Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Goblin - by Josh Malerman

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Goblin: A Novel In Six Novellas is the thirteenth book in Earthling Publication’s annual Halloween Series.  Featuring an introduction by James A. Moore, Cover artwork by Allison Laakko, and Interior artwork by Glenn Chadbourne, Goblin is indeed a very special book.

From the Earthling Publication's website...

Welcome to the town of Goblin. May your night there be wet with rain, breathless with adventure, and filled with fright…

I know I said the story was told in six novellas, but we mustn't forget the Prologue - And a very important delivery to Dean Crawford in Goblin, MI. A delivery that must take place between Midnight and 12:30.  The prologue was just a tease of things to come, albeit a pulse-pounding one.  What follows is a series of compelling tales of life in Goblin.

A Man In Slices - A story where we learn quite a bit about the strange history of Goblin, including how the people of the town are buried standing up  And then there's Charles Ridnour...a man whom women avoided on sight, on instinct, despite his not having spoken to them at all.  A young man who wants to prove to his long-distance girlfriend that they have “legendary love,” better than Vincent van Gogh, so he sends her more than just his ear.

Kamp - Walter Kamp is scared of being scared to death by a ghost and sets up a series of “ghost traps” all over his apartment, desperate to catch one before it can sneak up on him.

Happy Birthday Hunter! - Big game hunter Neal Nash throws a lavish sixtieth birthday party for himself but leaves when he becomes obsessed with killing a Great Owl, a protected species in Goblin.  But the North Woods are anything but friendly.

Presto - In the pages of Presto magazine, a young boy reads that his favorite magician, Roman Emperor, is coming to town. She knew all about how magicians had their secrets, secrets they don't share, but there was something different about this show.  Something terrible. Something scary.

A Mix-Up At the Zoo - Dirk Rogers works full-time at the Hardy Carrol Goblin Zoo, as a tour guide, and he also works part-time at the Goblin Slaughterhouse.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Hedges - When young Margot solves the mystery of the Hedges there's a chase between the Goblin police and the owner of the Hedges which leads directly to the terrible North Woods.

The book ends with a satisfying conclusion to what began in the prologue.

Goblin was fun, unexpected, and filled with the sort of prose that makes one want to slow down and savor every word.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the interior illustrations from artist Glenn Chadbourne.

Currently, Goblin is only available from Earthling publications in the following formats...

 500 numbered, smyth sewn, offset printed hardcovers, illustrated endsheets, silk ribbon page marker, signed by Josh Malerman; $50

15 lettered, smyth sewn, offset printed, traycased hardcovers, both book and traycase completely hand made using the finest materials, signed by all contributors; $ price TBD

For more information, visit http://www.earthlingpub.com/jm_goblin.html

From the author's bio...Josh Malerman is an American author of novels and short stories.  Before publishing his debut novel Bird Box with ECCO/HarperCollins, he wrote fourteen novels, never having shopped one of them.

Being the singer/songwriter of the Detroit rock band The High Strung, Malerman toured the country for six years, as the band played an average of 250 shows a year, and Malerman wrote many of the rough drafts for these novels in the passenger seat between cities on tour. He says this about those days: “I never saw the books with dollar signs in my eyes. It was no hobby, that’s for sure, it was the real thing and always has been, but I was happy, then, simply writing, and while I blindly assumed they’d be published one day, I had no idea how something like that occurred.”

Bird Box was released in 2014 and many short stories and novellas have followed.

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