Peter Straub masterfully weaves horror and suspense into a love story unlike any other: the ballad of Ballard and Sandrine. Ballard and his considerably younger lover Sandrine have been brought together by a shared erotic obsession of the darkest kind. As they travel down a remote part of the Amazon River on a luxurious yacht, they spend their days indulging in their macabre pastime. Through a haze of pain and pleasure, the lovers are witness to a series of increasingly sinister portents, dreams and visions that haunt their claustrophobic and disturbing world. With Peter Straub's signature, breathtaking twists and an astonishing climax, you'll never forget The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine.
Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer travelled to a parallel universe called The Territories to save his mother and her Territories "twinner" from a premature and agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, WI. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awaken those memories. When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier by a real-life madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed "The Fisherman" and Jack's buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced force find him. But is this merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack's inexplicable waking dreams, if that is what they are, of robins' eggs and red feathers? It's almost as if someone is trying to tell him something. As that message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted track of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.
A schoolboy hypnotizes his little brother and discovers a dark and deadly power
The incomparable master of horror and suspense returns with a powerful, brilliantly terrifying novel that redefines the genre in original and unexpected ways.The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body--and the shattered souls of all who were present. Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and it's through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom, but that have haunted every one of them through their lives. As each of the old friends tries to come to grips with the darkness of the past, they find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier. Unfolding through the individual stories of the fated group's members, A Dark Matter is an electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel that will satisfy Peter Straub's many ardent fans, and win him legions more.
Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Darynda Jones, Jacquelyn Frank, and Brian Hodge contribute five gloomy, disturbing tales of madness and horror to Dark Screams: Volume Three, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the celebrated Cemetery Dance Publications. THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub A mere child yet a precocious writer, young Freddie records a series of terrifying encounters with an inhuman being that haunts his life . . . and seems to predict his death. GROUP OF THIRTY by Jack Ketchum When an award-winning horror writer on the downward slope of a long career receives an invitation to address the Essex County Science Fiction Group, he figures he's got nothing to lose. He couldn't be more wrong. NANCY by Darynda Jones Though she's adopted by the cool kids, the new girl at Renfield High School is most drawn to Nancy Wilhoit, who claims to be haunted. But it soon becomes apparent that poltergeists--and people--are seldom what they seem. I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON by Jacquelyn Frank Charlie Pearson has a crush on Stacey Wheeler. She has no idea. Charlie will make Stacey see that he loves her, and that she loves him--even if he has to kill her to make her say it. THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY by Brian Hodge When Marni moves in next door, the stale marriage of Tara and Aidan gets a jolt of adrenaline. Whether it's tonic or toxic is another matter.Praise for Dark Screams: Volume Three "Well worth picking up and reading . . . If you have not tried the series yet, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of any (or all) of the books for yourself."--Examiner.com "Freeman and Chizmar have brought their A-game to Dark Screams: Volume Three. If you pick just one installment in this series to read, pick this one."--LitReactor "Another winner."--HorrorTalk "A gathering of perfect little bites of fiction . . . As you finish one story you'll definitely be ready to move on to the next one."--Sweet Southern Home "Every story has something to offer for horror fans. They're creepy, thought-provoking, scary and quick reads."--The Reader's Hollow "[Horror] needs to hit you in the sweet spot where the amygdala and the cerebrum whisper to each other, where intellect and emotion intertwine, and all of these stories do that, and they do it well."--Bibliotica "A fun, frightful read . . . If the editors keep raising the bar, I'll be back again and again."--Atomic Fangirl
The terrors afflicting the sleepy town of Hampstead, Connecticut, were beyond imagination. Sparrows dropping dead from the trees like rotten fruit, disfiguring diseases spreading like wildfire, inexplicable murders and child drownings shattering the lives of the citizens -- never can such a list of horrors have afflicted one town.<P><P> But the evil madness had a long history. A catastrophe had struck Hampstead every thirty years since its foundation 300 years before -- yet only Graham Williams, a writer and descendant of one of the original founders, had looked into the 'black summers' and their mysterious origins. When he discovers that descendants of the three other original settlers are back living in the town, he knows it will be the blackest summer yet!
#1 New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub's classic tale of horror, secrets, and the dangerous ghosts of the past... What was the worst thing you've ever done? In the sleepy town of Milburn, New York, four old men gather to tell each other stories--some true, some made-up, all of them frightening. A simple pastime to divert themselves from their quiet lives. But one story is coming back to haunt them and their small town. A tale of something they did long ago. A wicked mistake. A horrifying accident. And they are about to learn that no one can bury the past forever...From the Trade Paperback edition.
For four men in the town of Milburn, New York, an act carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past.
When he died in 1937, destitute and emotionally and physically ruined. H. P. Lovecraft had no idea that he would come to be regarded as the godfather of the modern horror genre, nor that his work would influence an entire generation of writers, including Stephen King and Anne Rice. Now, at last, the most important tales of this distinctive American genious are gathered in one volume by National Book Award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates. Combining the nineteenth-century gothic sesibility of Edgar Allan Poe with a daring internal vision, Lovecraft's tales foretold a psychically troubled century to come. Set in a meticulously described, historically grounded New England landscape, his harrowing stories explore the collapse of sanity beneath the weight of chaotic events. Lovecraft's universe is a frightening shadow world where reality and nightmare intertwine, and redemption can come only from below. In her preceptive and penetrating introduction, Oates, herself a virtuoso of the Gothic style, explains how Lovecraft's singular talents fused the supernatural and mundane into a terrifying complex, exquisitely realized vision.
Not since Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs has a writer invented a villain as diabolical, clever, fascinating, and funny as the one Peter Straub has created in serial killer Dick Dart. Having already murdered four women, Dart seizes as a hostage Nora Chancel, who is unwillingly drawn into a treacherous double mystery, and who shines as a heroine of courage, wit, and intelligence. To survive the ten days of her kidnapping, Nora, without seeming to do so, must outwit Dart, an extraordinarily intuitive and resourceful monster, as they careen around New England in a series of stolen cars with a growing posse of state policemen on their trail. Powered by suspense that builds at an astonishing pace, and a mystery that deepens the more it is investigated,The Hellfire Club is Peter Straub's most dazzling tribute yet to the imaginative power of sheer storytelling.
One summer night, a boy and his beautiful cousin plunge naked into the moonlit waters of a rural quarry. Twenty years later, the boy, now grown, flees the wreckage of his life and returns to Arden, Wisconsin, in search of everything he has lost. But for Miles Teagarden, the landscape he had known so well has turned eerie and threatening. And the love he shared has become very, very deadly . . .
In his latest soul-chilling novel, bestselling author Peter Straub tells of a famous children's book author who, in the wake of a grotesque accident, realizes that the most basic facts of her existence, including her existence itself, have come into question. Willy Patrick, the respected author of the award-winning young-adult novel In the Night Room, thinks she is losing her mind-again. One day, she is drawn helplessly into the parking lot of a warehouse. She knows somehow that her daughter, Holly, is being held in the building, and she has an overwhelming need to rescue her. But what Willy knows is impossible, for her daughter is dead. On the same day, author Timothy Underhill, who has been struggling with a new book about a troubled young woman, is confronted with the ghost of his nine-year-old sister, April. Soon after, he begins to receive eerie, fragmented e-mails that he finally realizes are from people he knew in his youth-people now dead. Like his sister, they want urgently to tell him something. When Willy and Timothy meet, the frightening parallels between Willy's tragic loss and the story in Tim's manuscript suggest that they must join forces to confront the evils surrounding them. From the Hardcover edition.
In a house in London a woman starts a new life, trying to put tragedy behind her. Then a pretty blonde child runs into view, bringing with her an inexplicable suggestion of evil.Once Julia Lofting had a husband and a daughter. But everything has changed since she bolted from her marriage, in flight from the unbearable truth of her daughter's death. For Julia, there is no escape. Another child awaits, another mother suffers, and a circle of the damned gathers around her. The haunting has begun . . .
They were Vietnam vets--a doctor, a lawyer, a working stiff, and a writer. Very different from each other, they are nonetheless linked by a shared history and a single shattering secret. Now, they have been reunited and are about to embark on a quest that will take from Washington, D.C., to the graveyards and fleshpots of the Far East to the human jungle of New York, hunting someone from the past who has risen from the darkness to kill and kill and kill.
A woman commits suicide for no apparent reason. A week later, her son -- beautiful, troubled fifteen-year-old Mark Underhill -- vanishes from the face of the earth. To his uncle, horror novelist Timothy Underhill, Mark's inexplicable absence feels like a second death. After his sister-in-law's funeral, Tim searches his hometown of Millhaven for clues that might help unravel this mystery of death and disappearance. He soon learns that a pedophilic murderer is on the loose in the vicinity, and that shortly before his mother's suicide Mark had become obsessed with an abandoned house where he imagined the killer might have taken refuge. No mere empty building, the house on Michigan Street whispers from attic to basement with the echoes of a long-hidden true-life horror story, and Tim Underhill comes to fear that in investigating its unspeakable history, Mark stumbled across its last and greatest secret: a ghostly lost girl who may have coaxed the needy, suggestible boy into her mysterious domain. With lost boy, lost girl, Peter Straub affirms once again that he is the master of literary horror.
Welcome to another kind of terror as Peter Straub leads us into the outer reaches of the psyche. Here the master of the macabre is at his absolute best in seven exquisite tales of living, dying, and the terror that lies in between.
For more than two decades Peter Straub has engrossed, entertained, and terrified us with his dazzling blend of cool artistry and mad, spine-tingling imagination. With Mr. X, the bestselling author of Ghost Story, The Talisman(with Stephen King), and The Hellfire Club takes us into the darkest dimensions of the human psyche and proves once again that he is without peer in the realm of psychological suspense and horror, a master storyteller whose unique and powerful gifts qualify him to be called the Edgar Allan Poe of our times. Mr. Xis Straub's original and startling take on the theme of the doppelgänger. Ned Dunstan's birthday is fast approaching, and every year on this date, Ned experiences a paralyzing seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious and malevolent figure in black whom Ned calls Mr. X. Ned has been drawn back to his hometown, Edgerton, Illinois, by a premonition that his mother, Star, is dying. Before she loosens her hold on life, she imparts to Ned the name of his father, never before disclosed, and warns him that he is in grave danger. Despite her foreboding, Ned's determination to learn as much as possible about his absent father ignites a series of extraordinary adventures that gradually reveal the heart of both his own identity and that of his entirely fantastic family: He discovers that he is shadowed by an identical twin brother who can pass through doors and otherwise defy the laws of nature; he becomes the lead suspect in three violent deaths; he investigates the secret shadow-world within Edgerton; he learns to "eat time" and remembers the one occasion when he and his sinister brother united into a single being. Finally, at the moment of battle, he must call upon everything he has learned to save his own life. Brimming with the author's trademark wit, understated eloquence, vibrant characters, and brilliant sense of pace, Mr. X displays Peter Straub at the top of his form.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Mystery, Shadowland, and The Talisman, the tale of an inspired literary sojourn that turns into something far more sinister Esswood House. Home and estate of the Seneschal family, aristocratic patrons of the literary arts for well over a hundred years. D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, and Henry James were privileged to call themselves guests and Esswood Fellows. Even minor poets such as Isobel Standish found in Esswood a respite from the outer world and its refined atmosphere an inspiration for her work. There was always talk of a hidden secret in Esswood's past, and the Seneschal children were often so pale and sickly, but don't all English manor houses have a few ghost stories to call their own? When Professor William Standish receives the rare honor of an Esswood Fellowship, and the chance to study Isobel's private manuscripts at close hand, he is thrilled beyond his wildest ambitions. But something seems slightly off at Esswood House, a feeling Standish cannot quite put his finger on. He hears faint laughter in the halls, the pitter-pattering of small feet in the night; strange faces appear in the windows of the library, and there are those giant dollhouses in the basement . . . Never before published as a separate volume, Mrs. God is a very different kind of ghost story from one of America's most celebrated authors.
A tale of an inspired literary sojourn that turns into something far more sinister. Esswood House. Home and estate of the Seneschal family, aristocratic patrons of the literary arts for well over a hundred years. D. H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, and Henry James were privileged to call themselves guests and Esswood Fellows. Even minor poets such as Isobel Standish found in Esswood a respite from the outer world and its refined atmosphere an inspiration for her work. There was always talk of a hidden secret in Esswood's past, and the Seneschal children were often so pale and sickly, but don't all English manor houses have a few ghost stories to call their own? When Professor William Standish receives the rare honor of an Esswood Fellowship, and the chance to study Isobel's private manuscripts at close hand, he is thrilled beyond his wildest ambitions. But something seems slightly off at Esswood House. He hears faint laughter in the halls, the pitter-pattering of small feet in the night; strange faces appear in the windows of the library, and there are those giant dollhouses in the basement . . . Never before published as a separate volume, Mrs. God is a very different kind of ghost story from one of America's most celebrated authors.
MYSTERY. Tom Pasmore, ten years old, survives a near fatal accident. During his long recovery, he becomes obsessed with an unsolved murder and finds he has clues to solving it that he shouldn't. Lamont von Heilitz has spent his life solving mysteries, until he wanted to know nothing more of the terror of life and the horror of death. When a new murder disrupts their world of wealth, power, and pleasure, the two must form an unlikely partnership to confront demons from the past and the dark secrets that still haunt the present.
Showcasing the cutting-edge talent of New Wave horror writers, "Poe's Children" brings the best of the genre's stories to a wider audience. Each story has been selected by "New York Times"-bestselling author Straub.
You have been there...if you have ever been afraid. Come back. To a dark house deep in the Vermont woods, where two friends are spending a season of horror, apprenticed to a Master Magician. Learning secrets best left unlearned. Entering a world of incalculable evil more ancient than death itself. More terrifying. And more real. Only one of them will make it through.
A rumination on the nature of evil, the story centers on a boy, Keith Hayward, who is drawn by his nature to an irresistible fascination with death and the taking of life. His father's brother, the good-looking, suave Uncle Till--the infamous Ladykiller, who has led a shadowy career as a local celebrity--recognizes his nephew's innermost nature and gleefully tutors him in art of doing ill without getting caught. Even a cold-blooded sociopath must learn some lessons in survival, it seems, and Uncle Till is only happy to provide a tutorial.
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