and Other Pawns
Some men only know how to do hard things the hard way!
The battered women who drifted into the District Attorney’s office all haunted him with the same, hard-bought lie: “I want to drop the charges.” Every bruised face and split lip reminded the assistant D.A. of the violent home he’d escaped and how little he could do to prevent others’ suffering at the hands and fists of the same kind of monster who’d raised him. But when Marisol Pierce appeared with an image of her son and a hint that she was willing to take a step away from the man abusing her, the prosecutor made a promise he knew he couldn’t keep. A promise that could cost him everything.
“White Knight,” appears back in print, for the first time together with several of his acclaimed crime and suspense stories written for Shotgun Honey, Beat to a Pulp, and Shock Totem, along with an interview with the author and brand new story notes. WHITE KNIGHT AND OTHER PAWNS is a tour through noir, hardboiled, and even an EC Comics-inspired “SuspenStory.”
"WHITE KNIGHT is a harrowing portrait of a man drowning in the riptide created by an imperfect legal system and his own best intentions. Bracken MacLeod packs a lot of story into this thoughtful, propulsive read."
~Rob Hart, author of New Yorked and The Warehouse
Come to Dust
Ever since her mother abandoned her, five-year-old Sophie has had to depend on her uncle Mitch for everything. Though their life is difficult, he works hard to keep their family together, despite the obstacles in their way. But just when everything seems to be looking up for them, it all comes crashing down when Sophie dies tragically. Mitch descends into a crippling grief, not knowing how to continue on without her.
When scores of children around the world begin to inexplicably rise from the dead—Sophie among them—everything becomes much harder.
Mitch rescues her from the morgue, determined to carve out a normal life for them no matter what, though it soon becomes clear that may not be possible. While the kids who’ve returned behave like living children, they still look very dead. And they can do something else that normal children cannot. Something terrifying. While debate rages over whether the children’s return is a mercy or a sign of approaching judgment, a congregation of religious fanatics determined to usher in the apocalypse has its own plan for salvation.
Now Mitch must find a way to save Sophie from an increasingly hostile world that wants to tear them apart and put her back in the ground for good.
“Come to Dust packs punches on both a visceral and emotional level. Heart-wrenching and terrifying—one of the absolute standouts in horror's new wave."
~ Brian Keene, best selling author of THE RISING and PRESSURE
13 Views of the
From the author of Mountain Home and Stranded, comes Bracken MacLeod’s first collection of short stories.
These stories inhabit the dark places where pain and resignation intersect, and the fear of a quiet moment alone is as terrifying as the unseen thing watching from behind the treeline. In the titular story, a young woman waits for her father to come home from the place where no one goes intending to return. A single word is the push that may break a man and save a life. The members of a winemaking community celebrate the old time religion found flowing in the blood of the vine. A desperate man seeking a miracle cure gets more than a peek behind the curtain of Dr. Morningstar’s Psychic Surgery. A child who dreams of escaping on leather wings finds rescue in dark water instead. Looking back over a life, a homeless veteran must decide to live in the present if he wants to save his future. In a Halloween Hell house, a youth pastor must face the judgment of a man committed to doing the Lord’s work. Fiery death heralds the beginning of a new life. A man who has been carrying pain with him his entire life gives up his last piece of darkness. And a still day beneath the sun illuminates the quiet sorrow of the last feather to fall.
“Bracken MacLeod writes dark, human stories of horror and modern noir. Absolutely one of the brightest stars of the next generation!”
~ Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of SNOWBLIND and ARARAT
“The short fiction of another up-and-comer, Bracken MacLeod, feels far more horrific to me, although there’s almost nothing of the supernatural in his superb new collection. . . . There are pieces here that nod to distinguished ancestors like Ambrose Bierce’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,’ Flannery O’Connor’s ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ and Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’—but none of those are conventional things-that-go-bump-in-the-night horror, either. What those stories, and MacLeod’s, have in common is a stifling sense of fatality, of people trapped in situations over which they have no control. And the power of inescapable fate is the essence of horror: the feeling for which every monster, large or small, is just a metaphor.”
~Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times
“You won’t find any goblins or ghouls in this book. Bracken MacLeod’s brand of horror is far more insidious than any jump scare or gore-a-thon. In the stories of 13 Views of the Suicide Woods, MacLeod strips the genre down to its bare essentials. He cuts right to the heart of what humans fear most—loneliness, helplessness, desperation—with subtle and poetic prose that will raise goosebumps before you even realize you are afraid. ‘MacLeod’s characters, who are often working-class people with dangerously low expectations of life, remind me of the doomed protagonists of Cornell Woolrich’s novels and stories, those hapless folks for whom everything, elaborately and implacably, sooner or later goes wrong,’ a review in the New York Times Book Review quipped, adding, ‘Sounds like horror to me.'”
~ Cassidy Faust, Literary Hub
“MacLeod’s work . . . takes you to unexpected places and conclusions. You might laugh at a really bad decision and its denouement, smirk at the comeuppance of a vile character, cheer at well-deserved vengeance, or feel utterly despondent. It’s up to you to decide what you feel, and where. But then, that’s part of the fun of 13 Views of the Suicide Woods; it is an emotional treasure hunt.”
“I read the first story and couldn’t put the book down. MacLeod writes short fiction with the same powerful voice he uses for longer work, and the result is commanding literature that dances between genres and can go from poetic to sad to creepy to bizarre in just a couple of lines.”
~Gabino Iglesias, LitReactor
“13 Views of the Suicide Woods is a masterpiece collection of sorrows and horror . . . impactful and raw, never holding back where other[s] might. . . . MacLeod is a true talent and a master.”
Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him.
Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.
“As brilliant as it is disturbing. Bracken MacLeod joins the ranks of today’s top horror writers.”
~ Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of PATIENT ZERO
"An ice-cold Arctic thriller with a Twilight Zone twist and suspense to spare. The best debut novel I've read in ages."
~ Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Ringers
"A smart, surprisingly-moving, first-rate thriller that chucks Martin Cruz Smith's Polar Star down a Twilight-Zone-esque rabbit role."
~ Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock
"Stunning. MacLeod leads us on an existential journey through hell that moves smoothly from unease to horror, finding every emotional beat and giving full measure to each human hope and fear."
~ Dana Cameron, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity award winning author
"The work of a master storyteller at the top of his game. You'll smell the ocean air, hear the waves as they slap against the hull, and experience the white-knuckle terror of trying to survive in the face of the unknown. If Bracken MacLeod can't scare you, you're already dead!"
~ Nicholas Kaufmann, author of Die And Stay Dead
“Stranded is a genre-transcending triumph, proof that horror is about what’s real (really) inside us all, and the pressure cooker of circumstances that brings that – all that – to the surface. With this book, Bracken MacLeod steps squarely into the highest rank of writers as he takes risks others couldn’t hope to conceptualize ... and magically makes them work.”
~ Andrew Vachss, award-winning author of The Burke series.
Lyn Lowry fantasizes about escaping her ordinary life as a waitress in a rural roadside diner, dreaming about the excitement of living in the big city. But when the first bullets smash through the windows of Your Mountain Home Kitchen, she finds herself living in a nightmare instead.
Surviving the initial attack is only the beginning of the ordeal as Lyn reluctantly steps up to take control and find a way to escape alive. The other survivors trapped in the diner aren’t all eager to follow her lead, and the threat from her companions may be more dangerous than the sniper’s rifle outside. Navigating hostilities from both inside and out, Lyn quickly learns she can’t rely on anyone but herself to save her life.
And she thinks she might have seen something lurking in the dark trees at the edge of the forest. Something that wants her to know, all hope is gone.
What if your worst fear was yourself?
"Next time some fool gleefully announces 'Small Press is dead,' tell him to read this stunning debut, a cut–to–the–bone novel that credibly interweaves the 180° range of the human spirit and the 180° of darkness below it. The colorless evil always pushing against that micro–crust from below, while the colorless evil above is drilling for the soothing oil every psychopath seeks. A magical book, a reflective mirror of truth ... and what that costs."
~ Andrew Vachss, Raymond Chandler Award winning author of the Burke series of novels and SIGNWAVE: An Aftershock Novel
"Damn well worth your time. A tense thriller full of well-drawn characters and an imaginative setup that puts it all in motion. This guy's ready for the big leagues."
~ New York Times Bestseller, Christopher Golden, author of TIN MEN and ARARAT
"[A] VERY accomplished debut novel. I cared about the main characters… they were vividly real. Riveting debut novel."
~ World Horror Convention Grand Master, Jack Ketchum, author of OFF SEASON and THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS
"Bracken MacLeod's MOUNTAIN HOME hits like a Claymore mine and cuts with the emotional precision of a scalpel. Ferocious and tender, painful and real, it shows that the worst horrors are those we create ourselves, and that this world offers no shelter from evil, not even for the innocent. A powerful and thoughtful first novel."
~ Chet Williamson, International Horror Guild Award winning author of SOULSTORM and HUNTERS