“A Russian Doll of a novel, each layer of the narrative revealing something even more harrowing beneath.”
With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime – a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State – a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.
Why We’re Excited About This Book:
The buzz around Ania Ahlborn has been steadily building with each release; following on from books such as Seed, The Neighbours and The Bird Eater, Ahlborn now returns with Within These Walls. Her new novel is a story about a washed up writer, Lucas Graham, desperate for one more chance. When he’s given the opportunity to interview the leader of a murder-suicide cult, he thinks he’s found it. However the catch is that Graham and his daughter must move into the house where the cult’s most grisly murders were committed. This Is Horror readers are unlikely to be surprised that this proves to be a bad move…
As well the present day narrative, the novel also tells the story of charismatic cult leader Jeffrey Halcomb in his prime, and what really happened all those years ago. Within These Walls is a Russian Doll of a novel, each layer of the narrative revealing something even more harrowing beneath. Atmospheric, sinister and compelling, it confirms Ahlborn as one to watch.
“A terrifying social satire where blonde women are infected by a rabies-like disease.”
The Blondes is a hilarious and whip-smart novel where an epidemic of a rabies-like disease is carried only by blonde women, all of whom must go to great lengths to conceal their blondness.
Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes–whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants–into rabid killers.
Emily Schultz’s beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work.
Why We’re Excited About This Book:
There’s probably few books featured on This Is Horror where the author’s initial inspiration came from an advert in Vanity Fair, but that’s the case with The Blondes from Emily Schultz. Inspired by a Gucci ad featuring a murderous looking blonde model, Schultz has written a terrifying social satire where blonde women are infected by a rabies-like disease, turning them into vicious killers. The novel explores not so much the disease but its reaction–blonde women begin dying their hair or shaving it off to avoid being incarcerated or shot in the streets of New York.
Having similarities to such classics as Blindness and The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blondes is fast-paced enough to be an effective thriller, but raises deeper questions about society’s view of beauty, post 9/11 paranoia, and gender politics.
Praised by Stephen King, The Blondes provides an original an interesting spin on ‘the infected’ sub-genre.
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