand, tended to move in different circles, and we could talk to them without any real fear that they’d call the local grocery store to warn them. Our end goal, of course, was that bus station, where we could find either cheap showers or some fellow drifters who could tell us where the nearest shower might be. Drifters looked out for each other just as much as shop owners. Once we were clean and changed into some better clothes, we’d look like regular tourists passing through on the way somewhere else and we could walk around the town without setting off any mental alarms. We’d get some food and then look for the church—not Baker Community, but the other one. The commune. The reason we’d come here in the first place. I figured most of Baker’s regular residents wouldn’t want to talk about it, but they’d all know about it, and if we got lucky they’d point out one of the members.

“Quality Feed and Fertilizer,” said Brooke. “Q and R. And over there’s an S, T, U … V. Video Rental. They still rent videos in this town? Did we hitchhike into the past?”

“Looks closed,” I said. We’d had a place like that in Clayton—it rode the home DVD boom, then crumbled when the Internet made their business obsolete. They’d closed a few years ago, and nothing had moved into the building. Looked like the same story here.

“At least they left the sign up,” said Brooke. “I’m glad somebody in this town was thinking about my needs.” She grimaced, and looked at me. “What’s it called again?”

“The town?” I asked. She might have just switched personalities again; a lot of ideas transferred from one to the next, but some didn’t, and she tried to hide the transitions by faking a poor memory. “Baker,” I told her. “We’re here to look for The Spirit of Light Collective.”

“Yashodh,” said Brooke, nodding. “We’re going to kill him.”

I felt the old, familiar pull of death. “Or he’ll kill us.”

“You say that every time.”

“One of these days it’ll be true.”

The truck was slowing, probably looking for a good place to drop us off. I grabbed the strap of my backpack, getting ready to jump out, but saw that Brooke was ignoring hers, staring instead at the buildings we were driving past: tall brick storefronts with ornate, peaked facades on the second story. Some of them were painted, some were covered with wooden or vinyl siding, others were bare brick or bore the residue of old-timey signs too weathered to read. A barber shop. An antique store. A pizza place that looked way more modern than the rest of the street. I wondered if we could beg any food from the back door.

The truck pulled to the side of the road, by a bright green lawn in some kind of town plaza—city hall probably—and I was already over the side and reaching back for Brooke’s bag when the driver rolled down his window. “This good? I could take you a few more blocks if you want.”

“This is perfect,” I said. A few more blocks would have been nice, through the town and out the other side where we could infiltrate at our own pace, but it never helped to ask the drivers for extras. Always make them feel generous, not put upon—like they would have done more if they could, instead of wishing they’d done less. Instead I pointed at the tailgate. “Do you mind if I open the back to get the dog out?”

“No problem,” said the driver. He didn’t offer to help, which meant I was probably right to refuse the extra ride. He was already forgetting us, free of his hitchhiker burden with his mind a mile down the road. I dropped the tailgate and lifted Boy Dog out, smelling the strong scent of dirt and hound. He needed a bath as much as I did. He sat on the sidewalk where I left him, scratching his ear with his stubby front leg, and I offered Brooke my hand. She seemed lost in some kind of reverie again, all too common for her, and I said her name to get her attention.

“Brooke?”

She turned to look at me, but her eyes showed no recognition. “Who?”

“Lucinda.” I said, remembering. There was no response, so I tried another. “Kveta?”

“I’m…” She paused. “I’m so sorry, John.”

The warning signs were all over her face—the disorientation, the downcast eyes, the subtle whine in her voice. I put on my biggest smile and grabbed her hand, knowing that physical contact was one of the best ways of bringing her out of a mood swing. “We got here early,” I said, “everything’s great.”

“I don’t want to be this way,” she said, not moving. I tugged gently on her hand, trying not to glance at the driver for signs of impatience. If he yelled at her to hurry, it would only make her worse.

She remembered the lives of a hundred thousand girls, and she remembered dying as every single one of them. Suicide was as natural to Brooke as breathing.

“You want some pizza for dinner?” I asked. “I saw a good place about a block back.”

“We can’t afford pizza.”

“We can splurge,” I said, and pulled on her again. “Come on, let’s go take a look. What do you think they have here, deep dish or New York style?”

She didn’t respond to the conversational bait, but another gentle tug on her arm finally prompted her to climb down from the truck bed. She dusted herself off with a grimace, showing far more emotion than the dirt seemed to merit. I risked letting go of her for three precious seconds, closing the tailgate and shouting a thank you to the driver. He drove off without a word, and Boy Dog barked irritably at the cloud of exhaust that puffed into his face.

“My name is Pearl,” said Brooke. “Pearly, they called me, and my father said I was the jewel of his life. I had a dozen suitors, and the finest horse in the county. We won all the races that year, but they let me win. I don’t know why. I was horrible, and if I’d lived to know them better they’d have seen me for what I was—”

“I’m starving,” I said, cutting her off instantly at the mention of death. I had one of her hands clasped in mine, and brought up the other quickly, looking closely at her eyes, not talking her out of it because that never worked, but talking around it. Distracting her from it. “My favorite pizza topping is mushrooms,” I said. “I know a lot of people don’t like them, but I think they’re delicious—soft, savory, full of this incredible flavor. When you put them on a pizza they get roasted right there in the oven, hot and fresh, and they go perfectly with the tomato sauce. Do you like mushrooms?”

“I threw myself off of that horse,” said Pearl. “I … don’t even remember his name. He’s not the one that killed me, anyway, it was the ones behind me. No one could swerve in time, and they trampled me right there in front of everybody.”

“What about pepperoni?” I asked. “Everybody likes pepperoni. And that red pepper stuff you can shake on top—you think this place has that? Let’s go check it out.”

“Will you stop it!” she yelled. “I know what you’re doing, and I hate it! You always treat me like this!”

I took a deep breath, trying not to look too worried—this wasn’t exactly a bustling street, but if she attracted too much attention it could be disastrous. Even without a suicide attempt, there were people looking for us—people and things. Things we desperately didn’t want to be found by. If she started fighting me, the police would get involved and we might be trapped for good. I spoke softly, rubbing her fingers with my thumb.

“You’re tired,” I said. “You’re probably exhausted, and starving, and uncomfortable, and that’s all my fault, and I’m sorry.”

“Shut up!” She tried to yank her hands away, but I held tight.

“You need to rest,” I continued, “and get some food, and change your clothes. And maybe we can sleep in a real motel tonight. Does that sound good?”

“You don’t want to stay with me,” she said, swinging in half a heartbeat from hating me to blaming herself. “I’m horrible. I screw everything up. You could be doing this so much better without me—”

“I couldn’t be doing this at all without you,” I said. “We’re a team, remember? You’re the brains and I’m the hands. Partners to the end. The only deadweight is Boy Dog.” I cringed immediately after saying it, cursing whatever neural pathway had brought out the phrase “dead weight,” but she didn’t react. She stayed still, looking at the ground, and I looked up as a semi rumbled past, spitting gravel at us from under the tires. Boy Dog barked again, a short, halfhearted yelp. I changed tactics, and pointed at the receding truck. “Weller Shipping; there’s your W. All we need now is an X, and there’s bound to be a … saxophone shop around here somewhere, right? Axle repair? A pet store that specializes in oxes and foxes?”

I stepped toward the sidewalk, trying to pull her toward somewhere, anywhere, that she could sit down and eat and get some water, but she slipped out of my hand and ran toward the middle of the street—

straight into the path of another semi. I spun on my heel and reached for her, missing her trailing fingers by half an inch. The truck blared its horn in angry warning, slamming on its brakes, and Brooke planted herself in front of it, spreading her arms and closing her eyes. I ran toward her, watching from the corner of my eye as truck swerved, hoping I could get Brooke out of its way without even knowing what its new way was. I collided with her in a football tackle, pushing her toward the side of the road, stumbling and scrambling to stay on my feet, until finally we collapsed in the gutter on the far side, bouncing off a rusted fender as we fell between two cars. The semi roared past, correcting its course, avoiding a crash by the width of an eyelash. Brooke was sobbing, and I checked her quickly for injuries—scrapes on her arms, a tear in her jeans, but no broken bones or cuts that I could see. My own right arm was a mass of blood and gravel, which I brushed away gingerly.

“You okay?” asked a passing pedestrian. He looked down at us from over an armload of brown cardboard boxes.

“We’re fine,” I said, though my arm felt like it was on fire.

“You ought to get that looked at,” he added, then hesitated, and continued walking.

Somebody else’s problem.

Brooke was still crying, curled up in the gutter. I rested my hand on her arm, looking around to see who else, if anyone, had noticed our near miss. If anyone had, they weren’t coming out of their shops to mention it. I wanted to scream at them, to rage against the entire world for allowing this scrawny, broken girl to be so coldly forgotten and ignored. I wanted to kill them all. But being ignored was the best thing we could hope for, and I couldn’t risk making a scene. I turned back to Brooke. “It’s okay,” I said softly. “It’s okay.”

“You saved me,” said Brooke.

“Every time,” I said. “You know I always will.”

“You shouldn’t,” she said. “I’m not worth it.”

“Don’t say that.” The sky was growing darker; we needed to find shelter and a shower, now more than ever, and probably some antiseptic for my arm. I couldn’t risk the clinic, though—they’d ask too many questions, and try to pry out information we couldn’t give. A pharmacy, maybe. Even a little town like this ought to have one somewhere. And the sign will have an RX on it, I thought. Maybe that will cheer her up. I stood slowly, reaching for her with my good arm, but she caught me and pulled me back down to the curb, clutching me in a sad, desperate hug.

She sat up, wiping the tears and dirt from her face. “I love you, John,” she said.

“I know you do.” I tried to say it back—I always tried to say it back—-but I couldn’t make the words come out. I’d only ever loved one person, but Nobody had possessed Marci and killed her before moving on to Brooke, now almost two years ago. The monster had come for her, and I was one victim too late to save her. At least I’d saved Brooke.

And guessed I was going to keep saving her until the day I died.

Copyright © 2016 by Dan Wells

Over Your Dead Body comes out May 3rd. Pre-order it today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

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Americanizing Words and Witches

HEXWritten by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

So I wrote a book a few years ago and it became hugely successful in my home country of The Netherlands. And in half of Belgium. That’s because half of Belgium speaks Dutch.

The problem with being Dutch is that only about 23 million people in the world speak your language. There are more people in Shanghai than there are people who speak Dutch. Think about it. If you meet a random person at any given place in the world, chances are higher that they’re from a single city than that they share your mother tongue. Sounds pretty lonely, huh? And still, we’re the seventh happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. Maybe there’s a link.

But when you’re a writer and words are your weapons, you want to expand beyond such borders. When I was twelve I knew I was going to be a writer. My goal was world domination. Now, at thirty-two, the motivation has changed (slightly), but not the desire: I still want to touch the lives of as many readers as I can. Whether you’re Mexican, Bulgarian or Vietnamese, I want to make you smile. Or cry. Or feel scared shitless.

Then IT happened. My agents sold the English languages rights of the book that had become so successful in my home country to publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. “World domination!” this Dutch boy cheered. Since translation in popular American fiction is a relatively recent thing, it’s pretty rare for writers from such small language areas as mine to have a novel out in the US. I immediately realized I was facing a wholly new dilemma. The book had—quiver, Americans—a Dutch setting.

Now, on first glance, there seems nothing wrong with that. The utter Dutchness of the book, which is about a modern-day town haunted by a seventeenth-century witch, is one of its strengths, I think. I don’t mean “Dutchness” in the sense that the witch is smoking pot or is behind some Amsterdam red-framed window—I’m talking about the secular nature of Dutch small-town communities and the down-to-earthness of its people. If a sane person sees a seventeenth-century disfigured witch appear in a corner of the living room, he runs for his life. If a Dutch person sees a seventeenth-century disfigured witch appear in a corner of the living room, he hangs a dishcloth over her face, sits on the couch and reads the paper. And maybe sacrifices a peacock.

I love the fresh perspective that comes with reading fiction from different cultures. Being Dutch, 90% of the books I read come from abroad. Sometimes I even want to be taught about these cultures. The Kite Runner gave me a much more nuanced view about Afghanistan than Fox News. Murakami taught me more about Japanese customs than any sushi restaurant I’ll ever visit.

But there’s a limit to what I want to be taught. Some books I just want to read for the fun of it. The thrill. Or the scare. And I realized my novel, HEX, was such a book. My favorite comment from Dutch and Belgian readers is that it makes them sleep with the lights on. I have literally hundreds of those, and just imagine the silly grin on my face whenever I read through them. I could care less about what the story taught them about social values in communities or the depravity of mankind, as long as it gave them nightmares. Some literary critics will probably shoot me for this statement, but to them I say, come and get me.

To thoroughly scare readers, you have to create a perfect sense of familiarity in a story and then rip it to pieces as soon as they’re hooked. And here’s where the Dutch setting becomes problematic. If I’d read a horror story set in, say, rural Azerbeidzjan, I’d be worrying all the time about what the place actually looks like, what’s the norm for these people, what are they scared of and oh, by the way, how do you even pronounce their names? Bang! Familiarity gone, and a missed opportunity to make me scream at night. I imagined it would be the same for American readers when they read about a Dutch setting. I mean, how do you actually pronounce Olde Heuvelt?

So I decided to Americanize the book. Some people told me I was selling my soul, but hey, I am the writer, and selling one’s soul actually comes with the genre. For me, it was an exciting creative challenge. I had a book that I loved, I had characters that I loved, and here I had the opportunity to relive it all, without having to face the horrors of a sequel. Instead, I could create an enhanced version, a HEX 2.0 if you will, with all new rich and layered details, culturally specific legends and superstitions, and without ever losing touch with the Dutch elements of the original. Katherine Van Wyler, the original Dutch seventeenth-century witch, came to the new land on one of Peter Stuyvesant’s early ships. The rural town of Beek became the Dutch trapper’s colony of New Beeck, later renamed Black Spring. The Dutch characters became Americans, but with the down-to-earth quality of the Dutch. The dishcloth stayed. So did the peacock. And the public flogging of minors, a common and fun tradition we celebrate annually in many a small town in The Netherlands.

I can’t wait to find out if it worked. If American readers start telling me they had to leave the lights on, I’ll grin some more. That’s my world domination. And I won’t pay the electric bill.

Buy HEX today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Find out more about Thomas Olde Heuvelt on Twitter at @Thomas_Novelist and on his website.

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Sneak Peek: HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEXWelcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The town’s teenagers decide to go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the quarantined town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

Enjoy this preview of HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

ONE

STEVE GRANT ROUNDED the corner of the parking lot behind Black Spring Market & Deli just in time to see Katherine van Wyler get run over by an antique Dutch barrel organ. For a minute he thought it was optical illusion, because instead of being thrown back onto the street the woman melted into the wooden curlicues, feathered angel wings, and chrome-colored organ pipes. It was Marty Keller who pushed the organ backward by its trailer hitch and, following Lucy Everett’s instructions, brought it to a halt. Although there wasn’t a bump to be heard or a trickle of blood to be seen when Katherine was struck, people began rushing in from all sides with the urgency that townsfolk always seem to exhibit when an accident occurs. Yet no one dropped their shopping bag to help her up … for if there was one thing the residents of Black Spring valued more highly than urgency, it was a cautious insistence on never getting too involved in Katherine’s affairs.

“Not too close,” Marty shouted, stretching out his hand toward a little girl who had been approaching with faltering steps, drawn not by the bizarre accident but by the magnificence of the colossal machine. At once Steve realized that it hadn’t been an accident at all. In the shadow beneath the barrel organ he saw two grubby feet and the mud-stained hem of Katherine’s dress. He smiled indulgently: So it was an illusion. Two seconds later, the strains of the “Radetzky March” blared across the parking lot.

(more…)

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An Editor’s Dirty Little Secret

Ghosts Know by Ramsey Campbell

Written by Claire Eddy, Senior Editor

I have a dirty little secret.

I like to think of myself as an individual who is concerned only with high minded pursuits. When trying to unwind in the evening I choose to listen to the radio. Do I turn to classical music? NPR perhaps? Well, sometimes. But often I get drawn into the chatter of the latest conspiracy maven or political pundit and sit mesmerized. I want to go to another station but I keep thinking “wow, did he really say that?” I grimace, annoyed with myself for getting sucked into something so banal, so clearly constructed to pander to the lowest common denominator. But I still listen. What is the appeal of these bombastic hosts? Is it the confrontation that hooks us, or the need to feel superior?

This whole thing was brought home to me recently when Ramsey Campbell delivered his latest book. I am very lucky to be able to work with Ramsey — I know that when I sit down to read a new Campbell story I am not only going to get a good read I probably am going to get the pants scared off me. He had mentioned that he was interested in the growth of antagonistic journalism and I was intrigued to see what his take on this would be.

What I didn’t anticipate was the level of awesome that is Ghosts Know. Campbell has written a horror novel with a twist that had me riveted from the get go. We’ve got a bombastic radio host, Graham Wilde, who thrives on controversy; he loves it when he is hated. Wilde sees it as his job to get the audience riled up and he loves to provoke heated exchanges. His juices really flow when he manages to take down a nationally famous psychic using the man’s own tricks and a bit of inside knowledge.

Things go to hell shortly after however when a young girl is found murdered and the psychic manages to implicate Wilde. What follows is a psychological circus as the circumstantial evidence against him begins to mount, alienating his lover, his listeners, and eventually, the reader. We follow Wilde through a series of odd circumstances and twists of public opinion and watch as he slowly loses his grip on reality and begins a descent into madness.

The ending left me shaken and saddened, yet completely satisfied at the same time. Campbell uncovers the nasty twists in the human psyche that none of us like to think about and has crafted a haunting novel of self-deception and self-loathing that will leave you wondering just what is real and what delusions truly rule our perceptions.

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From the Tor/Forge October 7th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the October 7th Tor/Forge newsletter:

The First Days receives a starred review in PW

Place holder  of - 88“This outstanding first effort, the first book in a trilogy, will appeal greatly to zombie fans, but the undead are merely the catalyst for a far more disquieting tale of societal collapse.”

The First Days by Rhiannon Frater has received a Starred review in this week’s Publishers Weekly!

Below is the full review:

“This world is fragile.” This truth lies at the core of Frater’s intensely compelling first novel. When Jenni wakes up one morning and discovers her husband devouring their baby, she flees into a world suddenly populated by zombies. She is rescued by Katie, a lawyer haunted by her abandonment of her now-undead wife. The two traumatized women escape the city and discover unsuspected reserves of strength as they meet other survivors, some waiting for the government to save them and others trying to support one another through the chaos. Katie and Jenni join a group in a fortified site and are faced with the enormous task of rebuilding the world. This outstanding first effort, the first book in a trilogy, will appeal greatly to zombie fans, but the undead are merely the catalyst for a far more disquieting tale of societal collapse.” (July)

What others are saying about The First Days:

Fatally Yours
Buy Zombie
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