Cassandra Khaw returns with A Song for Quiet, a new standalone Persons Non Grata novella from the world of Hammers on Bone, finalist for the British Fantasy Award and the Locus Award, and which Kameron Hurley called "a long leap into the gory, the weird, and the fantastic."
Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can't escape, and music that won't let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble — visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.
The mad ravings chase Deacon to his next gig. His saxophone doesn't call up his audience from their seats, it calls up monstrosities from across dimensions. As Deacon flees, chased by horrors and cultists, he stumbles upon a runaway girl, who is trying to escape the destiny awaiting her. Like Deacon, she carries something deep inside her, something twisted and dangerous. Together, they seek to leave Arkham, only to find the Thousand Young lurking in the woods.
The song in Deacon’s head is growing stronger, and soon he won’t be able to ignore it any more.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
In the second novella in her Persons Non Grata series (after Hammers on Bone), Khaw introduces a new protagonist but continues the deeply affecting ambiance of a prose symphony. She blends 1959 cultural cadences with the visceral language of Lovecraftian horror and disturbingly lyrical descriptions of music that won't let go until it destroys the player. As Georgia bluesman Deacon James travels alone toward Arkham, Mass., he faces both the dangers of racism and the terror of the song in his head, which he can't resist playing even when he knows that doing so warps the world and brings forth monstrous horrors. Deacon encounters Ana, a young vocalist who shares his affliction, and together they must decide whether John Persons, gumshoe investigator and fighter against the Lovecraftian darkness, is pursuing them as friend or enemy. Khaw continues to demonstrate her mastery of seductive short-form horror, juxtaposing the disgusting and relentlessly terrifying with moments of exquisite beauty in ways that make it impossible to look away.
Musical Themed Second Installment in the Persons Non Grata Series
This second entry in the Persons Non Grata Series is quite a bit different from the first. While it does feature the hard-boiled detective John Persons, he’s a minor character. This story features Decon James, an African-American blues man from Georgia, who is trying to get by in the segregated 1950s. Deacon has been developing a song in his head, and it’s not the blues, it’s not even human.
This novella is a good example of the modern Cthulhu Mythos tales. It has the cosmic horror, but modern sensibilities. It is grim and gritty and dark, but not without a touch of hope. I’m now looking forward to the next story in the Persons Non Grata Series...