While I love a good horror novel, it’s a genre that particularly shines in short form. I cut my teeth reading books like King’s NIGHT SHIFT, Barker’s BOOKS OF BLOOD, and the old Best Horror anthologies edited by Karl Edward Wagner. There’s a lean viciousness that can be achieved with short horror stories and the best ones stay with you for a very long time.
When I first started writing, my major sales were non-fiction articles to national magazines, mostly martial arts or health and fitness rags. But I kept writing short fiction, wanting so badly to contribute to the kinds of experiences I’d always had reading short horror. When I started publishing short stories, I was gobsmacked to see them in anthologies alongside authors I’d read my whole life. Seeing my name in a Table of Contents wedged in between folks like Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Charlaine Harris, Chuck Palahniuk, Jim Butcher, and Sherrilyn Kenyon was its own unique thrill.
Fast-forward ten years or so. I’ve worked in film and television, written comic books and (mostly unpublished) novels. Yet no matter what else I work on, I always come back to the short story. Thus I am beyond excited to present my first collection: WHERE CARRION GODS DANCE.
Scroll down for reviews and a preview of the stories found within.
The ground here is ancient, its dark soil rich with blood and marrow, its trees swaying in diseased wind. The air is cool even in summer and sunlight never touches the earth. Birds speak here, as do the things wriggling through the dirt. Be careful, now, for what they say has broken stronger minds than yours. Step through, child. Don’t be afraid. We’re all here, and we’ve been waiting for you. Welcome to the place WHERE CARRION GODS DANCE.
In this, his first collection of short fiction, acclaimed author and screenwriter Brad C. Hodson visits what Ray Bradbury called “the October Country,” that place where it’s always fall and dread things whisper from dark corners. The 17 stories inside tell of spirits brought forth by cursed plays, visions waiting in the space between breaths, and fleshly pleasures locked behind attic doors. A couple who have lost a child are given a second chance at parenting while two friends become addicted to dying. Childhood trauma comes back to scratch at the window in one tale while a corpse tears a crime spree across the Midwest in another.
So step into the clearing, pull that log close to the fire, and see why Hodson has been called “a master of atmosphere” and “a writer who easily weaves emotional landmines throughout the fear.” Step into the place WHERE CARRION GODS DANCE.
I can only hope the stories here – some previously published, others entirely new – can create the same kind of dark magic in readers that I relish in collections and anthologies.
Published by Washington Park Press, WHERE CARRION GODS DANCE is distributed through Ingram. The ebook and paperback can be found here.
What you’ll find inside:
Dumpster Stories – In the introduction, I confess to… Well, you’ll see.
Haunted – Two young boys sneak into an abandoned house on Halloween.
The Other Patrick – A couple mourning the loss of their son are given one last chance at parenting.
Il Donnaiolo – A tale of sexual obsession played out on the streets of modern Rome.
The Perfect Jackson – High school graduates on a cross-country road trip become obsessed with a walking corpse that’s tearing a crime spree across the Midwest.
Breathe – What hides in the space between breaths?
In the Halls and on the Stairs – After their father’s funeral, two sisters return to the house they grew up in to face whatever stalks the halls at night.
The Scottish Play – Shakespeare’s Macbeth is thought to be a cursed play. A theater owner is about to discover why.
Almost – A mind unravels in a different kind of vampire tale.
His Only Company, the Walls – Told in a series of voicemails, a young man unravels trapped in a hotel room where he believes the walls are speaking to him.
Picked Last – Childhood trauma comes back to scratch at the window.
Chasing the Reaper – Two friends who have become addicted to dying discover how bad the withdrawals can be.
Tabula Rasa – A May-December romance goes wrong when something not quite human moves into the attic.
Hester Cohen – A man has to deal with the suicide of his sick and abusive wife.
Biology – Elmer is about to find out that we’re all nothing but hormones and chemicals.
Where Carrion Gods Dance – When he brought the box home that he found on the side of the road, he had no idea where the contents would lead him.
The Thousandth Hell – A father and son who hate one another are forced to navigate the Courts of Hell together.
The Lord of Misrule – When her wife goes missing on a trip to Ireland, a woman struggling with depression will uncover an ancient horror best left alone.
What others are saying about WHERE CARRION GODS DANCE:
“A twisted cornucopia of dark delights. These stories will pierce your heart swift and silent as an assassin’s dagger.” – Tim Waggoner, author of The Forever House
“Brad C. Hodson grabs you by the throat and never lets go.”
-Don Roff, Author of Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection and Snowblind
“Hodson had me hooked from the intro with his signature, simultaneously elegant and conversational voice. Where Carrion Gods Dance is a sweet little treat, perfect for the Halloween season or year-roundchills.”
– Megan Hart, NYT Bestselling Author of Black Wings
“What I’ve always loved about Brad Hodson’s work – and I’ve been a fan for many years – is not just the way his tales worm their way into your head like little invisible demons, but his gifts for creating living, breathing characters who bleed and love and cry like all of us. Brad’s one of the horror genre’s truest dark hidden treasures.”
– Lisa Morton, six-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author and editor
“There are few writers able to terrify and move you in equal measure. Hodson is one of that rare number who can paint a rich palette of emotions through his words alone. There are not characters in his work, but rather real people. They are strange and haunted yet fully realized to such an extent that you’ll find yourself quoting them days later. That is, when you’re not looking over your shoulder. I can’t imagine experiencing these stories and not feeling eyes on you or wondering what’s crouched there in the dark, watching as you read. That he can do all of this with only the written word is a remarkable feat indeed.”
– Harry Lennix, THE BLACKLIST, MAN OF STEEL, and THE MATRIX trilogy
“Hodson’s mind is not a place I would want to live, but visiting is fun as long as you have some time to deal with the horror and trauma his narratives inflict. His work is a depthful energetic ride, full of fully fleshed out characters with surprising inner demons. His stories will make you shiver a little, maybe laugh, but for sure you will put them down and think about them for some time to come. The horror genre needs more Brad Hodson!”
– Paul Eckstein, writer and producer of NARCOS, LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, and co-creator of GODFATHER OF HARLEM
“Brad Hodson’s Where Carrion Gods Dance is a collection you don’t want to miss! The author has the rare ability and well-honed sensitivity that makes him able to delve into the minds of his characters and bring them to vivid life no matter how different from himself they might be. It’s clear Hodson has spent a lifetime studying people. These stories shimmer on the page with emotion and compassion that amplifies and focuses the horror.”
– Kate Jonez, author of Lady Bits
“Brad C. Hodson’s first story collection, Where Carrion Gods Dance, reminds me of his excellent first novel, Darling. The writing is precise, the pacing fast, and the plotting compelling, but they both share a great characteristic. We read good books and collections, but we only experience the rarest book or collection. Lose yourself experiencing the stories in this excellent collection. Highly recommended.”
– Gene O’Neill, The Burden of Indigo and The White Plague Chronicles