From World Fantasy Award-winning author Scott Nicolay comes And at My Back I Always Hear, a new collection of eight tales of the macabre and the uncanny.
“[Nicolay’s] perspective is always outsider-identified, entirely concerned with characters who refuse to settle, both literally and figuratively; his protagonists often hover on a knife’s edge, caught in some sadly inescapable moment of realization. They’ve failed and been failed, left discarded amongst the wreckage of systemic inequity. And now that they have nothing left to cling to, their inner eye pops open, suddenly able to see the darkness lurking inherent in every crevice, the emptiness revolving inside every atom.”—from the introduction by Gemma Files
“This was a fun collection of eight weird tales. Nicolay pays homage to several other writers, including Laird Barron (The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All), Geoffrey Household (Dance of the Dwarfs), and H.F. Arnold (“The Night Wire”). I’d read two of these stories (“Noctuidae” and “The Croaker”) before, but it was nice to see them in a larger collection. All the stories are atmospheric, paranoid, unsettling, and unpredictable. Nicolay grew up in the same central New Jersey town as me and attended the same high school, which explains why half the stories are set in the Garden State. That’s worth an extra star from me.—Jeffrey Powanda via Goodreads
Nicolay has gotten better at characterization since his first collection, particularly with his female characters. Both “Noctuidae” and “after” have believable, well-developed female protagonists.
My three favorite stories in this collection are “Noctuidae,” “after,” and “The Always Rising of the Night.” The dread those stories induce lingers long after reading them. Truly memorable.”
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