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Hammers on Bone (Persons Non Grata) Paperback – October 11, 2016
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"Cassandra Khaw's explosive, evocative prose is a treat to read. Khaw's ability to transform the mundane into the deeply phantasmagorical is nothing short of magical. Prepare to take a long leap into the gory, the weird, and the fantastic in the hands of a fresh new voice in fiction." ―Kameron Hurley, Hugo Award-winning author of Mirror Empire and The Geek Feminist Revolution
"Khaw brilliantly combines the self-aware, on-point tone of her gumshoe narrator with the invasive rhythm of the language of pulsing terrors. The drearily everyday is infused with Lovecraftian dread in a marvelously horrifying, tightly built novella that spins a satisfying tale while doing honor to both of its core sources." ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A glorious fusion of the classic noir detective thriller with Lovecraftian horror, like the squamous tentacular lovechild of Raymond Chandler and H. P. Lovecraft hatching from a five-dimensional egg to slouch down these dark streets in search of human minds to flay. Seriously? Possibly the most promising horror debut of 2016, a suitable light in these dark times." ―Charles Stross
"Khaw has a definite flair for the grotesque." ―RT Book Reviews
"[An] incredible novella... Hammers on Bone transcends its genre – thanks in no small part to its private-investigatorand-monster protagonist and its very London setting – to become a timeless (and disturbing) parable about monsters." ―Locus
"Khaw paints a bleak yet potent alternate reality in which monsters―friend or foe―are devastatingly real. Persons strikes a perfect antihero stance that is emotionally fragile despite his supernatural power. Hammers on Bone is a brilliant blend of two venerable genres as well as a deeply affecting tale on its own." ―Shelf Awareness, starred review
"Hammers on Bone is an easy read on a hard subject." ―BleedingCool
"Khaw mixes noir tropes straight out of a Dashiell Hammett novel with lush, atmospheric horror making for a vibrant, visceral read." ―The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog
"Sizzling prose over a steamy noir beat with horrific monstrosities throughout. A helluva read." ―Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper and Midnight Taxi Tango
"Hammers on Bone is a delectable surprise, a discomfiting nightmare in novella shape, its eyes looking back at you to ask: who are the real monsters, little reader?" ―Book Smugglers
"Absolutely fantastic monsters-meet-gritty-noir story." ―Mike Laidlaw, creative director for Dragon Age
“Atmospheric Lovecraftian noir with a really tremendous eye for detail… If you like Dashiel Hammett and Lovecraft, this is a very effective blend.” ―Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award-winning author of The House of Shattered Wings
"This is jolly good. You really ought to read this." ―Jonathan L. Howard, author of the Johannes Cabal and Carter & Lovecraft series
"So hardboiled you could crack demon heads with it, this twisting and turning Lovecraftian PI mystery is a delight. Cassandra Khaw ― fast becoming one of the hottest names in fantasy fiction ― has a light, assured touch and an inimitable style. I’ll read anything she writes." ―Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author of A Man Lies Dreaming and The Violent Century
"Cassandra Khaw blows the dust off Lovecraft's prose to resurrect the Elder Gods in a white-hot, eyeball-popping adventure." ―Ferrett Steinmetz, author of Flex
"Khaw is one of the most exciting writers I've seen emerge in the past two years. [Hammers on Bone] is Lovecraftian in all the best ways." ―Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of Certain Dark Things
"One hell of a delicious, hardbitten, unflinching experience." ―Alyssa Wong, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author of "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers
About the Author
CASSANDRA KHAW writes a lot. Sometimes, she writes press releases and excited emails for Singaporean micropublisher Ysbryd Games. Sometimes, she writes for technology and video games outlets like Eurogamer, Ars Technica, The Verge, and Engadget. Mostly, though, she writes about the intersection between nightmares and truth, drawing inspiration from Southeast Asian mythology and stories from people she has met. She occasionally spends time in a Muay Thai gym punching people and pads.
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You can read my reviews of all ten 2017 Locus Award novella finalists on my blog, which you can find on my author page: Good Feeling: seven short stories
The prose in "Hammers on Bone" is wonderful. Subtle, yet impactful. Dripping with atmosphere. Evoking the noirish language while trading blows with pop cultural references. Superb understanding of Lovecraftian Mythos. The list goes on.
John Persons is a gumshoe, hired by a kid to kill his stepfather, who he claims is a monster. John persons is the right man for the job, since he is a monster as well. Yet he bites off more than he can chew and wades into things far beyond the scope of what he envisioned when he was hired.
I truly, truly hope Cassandra Khaw decides to makes this into a series. I would devour novel after novel following John Persons and his dark, bloody, antiheroic world.
I say "somehow," but I know how she does it. By avoiding just about every other cliche in the book (pun intended), the author takes what we all know to be a cool concept, and makes it as cool as it should be.
I'll avoid spoiling it, because you really should read it yourself. Suffice it to say that Cassandra's command over language paints an inky, black picture that's nice when you want it to be, and mean when it needs to be.
I'd be happy to follow her supernatural detective into the many more adventures I know he's got coming.
The background and characters could easily support several novels; I beg the author to write them so I can read them!