I came late to the Josh Malerman party, when I read Daphne last year. Here’s how I opened my review of that novel, which I now believe is a new horror classic:

“I have a confession to make…this is the first novel I’ve read by Josh Malerman. I blame all the wonderful writers out there writing all the wonderful books. After reading Daphne, Malerman’s brutal, terrifying new novel, I’ll be happily dipping into his back catalog, because this book rocks. It’s part serial killer novel, part slasher, part urban mythology, and part coming-of-age. Oh, and it’s scary as hell.”

Spin a Black Yarn, his newest book, is a collection of five novellas, and I’m happy to report that Malerman is working at the top of his game here—every novella here is a masterpiece of story, mood, and characters in perfect synchronization. Malerman isn’t a one trick pony. There’s horror here, absolutely, but there’s also science fiction and fantasy. What all five stories share is a sense of unease and disquiet that seeps off the pages, through your eyeballs, and right into your brain meat. Malerman isn’t afraid to shred your nerves and tickle your gag reflex at the same time. He makes your feel things.

Without giving away too much, here’s a quick overview of the stories. By they way, they’re not connected, but each is set in the small Michigan town of Samhattan, throughout a variety of time periods.

Half the House is Haunted
A dialogue of sorts, with alternating POVs, between two sisters, from when they are very small until end of life. They’re the main characters, but the house of the title is just as much of a character, and you’ll find yourself questioning just where the palpable sense of evil the permeates the story is emanating from. This one will burrow its way under your skin.

Doug and Judy Buy the House Washer™
One of the two science fiction stories here, with a fascinating and very much science fictional central concept, but it reads more like the savage dissection of a toxic marriage between two toxic people who are clearly meant for each other. Claustrophobic and uncomfortable, as if we’re eavesdropping on something profoundly intimate.

The Jupiter Drop
Science fiction, until it becomes something else altogether, a hallucinogenic journey into fantasy that will have you questioning what’s real and what’s not.

These next two are my favorites in the book, and I think they will join Daphne as stone cold horror classics.

The confessions of a dying man to his family. That’s all you’re getting from me. Read it, and good luck trying to get it out of your head. you may find yourself looking into the face of every stranger you pass, and wondering just what horrors reside within them.

This is the longest novella here, and it’s a masterpiece. The story of the death of one adult triplet and the lengths his two remaining brothers will go to in the name of vengeance, Egorov reads like an unholy amalgamation of Kafka, Tolstoy, and Dickens, with a healthy dose of Poe’s The Telltale Heart.

Spin a Black Yarn debuts August 15th, 2023, and is available for preorder now. For fans of dark fiction, this is a must-have.

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