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The Year of the Storm Paperback – June 4, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s been months since Danny’s mother and sister mysteriously disappeared into the woods. The anxious stasis of Danny’s life is interrupted by filthy, chain-smoking, oxygen tank–toting Walter Pike, who appears on the doorstep saying he might know what happened to them. In an alternate story line narrated by Pike, we learn a tale from his youth, when the teenage Walter befriended an outcast, Seth, who escaped bullies by taking refuge in an underground storm shelter in the forest. It was via this shelter that Seth learned to slip—to somehow travel to a strange swamp landscape where two girls missing from town seemed to continue to exist. Walter thinks Danny’s mother and sister may be in that same nether-swamp, but the time to find them is growing short. Yes, it takes a bit of effort to keep the similar story lines straight, but Mantooth’s masterful foreshadowing creates a need to know even when the stakes are lessened by the fantasy element. A tough and violent book, but also one with prose that aches with loss. --Daniel Kraus


“Powerful, dark, and heartfelt. The Year of the Storm is a wonderful coming of age novel by a very talented new writer. An astounding debut.”—John Rector, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of Already Gone, The Grove, and The Cold Kiss

“A dark and mysterious southern-gothic story with hints of Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and Stephen King’s novella The Body, John Mantooth’s voice is masculine and powerful, flavoring the pages with the Alabama wilderness, the turmoil of family and how all of these elements work to shape and nurture teenage boys into men.”—Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana and Donnybrook  

"As strong a debut novel as any I've read in a long time. It's frightening and sad, vicious and unforgiving, quiet and contemplative. It's a helluva start to what's surely going to be a career worth watching."—

"The Year of the Storm by John Mantooth is the very definition of "attention grabber." It is a flat out page turner. It is a rare thriller which combines elements of rural noir, supernatural horror, and is an intense dual coming of age story that is as spellbinding as anything from horror masters such as Stephen King and Laird Barron."—

“Masterful foreshadowing… A tough and violent book, but also one with prose that aches with loss.”—Booklist

Praise for Shoebox Trainwreck

"Good, spare, bleak storytelling, and some haunting images that will stick with readers."--Publishers Weekly

"Unique, startling, moving."--Shroud Magazine

"John Mantooth is an exciting new voice in dark fiction."--Douglas Clegg, author of Neverland


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425265749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425265741
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Mantooth is an award-winning author whose short stories have been recognized in numerous year's best anthologies. His short fiction has been published in Fantasy Magazine, Crime Factory, Thuglit, and the Stoker winning anthology, Haunted Legends (Tor, 2010), among others. He's represented by Alec Shane of Writers House. His first book, Shoebox Train Wreck, was released in March of 2012 from Chizine Publications. His debut novel, The Year of the Storm, came out in June 2013 from Berkley. He lives in Alabama with his wife, Becky, and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I like how Mantooth presented the story through two different persons.
Bro Rich
Readers of all ages could pick up this book and find something profound about human experience, something worth reflecting on.
Max Everhart
Mantooth does a great job pulling you into both narratives and weaving them into a story that is suspenseful and fun to read.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Speak to Me on June 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
John Mantooth's debut novel is a must read for anyone who loves a great story. Like all my favorite books I finished this one in less than 48 hrs (despite a very busy family life those 2 days). I had to drag myself to sleep as I couldn't stop reading it.

"The Year of the Storm" is a page-turner. I loved his short story collection last year, "Shoe Box Train Wreck". Those stories all read very quickly and I couldn't wait for the novel. I actually got my hands on the novella, "Broken Branch" last month and it was fabulous too! So I wasn't surprised to enjoy another fabulous piece of writing by Mantooth. I didn't know how well his writing would transition from short story to novella to novel, but it couldn't have been better. About half way through this book I realized that the novella was a prequel to this story. The story of the small group of believers that were Broken Branch transitioned into some of the characters and themes of this story. That was a nice surprise and pretty cool.

Mantooth did a great job developing these interesting characters; each seemed to have several layers of complexity. The story morphed back and forth effortlessly and naturally from two different time points and two different narrators (one a 14 year-old boy and the other a grown man). The interconnections were fascinating and often surprising. Just when I thought I might guess what was to happen next, I was surprised. Not only did he succeed in making an unbelievable story seem believable, but it felt like I was there as a part of the story, understanding the struggles of the characters, trying desperately to find my way through to a better life.

I won't give away the ending, but it was surprising and beautiful.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
John Mantooth's debut novel, THE YEAR OF THE STORM, is a must read for 2013. You'll be surprised that the novel is his debut - I was when I read his short story collection, SHOEBOX TRAIN WRECK, last year and found that it was his first major publication. The wonderfully dark collection held a strong aura of an established author, one whose work I couldn't wait to dive back into. Alas, when I searched for another book by Mantooth, all I could find was `coming in 2013.' Needless to say, given that SBTW was my favorite book of 2012, I had high hopes for THE YEAR OF THE STORM.

THE YEAR OF THE STORM was a rare book to exceed my high expectations. I think it can be difficult for a reader to transition to a novel after reading an author's short fiction (especially authors like Mantooth, whose stories pack an emotional wallop that the page can barely contain.) But Mantooth successfully expands upon his realm of dark fiction in the novel, maintaining the level of detail and prose throughout. It feels like you're sitting down with an old raconteur and listening to him weave his favorite yarn. You have to slow down when you read this book, soak it all in. The prose is rich and atmosphere will linger on your mind.

Other reviews, including a blurb from author Frank Bill, have compared THE YEAR OF THE STORM to Stephen King's THE BODY and Tom Franklin's CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER. To me, THE YEAR OF THE STORM is the essential dark coming-of-age journey that you should have on your shelf. It wades into the mystical nature of childhood memories and adult reflection, touching on bullying, abuse, homophobia, hope, loss, loyalty, family, loneliness - details and themes handled with rare beauty that will leave readers reflecting on their own childhood.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Dinan on June 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's something incredibly satisfying about reading a debut novel and knowing - KNOWING - that the author is destined to be one of the greats. John Mantooth's The Year of the Storm clearly puts him in that category. The novel has it all: a gripping story, beautiful writing, and that undefinable perspective that makes a work only one person could ever write. TYOTS is one of those books that left me jealous of Mantooth's accomplishment in the best ways possible. I can't wait to see where he goes next in what will surely be a long career.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bracken MacLeod on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I went in to this novel trying to manage my exceedingly high expectations (almost always certain doom for my opinion of any book) given how much I loved Shoebox Train Wreck. My fear was that I might somehow be setting myself up for disappointment by comparing it unfairly to a short story collection I considered one of the best books of 2012 (and one of my favorite books, period). My fears were unfounded. While it is early in the year, I feel confident that The Year of the Storm will still be in my top five favorite books of 2013 come December.

While I wouldn't say that this book is as dark as Shoebox, it certainly carries on his trademark tone while strongly conveying a sense of youthful optimism at the same time. He tackles loyalty, loss, loneliness, and hope each with an emotional sincerity that other good writers couldn't match if they focused on only one of those themes at a time. The natural comparisons to be made here are with other dark coming of age tales like Stephen King's The Body (a.k.a. Stand By Me) and McCammon's Boy's Life. In my opinion, Mantooth has matched Boy's Life and handily bested The Body.

This one really should be on your Must Read List for 2013.

* Note: I read an uncorrected proof of this novel from the publisher prior to its official release
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