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Wild Spaces

Wild Spaces

Current price: $16.99
Publication Date: August 1st, 2023
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Nominated for the 2024 Philip K. Dick Award

An Esquire Best of Horror 2023 pick

"Without question, one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read this year.
"—The Wall Street Journal

"Can a horror story be beautiful? Wild Spaces tells a terrible truth in the most achingly beautiful way."—Alma Katsu, author of The Fervor

Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life meets Lovecraftian horror in this foreboding, sensual coming-of-age debut in which the corrosive nature of family secrets and toxic relatives assume eldritch proportions.

An eleven-year-old boy lives an idyllic childhood exploring the remote coastal plains and wetlands of South Carolina alongside his parents and his dog Teach. But when the boy’s eerie and estranged grandfather shows up one day with no warning, cracks begin to form as hidden secrets resurface that his parents refuse to explain.

The longer his grandfather outstays his welcome and the greater the tension between the adults grows, the more the boy feels something within him changing —physically—into something his grandfather welcomes and his mother fears. Something abyssal. Something monstrous.

About the Author

S. L. Coney obtained a master’s degree in clinical psychology before abandoning academia to pursue a writing career. The author has ties to South Carolina, and roots in St. Louis. Coney’s work has appeared in St. Louis Noir, Best American Mystery Stories 2017, and Gamut Magazine.

Praise for Wild Spaces

"Without question, one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read this year."—The Wall Street Journal

"[A] Lovecraftian gem."Esquire

"Coney's talent for writing is evident as this rich story develops in 128 short pages. . .Even the most hardened fans will have a difficult time not falling in love with this novella."—Rue Morgue

"Possesses a rare type of beauty. . . . Wild Spaces is undoubtedly one of the most captivating releases of 2023."—Ginger Nuts of Horror

"Idyll to nightmare—a beautifully written horror tale that ensnares the reader without as grippingly as it does those trapped within."—Lavender Magazine

"Can a horror story be beautiful? Wild Spaces tells a terrible truth in the most achingly beautiful way."—Alma Katsu, author of The Fervor

"Wild Spaces is an eldritch coming-of-age-story done right. It's lyrical, emotionally complex, creepy, and there's not a drop of poisonous nostalgia. I loved it and I can't stop thinking about it."—Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World and The Pallbearers Club

"If you mix Flannery O’Connor’s sense of Southern grotesquerie with Shirley Jackson’s tales of every day horror, you get Shaw Coney. What a stellar debut."—Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author and creator of the V. I. Warshawski crime novels

"Monstrous and elegant. Sensual and transformative. Wild Spaces left me aching to know what infernal wonders might follow its final, dazzling image. Coney has the vision of a once-in-a-generation writer. This is how it’s done, people!"—Laura Benedict, Edgar and Thriller-nominated author of When I Make Love to the Bug Man

"Wildly imaginative and gorgeously written. I was hooked from the first word to the last."—Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author

"S.L. Coney's innate understanding of both people and monsters makes Wild Spaces a sublime read."—Priya Sharma, Shirley Jackson Award and British Fantasy Award-winning author of Ormeshadow and All the Fabulous Beasts.

"Wild Spaces is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury and Robert McCammon, full of equal parts wonder and horror. Tense, atmospheric and visceral."—A.C. Wise, Bram Stoker Award and World Fantasy Award finalist of The Ghost Sequences

"Painfully human in the way that only the best fiction manages, and beautifully written with not a wasted word."—Brian Evenson, award-winning author of The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell

"Wild Spaces is a horrifying fever-dream that captures all the intensity and power of youth."—Kelly Robson, Nebula Award—winning author

“A coming-of-age story, but the change in store for the boy is wonderfully unpredictable and so originally weird. Pacing is key to this piece, and the author is brilliant at it."—Jeffrey Ford, author of Ahab's Return

Wild Spaces is a visceral, haunting, original story that takes the best of cosmic horror and pairs it with familial love in a way that tugs at your heart strings as it continuously raises the levels of horror. It’s Hereditary meets The Fisherman with a dash of The Dark Tower. One of my favorite authors writing today.”—Richard Thomas, Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Thriller Award nominee

"Atmospheric, humming with menace, heartbreaking, beautifully written."—Glen Hirshberg, author of Infinity Dreams and the Motherless Children trilogy

"Both wrenching family drama and fantastical monster story. . .Coney is a writer to watch."—Publishers Weekly

"Truly terrifying."—Booklist

"Beautiful and searing."—Library Journal