Midwestern Gothic

Inkshares. Apr. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781950301614. pap. $18.99. HORROR
In this collection of four novellas, Thomas (The Boy in the Woods; Violet) brilliantly presents a book that not only is dripping with overwhelming dread on every page but also serves as a proof of concept for the Midwestern gothic. The novellas, all set in the fictional town of Blantonville, KS, are framed by the works of Thomas’s most famous characters, the horror novelists from his book Kill Creek. From cosmic to folk horror, from a twist on the summer-camp slasher to a Hitchcockian psychological nightmare, each single-sitting read stands alone as a fully realized, unnerving tale, expertly merging compelling storylines and fascinating characters. However, it is the sense of place that shines here, illustrating how the vast, wide-open prairie can turn against the characters and provoke terror in readers. An immersive, chilling, and unsettling read that will put Blantonville on the horror map right next to Castle Rock.
VERDICT A must-buy title that updates the enduringly popular form of the gothic novel from a new perspective (as in Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia or The Hollow Kind by Andy Davidson), while also adding depth to the horror that unites Thomas’s literary universe, similar to Goblin and Spin a Black Yarn by Josh Malerman.
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