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Coffin County Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Leisure (2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0843960507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843960501
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,520,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 20 books -- evenly divided between novels and short-story collections; his fiction has been translated into Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, German, Czech, and Polish. Nearly 200 of his short stories have appeared in various publications.

He was born in Newark, Ohio; the city that serves as the model for the fictitious Cedar Hill in many of his novels and stories. The Cedar Hill stories are collected in Graveyard People, Home Before Dark, and the forthcoming The Carnival Within, all published by Earthling Books.

His fiction has received several awards, including 5 Bram Stoker Awards: the first for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction in 2003 for "Duty"; the second -- also for Superior Achievement in Short Story -- in 2005 for "We Now Pause for Station Identification"; his collection Destinations Unknown won the Stoker for Superior Achievement in Fiction Collection in 2006; and 2007 saw Gary winning 2 Stoker Awards; the first for co-editing the anthology 5 Strokes to Midnight, and the second for his novella "Afterward, There Will Be a Hallway." His novella "Kiss of the Mudman" received the International Horror Guild Award for Long Fiction in 2005.

As an editor, Gary completed the latest installment of the Masques anthology series created by Jerry Williamson, Masques V, after Jerry became too ill to continue.

He also served a term as president of the Horror Writers Association. He is married to Lucy Snyder, a science fiction/fantasy writer, and they reside together in Columbus, Ohio.

Gary is an adjunct professor at Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania, where he teaches in an innovative MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction.

His nonfiction writing book Fear In A Handful Of Dust: Horror As A Way Of Life has been used as a text by several college writing classes. (A revised and expanded edition of the book will be coming out in late 2010/early 2011, from Apex Books.) Gary has taught writing seminars and workshops around the country on topics such as short story writing, characterization, and dialogue.

His work is often praised for its depth of emotion and characterization, as well as for its refusal to adhere to any genre tropes; some joke that the term "cross-genre fiction" may have been invented to describe his work -- a rumor he does everything in his power to propagate.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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I felt like I wasted all the time it took to read.
C. Bennett
The opening is good, the gore is there, the characters are interesting, and there is violence a-plenty.
I doubt I will ever read this one again, and yet I will keep it on my shelf.
Daniel R. Robichaud II

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on June 9, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This being my second time reading Braunbeck I would have expected to be used to his lyrical and poetic style of writing but it still shakes me. His writing is different, more philosophical than your average horror stories; his thinking dissects ideas to the core and reaches deeper levels of emotion while still giving the reader a fantasy like story where the reality blurs with magic.

Cedar Hill, Ohio is the fictional place all his books take place in. A place that has murders, terror and non stop violence mixed in with a heavy duty dose of the supernatural, now call me crazy but I don't know how this place still has any residents. They are sitting ducks waiting to be taken out by their own family members and neighbors in this novel, a new twists that the author ads for a new measure of terror. In Coffin Country mass murders take stage and the killer seems nonchalant about it, informing the police about his actions, playing with their minds and planting a seed of destruction in randomly - or so it seems - people to do his bidding. When a police officer who lost his family to a random act of violence feels the murders are starting to get personal his life reaches levels of hell no one could have imagined possible. The hunt is on to find the killer who finger prints defy logic and sanity. I won't say anymore because the real beauty of any book is finding the juicy bits on your own. But be prepared to be mad and outraged at the ease with which gruesome acts happen, as if it really was another layer of life and part of our existence which we can't escape and are destined to experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick Cato on July 7, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...and thought the ending was very well done (and yes, I know my religion and history). When you read as many horror novels a year as I do (which is over 50), COFFIN COUNTY stands out like a shining blade among the crowd. Whenever the fantastic comes into play, a suspension of belief is going to be required sooner or later. If anyone feels "insulted" by this ending, perhaps you're forgetting this is FICTION, and a temporary escape from reality (at least its supposed to be).
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Robichaud II on May 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a complex tale spanning about 200 years worth of history in Braunbeck's oft revisited, fictional locale of Cedar Hill, Ohio. The epigraph page invokes the tragic shootings at University of Texas, San Ysidro, Columbine, and Virginia Tech alongside several passages about madness, selflessness and love... This novel is an attempt to understand chaos and the sort of violence committed at those four locales (among others) by introducing similar acts to large town/small city Cedar Hill... While the actual violence is, for the most part, kept off stage, the work does not shy away from the aftermath.

At turns startling, depressing, provocative, stomach churning, thoughtful, and reprehensible, the book communicates its grim meditations in beautiful prose. I find myself conflicted. Part of me absolutely despises the work's cosmological conceit (which I feel runs the dangerous line of trivializing the aforementioned tragedies), and yet the book has done what Kafka tells us books should do. It got my mind turning, even as it horrified me; this horror is not the simplistic "Boo!" or "Ewww, Gross!" or creepy atmosphere, but something far less enjoyable, something that hit me on a deeper level. While it did not quite make me nauseous (as the amoral underpinning of David J. Schow's "Bad Guy Hats" did, when I first read it; BGH is the only piece of fiction that brought me close to actually puking), Coffin County certainly shook me up. There were times I seriously wanted to throw the book against the wall for what it had to say about violence and those who perform it, yet I read through to the end. I doubt I will ever read this one again, and yet I will keep it on my shelf. This book has teeth.

The novel itself is short (270 of the 334 pages). It is followed by two short stories, also set in Cedar Hill...

This book makes me wonder if I am losing my spine for real horror.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shroud Magazine's Book Reviews VINE VOICE on February 18, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The horror genre is rife with writers that make us shiver at things that go "bump" in the night. However, it's a rare treat to find a cerebral writer who crafts tales that are thought-provoking as well as chilling. Gary A. Braunbeck is one such writer, and in "Coffin County", he's at the top of his scary, mind-twisting game.

Detective Ben Littlejohn's life veered off the road when his wife and unborn child were gunned down three years ago. Since then, his world has become a drudgery of work and dreams of a different life. Waking from one such dream, Littlejohn receives a phone call that will change everything forever.

An ancient force has invaded the small town of Cedar Hill; one that's visited before. Cedar Hill's history is stained in blood, marred by periodic outbursts of violence. In a spray of bullets, a serial killer strikes at the small Hopewell Diner, drawing Ben Littlejohn into a centuries old pact that reaches back to the death of Christ. In the midst of unraveling this mysterious bloodbath, he'll be faced with his worst nightmare, couched within his greatest wish: to have his family back again.

"Coffin County" poses the reader with the daunting question: who chooses between those who live and die? How can we reconcile a loving God with the atrocities mankind has inflicted upon itself? In a thoughtfully horrifying tale, Braunbeck not only chills the soul but also taunts the mind with unanswerable questions that are far more gruesome than blood spilled upon the page.
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