Discover the Dark Delights of Haverhill House Publishing
In Massachusetts, there are a group of authors who specialize in the dark and macabre. They all know each other, and if they don’t collaborate creatively, they can be found attending each other’s readings and signings, or enjoying a beverage or two at a convention together. These authors include Christopher Golden, Bracken MacLeod, James A. Moore, Matt Bechtel, and Tony Tremblay.
One of these authors, John M. McIllveen, founded Haverhill House Publishing and has been regularly releasing works of these homegrown authors (plus others). Ranging from horror (with its Twisted Publishing imprint) to young adult and holistic/self-help books, Haverhill House often puts out nice volumes with those velvety matte covers — and the cover art is usually pretty great, too. At the time of my writing this, Haverhill House has no less than TWELVE upcoming releases, with more planned on the horizon. This post will be the first spotlight on the dark delights they have to offer.
I’ve been rained upon with a slew of Haverhill House books for review, so let’s get started. I regret that I can’t give each book its own full review, but here’s a little taste of what you can expect from the first round of Haverhill House books in my possession.
By Christopher Golden
“A powerful and haunting tale.” — Clive Barker
You know when Mr. Barker says something like this, you’re in for a weird time. I first encountered Golden’s The Ferryman via a third-party Amazon seller for just pennies, plus shipping, of course. It was a beat-up mass market book, but it was the only way I could get my hands on the thing without spending tons of money for an out-of-print special edition. Now, Haverhill House has released a great edition with a positively GORGEOUS cover of the titular ferryman coming to get you!
If you’re interested in this Stoker Award-winning and New York Times Bestselling author’s work, Golden doesn’t disappoint here, and neither does this Haverhill House release.The Ferryman asks, “what if mythical Greek figures were real, and what if one of them became obsessed with you?” When Boston teacher Janine loses her baby, she has a frightening vision of Charon, the old mythological Greek ferryman, coming for her. Instead of paying her way to cross the river and descend into the afterlife, she throws her silver coins at the ferryman and flees. Janine and her friends are stalked by the creature, and they may not get out alive. There’s lots of detailed imagery and atmospheric settings. What’s more, there’s a real sense of grief and loss within the pages of The Ferryman. If you’re looking for a supernatural, past-paced thriller, check this one out.
The Seven Whistlers
By Christopher Golden and Amber Benson
The Seven Whistlers is another tale of a legend “come to life.”The Seven Whistlers is co-written by Golden and Amber Benson (yes, Tara from Buffy, who’s a prolific author in her own right). Within the pages ofThe Seven Whistlers, there are odd whistling noises heard within one Vermont town, followed by sightings of huge black dogs and many unfortunate accidents. It’s said that they hunt for souls that belong to them, perhaps to Hell, and they will not stop hunting until they find these souls. More and more dogs seen together mean that very bad things are coming, and if all seven creatures are seen at once, the end of the world is upon us.
Rose Kerrigan is distraught from the loss of her beloved grandfather, but soon learns of the legend of The Seven Whistlers, as the descend to her town with frightening frequency — and terrible incidents — in search of a soul that belongs to them. Can she stave off these horrifying creatures before they bring the end of all mankind? This novella is a fun, fast read, and great if you’re itching for something you can finish easily or cleanse your palate between novels. I enjoyed it so much that I wish there were a series of these books following the whistlers throughout history.
Got Your Back
By John McIllveen
Publisher and Stoker Award nominee McIllveen occasionally publishes his own work, which I would expect from anyone. Why run a small press if you can’t do that now and again? Fortunately, McIllveen is a great writer. His novelette Got Your Back reminds me a bit of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Protagonist Ricky Briggs awakes not able to move, the result of a missing spine. (Cue horrified face.) I can’t say too much without spoiling Got Your Back, but if you’re looking for a short and entertaining read that contains healthy does of pulpy noir and dark humor, go grab Got Your Back.
By John McIllveen
McIllveen’sTriggers is a one-story chapbook (a signed, numbered, limited edition) that rings in at 20 pages, but those fast-moving pages are full of poignant crime drama that culminates in a satisfying end. Recommended for those who thirst for justice in a world where we rarely get it.
Don’t Go Alone
By Christopher Golden and friends
This book is a collection of stories written by Golden and various collaborators (Mike Mignola, Charlane Harris, Amber Benson, Tim Lebbon, James A. Moore, and Thomas E. Sniegoski) over the years, from 2005 to 2017. Within Don’t Go Alone, you can expect to read all sorts of genres, such as horror, sci-fi/action, and fantasy. Some stories build off existing series and characters, and discovering which tales those are is part of the fun.
“A Hole in the World” by Golden and Lebbon opens the volume, and imagines a team of international scientists and soldiers had to fight against squirming monsters that erupted from beneath the Earth’s crust. This is one of the longest stories in the book, and if you love Aliens, this story gives off the same vibe, with a bit of The Thing thrown in. Golden and Lebbon’s second story in this collection, “Fault Lines,” is an epic tale of an archeological find gone wrong — in the form of Pandora’s Box. I’m sensing a theme in Golden’s work with myths come alive…
In “Mechanisms,” Golden and co-creator of Joe Golem and Baltimore, plus Hellboy creator Mignola head to England for an old-school tale of mediums and men who attempt to contact and the deceased through a steampunk-esque machine. Colin Radford must leave Oxford to go home; his father, Sir Edgar, has disappeared, and yes, it all has to do with that mechanism. Readers who enjoy Poe and Lovecraft will relish this one. Golden and Mignola also have the Hellboy story “The Nuckelavee” in this book. It’s rich in monstrous folklore and a doomed lineage; quite enjoyably gothic. The third Golden/Mignola story here, “Joe Golem and the Copper Girl,” isn’t set in a certain time period, but gives off a dark Victorian underground vibe. Golem is called upon to help a family stave off a goblin, but of course, there’s more to this fun story than it seems.
In “Blood for Blood,” Golden and Harris team up for a bloody fight between vampires, faeries, and the sorcerer Peter Octavian. It’s a fun ride for fans of both authors, who have also collaborated on the terrific, three-art graphic novel series Cemetery Girl. “In their Presence” with Golden and James A. Moore is a riff on Lovecraftian themes concerning the Mi-Go, Old Ones who return to retrieve a certain treasure found in a sunken ship via a past Miskatonic University expedition. The cosmic horror and world building here is pretty cool, and Don’t Go Alone is worth picking up just for this story.
“Ghosts of Albion: Illusions” by Golden and Benson return to their Ghosts of Albion universe for bittersweet tale of love and loss in the time of grand illusionists and vampires. This tale is lyrical and laced with rich description and characterizations. Finally, “Wellness Check: A Tale of the Menagerie” by Golden and Sniegoski is a grimdark tale of sorcerers attempting to hold back the fierce Demogorgon from invading Boston and destroying humanity — along with a melee between bloodthirsty faeries and shapeshifters.
Don’t Go Alone is a must for fans of Christopher Golden, especially those who might not have had the opportunity to read his team-ups with other authors.
That’s it for now, but stay tuned for more Haverhill House book reviews!
Small press Haverhill House Publishing offers terrific page turners in the form of quality horror novels, novellas, chapbooks, and short story collections from Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, Amber Benson, Bracken MacLeod, Tony Tremblay, and more.