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About Brian Hodge
BRIAN HODGE, called “a writer of spectacularly unflinching gifts” by no less than Peter Straub, is the award-winning author of ten novels of horror and crime/noir. He’s also written over 100 short stories, novelettes, and novellas, and four full-length collections. His most recent collection, 2011’s Picking The Bones, became the first of his books to be honored with a Publishers Weekly starred review. His first collection, The Convulsion Factory, was ranked by critic Stanley Wiater among the 113 best books of modern horror.
He’s recently finished the time-consuming task of porting over his earlier works for e-book editions, using it as an opportunity to do a fresh line-edit and polish on every novel and collected story.
He lives in Colorado, where more of everything is in the works. He also dabbles in music, sound design, and photography; loves everything about organic gardening except the thieving squirrels; and trains in Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which are of no use at all against the squirrels.
Connect through his web site (www.brianhodge.net) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/brianhodgewriter), and follow his blog, Warrior Poet (www.warriorpoetblog.com).
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— New Blood
"A very talented writer. His scenes blaze with energy and life, and his characters are very real."
— Robert R. McCammon, author of Swan Song and Speaks the Nightbird
It arrives without warning: a devastating plague, the medieval Black Death weaponized for the age of global terrorism.
Like a biblical pestilence, this plague sweeps through modern civilization almost overnight, destroying good and evil alike, leaving only a handful of survivors to make their way through an empty landscape and face the unknown horrors awaiting them in a savage new world.
In a deserted St. Louis department store, a few survivors band together to begin again. But beyond their temporary haven, an evil is stirring. An evil that preys upon human weakness for its own twisted ends.
Soon, all that stands between the reborn world and a reign of insanity is this unlikely fortress of humanity, armed with what can be found on a department store shelf and what courage they can muster to battle a monstrous, merciless scourge...
Fifty years ago, a blood-red, cloven-hoofed demon was conjured up by Axis powers at the end of World War II, but adopted by the United States government, which gave him the name Hellboy and raised him in secrecy. Today, Hellboy is a top field agent for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He questions the unknown—then beats it into submission.
His latest case: Angels have attacked the Vatican, destroying an entire floor of the building's precious library. That's a new one, even for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The BPRD dispatches Hellboy and his amphibious colleague, Abe Sapien, to investigate. When they arrive on the scene, they discover that thousands of documents from all eras of history have been destroyed—except for one, saved from the holy fire by an obsessive scholar. His prize? An ancient scroll allegedly written by Jesus the Nazarene—decades after the crucifixion. Hellboy's first thought is that the scroll was the focus of the seraphim's attack—but why would heavenly creatures undertake such violence and ruin?
The answer to this puzzle will lead Hellboy down a terrifying trail to ancient gods, vengeful demons, and a hidden world made of the purest evil...
The rain beats down on the hot New Orleans streets. A derelict staggers, no longer a man, but a zombi, a vessel emptied by
voodoo sorcery and poured full of another’s will.
This is the land of lace curtains and Mardi Gras. This is the world of the bayou and sizzling crawfish and a man in white who
can kill at any distance.
A storm of corporate greed and cruel vengeance is sweeping through New Orleans, descending on a young advertising executive
(Nightlife‘s Justin Gray) who fears he may be selling his soul along with brand names, on a weary ex-CIA agent, and on a
Caribbean chauffeur on the run from enemies he can’t understand.
Two powerful businessmen, one legitimate, the other a criminal, have built a common empire. Now it is coming apart in a tidal
wave of bloodshed and shattered lives, flooding the Delta with voodoo — the dark magic of darker saints.
PRAISE FOR THE DARKER SAINTS:
“Southern Louisiana is always a terrifically atmospheric setting for hot, humid, moldering, multicultural horror. Hodge uses
his setting well … moves along with the speed of an airboat skimming a steaming bayou. The action’s hot, the magic is dark,
and you start getting a little sorry for Justin, considering all the shit he gets into in the space of just two novels … This
is a quite literate Edge of Night in which the morning apparently never comes.” — Ed Bryant, in Locus
“You’ve got the spicy ingredients for a dish so intense and uncompromising, it’ll leave your eyes stinging … If you’re tired
of predictable horror yarns, then step into Hodge’s dark and obsessive world, where lovers circle each other like enemies,
brothers see murder as a tool of capitalism, and ancient voodoo gods descend to earth to possess willing subjects. Hodge’s
work often emphasizes that the real world can be scarier than the supernatural. The Darker Saints stands as a mature and
fully-realized vision of what it’s like to be young and confused … and you can’t get much scarier than that.” — INsider
First up is “Vigil” by Chad Lutzke. Chad takes us into a neighborhood where a steady stream of decayed corpses are exhumed from a neighbor’s cellar. Extreme olfactory horror at its best.
Deborah Sheldon went under the knife for the inspiration of “Hair And Teeth,” and the result is a tale of gynaecological body horror likely to terrify women and make most men squeamish.
With “Rut Seasons” Brian Hodge makes a return to Year’s-Best pages in a tale as chilling as it is heart-wrenching, inspired by a thousand-mile drive littered with roadkill and some personal tragedies.
“Control” by Jeff Parsons introduces us to a meth addict stalking potential victims in Central Park to get money for the next score.
Annie Neugebauer is back with “Cilantro,” a Neugebauerian yarn of culinary chaos sure to turn stomachs and cause nightmares.
Tim Waggoner likewise returns this year with “Voices Like Barbwire,” an exploratory dig into old wounds and painful memories.
Rebecca Rowland’s “Bent” wins the Most Cringe-worthy Story honor with her twisted tale of extreme body horror. Her well-drawn characters seem to come off the page but God forbid they do. Their idea of a pretzel party is truly twisted.
Scath Beorh takes Lovecraftian cosmic horror to its next level with “Lord of the Mesa.”
Sean Patrick Hazlett’s story “The Godhead Grimoire” possesses dangerous religious overtones and a forbidden bloodthirsty book.
“Carnal Bodies” by R.E. Hellinger is a shocking story of baroque horror and demonic necrophilia from Two Dead Queers Present: Guillozine. You’ll have to read this one to believe it.
In “Crossroads of Opportunity” Ed Kurtz and doungjai gam take you on a-deal-with-the-devil-at-the-crossroads trip with a son driving his dead mother to an uncertain destination. Trouble is, his mother is a bit of a backseat driver and she just won’t shut up.
Seras Nikita’s “Dad’s Famous Preserves” won’t do much for your appetite but it will show you a recipe for disaster when a jungle missionary’s foot infection blossoms into a stomach-churning nightmare.
“The Bearded Woman,” brought all the way from Rome, Italy, by the inimitable Alessandro Manzetti. His dystopian future tale takes us for a ride in the Bearded Woman’s circus trailer as she and her dwarf husband bring their marriage to a bloody end.
Sara Tantlinger’s “The Devil’s Dreamland” takes us inside the Murder Castle of the infamous H.H. Holmes with her brilliant narrative poem of macabre beauty.
Frank Oreto’s “All God’s Creatures Got Reasons” reveals that there are real monsters walking among us, monsters with a savage appetite for young flesh, but they are so skilled at covering their tracks, we never even know they’re there.
“The Ugly” by J.R. Park introduces us to a couple of sweet little kids who may have a good reason for torturing and eating cats. It’s a way to keep the Ugly at bay. Or is it?
Doug Ford’s “I Have a Confession” takes a coldblooded plunge into sex with a ghost.
Step back, back into the world of 1996…
"Dark fiction so numbing cold and cutting edge you better hold onto your ass with your free hand … There are no simple ‘entertainments' or cheap grabs for the throat to be found here. Hodge is deadly serious about presenting a world where the worst punishment is the mere fact that you are aware you will probably live to see another day."
So wrote critic Stanley Wiater about Brian Hodge's renowned first short fiction collection, The Convulsion Factory. Three collections later, nothing has changed.
Well … maybe one or two trifling entertainments. A couple of cheap grabs for some body part or another. But that's about it. There are still plenty of fates worse than death.
"Dark fiction so numbing cold and cutting edge you better hold onto your ass with your free hand ... There are no simple 'entertainments' or cheap grabs for the throat to be found here. Hodge is deadly serious about presenting a world where the worst punishment is the mere fact that you are aware you will probably live to see another day."
So wrote esteemed critic Stanley Wiater about The Convulsion Factory before ranking it among the 113 best books of modern horror fiction. Its 12 stories are fused together by the recurring motif of decay ... the decay of cities and families, identity and gender, idolatry and love. Among them:
"Godflesh" - In pursuit of the ultimate in pleasure, what's ancient is new again.
"Androgyny" - What is love? Two souls and one flesh.
"Cancer Causes Rats" - The symbiosis between a TV reporter and the serial killer who's making her career metamorphoses toward its inevitable extreme.
"Extinctions In Paradise" - Their daily struggle for survival hurtles the street kids of a South American slum into a new phase of evolution.
"Liturgical Music For Nihilists" - In the chill of a derelict slaughterhouse, an accidental god awakens and calls to its own.
Out of decay comes new life.
If only that were the good news...
He was born on a day of pain: November 22, 1963. He came of age in agony: that moment of tragedy when fun-loving rock-and-roll deejay Paul Handler discovered the inexplicable power in his own hands.
It is the power to make the wounded whole again. The power to make the lame walk and to heal the sick. It is a power that will sap his soul and plunge him into the world of a famous faith healer. It is a power that can turn to rage, even murder. It is a gift that makes Paul Handler a living, breathing human sacrifice.
For thousands of years, a secret cabal has guarded the lineage to which Paul is heir — scapegoats who have been forced to bear humanity's anguish upon themselves. Now, while the cabal searches for him, and one man seeks to destroy him, Paul makes a lonely, frightening journey to the core of his identity and to his destiny … to all the pain his soul can bear, to all the redemption he can give, to the freedom that is death.
“A wonderfully complex book which works on many levels; not only is it an entertaining read, it also makes insightful observations about everything from love and self-sacrifice to the living habits of your average bachelor deejay.” — Cemetery Dance
"Enjoyable storytelling with a heart." — After Hours
"A long, thoughtful examination of the corruption of power and the perversion of innocence, enlivened by first-rate characterization." — Science Fiction Chronicle
"I can honestly say, without any reservation, that Deathgrip is the best novel I've read this year … full fruition of the promise shown in his earlier novels." — 2 A.M.
Now comes his most far-reaching collection yet, 150,000 words chronicling the people, places, and things that his readers have come to expect, but never predict: The dancer who becomes the latest repository for the fervent sexuality that fueled the world’s most ancient cities. The serial killer whose grasp of media symbiosis puts him light-years ahead of the law. The modern-day castrato learning undreamt-of lessons in love, death, and divine madness. The Civil War veteran living a grotesque twist on the Old West myth of the outlaw who never takes off his gun belt.
William Faulkner once noted that writers are congenital liars … that if they weren’t liars, they would never have become writers in the first place. In that spirit, Brian Hodge has been enthusiastically lying ever since his earliest mastery of the alphabet, guided by only one stipulation:
Never letting a trivial thing like the facts get in the way of the ugly truth.
* Sadly, the Monroe comparison is a total fabrication.
Stories included in this collection:
“The 121st Day of Sodom”
“Cancer Causes Rats”
“Some Other Me”
“Before the Last Snowflake Falls”
“An Autumnal Equinox Folly”
“Far Flew the Boast of Him”
“Now Day Was Fled As the Worm Had Wished”
“Pages Stuck By a Bowie Knife to a Cheyenne Gallows”
“Driving the Last Spike”
“Our Lady of Sloth and Scarlet Ivy”
“The Last Testament”
“The Alchemy of the Throat”
“Come Unto Me, All Ye Heavy Laden”
“Endnotes: From the Gutters of Civilization to Your Discerning Eye”
Full of gods and devils, tormentors and deliverers, Falling Idols is a twisting, harrowing path toward the state of being that poet Kahlil Gibran describes as being able "to bless the darkness as we have blessed the light."
"Stick Around, It Gets Worse" - The universe creates what it needs, even in a gritty urban Hell.
"A Loaf Of Bread, A Jug Of Wine" - A threatened village in World War II France has an unlikely defender: the allegedly soulless creation of Victor Frankenstein.
"The Dripping Of Sundered Wineskins" - A trio of immortal Sisters catapults an Irish stigmatic toward his destiny of being either a saint or a butcher. World Fantasy Award finalist.
"Cenotaph" - While exploring the fantastical sculptures at an ancient English church, a photographer discovers what really guided her ancestor's hammer and chisels.
"As Above, So Below" - A lifetime of searching that began deep inside a derelict railroad tunnel leads a very old soul to a desert town, for his final revelations in sacrifice, miracles, and love. Selected for The Century's Best Horror Fiction.
To the warrior-shamans of the Venezuelan forest people, the drug is a sacred substance: part pain, part pleasure, all power. Skullflush is pure psychic whiplash … an exhilarating gateway to an advanced consciousness beyond time and species.
Deep in the Amazon, the primitive tribe has kept its secret safe from civilization. Until a rising drug lord ends up with a stolen six-kilo stash, and begins to peddle his prize in the nightclubs of Florida.
Tampa’s thrill-seekers are eager to sample the pale green powder. But generations of urbanized decadence have left them jaded, shallow, and weak … too weak to handle the drug’s mystic high. The ancient rain forest chemistry warps bone, muscle, and sinew in their city-soft bodies, setting free the ferocious power of man’s basic nature.
On the rebound from a life in ruins, Justin Gray is the sole witness who can connect the fearsome power of skullflush with the carnage left in its wake. A marked man, with a new love and an unlikely ally from the heart of the rain forest, he's forced to learn the ways of the urban jungle, where everyone is both hunter and hunted.
But Boyd knows it. So does Madeline DeCarlo, the over-the-hill showgirl-turned-crooked pit boss with killer legs and the soul of Lizzie Borden. And so does Gunther Manzetti, the chromosomally-challenged psycho mob-enforcer whose favorite method of persuasion involves the creative application of Crystal Drano. They’re all after the unsuspecting Allison, who has decided to head east and, after a lifetime of running away, confront the man whose abuse nearly destroyed her as a child: her father. It’s only hours before the bodies begin to pile up.
Caper, chase, mission of retribution and day of reckoning: These are the threads that intertwine to weave this high-energy, fiercely intelligent thriller, as it rips across the mythically vibrant American Southwest like a vicious twister, leaving wreckage in its wake and racing toward a bloody Mississippi showdown.
Allison is a strong, sympathetic woman in the direst straits since Joan of Arc, but can take care of herself with a vengeance, and she’s surrounded by as savage and whacked-out a cast of oddballs, eccentrics, and sickos as ever dreamed up by the likes of David Lynch. Yes, there’s plenty of violence and sex and mayhem, but there’s also uproarious humor, richly evocative writing, and deeply probed emotional truths.
It’s all delivered in taut, lean-and-mean prose, and careens along like a vintage big-engined Caddy with the top down and the pedal through the metal. Buckle up and revel in the fresh, irresistibly wild-at-heart ride that is Wild Horses.
His name is Clay Palmer, and he's one of the rarest people on earth … the carrier of a genetic mutation with frightening implications for humanity.
With the time ticking on his self-control, Clay wages a desperate struggle to understand what has gone so wrong, with the help of psychologist Adrienne Rand and her anthropologist lover, Sarah.
It's a struggle that takes them from the desert to the mountains, into the tribal subculture of Clay's friends, and on a cross-country odyssey through a frozen landscape corroded with industrial blight, toward the other claimant for Clay's soul: a man who has spent a lifetime spreading chaos and destruction in the world. A man who is more like him than not. A man who wants sons and daughters…
Even if he has to breed them himself.