The House of Dust
by Noah Broyles
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Pub Date 05 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 16 Jul 2021
"An ambitious first novel full of the mysteries, histories and rituals of a Tennessee town. Full of nightmarish imagery wrapped in elegant prose, this is a strong debut." —John Langan, author of Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies
“Reading Broyles’s astonishing debut is like discovering a lost horror classic. Not a speck of dust will settle as you turn the pages faster and faster.” —Scott Thomas, author of Kill Creek and Violet
Deep in the heat and silence of rural Tennessee, down an untraveled road, sits the forgotten town of Three Summers. Mere miles away, on an overgrown river island, stands the house that once presided over the grand plantation of Angel’s Landing, moss-draped, decrepit. Waiting.
Failing crime writer Bradley Ellison and former prostitute Missy Holiday are drawn to this place, fleeing a world turned against them. For Brad, it is work—he must find a compelling story before the true-crime magazine he writes for judges him expendable. For Missy, it is recuperation—four years at "the club" have left her drained.
But the price of peace is high, and soon Brad and Missy discover that something hides behind the quiet. Something moves in the night. Something that manifests itself in bizarre symbols and disturbing funeral rites. Something that twists back through time and clings in the dust of the ancient house. A presence they must uncover before their own past catches up with them.
-National media coverage, including a national radio campaign
-Submission to all trade publications, literary, thriller, and horror
-Strong southern states media tour starting in Tennessee with an emphasis on local TV and radio
-Saturation of the horror marketplace focusing on podcasts, websites/blogs, and Instagram horror influencers
-SIBA and PLA appearances/signings
-Adult Fiction, Horror, and Thriller Book Club Outreach
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 181 members
I received a free review copy of The House of Dust from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review - my sincerest thanks to both the author and the publisher. :)
This is Southern Gothic at its absolute finest. This book just creeps and oozes around you eventually swallowing you whole...much like some folks in the story.
Mr. Broyles weaves the vivid tapestry for you to tread upon, unravels part of it out from under you, pulling a loose thread slowly until abruptly hog tying you with the loose strand and stuffing the rest into your mouth as a gag. By this point you are a hapless victim as the story consumes you while it unfolds towards its inexorable climax. The old is new, the new is old and we are just caught in the middle; the snake consumes its tail, history repeats. To quote a song from a much loved band out of Tennessee '10 Years' "Days pass, time flies, you don't realize, today you waste."
He does such an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, building the impending sense of doom and destruction then shattering it with a flash of light, hope you think as you read and try to convince yourself, lying to yourself as you know the storm clouds are just boiling out of view. The darkness builds again and rushes through you sweeping you away longer each time until the next patch of light. About halfway through I realized I was caught up in the town's cycles.
I grew up in the Deep South, and this quote from the book sums it up perfectly:
<i>"The South is a ghost, and so am I. Wandering the ways of the night, we return and return to find the place where we died. Walking circles, running cycles, never reaching beyond, never breaking free. Traveling through time orbiting a black star." </i>
I never grew up elsewhere but I can attest to the fact that it seems there is a near constant theme with folks growing up in the South. There is an endemic affecting people who cannot escape the towns, cities, backwaters they were born in, their parents were born in or buried in, their great grandparents, and so on. Doesn't matter if you were born in a place sporting one traffic light, with barely patched, faded roads roiling with heat waves and maybe a Dollar General or born in a bustling metropolis into a family of means.
It's impossible to deny the cycle of the South something about it grips and holds trying to drag you down into a malaise where you talk about leaving but always put it off until tomorrow, until tomorrow finally comes and you join your ancestors in the same exact soil, once again the earth feasting on a blood it already knows, welcoming you to your actual home.
Mr. Boyles takes these cycles, centuries old, and puts them into horrifying life, something almost tangible. This is a triumphal freshman debut.
I love a good horror novel, and a southern gothic one even more. So when the chance to review this book came up, how could I resist. And I was no disappointed in the least. The has a way of gripping you almost straight away, and while it tells you what happened, you find yourself forgetting that and hoping that there may be a happy ending at the... well, end. It gave me everything I could want from a horror, leaving me with an unsettling feeling that liked to plague my mind in the dead of night. Brilliant. I can not wait to read the authors next work!
This strange but atmospheric novel was my first taste of Southern Gothic and I found myself drawn into the story slowly but skilfully by author, Noah Broyles. The novel's brooding sense of darkness and evil is made even more ominous by the vivid and detailed settings that absolutely drip with atmosphere. The author's use of language is sensuous and so perceptive the reader becomes immersed in this decaying small town with its long-buried evil presence just lurking in the background of every scene. Though the switching narrators can prove a little confusing at first, I quickly became accustomed to the sudden changes and found that it helped the novel achieve a kind of fragmented, dreamlike quality, or perhaps I should say, nightmarish! Perfect for horror fans looking for a beautifully written book.
I pick up just about any Southern gothic novel that crosses my path. I live in the South and love a novel set here, especially during a steamy, sultry summer. This one definitely didn't disappoint! In fact, this is one of the best ones I've read recently.
A true crime writer and his girlfriend move to a creepy, crumbling old plantation. The sense of dread settles in almost immediately. I will say that this is one where it helps to jot a couple notes on each of the character names and defining characteristics/issues/experiences. I realized that a few chapters in, and it made my reading much more enjoyable from there on out, since there are multiple plot lines that feature similar characters.
I feel like there isn't much I can say without giving away spoilers, but prepare yourself for a smoldering slow burn with series creepy energy. I didn't get too scared reading this, but on the "Books in the Freezer" scale (super scary books go in the freezer, somewhat scary ones go in the refrigerator, and not scary ones are room temp), this is a solid refrigerator read.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this advanced copy.
Southern gothic at its finest! I am shocked this is a debut novel. This book is atmospheric, disturbing, heartbreaking, and just beautifully done. I love the look into the dark past of Bradley and his wife. This book hits all the high notes which make the southern gothic genre just so memorable. This is a slow burn which adds to the overall claustrophobic feel to the novel. As a southern transplant myself, this book really touched on the mystery and beauty, fear, and strangeness that embodies the south. I loved this one and will definitely recommend it. Thank you net galley for this advanced copy.
The House of Dust by Noah Broyles is an amazingly brilliant, original psychological thriller/horror story. The novel follows a non-linear timeline reverting and forth between the past and current times through the narrator, Brad. I, personally, got a little lost in the back and forth until about halfway through the book and at that point all the stories began to fall into place and the characters and the times in which they lived all started to fall into place and make sense. I struggled in the beginning, thinking, "I am having such a hard time understanding what is going on, I can't follow this". In all honesty I wanted to put the book down, but the story pulled me in so hard that I had to stick with it to find out what exactly was going on.
The beginning of the novel starts off by telling you that Brad, the narrator, is dead and this is his last literary piece. He is a true crimes writer for a popular magazine called Southern Gothic. The first few chapters you find out that Brad is having a huge mental breakdown. A lot is being stacked on top of him all at the same time, more even than he thinks he can bare. He is travelling through the south trying to get inspiration for his next true crime article when he stumbles upon an eerie rural town in the middle of nowhere Tennessee named Adamah. At this point, the reader is drawn into a rabbit hole that twist and turns and becomes so tangled that you begin to question if you are still reading the same book or if it got tangled with another book during printing (it gets that wild).
I didn't grasp what was going on until middle way through the novel, as I've stated. I urge you, the reader, to keep reading even though you may be confused. This confusion is an amazing literary tool that Noah Broyles has used to suck you into the vortex that is The House of Dust. Noah has created an amazing way to help the reader mentally feel the confusion and desperation the characters within the novel feel. I have only ever read one other novel that was this immersive to me and that was House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewsky. Both novels create an immersive vortex that suck the reader in, and you just cannot stop reading because of how out of control the characters and the story become.
I am so glad I stuck with this story and didn't give up because it brings up the subject of mental illness and how important it is for every human being, no matter of age, to be able to communicate and express how they are feeling to others. All the characters within The House of Dust lived through some type of trauma and they never dealt with it. This causes confusion, anger, depression, and all kinds of feelings that the characters have a hard time communicating and, in the end, they end up lashing out because of it. Mental illness is a serious condition that must be dealt with. A person cannot let "the dust settle" on a past trauma because the trauma will still be there waiting for someone or something to "blow that dust" back off and that trauma resurfaces over and over again. I am so thankful to Noah Broyles sharing this story and bringing to light the danger of not being able to communicate and express your feelings and the aftermath of letting "the dust settle" on your problems.
Thanks to Netgalley and Inkshares publishing for an advanced copy for an honest review.
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