31 Days of Halloween: 3 underrated macabre authors

If you wish to read some alternative indie authors who walk on the macabre side, we have 3 for your seasonal consideration…

As with anything else online, it’s easy to get frustrated when every macabre scribe on Twitter is bombarding their followers with book links and review requests. It’s a bottleneck that shows no signs of widening any time soon.

So, to help those who love to read but are all caught up on their Stephen King and would perhaps like to dip their toes into some unconventional grume, I offer up the following indie authors…

Christopher Alan Broadstone

In the novel Puzzleman, Broadstone creates an intimate, existential epic steeped in historical context and gory imagery. The titular character is one of the most distinctively-written boogeymen I’ve encountered in literature.

But the story is also full of humanity and it’s this humanity that keeps the reader on the hook (for good and for ill). Throughout, I was reminded of Clive Barker‘s grisly way with words and world-building. Broadstone’s novella, A Catch in Time also takes history and applies it to a fantastical scenario with a detail-rich sense of reality.

An accomplished musician (for the bands About 9 Times and The Judas Engine) and filmmaker, his latest creative venture, the feature film Human No More, will be released on Blu-ray on October 9.

You can find physical copies of Broadstone’s work through Texas Poetrope and e-books via Amazon.

macabre

William D. Prystauk. Image courtesy William D. Prystauk

William D. Prystauk

Are you a fan of William Friedkin’s leather-bar murder mystery, Cruising? If so, Prystauk’s series of “Kink Noir” novels are for you. Less straightforward horror than something you’d find on the Hard Case Crime imprint, the author has created a Greenwich Village-set trilogy defined by alternative lifestyles, band T-shirts, S&M and innovative murder methods.

Prystauk mines seedy atmosphere to great effect in Bloodletting and Punishment, the first two books in the series. His protagonist, Denny Bowie, grounds each tale with his earthbound faults, virtues and desires. The third novel in the Kink Noir series, Debauchery, was released on September 7.

You can find physical and e-book copies of Prystauk’s work on Amazon.

Matthew Stokoe

If you wish to venture beyond the macabre fetishes of Barker, Stokoe is an author that pushes well past the parameters of good taste. I always find myself wondering, “just how far is Stokoe gonna go?” whenever I read one of his books.

His 1998 debut, Cows, is a jarring fable wherein an alienated young slaughterhouse worker finds himself lulled by the lure of talking Holsteins. That said, the execution is anything but comedic.

His Los Angeles Noir High Life peels back the Hollywood facade and amplifies the macabre violence of his vapid, amoral characters. Through all of this, his stories remain compulsively readable and purposeful – never do his extremes feel like shock for shock’s sake. (If you want to dive in at the shallow end, I would recommend Stokoe’s small-town crime drama, Empty Mile – easily his most approachable work.)

Physical and e-book copies of Stokoe’s work can be found on Amazon.

Let us know who your favorite macabre authors are in the comments.