If you have ever been a babysitter, you probably know of all the urban legends and scary things that could happen while you, a teenager and almost a child yourself, is in charge of the safety of other humans. No pressure, right? Midnight on Beacon Street is a “love letter to vintage horror movies.” I weirdly love anxiety-inducing babysitting-type reads and movies. The Babysitter, When a Stranger Calls, Halloween, Better Watch Out… I love it. And this debut novel at a teensy bit over 200 pages gives us that nod to classic horror films and I’m here for it!
The Haunting of Velkwood by Gwendolyn Kiste
S&S/Saga Press (March 5, 2024)
256 pages; $26.99 hardcover; e-book $12.99
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Sometimes a ghost story breaks through the confines of the tried and true and creates something different. Something unique. Something both beautiful and painful. 2024 is turning out to be an incredible year for dark fiction, and Gwendolyn Kiste just raised the bar for everyone with The Haunting of Velkwood, a novel that redefines the subgenre in the best way possible. It breaks and rewrites the rules that Stephen King, Richard Matheson and ,of course, Shirley Jackson, wrote. For those unfamiliar with Kiste’s work, this would be a fine place to begin.
Mean Spirited by Nick Roberts
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 15, 2024)
An alcoholic teacher and father’s world spirals out of control when a former student is killed and he is left with her dog and the dark presence that follows it.
Matt Matheny teaches during the day, drinks at night, and barely hides his functioning alcoholism from his veterinarian ex-wife, Lucy, and his six-year-old son, Mikey. His world spirals out of control when a former student is killed, and he’s left with her dog, Conehead. But something isn’t right with Conehead. A dark presence follows him, and very soon, people around him die. Matt realizes the only way to protect his son is to sober up and work with Lucy to expose the dog’s mysterious past and face a secret so shocking — an evil so relentless — that it threatens to unleash hell on an entire town.
“Three sisters. Two Murders. Too many secrets to count.”
My third book by Marshall, with a few more on my shelves. I always get excited when I see her name pop up as she writes middle grade, YA and adult thriller and horror novels and I’m a fan of it all.
Kristopher Triana is a Splatterpunk Award-winning author of extreme horror who needs no introduction — but I’ll give you a brief one here anyways. Author of such critically acclaimed fan favorites as Gone To See the Riverman (and it’s recent sequel, Along the River of Flesh), Full Brutal, The Ruin Season and That Night In the Woods, Triana is an animal-loving Connecticut writer you don’t want to miss. Although he also writes noir, crime, westerns. literary fiction, and is a columnist with Backwoods Survival Guide Magazine, this conversation centers around the soft spot I have for his particular brand of nightmare fuel. Fans of his work will be taken aback by the scope of his often traumatic, always heartfelt style of bringing us in his full throttle world of terror. Book after book, Triana continues to prove himself as a dependable curator of thought provoking, gut wrenching, ridiculously immersive and frightening stories any fan of this dark thing of ours is thrilled to get caught up and lost in.
Most recently, Triana was kind enough to let me pick about his evolution as an author, his proudest moments and a few morsels on how he does what he does so damn well.
Headless by Scott Cole
Grindhouse Press (March 5, 2024)
In the midst of a heat wave punctuated by frequent rainstorms, people are losing their heads. Literally. Not only that, but their bodies are still walking, and attacking others.
And to make matters worse, tiny, translucent, maggot-sized worms are falling from the skies like hail.
As uncanny violence threatens to take over the city, Linzy, Carter, and Joanna become fast friends and leave for points unknown, hoping to stay alive, hoping to outrun the Headless.
In the new comic Cemetery Kids Don’t Die from writer Zac Thompson and artist Daniel Irizarri, people are obsessed with the gaming console DreamWave, which works while you’re sleeping. But maybe NightmareWave is a better name, as this horror/science fiction story shows friends known as the Cemetery Kids get in over their heads. Cemetery Dance spoke with Thompson about the comic’s inspiration, his interest in horror comics, and how shonen manga (Japanese comics aimed for boys) inspired the artwork.
Hitchcock’s Blondes: The Unforgettable Women Behind The Legendary Director’s Dark Obsession by Laurence Leamer
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 2023)
335 pages; $21.10 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin
Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy has, until recent years, mostly been portrayed through the rosy lens of Hollywood. Many consider Hitchcock one of the fathers of horror and a worthy contender amongst the greatest directors of all time. He’s remembered for his brilliance and astute demeanor, evoked throughout the evolution of cinema-from silent films to “talkies” to color to the big screen.
The Atrocity Engine (Custodians of the Cosmos Book 1) by Tim Waggoner
Aethon Books (April 30, 2024)
Men in Black meets Hellraiser in this rollicking mash-up of urban fantasy and cosmic horror from four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner.
Creatures from dark dimensions infesting your home? Demonic beings trying to drive you insane? Alien gods attempting to destroy your universe?
Just call Maintenance.
This underpaid and overworked secret organization is dedicated to battling forces that seek to speed up Entropy and hasten the Omniverse’s inevitable death.
Neal Hudson is a twenty-year veteran of Maintenance. A surveyor who drives through the streets of Ash Creek, Ohio, constantly scanning for the deadly energy known as Corruption. Since the death of his previous partner, Neal prefers to work alone, and he’s not happy when he’s assigned to mentor a rookie.
But they better learn to get along fast.
The Multitude, a group of godlike beings who seek to increase Entropy at every opportunity, are creating an Atrocity Engine. This foul magical device can destroy the Earth, and they don’t care how many innocent lives it takes to build it. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lot!)
Just another day on the job…
We’re working hard to catch up with our hardcover publication schedule in 2024. In some cases, we’re at the mercy of overworked and understaffed printers and case manufacturers, but these companies are committed to helping us get back to a normal release schedule, and Dan Franklin is learning the ropes to help keep things moving.
Here are updates on just some of our projects in progress:
The Best of Cemetery Dance 2 Lettered Edition
Traycases are finished and approved, and we expect to ship in 1-2 weeks.
So Cold the River
Books are finished at press, waiting on the final approval copy to arrive at office. Expect to ship in 2 weeks after that.
Stephen King Revisited
Rolling at press, expect to ship in 6-8 weeks.
Little Boy (unannounced)
Rolling at press, expected in 8-10 weeks, will be announced closer to publication.
Books are at the press and we expect them to finish their work this summer. Slipcases and Traycases will be later in summer because we need finished books to get the sizing just right. For a book of this size, a dummy book isn’t reliable, and we want to be sure they’re perfect.
A Face in the Crowd Artist Edition
The books finished and in hand! Slipcases should be finished in 6 weeks.
A Face in the Crowd Lettered Edition
At the hand binder, who is also making the Traycases. Will ship as each batch of 10-12 copies are sent to us.
Gwendy’s Final Task Limited & Lettered
Sig sheets are signed and the books are at the binder. We’re expecting to ship this summer.
Gwendy’s Magic Feather Lettered Edition
Wooden feathers are completed. Books are finished and in warehouse. Traycases are being worked on at the manufacturer now.
Rolling at press and expected in 8-10 weeks.
We’ll share more news on these as they get closer to shipping, and we thank you for your continuing enthusiasm and support!
This Is Where We Talk Things Out by Caitlin Marceau
Dark Lit Press (July 2023)
114 pages; $16 paperback
Reviewed by Janelle Janson
When I first picked up Caitlin Marceau’s novella This is Where We Talk Things Out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never read her work before, but I’ve always heard good things. But as soon as I started, I could not put it down. It immediately demands your attention.
Elle Nash’s Deliver Me (Unnamed Press, 2023) burrowed into my psyche deeper than any other book in 2023. The novel’s neglected yet unforgettable main character, Dee Dee, whispers to us, using her perpetual inside voice, offering accumulative clues to the relationship between her environment and her biological delusions; a hushed effect of descent that eventually lands on what is truly growing in her depths. Sometimes the desire is greater than the acquisition; it can block the illumination of what lengths we are going to get it.
Initially inspired by a bizarre true-crime event, Nash transmutes a headline with nothing left to the imagination into a delicate tapestry of inner hallucination, igniting a divine poetry from ignorance — all of it privileged information from a narrator so unreliable, it hurts. But one must always keep pushing.
Nash is also the author of Gag Reflex (Clash Books), Nudes (LF/SD), Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books), and is the editor-in-chief of Witchcraft magazine.
I caught up with Nash in early January to discuss Deliver Me, the miracle and terror of childbirth, the constitution of bloodshed between genders, and the desensitization of horror inside our American nightmare.
This Skin Was Once Mine by Eric LaRocca
Titan Books (April 2, 2024)
Ever since his debut publication, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (now in a second edition with bonus stories), Eric LaRocca has been blazing a trail of broken souls and butchered hearts with each new release he unleashes. After a series of highly acclaimed novellas, LaRocca published his first full length novel, Everything the Darkness Eats, with Titan Books. Clearly a match made in horror, Titan is getting set to publish LaRocca’s newest collection of four riveting novellas in This Skin Was Once Mine and Other Disturbances.
I cornered the author long enough to discuss his latest publication, the importance of being an aggressor to his readers, along with digging into what has caused the floor beneath him to be ripped out plus more!
Among the Living by Tim Lebbon
Titan Books (February 13, 2024)
304 pages; $16.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
When a novel marries the true terror inherent to humanity with the relevance of the world’s biggest issue (the death of the environment), it can resonate in a manner that most thriller and horror fans cannot escape. Imagine the The Thing crossed with The Terror — or any other high-quality isolated frozen story — and then transforming it into something even more frightening. That’s the gem that Tim Lebbon has created here with Among the Living.
The House of Last Resort by Christopher Golden
St. Martin’s Press (January 30, 2023)
304 pages; $24.65 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Christopher Golden knows better than many writers how to turn a setting into a brutal, living, breathing character. His new, terrifying novel might be the perfect encapsulation of that statement. When a reader takes into consideration the body of work that includes Ararat (possible resting place of Noah’s Ark), Road of Bones (forbidden frozen land in Russia), and Strangeland (what might be the most inventive setting in horror fantasy in ages), the praise for this story is not taken lightly.