The blade between A novel

Sam J. Miller

Book - 2020

"From Nebula Award winner Sam J. Miller comes a frightening and uncanny ghost story about a rapidly changing city in upstate New York and the mysterious forces that threaten it"--

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Subjects
Genres
Ghost stories
Horror fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
Mystery fiction
Published
New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2020]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
371 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780062969828
006296982X
Main Author
Sam J. Miller (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The latest from Miller (Destroy All Monsters, 2019) focuses on the rapidly gentrifying former whaling town of Hudson, New York. Amid a wide array of characters, a central trio emerges: Ronan, an aging gay photographer struggling with meth addiction who finds himself on a train back to his childhood home; Dom, a Black cop who was Ronan's secret boyfriend throughout their adolescence; and Attalah, Dom's wife and the leader of the uphill battles against Hudson's gentrification. When Ronan and Attalah work together on a more radical, less legal campaign to fight the transformation of the city, it quickly spins out of their control, seemingly fueled by mysterious supernatural forces responsible for events like people drowning in their own homes or Ronan meeting a young trans gay man, Katch, months after Katch's suicide. Hudson-born Miller's sprawling novel encapsulates the complex web of feelings brought on by witnessing the destruction of a town that made adolescence hell for a gay or trans teen. While some of the supernatural threads of the story are resolved abruptly, the raw and volatile energy of the novel more than makes up for it. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a queer-themed, sea salt–laced dark fantasy. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In the Nebula Award-winning Miller's new work, gay photographer Ronan returns to his fading upstate New York town and connecting with first love Dom and Dom's wife, Attalah. Together, they hatch a plan to nettle the town's troublesome new gentrifiers and corporate bigwigs and inadvertently stir up the town's underlying spirits. With a 50,000-copy first printing. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Miller (Destroy All Monsters) takes on cosmic horror with chillingly realistic results. Ronan, a famous New York City photographer, comes home to the upstate New York town of Hudson to care for his dying father. Returning to the site of his childhood trauma, a place where being openly gay was dangerous, Ronan reconnects with his first crush, Dom, now a police officer, and hiswife Attalah, a community organizer, to help them save the town from gentrification. But Hudson is more than just a typical down-on-its-luck small town. Its rich history has a power that goes deep into the soil and transcends time and space, one that does not see humans as an obstacle but will protect itself at all costs. VERDICT Filled with intense dread and unease; well-drawn if flawed characters; social commentary; and a satisfying resolution, this is a great example of how a century-old subgenre can still speak directly to today's readers. Direct those who want more to John Langan's The Fisherman, Caitlín R. Kiernan's Agents of Dreamland, or T. Kingfisher's The Twisted Ones. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Gay photographer Ronan Szepessy, the flawed, refreshingly frank narrator of much of this gripping mashup of psychological suspense and horror from SF author Miller (Blackfish City), left Hudson, N.Y., long ago for Manhattan. When he finally returns to visit his ailing father, he discovers that his once sleepy hometown is now thriving and that prosperity threatens to force out many of its longtime residents. Ronan reconnects with two old friends, his first love, Dom, a police detective, and Dom's wife, Attalah, and soon Ronan and Attalah join forces to expose the corporate interests backing the gentrification. What starts as harmless pranks on their part wakes the spirits of the town and forces Ronan to come to terms with his love for a place he thought he'd left behind. Ronan's relationship with the couple at the center of the story—Dom, with whom he's sleeping, and Attalah, with whom he's conniving—provides murky, uncomfortable tension. The author takes his time in introducing the supernatural, but once he does, the novel lifts off toward an exciting conclusion. Insightful social commentary is a bonus. Thriller fans will welcome Miller as a fresh new voice. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Dec.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Reluctantly visiting his upstate New York hometown when his father falls ill, a restless gay photographer reconnects with two high-school friends who become his allies in a plan to expose the corrupt motives of invasive corporate gentrifiers. 50,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From Nebula Award winner Sam J. Miller comes a frightening and uncanny ghost story about a rapidly changing city in upstate New York and the mysterious forces that threaten it"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A Recommended Book from CrimeReads and AlmaFrom Nebula Award winner Sam J. Miller comes a frightening and uncanny ghost story about a rapidly changing city in upstate New York and the mysterious forces that threaten it.Ronan Szepessy promised himself he’d never return to Hudson. The sleepy upstate town was no place for a restless gay photographer. But his father is ill and New York City’s distractions have become too much for him. He hopes that a quick visit will help him recharge. Ronan reconnects with two friends from high school: Dom, his first love, and Dom’s wife, Attalah. The three former misfits mourn what their town has become—overrun by gentrifiers and corporate interests. With friends and neighbors getting evicted en masse and a mayoral election coming up, Ronan and Attalah craft a plan to rattle the newcomers and expose their true motives. But in doing so, they unleash something far more mysterious and uncontainable. Hudson has a rich, proud history and, it turns out, the real-state developers aren’t the only forces threatening its well-being: the spirits undergirding this once-thriving industrial town are enraged. Ronan’s hijinks have overlapped with a bubbling up of hate and violence among friends and neighbors, and everything is spiraling out of control. Ronan must summon the very best of himself to shed his own demons and save the city he once loathed. 

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A Recommended Book from CrimeReads and AlmaFrom Nebula Award winner Sam J. Miller comes a frightening and uncanny ghost story about a rapidly changing city in upstate New York and the mysterious forces that threaten it.Ronan Szepessy promised himself he'd never return to Hudson. The sleepy upstate town was no place for a restless gay photographer. But his father is ill and New York City's distractions have become too much for him. He hopes that a quick visit will help him recharge. Ronan reconnects with two friends from high school: Dom, his first love, and Dom's wife, Attalah. The three former misfits mourn what their town has become'overrun by gentrifiers and corporate interests. With friends and neighbors getting evicted en masse and a mayoral election coming up, Ronan and Attalah craft a plan to rattle the newcomers and expose their true motives. But in doing so, they unleash something far more mysterious and uncontainable. Hudson has a rich, proud history and, it turns out, the real-state developers aren't the only forces threatening its well-being: the spirits undergirding this once-thriving industrial town are enraged. Ronan's hijinks have overlapped with a bubbling up of hate and violence among friends and neighbors, and everything is spiraling out of control. Ronan must summon the very best of himself to shed his own demons and save the city he once loathed.