5 Days of Books: Paul Tremblay

There’s not much I can add that hasn’t already been documented about Paul Tremblay’s work. He’s the bestselling author of A Head Full of Ghosts (currently being adapted to screen by Scott Cooper), Cabin at the End of the World, the upcoming Survivor Song, and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. As the aforementioned titles prove, he writes powerful, enduring horror that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go until you turn that final page. But what sometimes gets missed is that he’s also one of the coolest, and nicest guys in the literary world today. I’ve known him, from a distance, for many years, going back to around 2004 (?) when we both frequented a forum aimed at celebrating the books of Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger and Stephen Graham Jones. By then he was already ahead of us fledging writers, having a couple of books published through the Canadian press ChiZine. But what I recall even now is that when he contributed to conversations, or was solicited for stories by those of us brave enough to assemble anthologies (see The Booked Anthology, Warm and Bound, and The New Black) he always came across as self effacing and generous. Though Paul is currently carving his name next to some of the upper literary echelon, he still hasn’t let go of that attitude, and in a world where the merest whiff of success has some become a pastiche of Ron Burgundy, this is a rare commodity that will only bolster his popularity.

The books photographed are some of his more well know. Though many gravitate to A Head Full of Ghosts as his finest, my heart is nestled more in the pages of A Cabin at the End of the World. A claustrophobic, intimate story, Paul

explores the nightmare of isolation and intimidation with such detail you feel as much a part of the horror as those undergoing it. I’m still processing what happened to eight year old Wen, and her two dads, Andrew and Eric, even some three years later, but I can safely reassure you Paul has tendered a situation more scarier than monsters, demons or ghosts that occupy the head. Their world is real. Their nightmare can happen. And it probably will happen. To talk more about what exactly does happen will spoil the story. It needs to be read with a blank slate. You need to pick up knowing very little, save for the understanding you will be delivered into a world where you’ll doubt motives, faith, humanity and truth.

A slight aside, had it not been for, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, I don’t think I would have wrote Bad People. That book inspired me to want to do something similar, to merge the line between thriller and horror. It served, alongside the works of Thomas Harris, as a kind of handbook to Bad People, so I’ll always be indebted to him for that. His new book, Survivor Song, will be released in July.

Published by craigwallwork

Craig Wallwork is the author of the novels, Bad People, Labyrinth of the Dolls, The Sound of Loneliness, To Die Upon a Kiss, and the short story collections, Quintessence of Dust, and Gory Hole. His short stories have been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and feature in many anthologies and magazines both in the U.K. and U.S. He currently lives in West Yorkshire.

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