Books

1

Swift to Chase

(collection)

Laird Barron’s fourth collection gathers a dozen stories set against the backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness, far-future dystopias, and Giallo-fueled nightmare vistas.

All hell breaks loose in a massive apartment complex when a modern day Jack the Ripper strikes under cover of a blizzard; a woman, famous for surviving a massacre, hits the road to flee the limelight and finds her misadventures have only begun; while tracking a missing B-movie actor, a team of man hunters crashes in the Yukon Delta and soon realize the Arctic is another name for hell; an atomic-powered cyborg war dog loyally assists his master in the overthrow of a far-future dystopian empire; Following an occult initiation ritual, a man is stalked by a psychopathic sorority girl and her team of horrifically disfigured henchmen; a rich lunatic invites several high school classmates to his mansion for a night of sex, drugs, and CIA-funded black ops experiments; and other glimpses into occulted realities a razor’s slice beyond our own.

Front_Cover_Image_Swift_to_Chase-423x628cover by Chuck Killorn

Combining hardboiled noir, psychological horror, and the occult, Swift to Chasecontinues three time Shirley Jackson Award winner Barron’s harrowing inquiry into the darkness of the human heart.

“With Swift to Chase, Laird Barron demonstrates why he runs at the head of the pack.  The stories here take the familiar figures of the slasher, the final girl, the vampire, and the werewolf and lens them with the gravity of a black hole, bending them into new and terrifying proportions.  Beginning with a trio of tales featuring die-hard Jessica Mace, and ending with a stunning novella about her mother, Swift to Chase reads like a fractal novel, in which what is on the page is not so bad as what it suggests.  An instant classic.” –John Langan, author of The Fisherman

“Five books in, Laird Barron casually exceeds the promise of his early work, delivering the (very nasty) goods. Spinning beyond the comfortable orbit of his insect overlords and ancient leech gods, Swift to Chase constructs a kind of sinister Alaskan Winesburg. A cycle of intricately linked tales, a new mythos not quite like any we’ve ever seen before, where instead of names such as Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu, we come away shuddering at the mention of Mace, Vellum, and Tooms.” –Marc Laidlaw, author of The 37th Mandala 

“Laird Barron’s Swift to Chase stories are an exhilarating ride on a rickety nightmare roller coaster, only two wheels on the track. Blue collar supernatural noir with yips inducing suspense and a touch of humor. Read this book!” Jeffrey Ford, author of A Natural History of Hell

“This book will go down as one of the best horror story collections of the decade.” Max Booth III for Litreactor

“…sets a direction for the whole of contemporary horror. If you have any serious interest whatsoever in the field, you have to read this book. ” Paul StJohn Mackintosh for Teleread

“Swift to Chase is the best collection of short fiction that Barron has put together so far, and likely to be among the top such books to be produced in our current decade.” Shane Douglas Keene for This Is Horror

“…Barron perfectly encapsulates today’s literary landscape, because while terror is at the center of all of his works, he uses a variety of genres to pull it off. There are notes of cosmic horror, adventure, and noir. His stories have a wonderful sense of place, an oppressive atmosphere, great characters, original and compelling plots, and also beautiful language.” Becky Spratford for RA for All

“This is the fourth story collection from the prolific and celebrated Barron. With “Swift to Chase,” he concocts a potent blend of horror, noir and pulp.” Michael Calia for The Wall Street Journal

 

***

Man with No Name

(Novella)

Nanashi was born into a life of violence. Delivered from the streets by the Heron Clan, he mastered the way of the gun and knife and swiftly ascended through yakuza ranks to become a dreaded assassin. His latest task? He and an entourage of expert killers are commanded to kidnap Muzaki, a retired world-renowned wrestler under protection of the rival Dragon Syndicate.

It should be business as bloody usual for Nanashi and his ruthless brothers in arms, except for the detail that Muzaki possesses a terrifying secret. A secret that will spawn a no-holds barred gang war and send Nanashi on a personal odyssey into immortal darkness.

Front_Cover_Image_Man_With_No_Name (1)

cover by Robert Grom

X’s for Eyes

(Novella)

Brothers Macbeth and Drederick Tooms should have it made as fair-haired scions of an impossibly rich and powerful family of industrialists. Alas, life is complicated in mid-1950s USA when you’re child heirs to the throne of Sword Enterprises, a corporation that has enshrined Machiavelli’s The Prince as its operating manual and whose patriarch believes, Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds, would be a swell company logo.

Matthew Revert ArtMatthew Revert art

Consider also those long, cruel winters at the boarding school for assassins in the Himalayas, that Dad may be a supervillain, while an uncle occasionally slaughters his nephews and nieces for sport; the space flight research division of Sword Enterprises “accidentally” sent a probe through a wormhole into outer darkness and contacted an alien god. Now a bloodthirsty cult and an equally vicious rival firm suspect the Tooms boys know something and will spare no expense, nor innocent life, to get their claws on them.

Between the machinations of the disciples of black gods and good old corporate skullduggery, it’s winding up to be a hell of a summer vacation for the lads.

“…the Tooms boys are age 14 and 12, respectively, and are already accomplished at boozing, whoring and killing. They’re like some kind of midnight reflection of the Hardy Boys or Johnny Quest and Hadji. If you ever thought The Venture Brothers needed more horror and less Star Wars references, then this is the book for you.” Stu Horvath for Unwinnable

“This gonzo book-of-everything is delivered by the very capable hands of Laird Barron.”  – John DeNardo for Kirkus Reviews (December 2015 Must-Read Speculative Fiction Books)

***

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby,” “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven,”  “The Men from Porlock,” and World Fantasy Award nominated novella Hand of Glory. The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader. (cover by Claudia Noble)

***

The Croning

Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us. Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret…of The Croning. From Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation, comes The Croning, a debut novel of cosmic horror. (cover by Cody Tilson)

***

The Light Is the Darkness

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Conrad Navarro is a champion of the Pageant, a gruesome modern day gladiatorial exhibition held in secret arenas across the globe. Indentured by a cabal of ultra-rich patrons, his world is one of blood and mayhem, an existence where savagery reigns supreme while mercy leads to annihilation. Conrad’s sister has vanished while traveling in Mexico. Imogene, a decorated special agent for the FBI, was hot on the trail of a legendary scientist whose vile eugenics experiments landed him on an international most-wanted list. Imogene left behind a sequence of bizarre clues that indicate she uncovered evidence of a Byzantine occult conspiracy against civilization itself — a threat so vast and terrible, its ultimate fruition would herald an event more inimical to all terrestrial life than mere extinction. Now, Conrad is on the hunt, searching for his missing sister while malign forces seek to manipulate and destroy him by turns. It is an odyssey that will send this man of war from the lush jungles of South America, to the debauched court of an Aegean Prince, to the blasted moonscape of the American desert as he becomes inexorably enmeshed within a web of primordial evil that stretches back unto prehistory. All the while struggling to maintain a vestige of humanity; for Conrad has gazed into an abyss where the light is the darkness, and he has begun the metamorphosis into something more than human. (cover by Dan Ho)

***

Occultation

Laird Barron has emerged as one of the strongest voices in modern horror and dark fantasy fiction, building on the eldritch tradition pioneered by writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, and Thomas Ligotti. His stories have garnered critical acclaim and been reprinted in numerous year’s best anthologies and nominated for multiple awards, including the Crawford, International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards. His debut collection, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, was the inaugural winner of the Shirley Jackson Award.

He returns with his second collection, Occultation. Pitting ordinary men and women against a carnivorous, chaotic cosmos, Occultation’s eight tales of terror (two never before published) include the Theodore Sturgeon and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated story “The Forest” and Shirley Jackson Award nominee “The Lagerstatte.” Featuring an introduction by Michael Shea, Occultation brings more of the spine-chillingly sublime cosmic horror Laird Barron’s fans have come to expect. (cover by Matthew Jaffe)

***

The Imago Sequence & other stories

To the long tradition of eldritch horror pioneered and refined by writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, and Thomas Ligotti, comes Laird Barron, an author whose literary voice invokes the grotesque, the devilish, and the perverse with rare intensity and astonishing craftsmanship. Collected here for the first time are nine terrifying tales of cosmic horror, including the World Fantasy Award-nominated novella “The Imago Sequence,” the International Horror Guild Award-nominated “Proboscis,” and the never-before published “Procession of the Black Sloth.” Together, these stories, each a masterstroke of craft and imaginative irony, form a shocking cycle of distorted evolution, encroaching chaos, and ravenous insectoid hive-minds hidden just beneath the seemingly benign surface of the Earth.

Swift to Chase

Man with No Name

X's for Eyes

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

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