cover image The Croning

The Croning

Laird Barron. Night Shade (, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59780-230-7

Teeming with the cosmic horrors that distinguish the fiction of Lovecraft, Machen, and other weird fiction masters, this eerie first novel offers up a picture of human civilization as a plaything in the claws of malignant alien entities. Don Miller, a corporate geologist, is married to globe-trotting anthropologist Michelle Mock, who for decades has tracked clues pointing to the existence of “the little people.” As Michelle’s research exposes her and Don to numerous weird experiences over the years, it becomes evident that she is investigating something primal—and that she may be shielding Don from its mind-blasting incomprehensibility. The narrative toggles back and forth from past to present, establishing a rhythm between disturbing events and their foreshadowing that reaches a terrifying climax. Barron (Occultation) has studied the work of his predecessors well; already acknowledged a master of the horror short story, he shows himself equally skilled at novel-length work. Agent: Brendan Deneen, FinePrint Literary Management. (May)