Cassandra Khaw bursts onto the scene with Hammers on Bone, a hard-boiled horror show that Charles Stross calls "possibly the most promising horror debut of 2016." A finalist for the British Fantasy award and the Locus Award for Best Novella!
John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable.
He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.
As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker. He’s infected with an alien presence, and he’s spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Horror author Khaw (Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef) 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. London PI John Persons, whose "stubbornly human" form disguises his horrifying true nature, reluctantly takes a job for 11-year-old Abel killing the boy's abusive stepfather after hearing Abel's rationale for choosing him: "You're a monster too." Persons's name is apt: he is desperate to hold on to his humanity and his compassion, and he refuses to give in entirely to his inner urges, which want to "rip tear bite cut" in response to his target's testosterone-fueled insults. His struggle hooks the reader, cutting deeply without losing the characteristic emotional distance of the noir style. Khaw's mash-up of gritty and eldritch is anything but incongruous, and the story is self-contained while leaving the door wide open for Persons's next case.
Lovecraftian Noir Novella
Cassandra Khaw crosses Cthulhu Mythos Horror and Hard Boiled Noir Detective to make a work that is both dark and exciting.
Private Investigator John Persons is approached by an unusual client. A ten year old boy has sought him out to kill his stepfather. This man is coarse, manipulative, and abusive, a real monster. John can’t leave this child in danger, but he soon determines that there is far more evil here than he expected.
This novella is surprisingly different! The two genres work well together to tell a gritty and disturbing tale. It appears to be the first in series of stories featuring the cases of John Persons known as “Persons Non Grata.”