Black Fire

Black Fire

  • Author: James Kidman
  • Artist: Alan M. Clark
  • Page Count: 288
  • Pub. Date: 2004
  • ISBN: 1-58767-106-9
  • Status: Out of Print

This item is Out of Print and will not be available for purchase again.


Black Fire
by James Kidman

About the Book:
What color is the fire of your soul?

It's been seven years since the life shattering event that Eddie Farris thinks of as The Showdown, the night he killed his father in self-defense. Seven years since his world was almost completely destroyed. Seven years of trying to put his life back together and trying to put the past behind him. But sometimes the past doesn't want to stay dead. And sometimes the dead come back to haunt you...

In Eddie's case, the dead are coming back with a vengeance. Who is the strange, mysterious figure who seems to be following Eddie, taunting him, threatening him? He can't be the person Eddie thinks he is. That man's been dead for seven years. Ever since the night of The Showdown, when Eddie killed him...

Nothing in Eddie's world is quite what it seems to be, and he will soon discover that you never really escape your destiny; it burns within the fire of your soul...

"(a) highly readable horror debut..."
Publishers Weekly, March 29, 2004

"This debut demonstrates much promise, utilizing an instantly readable and colloquial style—the sort Big Steve King employed with particular success in those golden early years—and artfully incorporating flashbacks and journal entries with present-day narrative."
The Day, New London, CT, 10/31/04

"Kidman very cannily leaves every paranormal event open to interpretation, resulting in a book that can be looked at in one of several lights far into its final act...Overall, his craft is topnotch, using these motifs and themes to keep the book propelled along a very specific, frightening line. Even the setting of Black Hills, a long-dried-up mining town with a single, mostly empty movie theater, is used to accentuate the somber, self-reflective tone of the story. There's a tremendous amount to like in Black Fire, and whether you choose to approach it as a supernatural horror story or a tale of dark suspense, you won't be disappointed by the experience."
Fangoria #236, September 2004

"Watch the skies! James Kidman is a bright new star on the horror horizon."
— Al Sarrantonio, award winning author of Toybox, Skeletons, and Orangefield

"Black Fire is a lonely, nightmarish journey, a book that will really get under your skin. Kidman never lets you see quite where he's going... until it's too late!"
— Christopher Golden, author of Strangewood, Straight On 'til Morning, and The Ferryman

"James Kidman is one of the best of the young horror writers working today, and Black Fire should cement his reputation for writing solid, compelling fiction that grabs and holds the reader with cold, ever-tightening hands. Read this book and see what direction horror fiction will be going in this new millennium."
— Rick Hautala, New York Times bestselling author of The Mountain King and Bedbugs

"Dread is a word you don't hear much these days when it comes to dark fiction, but it's the one that springs most readily to mind while reading James Kidman's Black Fire. This is a sparking crackerjack of a novel, deftly paced and realized; it's quirky (in the best sense of the word), witty, suspenseful, and satisfying. But most of all, it's filled with genuine dread, and that's been far too rare a commodity in dark fiction recently. Prepare to be made intensely uncomfortable."
— Gary A. Braunbeck, author of In Silent Graves and Graveyard People: The Collected Cedar Hill Stories, Vol.1

"Kidman manages to create a vivid inferno of terror in Black Fire, one that will sear itself into the soft tissues of your mind. This is a provocative, powerful, and startling portrait of a man on the edge of a nightmare, trapped by a bitter and furious past that refuses to let go."
— Tom Piccirilli, author of The Night Class and A Lower Deep

"James Kidman's formidable storytelling skills weave a compelling spell of mystery and peril. He knows how to engage and keep his readers, and has a deft touch in displaying and dissecting characters to reveal their darkness. He will keep you reading, and looking over your shoulder."
— Gerard Houarner, author of The Beast That Was Max, Road to Hell, and Visions Through A Shattered Lens

"A vivid, suspenseful story. Black Fire packs a hell of a punch. James Kidman's accomplished mastery of prose deals out suspense and shocks aplenty."
— Simon Clark, bestselling author of Night of the Triffids and Nailed By The Heart

"Reading Kidman's narrative is like watching that little valve on the top of a pressure-cooker, and wondering when the lid's going to blow. You can sense all the energy and nastiness just barely being contained between the lines of his clean prose. Kidman writes with a sure hand and a grim vision. He has seen the essential pain of childhood and fully realized the horror into which it is transformed. Watch out for this guy..."
— Thomas F. Monteleone, winner of The New York Times Notable Book of the Year Award

"James Kidman writes like a pro. His language is rich and descriptive, and its effect seems effortless: he snags you and draws you in. The story is vivid and alive from the very first page—that's not an easy trick to pull off—and the promise is kept as the story develops, grows and becomes something very special. He also plays very effectively with timelines—again, not easy!—and the result is an absolute pleasure to read."
Tim Lebbon, author of Until She Sleeps and The Nature of Balance

"Dreamlike, suspenseful... with some of the most interesting characters I've come across in quite a while."
— Hugh B. Cave, author of The Dawning and Drums of Revolt

"Black Fire is tense, provocative, and burns with intensity!"
— Brian Keene, author of The Rising, No Rest For The Wicked, and Fear of Gravity

"Visceral and ambitious, James Kidman's debut novel radiates with energy. Kidman is a writer to keep an eye on."
— Del James, author of The Language of Fear

"James Kidman is among the most exciting young writers working in the horror field and his debut novel Black Fire demonstrates all the reasons why… Kidman's writing has a deep emotional core that profoundly affects his readers. He worms his way inside their defenses, then strikes terror into their vulnerable hearts. Even after readers finish his novel, it will be a long time before it’s finished with them."
— Garrett Peck, co-editor of Personal Demons and Tooth and Claw

James Kidman was a one-time use pseudonym for Brian James Freeman, whose short stories, essays, novellas, and novels have been published by Warner Books, Leisure, Cemetery Dance, Borderlands Press, Book-of-the-Month Club, and many others.

His short fiction has appeared in From the Borderlands, Borderlands 5, Shivers, Shivers II, Shivers III, Shivers IV, Shivers V, Shivers VI, Corpse Blossoms, and many other magazines and anthologies. His essays, columns, and interviews have appeared in The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar series from Book-of-the-Month Club, Jobs in Hell, Hellnotes, and Cemetery Dance.

Visit him on the web at

Published in two states:
• Limited Edition of 750 signed copies ($40)
• Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker ($150)


The doctors say this will help me heal.

In the days since I awoke from the white haze, the world has been a blur of blinding lights and muffled noises and distorted memories fading in and out of reality, in and out of my dreams and nightmares.  Machines beep and hum.  Voices carry down the hallway.  Somewhere, someone screams for reasons I can only begin to imagine.

I'm trapped in my own little hell.

A personal inferno.

The lights are bright during the day.  At night they dim so I can sleep.  That's never a problem, although my dreams are haunted by visions of the recent past.  Nothing solid.  Every moment is like gazing into a broken mirror.  Echoes of confusion.  Flashes of movement.  But those echoes grow louder and the flashes become brighter with each passing night.

I'm eighteen years old, and the doctors say I'll recover from my wounds.

Right now my side aches, as if the bullet is still in there.  I feel the burning, like a white-hot knife is being jabbed into my flesh.

The drugs create a fog in my head, but I can't imagine the pain without them.  The pain comes in waves, blinding me, branding my mind.

I can't remember much.  Not yet.

But I know a way to recover the memories, to rebuild what I once had.

I told the doctors how I can remember what happened, with a little help from them.

I told the doctors I used to write every day.

The act of putting words on paper has helped me through a lot of difficult times.  My fears and dreams, spoken through other people's mouths.  My fears and dreams, acted through other people's bodies.  Nothing real, all fake, all make-believe, yet all reflections of reality.

After some discussion, the doctors have decided it's what I need to do now: I need to write.

My memories are distant and disjointed, but I'll try to make this as coherent as I can.

The doctors tell me to write, so that's what I'll do.

I'll write about the day my life changed forever.

I'll try to explain The Showdown, if I can discover what that really means.

I'll write this down like any other story I've ever dreamed up.

Like any work of fiction that has ever lived inside my mind, and inside my mind only.

What I can't remember, I'll piece together along the way.

I'll pretend it's all make-believe.


This is real.

This is what happened.

This is why we had to run.

Why my flesh was torn open.

Why I'm here now.

It's why I'm alive and others are not.

I've lost everything that ever mattered to me.

But I'm going to get it back.