ONLINE: Elements of Horror


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October 24, 7pm

Elements of Horror

Dathan Auerbach and Valerie Nieman in Conversation

From Dathan Auerbach, the author of the horror sensation Penpal, a hauntingly 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 into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle.

Five years later, Ben is still looking for his brother. Still searching, 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 job on the night stock crew at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.

Ben can feel there's something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and groans and beckons. But he's in the right place. He knows the store has much to show him, so he keeps searching. Except Ben misses the most important thing of all.

That he should have stopped looking.
“An atmospheric and unsettling novel. . . . Auerbach’s portrait of an after-hours grocery store—as benign a setting as one could imagine—takes on an aura of almost Gothic menace. Most importantly, his ability to convey the grief, guilt and sense of loss that fuel Ben’s fixation gives the book a resonant emotional center. With just two novels, Auerbach has established himself as a significant figure in the post-King generation of horror writers.”
—The Washington Post

“Auerbach cleverly weaves in the horror trope of creepy kids amid a vibe that’s best described as Stephen King meets Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. . . . The novel is wickedly effective in creating a feeling of doom. . . . Bad Man delivers an unexpected gut punch and saves its darkest deeds for an unnerving end.”
—USA Today
To the Bones began when I made the comment that, back when I lived in West Virginia, if I was going to kill someone, then I'd toss him down a mine crack. My friend challenged me to do just that —so Darrick MacBrehon, a government auditor, wakes up in a pit full of human bones after getting off the highway at Redbird, WV. He finds his way to a sweepstakes parlor operated by Lourana Taylor, a grieving mother who's been searching for her missing daughter. With a snowstorm bearing down on a Thanksgiving weekend, the pair find themselves making common cause against the local coal barons, the Kavanaghs, whom Lourana believes are behind pretty much everything that goes wrong there. Darrick has also developed a lethal defense mechanism, its source unknown. They gain and lose allies, make discoveries, and confront the Kavanaghs. There's a zombie panic, a New York psychic, and a terrible human tragedy before the final showdown.
"Evocative, intelligent prose conjures an anxious mood and strong sense of place while spotlighting the societal and environmental devastation wrought by the coal mining industry."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Nieman pairs sharp, intellectual prose with masterful plotting, and the end result is rip-roaring story—the very definition of a literary page-turner." - Katherine Scott Crawford in The Appalachian Review

DATHAN AUERBACH lives in Florida. He is the author of Penpal.
A former journalist and farmer in West Virginia, Valerie Nieman is the author of three novels, as well as collections of poetry and short fiction. She has held NEA and state creative writing fellowships. A graduate of West Virginia University, she received an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She is now a professor of English at North Carolina A&T State University.

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To the Bones By VALERIE NIEMAN Cover Image
ISBN: 9781946684981
Availability: Available - We'll have it for you ASAP!
Published: West Virginia University Press - April 25th, 2019

Bad Man (Blumhouse Books) By Dathan Auerbach Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525435266
Availability: Slight backorder - Give us a call and we'll find one for you!
Published: Anchor - August 27th, 2019

Event date: 
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
304 S. Elm St.
Greensboro, NC 27401