Published by Tor Books on 9.12.2017
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Supernatural
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Three friends go looking for treasure and find horror in Jeffrey Ford's The Twilight Pariah.
All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child
Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.
Everyone knows that you don’t disturb buried skeletons. Everyone except Henry, Maggie and Russell, that is. With the summer off from college, three high school pals get together as Maggie has convinced the other two to help her with her amateur archaeology project. They’re going to dig up an old outhouse pit and see what they can find. Not only do they find a buried skeleton, the skeleton is very small and it has horns. Anyone sane of mind, would leave that thing along, fill the hole back up and take off-but that wouldn’t make for a very good horror story now would it? And this is definitely a good horror story! So what happens to the demon baby skeleton? What happens to this trio of friends almost immediately after disturbing said skeleton? You’ll have to read this to find out!
Digging up an outhouse pit , (at night of course), near an old abandoned mansion is a creepy endeavor to start with, and when odd things started happening it got very creepy indeed. I especially loved the portions about the mansion and the Prewitts, the people that used to live there. Actually, I would have loved to have learned more about them and the history of the family. Still, what happened to Marlby Prewitt and what resulted from that incident, was a unique and new idea, (at least to me), and I loved what Mr. Ford did with his creation.
The Twilight Pariah was a LOT of fun! I read it in just two sittings and when I finished, I was sorry that it was over. There is a lot to be said for lean storytelling and tight prose, but let me be clear, I would have delighted in more! More of the Prewitts, more of the trio and their friendship, more, more, more! In such a tight space, Mr. Ford brought these characters alive, made me care for them, and then boom! It was over and he took them away!
I’m embarrassed to say that this was my first book from Jeffrey Ford, but it will not be my last. I HIGHLY recommend The Twilight Pariah!
*I received this paperback ARC free of charge by responding to a Tweet from Mr. Ford. This did not affect my opinion of this awesome story.*
About Jeffrey Ford
Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels, Vanitas, The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, and The Shadow Year. His story collections are The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, Crackpot Palace, and the forthcoming A Natural History of Hell (July 2016). Ford has published well over 100 short stories, which have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction to The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. He is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, Nebula, Shirley Jackson Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France), Hayakawa Award (Japan). His fiction has been translated into about 20 languages. In addition to writing, he’s been a professor of literature and writing for 30 years and has been a guest lecturer at Clarion Writing Workshop, The Stone Coast MFA Program, The Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and the Antioch University Writing Workshop. He lives in Ohio and currently teaches part time at Ohio Wesleyan University.