By: Dathan Auerbach
Publication Date: 8/7/2018
My Rating: 4 Stars Reddit horror sensation Dathan Auerbach delivers a devilishly dark novel about a young boy who goes missing, and the brother who won't stop looking for him. Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. Vanished right into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle. They say you've got only a couple days to find a missing person. Forty-eight hours to conduct searches, knock on doors, and talk to witnesses. Two days to tear the world apart if there's any chance of putting yours back together. That's your window.
That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben's life in ruins. He still looks for his brother. Still searches, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben's father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a night stock job at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.
Ben can feel that there's something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and moans and beckons. There's something wrong with the air itself. He knows he's in the right place now. That the store has much to tell him. So he keeps searching. Keeps looking for his baby brother, while missing the most important message of all.
That he should have stopped looking.
“If you think The Shining set in a grocery store, you’re not far off. . . . Auerbach is magnificent with atmosphere, able to conjure dread from a huge array of normally nonthreatening places. This is a horror author to watch very, very closely.” —Booklist
“Dark and disturbing. . . . Readers will be reminded of the young Stephen King.” —Publishers Weekly
“This nasty little slice of Southern gothic. . .is a heady, puzzling, and oddly gripping exercise in depicting a small town as a macabre place filled with everyday horrors ranging from a child’s stuffed animal to a gruesome industrial accident. . . . Auerbach [keeps] readers on the edges of their seats for the whole ride.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A shattering and frightening novel about loss, obsession, and the horrors you unravel when you dig too deep. Dathan Auerbach has written my favorite book of the year.” —Thomas Olde Heuvelt, author of Hex
“With Penpal Auerbach freaked us out. With Bad Man he’s got a bigger canvas, and, it seems, a sharper shovel, as he’s dug deeper here and found a totally unsettling story about never giving up on a loss. Brilliant stuff.” —Josh Malerman, author Bird Box and Unbury Carol
“Bad Man blew a big dark hole right through my chest. Spellbindingly terrifying stuff. Dathan Auerbach writes high-test, 151-proof horror.” —Nick Cutter, author Little Heaven and The Troop
“Cleanup on aisle 9: Bad Man will make a mess of your daily life, will haunt your next trip to the grocery store. And then you’ll want to reread it, just to see how Dathan Auerbach did that. And you’ll be scared all over again.” —Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels
About the Author
In 2011, I started posting to the NoSleep subreddit under the name 1000Vultures. What began as a single story called Footsteps soon grew into a series, and thanks to the support of my readers, that series became the novel Penpal.
I've lived in the South for pretty much my whole life. Heavy air and asphalt fields. Miles of road stretching through old farms and rocky lots that maybe used to be for something. Folks who are close despite the sprawl of it all.
It's where I think of when I think of anywhere at all. Because there's just so much that can happen in those vacant expanses. In the spaces between the cities and the people who live inside of them.
I write about bad luck and worse people. Read More