Reviews

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“Major new voices don’t come along often. This is one.”

Michael Marshall Smith, author of Intruders and The Straw Men

 

“The dark fiction in Grau’s first collection is nicely twisted, with stories that play on the best of eldritch horror, creating a sense of dread and the unexplained instead of overt malevolence…” — Publishers Weekly

 

“T.E. Grau has that special touch that leaves part of a reader trapped inside his tales, and that’s always a sign that others should proceed, wide-eyed, into these stories. For me, he’s right up there with the best new generation of horror writers…”

Adam Nevill, author of Lost Girl and The Ritual

 

“What’s most impressive about T. E. Grau’s stunning debut collection is the range of his settings and histories, and of the desperate and authentic voices of his doomed characters. The cumulative effect of these smart, evocative, unsettling creepers is a sense of dread as deep as the secret ocean underneath Nebraska.”

Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

 

“T.E. Grau’s writing is dynamic and vital and reinforces the notion that the 2000s and 2010s are a high water mark in the tradition of horror and the weird.”

Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase and The Croning

 

“There is a crucial difference that sets Grau’s writing apart from the grandfathers of the weird tale. He is cognizant of the cultural assumptions and short cuts his characters indulge in. The racism and the misogyny that can make reading Lovecraft and Howard such a vexing experience are replaced here by a cultural self-awareness that forever eluded those writers. You’ll find those traits in some of the characters, to be sure; Grau is too honest a writer to engage in the wish fulfillment of a truly democratic depiction of the world. But… the author refuses to relegate anyone to a caricature. Everyone bears the weight of a life. In this way, he is the writer I wish Lovecraft and Howard could have been.”

Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters and The Visible Filth

 

“The Nameless Dark by T.E. Grau (Lethe Press) is the debut by another fresh voice. These fourteen stories, all published since 2011 (three of them new), show off the author’s range…”

— Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year Volume 8

 

“T.E. Grau’s stories range across time and space, from Victorian-era London to contemporary Los Angeles, from America’s western frontier to the bohemian gatherings of Beat-inflected San Francisco. In prose elegant and engaging, he details the lives of men and women, children and adults, who have arrived at places where the world they know peels away to reveal another, darker place. It is a place where childhood fairy tales converge with stories of things older still, where the history we know is a mask for things better left concealed. Grau’s attention to character makes their discovery of this other place resonate long after each story is done.”

John Langan, author of The Fisherman and The Wide Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies

 

“Each story is written with a clear love for language, the prose evocative, heartfelt, and often heartbreaking, providing observations of human nature that are wickedly astute and well considered. The stars must have been right when he wrote this because Grau has created magic here, magic of a very dark kind… Frankly it’s one of the best collections of dark fiction I’ve read in a very long time. I eagerly await whatever Grau writes next.”

Ray Cluley, author of Probably Monsters and Water For Drowning

 

“The shadows evoked by T.E. Grau have teeth, and they shall endure.”

Richard Gavin, author of Sylvan Dread: Tales of Pastoral Darkness and The Benighted Path

 

“T.E. Grau’s odd, edgy stories shine a new light into the dark corners of human experience. These stories shine with smart prose, clever – often quirky – insights, and enough weirdness to make any genre fan froth at the mouth with glee.”

Gary McMahon, author of Pretty Little Dead Things and The Concrete Grove

 

“In The Nameless Dark, T. E. Grau finds the sweet spot between terror and acceptance, horror and beauty, the unusual and the familiar—both frightening and touching at the same time. Not an easy task. These unsettling stories grab your heart and squeeze—a sensation that is both terrifying and like coming home.”

Richard Thomas, author of Tribulations, editor of The New Black

 

“Some authors become contemporary favorites of mine on the merits of only a story or two. Such was the case with T. E. Grau… Even as a relative newcomer, he’s writing stories that can stand tall alongside those of much more established writers of modern weird fiction. His stories are sometimes tragic, sometimes blackly humorous, often cast a probing gaze at society, and may very well do all these things within the borders of a single tale.”

Jeffrey Thomas, creator of Punktown, author of Worship The Night

 

“This was easily one of the very best collections put out last year. Grau’s stories are dark in wonderfully varied ways. Sometimes I like a collection to have a cohesive, constant tone tying the stories together, developing themes, but sometimes I read a book like this and am very glad for the breadth of talent and voices on display… Highly recommended, and I predict we’ll see this book nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award in a couple of months.”

Michael Wehunt, author of Greener Pastures and The Tired Sounds/A Wake

 

“Grau has an uncanny way of turning seemingly ‘straight’ literary stories odd/weird on a dime.”

Christopher Irvin, author of Safe Inside the Violence and Wrestletown

 

“The horrors Grau describes are… diverse, encompassing ghosts, monsters, and existential despair. Perhaps most notable of all is Grau’s willingness to engage the all-too-human problems of cruelty and brutality, with the lyrical qualities of his prose providing a startling and effective counterpoint. Thrilling and memorable.”

Daniel Mills, author of The Lord Came at Twilight and Revenants

 

“What is amazing with T.E. Grau is that he is using old school horror methods and references (understatement, evocation versus description, Lovecraft, etc.) for a whole new ride. Contrary to many writers… Grau stresses the human in the horror, the frailty, the connivance even, instead of the gruesome and the ugly – although there is plenty of that too. What is also impressive is that the setting of the stories varies constantly – from today’s big cities to the Wild West and the American War for independence – but always remain credible and at eye-level. I thought of Robert Bloch, August Derleth and the Bradbury of ‘Dandelion Wine’ reading it – and that is, in my eyes, a big compliment for a collection that actually stands on its own. In the middle of its terrifying and beautiful darkness.”

Seb Doubinsky, author of White City and The Song of Synth

 

“Grau is one of the great horror writers working today, and his collection represents some of the best dark fiction out there.

Christopher Slatsky, author of Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales

 

“’A Collection,’ it states. Grau’s The Nameless Dark is so much more than that! This collection is a beast, unafraid to wield words in every way imaginable to make its points. Spitting and snarling, the writing is full-bodied, muscular. It growls, it roars, and slashes with a mighty talon. Okay, enough of that, but you get my point. Grau is fearless. Description and details, the depth of ideas—nothing here settles for ‘small’ in the scope of the horrors unleashed… Impressive is an understatement. Grau’s The Nameless Dark a beast ready to devour the minds of readers of Weird Horror willing to make the sacrifice. I can still hear it chewing on mine! Highly recommended!”

— John Claude Smith, author of The Wrath of Concrete and Steel and Autumn in the Abyss

 

“An amazing collection by a top-rank writer of macabre dark fantasy and horror. This collection of stories, some nearly mini-novellas, encapsulate worlds tapped from the minds of great writers such as creepy cosmologists Barron and Lovecraft, to modern domestic horror such as King and Barker, to the weird and surreal fables of Angela Carter. If you are a fan of Machen’s bizarre landscapes, Clark Ashton Smith’s hidden traps of worlds, you’ll find a lot to love about this staggering debut collection of fantastic horror.”

Philip Fracassi, author of Altar and Mother 

 

“Ted Grau can write – let’s make no bones about it. My first impression while reading this collection, even during the opening story, related to the strength of the prose, the jaunty, hip, rhythmic, colourful, witty, acerbic flow of writing which possesses a power all of its own. That makes reading Grau a real pleasure…”

— Gary Fry, author of What They Find in the Woods and Menace

 

“Henceforth, when I consider ‘literary horror’ or ‘contemporary weird fiction,’ I will think of T. E. Grau. Grau is an aesthetic genius, a master of literary craft; he sculpts beautiful grotesqueries with the English language. He is Bosch. Lovecraft. Ligotti. No—those that have come before, those people walking in the waking world we know—their names do not do justice to these tales. Grau isn’t Lovecraft, Grau is Richard Upton Pickman.”

Spencer Rhys Hughes, author of No Grave and No Reflection: The Furies

 

“T.E. Grau has a way of writing tales that are at once terrifying and wondrous, and what’s really remarkable about the stories in The Nameless Dark is that there isn’t a single story in the bunch that’s anything less than brilliant. Grau takes you down dark, horrific pathways, keeping you on the edge of your seat and reading until the final, petrifying sentence. For a young author, he brings a maturity to his fiction that is refreshing and ultimately extremely satisfying…”

—  Shane Douglas Keene at This Is Horror

 

“It’s a collection of horror stories but there’s wit here too, a dark humour that threads its way through the stories, raising smiles amidst the shudders. It’s there in the dialogue, in the descriptions of the characters populating these tales… I feel I can’t recommend The Nameless Dark highly enough. The stories and characters created here are worthy of the highest critical acclaim and the writing itself is a joy to read…”

Anthony Watson at Dark Musings

 

“There are many readers who would otherwise value what I already know… to be groundbreaking human literature by Grau of the highest calibre… This is a remarkable reading experience and, with the first half’s word-crepitating drive and sensibility of a Roth or Updike, we are taken by the scruff of the cerebral neck from out of that natural delight in a literature of such Rabbit, Run dodging tumbleweed of existence and then taken, via form of gateways to abomination, within a different but equally natural literature that we love, too, a literature of a Lovecraft or a King…”

— Des Lewis at  Dreamcatcher: Gestalt Real-Time Reviews

 

“Grau’s debut collection of fourteen new and republished pieces of fiction ably demonstrated why you lucky readers should be excited about the wonderful world of horror and weird fiction. I have said it before and I will say it again that I truly believe that the genre is currently experiencing a bit of a renaissance in terms of the breadth and quality of writing. The Nameless Dark is a prime example of this. Over the course of his collection, Grau presents an assured, confident and intelligent approach to traditional horror tenets such as cosmic horror, serial killers, werewolves and myths and weaves them into new forms that feel fresh and inventive. If you like stories with style, panache, solid characterization and damn it, just great storytelling, this is as good a place to start as any.”

— George Anderson’s BEST HORROR FICTION OF 2015 list at Ginger Nuts of Horror

 

“I truly believe that horror is going through a bit of a renaissance period with a whole slew of small print publishers and authors producing truly world class fiction. Another prime example of this trend is T.E. Grau’s ‘The Nameless Dark’, a collection of fourteen new and republished pieces of fiction that ably demonstrate his writing skills and ability across a range of different settings, time periods and styles…. This really is quite a startling collection from T.E. Grau and ‘The Nameless Dark’ is yet again another example of why people should be excited about horror and weird fiction in general. If you like stories with style, panache, solid characterization and damn it, just great storytelling, this is as good a place to start as any. Hell, when you have Nathan Ballingrud writing your intro you know that you must be doing something right!”

— Ginger Nuts of Horror

 

“T.E. Grau is a powerful and majestic new voice in horror fiction. I know that I should read him in long form before making such claims, but if Grau decided today to only write short fiction for the rest of his natural life, I sincerely believe he would be bound to succeed anyway. THE NAMELESS DARK is what horror is all about. .”

Dead End Follies, which named The Nameless Dark: A Collection a NOTABLE READ OF 2015

 

“With the unleashing of The Nameless Dark, T. E. Grau has cemented himself as an author whose byline should spark in readers a joyful expectancy for what surprises there are to follow…”

Jose Cruz at The Haunted Omnibus

 

“Grau’s writing is gritty and raw, highly reminiscent of the work of Laird Barron. Some of his stories slowly gnaw away at your being, and some of them assault you with cosmic punch after cosmic punch; there is no defense against such powerful and primal writing, and you are left on the brink of mental lassitude and physical exhaustion. You are taken on harrowing journeys through hollowed-out urban settings, desolate desert landscapes, and far away lands that will devour you whole if you do not offer them the right amount of respect. Grau’s characters are innocent, flawed, macho, hardened, vulnerable, and downright terrible.”

Joe Zanetti at Musings from the Outer Worlds

 

“… Grau has managed quite a feat here: turning out a stunning collection comprised of the first group of stories he ever published. It is a testament to the breadth of quality work being done in the horror genre today that Grau has flown under the radar until now, but I believe that will change soon. This Is Horror is scheduled to publish two of Grau’s novellas next year, and I would be surprised if he isn’t nominated for some hardware (Shirley Jackson award, maybe?) next year. That’s a good thing; a writer as good as Grau should be benefiting from the current horror boom, not being hidden within it.”

— Nothing Bad Is Going To Happen

 

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I Am The River: A Novel

Pre-Order now. Available February 2018 from Lethe Press

They Don’t Come Home Anymore: A Novella

Winner of Dark Muse Award for Best Novella of 2016

The Nameless Dark: A Collection

Finalist for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Single-Author Collection

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