Comments and Reviews
“Every so often, you discover an author whose writing is so lyrical that it transcends mere storytelling. Jonathan Maberry is just such an author, and his writing is powerful enough to sing with poetry while simultaneously scaring the hell out of you.”
– Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of THE MEPHISTO CLUB
“Jonathan Maberry writes in the grand poetic horror tradition of Poe and Robert McCammon. His novel is not just a frightening tale, but one in which the reader can truly identify with both the honestly human and the dishonestly self absorbed and doomed characters. The language and descriptions are vivid, threatening and beautiful. Maberry belongs with the big names including King and Koontz.”
– Stuart Kaminsky
Bestselling author; 2005 recipient of the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, etc.
“Prepare to be scared. Maberry frightens, amuses, and makes you think, often on the same page. The horror is pervasive, but so is a deeply entrenched sense of fun. Move over Stephen King…”
JA Konrath, author of Dirty Martini.
“Maberry writes with a rare combination of precision, power and poetry, all with a masterful skill that will scare the bejibbers out of you! Finishing one of his books is a little like stepping off a roller coaster –you might be a bit wobbly, but you’re eager to go again.”
Two-time Shamus Award-winner, author of 30 novels and 200 short stories. His SWF SEEKS SAME was the basis for the 1992 movie SINGLE WHITE FEMALE starring Bridget Fonda.
“A fabulously written novel that grips you from its first line to its last. Jonathan Maberry’s writing runs from dark and beautiful to sharp and thought-provoking, and his books should be on everyone’s Must-Read list.”
Yvonne Navarro, author of Mirror Me, AfterAge, Hellboy, Elektra, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tempted Champions, Species, Species II, Aliens: Music of the Spears, and Ultraviolet
â€œGet ready to be totally hooked, because itâ€™s all here: incredible atmosphere, characters you truly care about, and a level of pure suspense that gets higher with every page. Jonathan Maberry is writing as well as anyone in the business right now, and Iâ€™ll be counting the days until his next book.â€
Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award-winning Author of A STOLEN SEASON
“Ghost Road Blues begins with more horror than one can imagine, and ends savagely beautiful, intricately and deftly written. Don’t start this book unless you can finish it!”
–Jack Fisher, Flesh & Blood magazine/President GSHW
“If you have an appetite for evil you’ll love sitting down to Ghost Road Blues which is deliciously creepy. Just remember though that you’ll be sleeping with the lights on!â€
Richard Sand, author of the award-winning Lucas Rook Mystery Series
â€œJonathan Maberry is the big guy you’d want to back you up in a fight. Now, he’s writing big, scary books that feel just right. Ghost Road Blues is dues paid in advance: read it now so you can say you were there at the beginning of a blockbuster career.â€
–Bill Kent, Author of Street Legal, Street Fighter and Street Money
“A wild mÃ©lange of soulful blues music and gut-wrenching horror! Through vivid characters and clever descriptions, Jonathan Maberry carefully crafts a very special town that any horror fan would love to live in — that is, until it starts to get ugly…. REALLY ugly. He brings terror to life in a uniquely contemporary way. I’ll be so excited to read the second book in his trilogy!”
Brinke Stevens — Horror actress and author
â€œWow, talk about a great novel. Not just a â€˜first novelâ€™ (and yes, thatâ€™s what it is, making Ghost Road Blues even more amazing), but a novel in and of itself. Greatness doesnâ€™t come by very often, but here, Jonathan Maberry has shown us that it is out there, and it does exist: greatness, in every respect of the word, is what Ghost Road Blues delivers to those fortunate enough to read it. Dark, scary, and so darn well-written, one might think this book something Stephen King wrote and forgot about many years ago.â€
Michael Laimoâ€”author of DEAD SOULS and THE DEMONOLOGIST
If fear is your fun, Ghost Road Blues is a carnival. Most really good books leave a scar. Ghost Road Blues leaves a gaping wound. Maberry writes with heart and adrenaline. Ghost Road Blues is full of love and fear in equal measure. Ghost Road Blues reminded me why I’m afraid of the dark.
-Charles Gramlich, author of Cold in the Light
â€œMaberry weaves words of mesmeric power. Gruesome, scary and bloody good fun.â€
Author of Vampyrrhic, London Under Midnight, and Night of the Triffids
“Ghost Road Blues will leave you breathless. Make sure you read it with the lights on.”
Edgar Award winning author of Pretty Girl Gone and Tin City
â€œIf you like your thrillers steeped in the bone-chilling efforts of the supernatural underworld to overwhelm our own, you will love Jonathan Maberry’s GHOST ROAD BLUES. As effective an opening as I’ve ever read, and the jolts just keep on coming as the author focuses on ordinary Pennsylvania folk trying to stave off the unthinkable. Highly recommended, and I can’t wait for the second novel in this projected trilogy.”
Jeremiah Healy, author of THE ONLY GOOD LAWYER and TURNABOUT
â€œGHOST ROAD BLUES is steeped in the Blues and saturated with violence and foreboding. It starts with a sucker punch that sets the stage and tone for what lies ahead. Maberry has created a quirky, oddball of a small town that thrives on being haunted, given it a grim history, isolated it in the heart of a dark Pennsylvania forest, populated it with eccentric, charming characters–and a handful who most definitely are NOT charming–and unleashed both a modern and an ancient evil upon the unsuspecting residents.
Karl Ruger is one of the baddest, meanest, kickass villains to grace the pages of a horror novel…and he’s not the worst villain the book has to offer! Ruger’s exploits seem ripped from the pages of IN COLD BLOOD, and the terror he inflicts on Pine Deep isn’t half what I expect to see in the subsequent books in the series when Ubel Griswold kicks into high gear.
Maberry’s use of language is shocking and refreshing in its originality and his expertise in the martial arts allows him to orchestrate some of the most genuine hand-to-hand fight scenes I’ve ever read. Every blow inflicts pain and (most of) the combatants aren’t superhuman beings who can withstand a beating without being disabled, maimed and scarred. Readers will come away from these scenes feeling like they’ve taken a thrashing, too.
Bad days are ahead for the residents of Pine Deep. I can hardly wait!â€
Bram Stoker nominated author of The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen Kingâ€™s Magnum Opus
“Ghost Road Blues is a hell of a book â€“ complex, sprawling, and spooky…with strong characters and a setting that’s pure Americana Halloween hell. A satisfying chunk of creepy, visceral horror storytelling with a strong background in murderous folk blues and the tragedy of America’s history of racism and domestic cruelty – I’d recommend this to anyone who loves the more musically-slanted works of Stephen King, and the terror-in-the-cornfields horror films of the 70s.â€
Author of Wounds, Voice of the Blood, Fiend, and A Drop of Scarlet
â€œI read as much horror fiction as I can get my hands on, and itâ€™s been a LONG time since Iâ€™ve read anything that Iâ€™ve enjoyed as much as GHOST ROAD BLUES. Incredible, awe-inspiring stuff. And how bold, to end on what is essentially a cliffhanger!
Screenwriter of The Grudge and The Grudge II
â€œEvocative and chilling, Maberry’s fiction is the work of a dark magician with a poet’s soul.â€
Tim Waggoner, author of Darkness Wakes, Pandora Drive, and Like Death.
â€œGhost Road Blues calls to mind the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and Manly Wade Wellman. Jonathan Maberry is obviously steeped in the classic literature of horror, but has adapted it to his own unique uses. He captures the eerie whine of the early blues singers in his prose and takes his reader to new and chilling places. If you read horror, you can’t miss this book. Ghost Road Blues manages to touch every kind of horror from creepy chills to gruesome gore and builds to an unforgettable climax.â€
H. R. Knight
Author of What Rough Beast
“With GHOST ROAD BLUES, Jonathan Maberry lands solidly on his feet in territory once dominated by Manly Wade Wellman and Joe Citro; this haunting, complex, terrifying, and deeply humane novel is steeped not only in folklore and history, but in modern dark mythology and the exploration of humankind’s most valiant and unspeakable impulses.
It’s a wonder to behold, and a heady feast for those who’ve been looking for something new and lyrical in horror.”
–Bram Stoker Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck, author of DESTINATIONS
UNKNOWN and PRODIGAL BLUES
â€œStunning! A fierce and new talent!â€
-Ken Bruen, international bestselling author of THE GUARDS
“Jonathan Maberry writes with the assured hand of a veteran wordsmith. His voice is a confident one, his stories possessed of the kind of rhythmic, lyrical quality one might find in the work of Cady, Conrad, or even Faulkner. And yet such comparisons, though hard to avoid when sitting around Maberry’s campfire and hearing his voice, are not entirely fair, for there is a uniqueness here that is exciting to behold. Jonathan Maberry is reaping a crop all his own, and I, for one, eagerly await the fruit of future harvests.”
– Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Currency of Souls, The Turtle Boy, and Vessels.
“Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues leads with a hard left hook and never lets up, full of good, strong writing and complex characters who step right off the page and into readers’ heads. It’s a lyrical, frightening and often astonishing read. Although Pine Deep is not a place you’d like to call home, you’ll feel as if you’ve been there before. A wonderful novel from a fresh new voice in the genre.”
Nate Kenyon, author of Bloodstone
“Dark and mischievous… fun and inspired… Jonathan Maberry knows how to serve up the creepy goods!”
Jim Oâ€™Rear – Horror Film Stuntman & Haunted Attraction Consultant
â€œMaberry takes us on a chilling roller coaster ride through the cursed town of Pine Deep. You might want to keep the night light on for this one. Really.â€
Laura Schrock — Emmy Award-winning writer/producer
“Jonathan Maberry writes densely layered prose full of real characters and plenty of eerie atmosphere. He’s in tune with both the dark side of human nature and the simple goodness that can redeem us all.”
David Wellington, author of Monster Island and Monster Nation
â€œJonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues is not only the top horror debut of the year, it is, hands down, the best horror novel of 2006. It reads like vintage King or McCammon. Ghost Road Blues obliterates the competition. From the first page to the last, Jonathan Maberry displays the sure hand of a master of the craft. I can’t wait to see what this new king of horror has in store for us next.”
Bryan Smith, author of Deathbringer and House of Blood
“If I were asked to select only one new voice in horror fiction to read today, it would be Jonathan Maberry. Ghost Road Blues jumps so easily out of his blend of words, images, and characters you hardly realize you’re reading a novel rather than watching a movie.”
Author of The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today, Ghost, Cemetery Stories, and The Science of Vampires.
â€œA chilling tale â€“lyrical, melodic, and dark. Maberry breathes new life into modern horror fiction.â€
Author of The Home, The Harvest, The Manor, The Red Church and Thank You for the Flowers
â€œIf you think that small town horror has nothing new to offer the reader, you have a surprise in store for you. Jonathan Maberry’s Ghost Road Blues, first in a trilogy, demonstrates that even the most haunted town in America is unprepared for the full depth of evil, either human or inhuman. A fine blend of authentic supernatural folklore and conventional villainy in a fully realized contemporary setting.â€
Don D’Ammassa Author of Haven, Servants of Chaos, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Scarab, Blood Beast, Encyclopedia of Fantasy & Horror, etc.
There might be a dozen subgenres of horror open for discussion. We can divide up the field in various ways, but one way relevant here might be “personal” versus “epic.” Personal horror might include (in movies) Halloween, and (in books) most Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum novels. The stage is small, the cast tiny, point of view fairly limited, and the big picture is the size of a postage stamp. Epic horror evokes wide, sweeping settings and stages, with huge casts and multiple points of view, such as (in movies) Independence Day, and (in books) The Stand or They Thirst.
Ghost Road Blues is epic horror that puts you in the mind of The Stand, They Thirst, It, and Boy’s Life, but beats its own scary path by being both personal and epic. How’s that for a subgenre? Nicely tied to the blues and the dark magic of Halloween, Ghost Road Blues is the first of an impressive new trilogy by Jonathan Maberry, whose vivid prose hits the right rhythms and whose creeping horrors will feed your nightmares until the next installmentâ€”and maybe forever.
Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, makes a lot of money off Halloween and related activities, but no one realizes that a series of murders thirty years before may have set the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between the forces of Good and Evil. But though that sounds fairly epic, through the first book, we are only given the small picture, as the small cast begins to dance around the ring and feint.
Malcolm Crow and his fiancÃ©e, Val Guthrie, are about to face the unimaginable. Malcolm is an ex-cop whose own brother was murdered thirty years before by a serial killer who was then killed by a blues-singing vagrant, who was in turn murdered by a gang of local toughs. Unfortunately, those local toughs now include the chief of police, a seriously crazed tow-truck driver with a Messiah complex, and teenager Mike Sweeney’s sadistic step-father, Vicâ€”who has made a bargain with some sort of evil force that has been brewing for a long time down around where the killer’s body was buried in muck. Crow’s friend, the mayor, is a truly tortured soul and a brilliantly realized character in his own right. In this swirling cocktail, inject a carload of fugitive Philly hard-ass criminals, two of them wounded, and the third one Karl Rugerâ€”one of the worst bad guys you’ll ever meet in the pages of fiction (or in the newspaper, for that matter). His car crashes in Pine Deep, but he’s been drawn there, because his talents are needed. Whatever’s mutating down there in the muck, it’s beginning to infect certain townspeople. Unfortunately for the town, the month before Halloween is about to become very scaryâ€”and very fatal.
The writing has the Stephen King touchâ€”the realistic internal monologues, affecting small town humor, and the characters you love to hate and those you’re happy to love. Maberry manages to create people you find yourself caring about, and Malcolm Crow and his young friend Mike are two of the best. You know from what happens that their destinies are tied together, but not exactly howâ€”and you fear it won’t be the way you’d rather have it. When Ruger shows up at the Guthrie farmhouse, it sets up a series of very disturbing scenes that beg for film interpretation. In fact, the whole story unfolds like a movie penned by some of our favorite writers, but the use of details and local color signal the arrival of a new voice to contend with. Saying more would ruin this very effective, very seasonal offering that’s only Act One of a classic in the making. Halloween, the blues, and good-versus-evil on a small stage with large-stage implications, Ghost Road Blues is high-octane storytelling meant for chilly, full-moon nights
W.D. Gagliani, author of Bram Stoker Award finalist WOLF’S TRAP
“Maberry writes a vivid, fast-paced prose, creating characters and events that are memorable and often frightening. If you like your fiction compelling and deliciously dark, this is an author you should get to know.”
–Bruce Boston, author of Flashing the Dark and Masque of Dreams
“With Ghost Road Blues Jonathan Maberry resurrects the spirit of Manly Wade Wellman in rural Pennsylvania, and serves up scares like pancakes at a church social. This is a fun, fun read and creepy as hell.”
Author of Attack of the Jazz Giants & Other Stores, Fitcherâ€™s Brides, The Pure Cold Light and Lyrec
“Reading Maberry is like listening to the blues in a graveyard at the stroke of midnight–the dead surround you, your pounding heart keeps steady rhythm with the dark, melodic prose, and the scares just keep coming. You find yourself wondering if it’s the wind howling through the cold, foreboding landscape of gray-slate tombstones or whether it’s Howlin’ Wolf’s scratchy voice singing Evil.”
Fred Wiehe, author of Strange Days, Starkville , Night Songs, and The
As a tickler of words myself, let me tell you it’s tough getting all the sought-for elements in storytelling down right. Maberry does it with such aplomb you think you’ve stumbled into a real, albeit alternate, universe in which the scary parts make you plead for the slow-down of the world’s highest roller coaster. Like a camp counselor with a sadistic streak, Maberry sucks us into his dark tale in the Pennsylvania Pine Deep with no let-up, though the forest behind is full of unnerving sounds and the brisk air chills to the bone.
-Noreen Ayres â€“Author of the Smokey Brandon mystery series