“Sissa died last year, just shy of our hundred and thirtieth birthday.”
(the first line of the first story in Greener Pastures, my first short fiction collection)
“The weekend his family left him, Fulton started thinking about vampires.”
(the first line of the first story in The Inconsolables, my second short fiction collection)
More than seven years will have separated the publication of those two sentences, but at last, I am crawling out of the woods with The Inconsolables, a new collection of ten literary horror stories. Out June 3, 2023, on Bad Hand Books, I couldn’t be happier to release this book with this publisher. Doug Murano is intensely passionate about both horror and putting out great books.
Here’s the cover, and I’m proud to say it is my own creation!
I can’t say too much about it yet, but here’s a little info from the Kindle pre-order page on Amazon:
In his first collection, Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt introduced the world to his singular voice–a poetic, resonant force of darkness and unique terrors. He returns with The Inconsolables, a chilling selection of stories sure to brighten this star of literary horror.
Inside, meet masterfully rendered characters who grapple with desires as powerful and personal as the monsters that stalk them from the edges of perception.
A man revisits a childhood game of pretend in “Vampire Fiction.”
A found-footage collaboration turns nightmarish in “The Pine Arch Collection,” which links to “October Film Haunt: Under the House” from Greener Pastures.
In “An Ending (Ascent),” Wehunt steps beyond horror in a devastating near-future elegy for living and dying in a changing world.
Readers have waited for years to discover which cracks between the everyday and the extraordinary Wehunt would explore next. His latest collection offers ten resounding, haunting, terrifying answers.
The Inconsolables is fully illustrated by acclaimed artist Trevor Henderson, with an introduction by John Langan, award-winning author of The Fisherman and Corpsemouth and Other Autobiographies.
We’ve announced the ten stories that will provide, I hope, at least ten nightmares for each reader:
- Vampire Fiction
- Caring for a Stray Dog (Metaphors)
- The Pine Arch Collection
- The Tired Sounds, A Wake
- A Heart Arrhythmia Creeping Into a Dark Room
- The Teeth of America
- It Takes Slow Sips
- Is There Human Kindness Still in the World?
- An Ending (Ascent)
“Vampire Fiction” and “Is There Human Kindness Still in the World?” have never been published before and are exclusive to The Inconsolables.
Early praise for The Inconsolables:
“No other living author writes the weird and the uncanny with the verve and deftness of Michael Wehunt. In this remarkable follow up to his highly praised debut collection, Wehunt issues a mournful shriek into the carnivorous void and bares his soul so completely and so openly. Elegantly written and utterly harrowing, The Inconsolables is an exemplary achievement of short fiction penned by a master craftsman who knows all too well how to hurt you.”
—Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke
“Michael Wehunt’s tales interweave the psychological and the uncanny, each illuminating the other. Written with poetic clarity that often blossoms into lyricism, his insidiously disturbing tales wield the weird to probe deep into human experience. He’s a true original and a fearless talent, and his book is essential reading for anyone who cares about contemporary developments in horror fiction at its most intelligent and searching.”
—Ramsey Campbell, author of The Lonely Lands and recipient of the Life Award from the World Fantasy Convention
“Michael Wehunt is one of my favorite, trusted guides navigating stories of grief and loss, sadness and regret. My reader’s heart left standing in Greener Pastures so eager to welcome that unique, familiar voice ushering me toward a new strange path twisting through Wehunt’s garden of eerie, weird, beautiful things—The Inconsolables; what a gift.”
—Sadie Hartmann, Author of 101 Horror Books to Read Before You’re Murdered, Bram Stoker Award®-nominated editor
“I was slowly savoring The Inconsolables by Michael Wehunt, but by ‘Caring for a Stray Dog (Metaphors),’ I knew I had to read the whole book as quickly as possible. These stories offer communion with awe and terror, the profane and beautiful all at once. You will not be the same person after finishing. This is a must-have. It aches.”
—Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters
“The Inconsolables is a seismic literary event in the horror genre, and Michael Wehunt is among our best living writers, full stop.”
—Andy Davidson, author of The Hollow Kind
“Beautifully rendered stories in which the horror is bone-deep existential, grounded in anguish and loss. Wehunt has an ability to look unflinchingly, yet somehow still honestly, at the basic horror of what it means to be human. Both he and we come away from the experience not unscathed but very thoroughly, completely scathed: forever changed.”
—Brian Evenson, author of The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell
“There aren’t a lot of ‘traditional’ monsters in The Inconsolables, save for the author himself, who keeps drenching the audience with sorrow and heartbreak and the dread of existence. No ‘traditional’ monsters save for the modern universe Wehunt explores and inhabits here, in narrative. These stories exist in the liminal space between elegy and the uncanny and prove beyond all doubt that Wehunt is one of our modern day masters of horror.”
—John Hornor Jacobs, author of A Lush and Seething Hell and The Incorruptibles
“These stories drill down to my core, undoing me as they go, leaving me spent and shaken, searching for solid ground. And just when I was ready to throw in the towel, to surrender, there was a ray of hope, and it was heartbreaking in its brilliance.”
—Richard Thomas, author of Spontaneous Human Combustion, a Bram Stoker Award® finalist
“With The Inconsolables, Michael Wehunt expands the idea of what horror can and should do. The supernatural and the deeply human blend seamlessly in this unsettling collection, rife with subtle terror and unexpected tension. You’ll never look at the world around you in quite the same way again.”
—A.C. Wise, author of Hooked and The Ghost Sequences
“Michael Wehunt’s long awaited second collection cements his place in the top echelon of horror writers. These are stories that slide a knife into your gut as they haunt your heart. And what a joy to read such darkly beautiful writing in the service of horror.”
—Matthew M. Bartlett, author of Gateways to Abomination and Where Night Cowers
No one does slow, creeping dread and unease like Michael Wehunt. The Inconsolables contains stories that ask you to remove your tear salt-seasoned heart and then consume it. And you’ll do it. Gladly. For anyone seeking stories that lodge themselves inside the meat of you, this collection is a triumph.
—Kristi DeMeester, author of Such a Pretty Smile
There’s no print edition available on Amazon at this time because the book is available as a signed pre-order directly from the publisher. Pre-orders are hugely important to publishers (especially smaller presses), so if you’re interested, there’s a limited supply of these at Bad Hand’s website, and there aren’t too many left. Closer to the publication date, though, the paperback will be available at all the usual online retailers.
You might have noticed above that the renowned artist Trevor Henderson will be illustrating the collection. I’m thrilled to partner with Trevor on this and see what he comes up with for each individual story. His monsters are some of the most terrifying and beautifully creepy I’ve ever seen, so this should be incredible! See examples of his work here.
I’ll share more here as we reveal new tidbits closer to June 3. For now, I’ll say that these stories lean even more into horror than my past stories have, while still very much steeped in Wehunt prose and atmosphere and characterization and terrors. I’m so excited to share this book with you. If you’ve read Greener Pastures or my other work, I am so grateful. I hope you’ll try The Inconsolables as well…and lose a little more sleep.