"In range alone, Richard Thomas is boundless. He is Lovecraft. He is Bradbury. He is Gaiman." —Chuck Palahniuk
With a Foreword by Brian Evenson
In this new collection, Richard Thomas has crafted fourteen stories that push the boundaries of dark fiction in an intoxicating, piercing blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Equally provocative and profound, each story is masterfully woven with transgressive themes that burrow beneath the skin.
Powerful and haunting, Thomas’ transportive collection dares you to examine what lies in the darkest, most twisted corners of human existence and not be transformed by what you find.
PRAISE FOR SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION & RICHARD THOMAS
One of Tor’s “All the Horror Books We’re Excited About in 2022”
"Equally devastating and refreshing, this is a collection to be savored by horror fans and literary readers alike." —Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review
"Fans of science fiction, horror, and dark fiction will relish immersing themselves in this collection for all its grit, lyricism, and unquestionable profundity." —Library Journal (starred review)
"In range alone, Richard Thomas is boundless. He is Lovecraft. He is Bradbury. He is Gaiman." —Chuck Palahniuk
"Richard Thomas's Spontaneous Human Combustion is a marvelous monster made of blood, anger, fear, guilt, grief, hunger, and pain. These gritty, blood-soaked stories pull readers into the darkness of the single black heart beating at the core of horror and noir, and somehow makes them love every second of it." —Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs
“Dark, but rarely bleak. Punishing, but never sadistic. Thomas’s stories drag you into the light as often as they knock you into the abyss. A necessary collection.” —Doug Murano, Bram-Stoker winning editor of Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders
"Thomas masterfully combines noir and horror. He paints the beauty and the meanness of human life with an ease that belies how damned hard a trick it is to accomplish. Spontaneous Human Combustion is a bottle of the top shelf stuff—smooth, but it burns. Burns all the way to the bottom." —Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase
"Transgressive, dark and masterfully written - with Spontaneous Human Combustion Thomas forces the reader to run the gamut of human emotions. With beguiling and devastating prose one can’t help but see the beauty in the macabre morsels Thomas has given us to consume. A truly breathtaking collection." —Ross Jeffery, Bram Stoker Nominated author of Tome
Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of three novels, three short story collections, 150+ stories in print, and the editor of four anthologies. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Thriller awards. Visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com for more information.
High school senior Hallie Mayhew spends her days traipsing from one lavish Montecito estate to the next...spraying ant poison.
Between her dad’s pest control company, her mom’s pond cleaning service, and her side gig at a tourist hotspot in Santa Barbara, Hal puts the “work” in working class. But Hal has qualms about gassing gophers. She’s tired of ditching friends to skim dead fish from fountains, and she’s weary of divorced-parent politics. So Hal has a plan: win the prestigious Verhaag Scholarship, go to an east coast school, and never come back.
But the Verhaag Scholarship has a proud history of nepotism and a last-minute contender just crawled out of the woodwork. Hal’s parking lot nemesis has usurped the Yearbook Committee, depriving her of her only extracurricular credit. To make matters worse, her Montecito clients are in a defensive frenzy over a rash of estate burglaries, and if her jobs keep making her tardy, she may not even graduate.
With her college plans rapidly derailing, Hal is forced to enlist the help of Spencer Salazar: the dim, infuriating (and kinda hot) rich kid next door. Hal’s willing to do anything to win the scholarship, but her side gigs are creating a tangled web that might keep her stuck in Santa Barbara forever, and now she’s wondering―maybe too late―if she misjudged the boy next door.
PRAISE FOR PEST & ELIZABETH FOSCUE
“I love underestimated outsiders who come out on top through wit and gumption, and Elizabeth Foscue delivers! Pest is a quirky, fast-paced YA read with a strong, self-determined protagonist, relatable characters, witty dialogue, and a satisfying ending.” —USA Today bestselling author Kelly Stone Gamble
“With a charming nod to Veronica Mars, Foscue’s lively writing style and creative plot twists will keep those pages turning. And when you get to The End, you’ll want more.” —Robin Reardon, author of the Trailblazer series
“Wry, funny, and full of heart, Pest takes you on a nimble-footed tour of Santa Barbara’s ‘dark side,’ while remaining true to its coming-of-age roots. Recommended for readers who like their teen angst leavened with laughs.” —Bruce Hale, bestselling author of The Chet Gecko Mysteries and Clark the Shark
“Elizabeth Foscue’s coming-of age tale simply oozes charm. Locals will instantly recognize the incredibly detailed look at life in Santa Barbara (boy, you just can’t believe how accurate!), and all will be equally captivated by Pest’s Hal, and her spirited nature.” —Valerie R. Rice, Author of Lush Life: Food & Drinks from the Garden
“In Pest, Elizabeth Foscue portrays an insidiously wealthy enclave, crawling with teen drama and teeming with unwanted legged creatures lurking inside mansion walls. Working for her family’s pest control business, Hallie Mayhew drives a spider topped vehicle as the perfect analogy for the pesky hormonal life of a high schooler ruled by uncomfortable, itchy peer encounters that lurk, irk—and elude. Ripe with socio-economic rifts and teen angst, the misunderstood girl next door, Hallie, presents a unique ‘most likely to succeed’ protagonist who isn’t afraid to face the task of college applications—or pick up dead critters along the way. A YA read that is both entertaining and intriguing.” —Liz Ruckdeschel, author of the What If… series
Elizabeth Foscue grew up in northwest Florida and the British Virgin Islands. She attended the University of Florida, where she majored in Linguistics and fleeing town on football weekends. She met her (now) husband at a sailing team meeting the second week of school and it was his idea to move to Annapolis, Maryland. She earned a J.D. and LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center before escaping to SoCal after ten years of nasty, mid-Atlantic weather. Elizabeth lives in Santa Barbara, California with her husband, norrbottenspets (that’s Swedish for “barking fur-factory”) and two awesome kiddos.
Eddie Morales finds his lowly R&D life completely upended when his Boise-based biotech firm dispatches him to Puerto Malogrado, a tiny but tumultuous country in South America where the international media is accusing their experimental potatoes of causing a bizarre medical crisis.
Eddie unwillingly arrives in South America only to find his plans for a quick resolution thwarted when he gets caught between the two sides of an impending revolution, each hoping to capitalize on the potato scandal in order to seize power.
Eddie stumbles into a conspiracy that reveals just how far his company will go to advance its potato empire. He is forced to make a choice: what—and who—will he sacrifice to preserve his own future in this brave new world of biotechnology?
Darkly funny and compassionately rendered, One Potato charts the crooked line between nature and technology and takes a deep look into a future shaped by disasters both natural and devastatingly man-made.
PRAISE FOR ONE POTATO & TYLER MCMAHON
“McMahon serves up a biting satire of genetic engineering and its discontents . . . This winning story feels all too real.” —Publishers Weekly
“One Potato blends cauterizing satire with a deeply humane worldview. It manages to be—all at once—fast-paced and thoughtful, hilarious and consequential, disturbing and delightful.” —Elise Blackwell, author of Hunger and The Lower Quarter
“Like the diaries of Ché Guevara seen through an Ore Ida lens, this deeply funny yet pointed novel juggles the acknowledgement of a future we should all be terrified by, and the hope that our shared but loveably flawed humanity will win out in the end. Buy two copies, read one, and use the other as compost for your new organic backyard potato patch.” —Sean Beaudoin, author of Welcome Thieves
"Reminiscent of Vonnegut in his prime, One Potato drives the tantalizing line between satire and global reality, using quick, vivid chapters to create a captivating read. Eddie Morales and his game sidekick Raven Callahan are in over their heads in the most wonder-filled ways as they venture into the unknown world of Puerto Malogrado and the mysteries of genetics. Their story is both insightful and poignant, their trail of discovery one you can’t help but follow." —David Bajo, author of The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri and The Ensenada Public Library
“You're going to want more than a helping of One Potato, which humorously weaves together such disparate topics as American intervention in South America, the dangers of botanical monoculture, violent revolution, population bottlenecks, and a good, old-fashioned love affair. It is a sign of a truly accomplished writer that this novel entertains as it elucidates. You'll never see a spud the same way again.” —Allison Amend, author of Enchanted Islands, A Nearly Perfect Copy, Stations West and Things That Pass for Love
“With urgency, wit, and vivid imagination, Tyler McMahon’s One Potato engagingly explores the dangers of monoculture, a ruthless dictatorship, GMO controversies, corporate greed and corruption, and the necessity and power of a free press. Packed with absurdist humor and a vibrant sense of place, a fast-paced and suspenseful plot and a layered rendering of its often hapless characters, One Potato is a memorable novel with an impressive scope. I was wonderfully entertained by this book, but I also learned so much from it.” —Joanna Luloff, author Remind Me Again What Happened
“One Potato is a brutal, hilarious, and perfectly-timed interrogation of Big Agriculture’s colonization of the human food supply—and McMahon’s landscape of ‘third world conflict porn’ is brilliantly pollinated by unforgettable characters either longing for connection, painfully suffering their genetics, or absurdist and malignant in their dedication to the regime of Capitalism crop-dusting our minds and hearts.” —J. Reuben Appelman, author of The Kill Jar
“Fast-paced, comedic, with significant social undercurrents—Tyler McMahon’s latest novel One Potato is a wild ride with real heart. If you’ve always wondered how Michael Pollan’s nonfiction would look in the hands of Tom Robbins or TC Boyle, then this is the novel for you.” —Kristiana Kahakauwila, author of This is Paradise: Stories
"This novel is deranged, in the best way. If Aimee Bender and Charlie Kaufman wrote a book together, this is what it would sound like. McMahon has written a perfect novel satirizing our imperfect time." —Joshua Mohr, author of Sirens and Model Citizen
Tyler McMahon is the author of the novels How the Mistakes Were Made, Kilometer 99, Dream of Another America, and One Potato. Tyler is a Professor of English at Hawai`i Pacific University and the editor of Hawai`i Pacific Review. He lives in Honolulu with his wife, Dabney Gough.
In the early 1980s, a tight-knit Indiana community is struck by a series of violent murders. Father Solomon Lancaster―the town’s dry-witted sheriff and priest at the community Catholic church―finds himself on the forefront of the investigation. Soon, he’s fighting to match wits with the serial killer terrorizing his town while trying to justify his law enforcement credentials to the FBI as their analysts and profilers take Crooked Creek, Indiana, by storm.
But Father Solomon is hiding secrets of his own. Ones that threaten to rise to the surface as the murders continue and the investigation draws nearer to the truth. As the killer begins to escalate, Father Solomon finds that even the innocent have dark sides, and trust might be the deadliest weapon of all.
PRAISE FOR WHEN THE CORN IS WAIST HIGH & JEREMY SCOTT
“Highly original . . . Ample dry humor leavens a plotline that thoughtfully explores the heart of human darkness . . . Michael Koryta admirers will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“What appears to be a humorous story set in Indiana farm country becomes a thriller with multiple shocking twists. Fans of TV's Dexter might want to try this disquieting book from Scott.” —Library Journal
“Scott creates one of the most compelling characters in a generation with Father Solomon Lancaster...[and] weaves a rich tapestry that keeps you on your toes up until the last page.” —Patrick Anderson, Modern Horrors
“I could not put this damn book down until I finished it. Gripped me from start to finish….[Scott] truly is one twisted fuck, but don’t take my word for it. The evidence lies within.” —Frank Kemp, SiftPop and Modern Horrors
“Solomon Lancaster is a wonderfully, morally complicated protagonist and often hilarious. You aren’t going to see too many priest/sheriff characters in any medium, a combination that leads to conflicts of interest that can be both comic and tragic.” —Chris Atkinson, co-founder of CinemaSins
“Jeremy Scott delivers his most intimate and powerful story yet with When The Corn Is Waist High...an enthralling story that leaves you guessing until the very last page. A little bit Coen Brothers and a little bit Fincher, this sharp-tack character study disguised as an expertly written murder mystery is a wholly unique thriller from a writer at the top of their game.” —Stephen Sean Ford, actor and filmmaker
“Jeremy Scott revels in this edge-of-your-seat tale with experienced glee, clearly leaning on his history of living in the small-town Midwest, knowledge of insulated religious gatherings, and frequent consumption of regional-specific hot dishes. This story will grip you by the wrists from the very start, and you will NOT want it to let go until the final page. Never have I been happier to surrender to whatever ride this mischievous author will take me.” —Barrett Share, producer and cohost of the SinCast Podcast
“Jeremy Scott masterfully takes the reader back in time to rural Indiana, where the local Sheriff reconciles his dual roles of law enforcement and local priest all while a killer upsets the harmony of his sleepy farming community. When The Corn Is Waist High lulls you into the sleepy rhythms of Crooked Creek, so when the twists start turning, you won’t be ready for what happens next. Rural Indiana has never felt so dangerous.” —Jacob Hopkins, Co-Founder of Modern Horrors
“Scott’s unvarnished style lures the reader into a sublime sense of comfort with his fascinating and frank descriptions of law enforcement, catholicism, and small town living before twisting the knife with shocking twists and staggering revelations...the story unfolds in unexpected ways, growing ever more chilling while building to a jaw-dropping conclusion. This is a killer who won’t soon be forgotten.” —Jenn Adams, Horror Journalist & Podcaster
Jeremy Scott is a writer and entertainer from Nashville, TN. He is the co-creator & narrator of CinemaSins, a YouTube channel dedicated to movie-related comedy with over 9 million subscribers, and the author of The Ables series and Original Sin: From Preacher's Kid to the Creation of CinemaSins. A former online marketing consultant, Jeremy spends his time cohosting a popular film podcast, playing and listening to music, and being lousy at golf. He lives just outside Nashville with his incredibly understanding wife and their furry cats.
“When I’m dead and buried...you get the hell out of here...Make a life somewhere else...a life that I can’t even imagine.”
Jo Salter, a woman from the North Carolina mountains, sets about constructing a new life for herself in Asheville in the wake of her mother’s death. A life that no one—including her mother—could have imagined.
Jo has a gift. She is a mathematical prodigy—a woman who sees and thinks in numbers. She secures a job as a teller at Central Bank & Trust, where she recreates herself as a modern woman and rises through the professional ranks. While working at the bank, Jo becomes fascinated by Levi Arrowood, the dark and mysterious manager of the Sky Club, an infamous speakeasy and jazz club on the mountainside above town.
When the Great Depression brings Central Bank & Trust down in a seismic crash, Jo is forced to find a new home and job. She finds both at the Sky Club, where she strikes a partnership with the alluring Arrowood as she is drawn deeper into a glamorous and precarious life of bootlegging, jazz, and love.
The Sky Club is the story of money, greed, and life after the crash from the eyes of one remarkable woman as she creates her own imagined life.
PRAISE FOR THE SKY CLUB & TERRY ROBERTS
“With an uncanny ability to make you feel as if you were there—when the Great Depression hit Asheville—Terry Roberts gives voice to Jo Salter, a fiercely independent woman determined to honor her Mama’s dying request that she create a life hard to imagine. Not since Memoirs of a Geisha has a male author portrayed a woman’s life so convincingly.” —Mark Kaufman, Story and Song Bookstore
Terry Roberts’ direct ancestors have lived in the mountains of Western North Carolina since the time of the Revolutionary War. Many of them farmed in the Big Pine section of Madison County, a place that to this day is much as it’s portrayed in The Sky Club.
Roberts’ debut novel, A Short Time to Stay Here, won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and his second novel, That Bright Land, won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award as well as the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South. Both novels won the annual Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, given to the author of the best novel written by a North Carolinian. His third novel, The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival, was published by Turner in 2018. His newest book, My Mistress’ Eyes Are Raven Black, a literary thriller set on Ellis Island, was published by Turner in 2021.
As well as being an award-winning novelist, Dr. Terry Roberts is a lifelong teacher and educational reformer. Since 1992, he has been the Director of the National Paideia Center, a school reform organization dedicated to making intellectual rigor accessible to all students. Born and raised near Weaverville, North Carolina, Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center and lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Lynn.
A new novel by the award-winning author of Under The Mercy Trees.
Famed puppeteer and master manipulator Walter Gray surprises his three daughters by announcing there is a fourth at his 80th birthday party. An incomplete paternity test—and a will that places a condition on each daughter’s inheritance—suggest that the missing daughter isn’t a figment of his dementia.
Jane, the eldest, is tired of her father’s eccentricities. She remembers the scarcity of her childhood and doesn’t want another sister to share the birthright.
Rosie, born out of wedlock, sees the missing sister as her key to acceptance as a full member of the puppeteer’s family.
Cora, the youngest, born after Walter achieved fame and fortune, is most concerned with extricating herself from running Walter’s company so that she can pursue her own life.
The sisters each knew a different version of their enigmatic father, but all grew up in the presence of fairy tales acted out with marionettes and shadow puppets. If they are to find the fourth daughter and claim the legacy their father has left them, the three must confront their fractured relationships with their father and each other. Infused with fairy tales that sometimes spill magic into the sisters’ real lives, The Puppeteer’s Daughters is a stunningly-woven family saga about the cost and rewards of claiming a creative life.
PRAISE FOR THE PUPPETEER'S DAUGHTERS & HEATHER NEWTON
“The Puppeteer's Daughters brings us into the world of puppetry and fairytales, rivalries and love stories, both through tales interwoven throughout the novel and in the lives of a family of sisters, who must suddenly redefine who they are to one another. This book is perfectly plotted, wonderfully paced, with characters I loved and rooted for page after page. Newton excellently weaves individual narratives of the daughters' as they navigate their own journeys alongside the shifting dynamics of the sisters as a whole, all the while delighting us with the intricacies of puppetry, from the classic tales themselves to the mechanics of how to bring the little wooden bodies to life. I love this book.” —Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts
Heather Newton's novel Under The Mercy Trees (HarperCollins 2011) won the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award, was chosen by the Women's National Book Association as a Great Group Reads Selection and named an "Okra Pick" by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Her short story collection McMullen Circle, finalist for the W.S. Porter prize, is forthcoming from Regal House in January 2022. Her novel The Puppeteer's Daughters is forthcoming from Turner Publishing in July 2022. A practicing attorney, she teaches creative writing for UNC-Asheville's Great Smokies Writing Program and is co-founder and Program Manager for the Flatiron Writers Room writers' center in Asheville. Visit her online at www.heathernewton.net.
An all-too-familiar dystopia where public perception precedes reality and our identities are defined by what we consume.
As head of the crisis management team at a Madison Avenue PR firm, Leonard Lundell spends his days counseling executives whose reputations have been ruined by scandal. But Leonard has been managing a strange and debilitating crisis of his own that’s held him captive his entire adult life: Leonard likes to eat soap, pencils, paint chips—anything with no nutritional value.
For years, he’s kept his compulsion hidden behind a professional veneer. But when he signs an important client, an antisocial file clerk unwittingly discovers Leonard’s secret and blackmails him into accommodating her own bizarre culinary indulgences.
A picaresque set against the backdrop of Madison Avenue’s marketing machine in the months leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, The Appetite Factory examines the earliest days of our post-truth era, where a scandal-obsessed news cycle and social media’s rise as an information platform have given birth to a culture addicted to recreational outrage and hell-bent on finding the next public figure to disgrace to keep ourselves entertained.
Jon Gingerich is a fiction instructor at the Gotham Writer’s Workshop in New York. His short stories have been published in The Saturday Evening Post, The Malahat Review, Pleiades, Grist, Stand Magazine, The Oyez Review, Helix Magazine and others. He lives in New York City.
A new technology has emerged, promising a perfect society, and resisters are not long for this world . . .
Ahead, not too many years from now, everyone has been linked to a network of government-mandated brain implants. The Interface has become a way of life, connecting all people to limitless information, nonstop personal messaging, and instantaneous news flashes. Gone are the days of cell phones and laptops—even loneliness itself is obsolete.
But when the genius behind the Interface turns against his own creation and threatens to unleash a deadly electronic brain virus on the public, the fate of the world falls on NYPD Captain Yara Avril, who must stop this sinister, ever-escalating plot before it’s too late. A thrilling nod to a future waiting just around the corner, Interface is a remarkably prescient exploration of the potential links between boundless connection and cataclysmic disaster in digital society.
Scott Britz-Cunningham, MD, PhD, is a board-certified nuclear medicine physician who holds academic appointments at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School. His scientific articles have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Cancer, and The Journal of Virology. He is the author of two other novels: Code White (Forge Books) and The Immortalist (Simon & Schuster). In his spare time, he performs with the New England Digital Accordion Orchestra and practices Shotokan karate. He and his wife, Evelyn—an artist and art therapist—live in Worcester, Massachusetts. Their grown son, Alex, lives in Maine.
Get ready for a thrilling new mystery series from the author of The Honeybee Emeralds.
Ottawa, January 2010. Canada’s historic Dominion Archives.
Junior archivist Jess Kendall is struggling to find her footing in her new role. Her colleagues undermine her, her boss hates her, and her only romantic prospect hides a whiskey bottle in his desk. Desperate to make a good impression, Jess’s prospects begin to change when she discovers a series of mysterious letters chronicling life in Paris at the start of the Great War. Thinking she has landed her ticket to career advancement, Jess dives into research in Dominion’s art vault, where she stumbles upon the body of one of her colleagues.
As if finding a corpse isn’t frightening enough, Jess soon notices she is being stalked by a menacing figure. It’s only when Jess makes the connection between the letters, the murder, and a priceless Rembrandt that she realizes just how high the stakes are. Can Jess salvage her career, unravel a World War I–era mystery, shake off her ominous stalker, solve a murder, and—oh yeah—save her own life before it’s too late?
Amy Tector was born and raised in the rolling hills of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. She has worked in archives for the past twenty years and has found some pretty amazing things, including lost letters, mysterious notes and once, a whale’s ear. Amy spent many years as an expat, living in Brussels and in The Hague, where she worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for War Crimes in Yugoslavia. She lives in Ottawa, Canada with her daughter, dog and husband. Visit her online at https://www.amytector.com/.