Since the launch of my back catalog re-releases, I’ve wanted to take the Black T-Shirt Books brand further than simply putting out my own stuff.
Well, today is the day that dream becomes a reality. Scott Cole and Patrick Lacey are two of the most original voices in horror and bizarro (in Scott’s case) fiction, and I am delighted that their new titles are launching today as part of the Black T-Shirt family.
Both of these books are now available in ebook and paperback, and both authors will have copies with them to sign and sell if you’re lucky enough to be attending Scares That Care this weekend. Even if you’re not attending: please support the charity if possible.
Here’s a rundown of each, click the cover to purchase:
A Debt to Be Paid is exactly the kind of horror I enjoy. It’s not “throwback” in the smarmy “did you get the reference I just made?” way, but it does feel apiece with something that could have been published as a supermarket paperback (a slim one, it is a novella, but the Black T-Shirt edition is loaded with extra stories). A Debt to Be Paid is It Follows meets that popular internet myth of shadowmen, plus a little bit of financial crisis allegory. You’re going to love it. Please buy it in ebook or paperback right here.
Scott Cole has one of the best imaginations I’ve ever witnessed in action. I’ve talked about how much I love his novella Superghost, but I think this collection is going to be the book that puts him over the top. Scott is a master of super-short fiction, and in Slices he offers up 34 demented and disturbing tales that pack more punch than stories 3x their size. Which isn’t to turn you off if you don’t like flash fiction, because Slices offers quite a few longer tales as well. This weird and wild collection should be on your list if you like Tim Burton, David Lynch, or think the two of those directors should get together and eat a liverwurst sandwich. Buy it in ebook or paperback here.
Both titles are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, if you wanted to read them that way for free. And the Matchbook program, where if you buy the paperback, you get the ebook for free.
If you pick up one or both (preferable) of these books, it’s worth repeating: Amazon reviews are what help keep us in business, and we appreciate every single one.
Laura Lee Bahr’s debut novel Haunt is the literary equivalent to a Rubik’s Cube. Maybe that analogy won’t hold up for everyone, but it certainly does for me because there’s no way in hell I’ll ever be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
I don’t mean to imply that the plot is based on an indecipherable puzzle (although there is a strong mystery thread that weaves through the pagecount). What I mean is that even when Haunt is at its most frustrating: it’s always fun.
What on the outset looks to be a multi-perspective story about the intersecting lives of three different characters turns into an ever-shifting (and ever-collapsing) meditation on storytelling, relationships, metaphysics and, ultimately, life itself.
The plot (as far as it is summarizable) concerns Richard, a broski from Middle America who’s recently moved to LA, Sarah, the spirit who haunts his apartment and Simon, the magnetically dashing journalist who’s somehow tied up in Sarah’s death (or is he?). If that sounds vague and confusing…it is. This is a difficult book to summarize not only because I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but because Bahr herself is constantly messing with the chronology, reliability and even the planes of reality within her novel.
In the introduction, editor John Skipp reveals that the book was originally intended to utilize a “Choose your own adventure” structure. I’m glad that the gimmick was jettisoned, because what Haunt is now is a multi-tiered adventure where you have no choice, even when one is being offered to you. It’s a puzzle where some of the pieces are missing and where some were never meant to fit together in the first place. The result is invigorating.
Bahr’s book is colorful, beguiling and intelligent without ever feeling snooty or overindulgent. It’s a book that straddles a number of lines effortlessly: it strikes just the right balance between highbrow and lowbrow; it never lets its perplexing nature overshadow the reader’s sense of forward momentum or atmosphere. As far as it dives into the surreal, Bahr’s prose always feels grounded, the way I feel art like this needs to be for maximum enjoyment (think David Lynch or earlier Darren Aronofsky).
Highly recommended for the adventurous readers among you (and I’d like to think that’s all of you, so don’t disappoint me).