Reviews

They Don’t Come Home Anymore: A Novella

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“Readers picking up T.E. Grau’s novella They Don’t Come Anymore will meet a writer at the top of his game presenting a compelling protagonist and original tale in page after page of masterful prose.” —  John C. Foster

 

“I’ve had the opportunity recently to read some outstanding fiction with some of the strongest, most well-developed female leads that I’ve seen in recent years, and They Don’t Come Home Anymore continues that trend in exemplary fashion. Hettie is a fully formed independent female character with a mind of her own and a determination to achieve her goals regardless of who—or what—might attempt to deter her. She’s also a dark soul with a supercharged, overemphasized sense of loyalty to Avery and a willingness to sacrifice even the most precious of things in order to save her and, on a more selfish level, to have her to herself.

They Don’t Come Home Anymore brings together a cast of unique, quirky characters, gorgeous prose, and imagery, a spin on a familiar theme that literally makes it a brand new trope like nothing you’ve read before. It’s something he’s done with all his work but never with as much confidence and success as what he’s given us here. His debut collection made me want to follow him in his career and this new, intensely moving tale of suffering and potential redemption, he’s done nothing but reinforce that desire, cementing his place as one of our most promising new authors.” —  Shane Douglas Keene at Hellnotes

 

“Hettie is difficult not to root for as a character, Grau’s poetic and sometimes disturbing language strengthening the backbone of her universe and all who inhabit it. The cautionary tale is at times exciting, terrifying, hopeful, and deranged, constantly bouncing between themes with powerful writing that does not allow any separation of attention from the readers who travel with Hettie as she tries to save her friend, Avery, from certain death.” — Gehenna & Hinnom

 

“At its core, They Don’t Come Home Anymore comes across as the most twisted and startling and tender of love stories. It portrays the loneliness, the bitchiness and the tenderness of high school, and the more general complacency or malignance of human beings. It’s other-than-human elements, reimagined from familiar monsters you wouldn’t think had any blood left in them, are fleeting and sharply drawn. There are so many layers to Grau’s excellent novella, but even on a surface level it’s brilliant and, perhaps most importantly, immense fun.”  —  Aksel Dadswell at Larval Forms

 

“If you have any affection for vampire fiction – in any form – you’ll get a kick out of They Don’t Come Home Anymore. Personally, as a reader who cut her teeth (excuse the pun) on Anne Rice, and whose favourite book of all time is Let The Right One In, I absolutely loved this novella, and devoured it in a day.” —  Emma Whitehall at Unnerving Magazine

 

“Few authors have an original paradigm to offer their audience. They Don’t Come Home Anymore is very much a  T.E. Grau story where the boundaries between the natural world and the Greater Unknown are permeable and available to those who refuse natural order, yet it is unlike anything he’s done before. It’s both a fragmented nightmare and a heartbreaking allegory that you won’t soon forget. Weird fiction is going to new and interesting places, thanks to original and ambitious voices such as T.E. Grau.”  —  Benoît Lelièvre at Dead End Follies

 

“There’s a lot going on in They Don’t Come Home Anymore, a rich vein of themes dare I say – artificiality, peer-pressure, loss of innocence, a sense of identity and many more besides – perhaps demanding a second read through to fully appreciate them all. It’s a book which deserves real critical analysis – a much deeper and more detailed critique than this one but I have to say I loved every word of it.”  —  Anthony Watson at Dark Musings

 

“Like any story set in high school, They Don’t Come Home Anymore is about belonging. The need to connect, whether to an individual or a larger social group. The “cool kids.” Goths. Religion. The eternal undead. As is frequently the case with these types of stories, it is also about obsession… Notice I haven’t mentioned the V word, because that’s not really what this story is about. But that element is there, combining old and new, poking holes in tropes and creating new ones, to put the cherry on top of this sundae of desperation and misguided loyalty. Grau sets the scene with assurance, meting out information in such a way as to keep us guessing about the inevitable. Because we all know how this story ends, right? Like Hettie, we think we do.”  —  Joshua Chaplinsky at LitReactor

 

“This novella touches on quite a few subjects, not just vampire mythos but also the cruelty of high schoolers, the big business of phony authors, and the underhanded tactics of born-again cults. But most importantly, it paints Hettie as a kind of anti-hero, trying to accomplish something that is obviously wrong, but you can’t help root for her. She is complex and layered, at times lucid and relateable, but quickly switches to choosing fantasy over reality. This makes the story all the more scary and sad, as readers are forced to confront their own hypocrisies…”  —  Matt Lewis at HorrorTalk

 

“I stepped into this very entertaining novella deliberately blind, knowing nothing of the plot and am pleased to say I was enthralled until the very last page. Actually, I pretty much read this enticing little story in one sitting and late into the night. Did it take me where I was expecting it to take me? No, and that’s much of the fun of reading great dark fiction; the plot often weaves into unexpected areas.”  —  Tony Jones at Gingernuts of Horror

 

The Nameless Dark: A Collection

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“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

 

“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

 

“Grau crafts stories which tingle the intellect and gut-punch the emotions as they probe the dark corners of reality, giving you a glimpse of things you’d rather not see. It has been a while since a book this good has come down the chute… The Nameless Dark is destined to become a classic of the highest order.”  —  PopHorror.com

 

“Frequenters of horror should include The Nameless Dark in their ‘must reads’ list, while considering that this collection holds a rare distinction of being so well-written that fans of the genre will be helpless but to visit the terrifying realms of Grau’s imagination again and again. Establishing himself as an authority that deserves to be recognized, dark fiction’s most promising young voice detonates into the field of horror with cataclysmic power, harnessing enough fire to not only stand beside the other greats, but to also cement his position amongst them for many years to come.” —  Gehenna & Hinnom

 

“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.”  —  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 – a description of someone being ‘the shape and consistency of a potato’ made me laugh out loud.”  — Anthony Watson at Dark Musings

 

“… If there is one adjective that comes to mind, it’s ‘rich.’ Each story in The Nameless Dark reads the way a barrel-aged stout tastes. You want to sip it slowly, ruminating on the notes and nuances that dance on your tongue. You want to think about what you just ingested. That’s a T.E. Grau story. Hell, that’s a T.E. Grau paragraph. To read these stories is to recognize that you’re in the hands of a writer in control of his language, hurling fully formed images at the page like daggers with pin-point precision. It’s downright inspiring.” —  Pour Vida Magazine

 

“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 The Dreamcatcher 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

 

“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

 

“What makes T.E Grau’s horror stand out from the pack is that Grau understand one tiny little detail that other horror writers don’t: horror is a feeling of unspeakable terror and helplessness you trigger in your audience’s mind. It can have many faces, take any means necessary to get there, but it’s a lot more efficient if you keep your audience guessing. The characters of T.E Grau all question their sanity in good Lovecraftian fashion, unsure if they are losing their mind or if reality is collapsing around them. What gives Grau’s fiction an identify beyond its Lovecraftian inspiration is its blissful ambivalence: you never TRULY know either. You too are in the nameless dark.”  —  Benoît Lelièvre  at  Dead End Follies (also named a NOTABLE READ OF 2015 by Dead End Follies, and described as a collection of “Uncompromising and obscenely intelligent horror stories.”)

 

“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 at The Wilderness Within

 

“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

 

“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

 

“… 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

 

“With The Nameless Dark, T.E. Grau has assembled a collection of memorable stories that evoke a multitude of emotions and touch on myriad themes and issues that are more relevant today than ever. Whether it’s a Mythos-inspired tale, or a Laird Barron tribute, Grau writes in a style and voice that are all his own. He has firmly planted himself in the Weird Renaissance we are currently experiencing, and should be on the radar of every reader, critic, writer, and publisher. Grau is drawing power from primordial wells, and everyone will feel it.”  —  Joseph Zanetti at Musings from the Outer Worlds

 

“I wanted to savor each story, at least a little bit, and these aren’t the kinds of stories that you want to read while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or something. These things require a certain amount of ceremony. Reading The Nameless Dark is the kind of thing that feels like it needs to be done right.” — Orrin Grey

 

“‘The Nameless Dark’ is the perfect title to a perfect collection of horror stories.” —  Seb Doubinsky

 

 

The Nameless Dark – Audiobook/Audible

(Performed by Armen Taylor)

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“Grau’s book is one of those excellent collections of weird fiction that we’ve been so fortunate to encounter this year, his language flowing and beautiful. Grau’s prose is poetic, often almost lyrical, and Taylor’s narration is a perfect fit for it, his voice as dark and rich as the stories he reads.”  —  Shane Douglas Keene at This Is Horror

 

Podcast Reviews

Booked Podcast (November 24, 2016) – They Don’t Come Home Anymore

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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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