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Southern Gods Paperback – August 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is the cofounder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir. He is also, in his copious spare time, a novelist, represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His first novel, SOUTHERN GODS, was published by Night Shade Books and released nationally in August, 2011. THIS DARK EARTH will be published in July 2012 by Gallery/Simon & Schuster. The INCARCERADO TRILOGY, comprised of THE TWELVE FINGERED BOY, INCARCERADO, and THE END OF ALL THINGS will be published by Carolrhoda Labs in 2013, 2014, 2015 respectively.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802857
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Hornor Jacobs is the author of SOUTHERN GODS, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, THIS DARK EARTH, was published in July, 2012, by Gallery/Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. His young adult series, comprised of THE TWELVE-FINGERED BOY, THE SHIBBOLETH, and THE CONFORMITY, will be published by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Lerner Publishing.

His first fantasy series, beginning with THE INCORRUPTIBLES, will be published in Spring 2014 by Gollancz in the UK.

John is the co-founder of Needle: A Magazine of Noir and was the active creative director until fall 2012. He has a quartet of horror stories, FIERCE AS THE GRAVE, available through Amazon.com. He lives with his family in Arkansas, where he is also a musician and graphic artist. Visit him at www.johnhornorjacobs.com.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kent Gowran on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'll tell you something: When I pick up a first novel, no matter who the author is, I expect to encounter a fair share of hiccups throughout the book. It's a first novel, there a bound to be some rough spots. And that's a fine and natural thing. But here, with SOUTHERN GODS, the fist thing I took note of was that John Hornor Jacobs writes with an assured and compelling voice throughout.

The prologue of this novel is as fine a piece of horror literature as any I've had the pleasure of reading. And when Jacobs moves us into the Arkansas of 1951, you know he's got it down cold. Ramblin' John Hastur is an engrossing character, Bull Ingram is a likable guy, all the characters are rich and alive in the pages, and I'll take odds that once you start turning the pages of this novel you won't want to stop. There are some nods to H.P. Lovecraft, but it's all filtered through a solid Southern Gothic lens and reads like nothing else I've read before.

Even if horror isn't your thing, you pick up this book, you'll be hooked, because Jacobs can flat out write. A true pleasure to read, this a book that has earned itself a permanent place on my shelf.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ed Kurtz on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
First things first: SOUTHERN GODS is a terrific novel. It is Southern Gothic, noir crime thriller and intense Lovecraftian terror rolled into one marvelous story of bad blood, demons both personal and real, and hard-earned redemption. And Jacobs writes with such a sure hand you'd swear he'd sold his soul to the devil just like the folks in 1951 rural Arkansas whisper about Ramblin' John Hastur in the novel. Of course, Ramblin' John's story is a great deal more complex--and more sinister--than that, but I have no intention of ruining the ride you have ahead of you. I'll just say this: if William Faulkner, Jim Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft had an orgiastic blood sacrifice ritual to honor the Old Ones in the Delta Swampland at the height of the muggy Deep South summer at midnight, Southern Gods would probably be the result. Yeah, it's that good.

I don't see writing this tight too often, and the mounting tension is so expertly paced that I found myself breathlessly turning the pages. The denouement smashed me in the face with breakneck madness and terror that included a rare element lacking in a lot of horror fiction--heart. Jacobs' characters are extremely rich, and their journey to the incredible close of Southern Gods all but left me gasping for air. This is the sort of book you just silently hold in your hands for a while after finishing it, thinking it over and basking in its masterfulness. That's what I did, anyway.

Highly recommended.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steve Weddle on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alright, I don't know Cthulu from Gesundheit so all of this "Lovecraft-infused Faulkner" talk about this novel just breezed right by me.

After the ghost/horror story prologue, the book moves like a well crafted PI novel -- the search for the missing person. Of course, like all good PI search books before it, the searcher ends up unraveling more than he'd bargained for and turns to a new search.

What's magnificent about this particular novel is the way it stays true to this form, then expands and deepens the narrative, bringing in a creation narrative that feels both fresh and ancient.

As World War II veteran Bull Ingram searches for the mysterious Ramblin' John Hastur, he's pulled into a world of southern gothic horrors stretching back generations, weaving in characters' narratives like threads in an heirloom quilt.

This is a book you'll recommend immediately and then remember on dark nights for the rest of your life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Won't be back on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whatever you do, if you get a playbill advertising Ramblin' John Hastur coming to play blues in your town, don't go - or do go - but don't expect to come away unscathed, unhinged or maybe jes' plain ol' undead!

Great mash-up of hard-boiled detective fiction, Southern Gothic and that great old one, H.P. Lovecraft. The first half of this debut mostly concerns itself with a missing person case that quickly turns into a first-rate nightmare at a 50's Arkansas honky-tonk (Ark-where?) and more than a whiff of some seriously nasty Mythos stuff going on.

Less compelling is a mostly second-half thread of characters involving a love interest, and a giant Catholic apostasy that sputters unconvincingly amid Harlequin romance tropes (how many times will Bull the detective's back muscles ripple?) and a grab-bag of mythic characters that lead the reader to wonder - who wrote the halves of this novel? They can't both be whoever put together the scene at Ruby's on the Bayou!

Please note that despite finding the writing of the second half to be weaker overall, it did still require a cast-iron stomach and almost sociopathic disregard for the horrifying action perpetrated in the finale.

Well worth reading though - but I wonder, is it possible to purchase a movie option for just the first half of the novel (4 stars)? Second half only 2.5 stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By eShu on January 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Southern Gods" is an intriguing take on the Lovecraft Mythos. Here, author John Hornor Jacobs takes those Eldrich horrors from 1920's New England and transplants them to the blues soaked South of the '50s.

In his debut, Jacobs does a fairly good job creating that typical "Lovecraftian" sense of dread that he skillfully enables the readers to experience along side his characters. The premise has promise; music from an enigmatic Bluesman named "Ramblin' John Hastur" (a name that should be familiar to all Lovecraft devotees) randomly turns up on the airwaves and leaves nothing but chaos and terror in its wake.

The central mystery of just who...or what Ramblin' John is kept me hungrily devouring this novel. However, the Big Reveal left me gagging.

I'm not going to give it away, but I felt an opportunity was missed here. This was a chance to marry the Cthulhu Myth to the Crossroads Myth and take a truly American horror legend to the next level.

Instead, the sense of dread gives way to a sense of Deja Vu as Jacobs falls back on a lazy resolution. This was disappointing since he initially introduces some very fresh characters and concepts. By the end though, you're left with weak dialogue and cliche characters (the wizened master who knows more than he should, the life long loner who suddenly finds his compassion at the last minute, etc...)

I don't know if Jacobs simply lost direction or if he was forced to "rework" the ending at the urging of his publisher. But the last quarter of the book almost seemed (as noted by another reviewer) as if it had been written by a different author.

Still, the story was entertaining and the writing (aside from some circular and clunky phrasing) shows tremendous potential.
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