Page Count 400
Publication date July 2022
-For nearly two decades, Jamie Warren has been running from darkness. He’s haunted by a traumatic childhood and the guilt at having disappeared from his disabled brother’s life. But then a series of unusual events reunites him with his estranged brother and their childhood friends, and none of them can deny the sense of fate that has seemingly drawn them back together.
Nor can they deny the memories of that summer, so long ago – the strange magic taught to them by an even stranger man, and the terrible act that has followed them all into adulthood. In the light of new danger, they must confront their past by facing their futures, and hunting down a man who may very well be a monster
Usually I make notes whilst reading an ARC. I do it on my phone so I don’t have to decipher my own chicken scratch later, I’m one of those people that will finish a read and immediately forget the name of the main character.
Not this time! I am fully winging it, so bear with me. I could not stop reading for even a moment to jot a single thing down.
This is my second Malfi novel, although I do confess to immediately purchasing three others when I finished Bone White earlier this year. His writing is just perfection.
Can I describe it better than that? Nope. Even the most mundane of sentences is crafted well, I think Malfi could write about paint drying and I’d still be enthralled. Yes I am cringing at this hysterical fan girling, I’m not sorry.
Blackmouth is an insidious all encompassing horror. There’s something extra scary about adults returning to a trauma holding the same palpable fear they felt as children. A fear so great that their entire lives are shaped around it, with the understanding that inevitably one day they will have to face it.
So here we are. Dual timelines of what happened to Jamie, Mia, Charles and Dennis as children of Black Mouth and as returning adults in the present day.
Malfi perfects the balance of show and tell by writing from main character Jamie’s perspective in first person- ideal for tension- and using third person for the other characters.
I dont often provide trigger warnings, I suggest instead that you look them up if required but yikes I HAVE to mention that one animal abuse scene. I hugged my dog like I’d never let him go!
Black Mouth has been compared to King’s IT and for once I would agree. A coming of age, cosmic horror in small town America that will blow you away.
Malfi has cemented a place amongst my favourite horror writers for sure.