Suburban Monsters

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Pub Date 15 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2023

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Description

Terror, right in your own backyard!

The house at the end of the block with the overgrown lawn. The darkened store window in a forgotten corner of the shopping mall. The colorful characters of a children's TV show. What dark secrets do they hide?

From award-winning author Christopher Hawkins come thirteen tales of the horrors lurking right next door.

A shut-in sets out to make a new life for himself by losing weight at the point of a scalpel.

A store clerk with a mannequin obsession hides a macabre and tragic secret.

A master thief tries for one last score in a house that doesn't want him to leave.

Two friends learn the hard way that having superpowers doesn't always make you a hero. It might just make you a monster.

A lonely painter finds freedom with the help of something lurking beneath the ocean waves.

At turns whimsical and somber but always unsettling, this debut collection of short horror stories is essential reading from a rising voice in dark literary fiction.

Terror, right in your own backyard!

The house at the end of the block with the overgrown lawn. The darkened store window in a forgotten corner of the shopping mall. The colorful characters of a...


A Note From the Publisher

Debut novel to follow in October, 2023!

Cover updated 11/4/22.

Debut novel to follow in October, 2023!

Cover updated 11/4/22.


Advance Praise

“A masterfully written collection of dark and uniquely disquieting tales. Some tales collected here are bizarre and whimsical. Others are distressing and uncomfortable. Regardless, each tale is brilliantly tethered by an absolute truth: there is darkness lurking inside each person you pass on the street. Peel back the gristle and behold the exquisite void waiting for you beneath the skin…”

— Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes


"Each of the stories in SUBURBAN MONSTERS is a masterful exercise in building tension and creating a sense of unease, as author Christopher Hawkins delves into the dark, twisted inner lives of characters who may not be all they seem."

- IndieReader (Starred Review)


"An assortment of jolts, abominations, and shaken nerves that readers won’t soon forget."

- Kirkus Reviews


"Hawkins’s bold premises and deft followthrough create gut-wrenching tension sure to thrill horror enthusiasts... Throughout, visceral imagery brings the terror to life: readers will hear the “wet gurgle” and see the “blossom of brownish red” liquid spreading out. Killer opening lines such as “It was the blood that changed everything” make the twisted and ominous worlds inviting."

— Booklife



“A masterfully written collection of dark and uniquely disquieting tales. Some tales collected here are bizarre and whimsical. Others are distressing and uncomfortable. Regardless, each tale is...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781937346133
PRICE $16.99 (USD)
PAGES 210

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Average rating from 53 members


Featured Reviews

this was a unique concept and did what I was hoping for. Christopher Hawkins has a great way of writing a horror novel. I enjoyed all parts of these stories and was hooked from the first story. It does what a good horror collection should and I'm glad I was able to read this.

"But it was almost like…almost like she was communicating with them somehow. She’d look right into their eyes—not that they had eyes, or faces, even. It was all just white plastic—and it was as if they just held her there."

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This is a fantastic anthology that delivers well told stories with various themes. You get everything from cosmic horror to psychological horror to the more splattery kind of horror.

Each one is scary though and the author uses various perspectives in these tales which gives them all a unique voice. You won't be bored with them, that's for sure!

I can honestly say that this is probably one of the best anthologies I've read this year. Some of these stories will definitely stay with me for a long time and probably give me an excuse to leave a light on. I highly recommend this book!

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The colder season where the nights are longer than the days, a short horror story collection is the way to go. What better way to spend your evening after work being surrounded by books than coming home and loosing yourself in a horror story that’ll creep you out with the perfect fire? These were creepy , I found myself jumping at numerous parts of the book. I love the concepts in these books - some I had never read before. It just made the experience so much more joyous.

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I enjoyed this, not knowing anything about the author. I've been a fan of the short story genre, and this didn't disappoint. Some creepy, some thoughtful, some horrible, the author covered a bunch of bases, and was pretty successful.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The little girl that lives in the house full of leaves and vines. The dark window in the corner of the shopping mall. The colorful, manic characters in a progressively violent children's TV. Is it true that a TV show can influence the real world? An obese woman’s attempt at weight loss self surgery.
A store clerk’s unique talent with mannequins hides a sad secret. A house that wants to keep the thief for itself. Superpowers should definitely be used only for good, and are a dangerous gift for the troubled mind.
Something beneath the ocean waves comes forth to help a woman regain her freedom.

These stories alternate between dark, whimsy, creepy, cringeworthy to relief for the underdog who’s winning and despair if you see the underdog losing the fight. The narration is spot-on, especially in story #1 told from a little girl’s point of view. #SuburbanMonsters #netgalley

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I’ve been on a short story kick for over a month now and I snatched this gem up as soon as I saw it and I’m not even a little bit disappointed. Hawkins did an amazing job with this collection of stories.

Moonrise Over Water:

A story that shows what a neglected and abused wife might do when given the opportunity. Very Rah Rah Woman! One of my favorites in this lot.

Storms of the Present:

As someone who always struggled with body image growing up, this story was absolutely horrifying and I couldn’t have been happier with it.

Poppy:

Right off the bat, mannequins scare the life out of me. As soon as it was brought up in this story, I was ready to huddle under my safety blanket for the night. However, reading through this, I found it quite sad and found myself sympathetic to the dang things. Still doesn’t mean I need to run into any at night.

A Candle for the Birthday Boy:

The twist… Read it.

If you like your thrills in all different styles, pick this up to read!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my copy of the book.

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"But it was almost like…almost like she was communicating with them somehow. She’d look right into their eyes—not that they had eyes, or faces, even. It was all just white plastic—and it was as if they just held her there."

I really enjoyed this one, Christopher didn't disappoint. I have to confess I didn’t know anything about this author, I only knew this was horror and I was hooked. Also, that cover is genius. Simple, but it works really well.
You’ll find a great diversity of stories here. Some of them were meant to make you consider some things about your life, like a different perspective. And those were nice. But I absolutely devoured the creepy and disturbing ones, feeding my psychological horror hunger.
I highly recommend Moonrise over water and A candle for the birthday boy

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Having been blown away by Christopher Hawkins's stories before, the moment I saw his horror collection I snatched it up immediately. I am so happy I did! Reading it was pure joy: any horror fan will appreciate the subtlety of Hawkins's use of language, but it is the seamless engagement of the horrific and the realistic, most of all, that will leave an impression. Fantastic stories, combining all kinds of horror with deeply disturbing and haunting imagery; yet it is the deceptive familiarity of the urban territory that kept me turning the pages. The collection is aptly titled: it's chock full of that urban mood, most of the stories taking place in suburban settings, such as a neighborhood birthday party, a comic shop, a new house. Even before I was done reading, I had picked a few favorite stories already.

There are 13 stories in the collection. Although I liked them all, in the following I'll write a few words on those I loved.

Storms of the Present:
An overweight woman, who has learned to live with her mother's scorn, decides to take matters in her own hands (pun intended.) Very effective body horror, the honesty of the unnamed first point of view adding to the creepiness of the story. By the time you realize what is going on, what the deliveries are for, the story has won you over.

Origin Story
Two guys guessing at the superpowers they'd like to have. Yep, a superhero kind of story. Very clever, brimming with nasty humor. Totally unexpected ending.

Poppy
One of my favorite stories: a second-hand store, mannequins, a beautiful goth and thieving kids - what can go wrong? Well, you'd never guess.

Interude
Such a good story! Parents watching their kids transitioning into... Ok, no spoilers. Short and sweet. A feat of subtle writing.

The Stumblyum Imperative
Another favorite: Candle Cove in the suburbs. The mysterious TV show destroys both mother and daughter, and doesn't stop there. A very cruel story on motherhood, addiction, and the vagaries of TV control. This is a must read; the kind of story I personally prefer.

Swallow
Another body horror story. Have you ever tasted yourself? Well, if you have (and who hasn't?), you'll sympathize a lot with the protagonists of this story.

Ten and Gone
My absolute favorite: everything that is good in this collection can be found here in one package. A brilliant tale about a thief who tries to make a quick score out of a house in the suburbs, thinking it's empty. But it's not - not exactly. A great story: suspenseful, full of uncertainty, terrific imagery, true anxiety-inducing horror.

To sum up, all the stories in Hawkins's collection are worth reading. None disappoints. Some of them, however, once read, cannot be forgotten. They have all the markings of horror classics and should be appreciated as such.

Huge thanks to the author and the publisher, for an advanced digital copy of this collection, courtesy of Netgalley.

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You know, I saw the cover and the title and I was immediately interested. I mean just look at it. That lawnmower and title are already telling you a gory story. Then I read the book description and I was in. As soon as I read the first story, I was all in. Truly horrifying tales that don't spoon feed you the horror. Some of it is overt, and then there are details that you don't realize at first the depth of the horror until you think about it and it sinks in. I definitely recommend this book for any horror fans.

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Christopher Hawkins is a gifted story teller. Each tale is finely crafted with mind bending creativity. Bite sized, yet robust, the collection is perfect for a segmented series of night time reads or a rich binge treat.

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Suburban Monsters, a collection of short horror stories, has more than a dozen unique tales for horror lovers to enjoy. The stories were hit or miss for me, but when they hit…they HIT! Shadowman and A Candle For The Birthday Boy are my favorites in this collection because of how unique and terrifying they were. My heart was pounding reading the latter! If a story was a miss for me it was simply because I’m not a huge fan of body horror. Overall I have to say Christopher Hawkins was able to paint a vivid and horrifying picture by being an extremely talented and imaginative writer. I’m so glad I discovered this hidden gem.

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This was spooky, good fun. “Suburban Monsters” has 13 scary stories, and 9 of them
had me on the edge of my seat. I love books like these with short stories in them because they don’t require your undivided attention while still are super entertaining. I give this a solid 4⭐️

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4 stars

What a fantastic collection of short stories. I enjoyed each of them fully. Each story is strong and holds its own very well.
Also, I just love that cover art!

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Wow! Just the book I needed to read for Halloween!

Thank you, Coronis Publishing, for the advance reading copy.

The writing is so good I would say and it is different for different stories! I am impressed.

I would say each story has a different unique plot which makes the entire book so interesting from the first page till the last page.

Each story will present you a story which is simple enough to start with but will end as something which will haunt you. Like for sure! Do not even doubt about it.

Go for this book!

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I’d never read this author before, so an anthology of stories seemed to be a great place to start. I wasn’t disappointed…

“Green Eyes”
Well, that was a quick and interesting start. I’m excited to see what else we have! 3/5

“Moonrise Over Water With Sargassum, 2022. Oil On Canvas”
This writing is so poetic - the story was okay, but the writing…wow! 3.5/5

“Storms of the Present”
Losing weight isn’t easy, but I think this person made it harder than it had to be… 4/5

“Origin Story”
A superpower invention, gone wrong…or right? 3/5

“Poppy”
Mannequin stories are always so creepy, and this was no exception. 4/5

“Interlude”
Another one written so poetically, but I just didn’t feel it. 2.5/5

“The Stumblyum Imperative”
Only if this was about Teletubbies would it be more creepy. So far, the best in the book! 5/5

“Shadowman”
Another great one, this is about a boy with… shadowy…powers? I can’t explain it, it’s just good. 4/5

“Carpenter’s Thumb”
This is the biggest compliment I can give an author: I thought I was reading a Stephen King short story. I don’t think I’m comparing it to “The Moving Finger”, because they’re nothing alike, but they both have a fantastic idea. 5/5

“Swallow”
Another one that reminded me of Stephen King! This felt like the “Survivor Type”, I suppose because of the autocannibalism - great story! 5/5

“Ten and Gone”
This was a strange story about a burglar finding more than he bargained for… 3/5

“Notice”
One person’s resignation letter - can’t say I blame them! 3/5

“A Candle for the Birthday Boy”
A child’s birthday party doesn’t turn out quite as planned… 4/5

Overall, I’m not sure if the author and I have a similar style or similar taste, but I must say that the writing is phenomenal. Most of the stories weren’t really my style, but the writing made up for it a lot of the time, raising my rating of 3.5 to a solid four.

(Thank you to Coronis Publishing, Christopher Hawkins, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review.)

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Suburban Monsters by Christopher Hawkins is set to release in March of 2023. Suburban Monsters presents an arrangement of creepy and wild stories that will chill you to your core. All centered around people and the secrets they keep, the stories are atmospheric and dreadful and will have you questioning what happens behind closed doors and happy smiles.

If you are a fan of Books of Blood by Clive Barker I recommend this book. The anthologies were quick to read and packed a powerful punch. My favorite thing about Suburban Monsters is that the stories are much more modern but also relatable as compared to Books of Blood. The stories held my interest and fulfilled my need for something creepy and horrifying. My favorite story was "Poppy", where a store clerk with a mannequin obsession hides a macabre and tragic secret.

Grab this one as soon as it releases, you won't want to miss the haunting stories that fill its pages.

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This collection of short stories set in a suburban setting was a fun quick read and horror set against the backdrop of the mundane is a great concept. The stories were varied and ranging from the creepy, the chilling and the utterly bizarre, I’m looking at you Interude. Usually in a collection there is a story or two that don’t appeal to me but I really enjoyed all the stories in this collection. My favorites were A Candle for the Birthday Boy, The Stumblyblyum Imperative, Poppy and Notice.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Suburban Monsters by Christopher Hawkins is a fantastic collection of 13 odd and disturbing short stories that are very reminiscent of King
short stories; a few creepy kids, some peculiar abilities/superpowers and a whole lotta far-out-there horror. This was my first read of this author and I loved it!

My three favs:

The Stumblybum Imperative
A Candle for the Birthday Boy
Storms of the Present

Thanks to NetGalley & Christopher Hawkins for the free ARC opportunity. This one’s coming out this March ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Fantastic short story collection from an author I'd never heard of before. One of the best I've read in a long time. Had a King feel to it, the earlier collections that were so brilliant. Dark, humorous, scary, shocking and gripping. Not a bad one in the bunch. My favorite was Poppy, which was just...that ending...wow. If you like a good short horror story, then this one's for you. Hope to read more by Hawkins in the future. 4.5 stars. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Short horror stories are probably my favourite type of book, and this one does not disappoint. Christopher Hawkins is a new author to me, and I enjoyed each of these unique stories, with my favourite being Carpenter's Thumb, because we've probably all hit our thumb with a hammer, but it certainly never went in the direction it did here. The Stumblyum Imperative also almost feels real, with the mom and child dynamic. These are the ones that usual hit the most for me. Having worked in retail, Poppy also hit home for me, having to deal with rotten kids. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author, and would recommend it to anyone who likes short stories and horror.

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This was my first read of any of Christopher Hawkins works and I think it was an amazing introduction into his literary brilliance. Suburban Monsters is a collection of Hawkins’ thirteen short stories each with a terrifying twist. He turns the monotony of suburban life into horrifying tales you just can't stop reading.

Green Eyes told through a child’s voice about her life at school and her life with mama.

Next is Moonrise the story of a desperate wife and a walk on the beach.

Storms of the Present, tells us about a shut-in who is desperate to lose weight and a freaky twist that occurs.

The fourth short story is Origin Story telling us the story of two guys running a comic book store theorizing about what superpower they would have... with a twist.

Poppy is about a shop that hires a new goth sales clerk who shows up and charms everyone and there's lots of mannequins.

Story six, Interude, is about parents struggling to help a child with a new condition he's developed.

The Stumblybum Imperative, maybe the creepiest of all, is about a depressed suburban mother who doesn't check what new show her child is watching.

Number eight, Shadow man, is a lesson is fighting back against your bullies.

Carpenter’s Thumb is a tale about working on a roof and not being careful enough with your thumbs.

Swallow is a taste of what happens when you take advantage of people and a joke gone too far.

Ten and Gone is a burglary gone very wrong.

Notice, makes you think twice on giving your employer notice.

Finally, A Candle For the Birthday Boy, this last tale tells you about kid’s birthday parties and how the saying 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' does have truth behind it.

Each tale is beautifully written with almost ambiguous endings letting your imagination flow with each twist and turn Hawkins' takes you on.

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This was my first time reading this author and I'm always up for an anthology of horror stories. They were well written and really interesting. Some were clearly supernatural, others were implied supernatural, and some were just natural (not sure if that's the right term for non-supernatural).

The author was most successful with the ones that didn't have a clear supernatural element. The stories with the mannequins, the one on the beach, and the final story were my favorites. The last story with the birthday party had me on the edge of my seat and is one I won't soon forget. I just looked at the chapter list and realized I blocked out the cannibalism story and now regret remembering it :)

In the supernatural realm - the thief in the house was a great one. The thief says he can get in and out of a house in 10 minutes and the story is told counting down from 10 in what would approximate 1 minute increments. It was very creatively done. Interlude was awesome. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on and then I laughed and laughed and hid under my covers.

For some of his supernatural stories, I found myself left with questions at the end. There was a pattern of getting to the climax and then that's the end. It's not my favorite storytelling technique since I'm someone who wants to know "why" (even though most of the time the answer with horror is "because"). For the resignation letter and shadow ones, I wanted a little more.

This is a solid collection of stories and I would recommend them to anyone who's looking for a combo of supernatural and non-supernatural horror stories that are high on the creep factor.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for this advance review copy.

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A fun collection of creepy and twisted tales. Some were beautiful, others were sad, eerie, disturbing, or a combination of everything.

Each story is unique and makes you stop and think about the characters and their situations.

I think my favourite tale was Green Eyes, it made me feel melancholy, but at the same time, the rebirth of the mother was magical.

Definitely pick this one up asap as there are thirteen stories to delve into!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and Coronis Publishing for a copy!

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I was given a copy of this book for review.

This is a collection of short horror stories, quite a. I would call them old-school horror shorts, well-written and enjoyable. Not a great deal of gore, more focused on horror. Each story is different than the one prior to what was just read. this makes them enjoyable and easy to read.

Overall, a well-written collection of stories and worth the time to read.

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3.75/5 stars.

I haven’t found a good format for rating story collections yet. So this is what you get!

Overall the quality was consistent, there wasn’t a story that dramatically lacked in comparison to the others. The vibe is creepy, confusing, suspenseful, and just generally WTF?! Everyday aspects of life turn into twisted tales: birthday parties, watching TV, working, etc.

•Green Eyes (3.5/5): liked the child like POV, mysterious but not necessarily creepy
•Moonrise Over Water (4/5): loved the vibes, Callie Stan account
•Storms of the Present (4/5): Really enjoyed reading this one. It made me super uncomfy and felt socially relevant.
•Origin Story (3.25/5): suspenseful, nice to mix in a super hero aspect.
•Poppy (3.5/5): PEAK mental illness, liked the POV.
•Interude (3.5/5): This made me uncomfortable in a way I don’t even understand but I’m pretty sure it has to do with clowns?!?!
•The Stumblybum Imperative (4/5): This could easily be made into a horror movie. This might’ve been my favorite, I loved the conspiracy aspect.
•Shadowman (4/5): Villain origin story vibes except everyone got what they deserved for being little shits. Yasha stan account.
•Carpenter’s Thumb (3/5): Seek help? Is it your thumb that’s crazy or maybe it’s just you bro.
•Swallow (5/5): SUPER ominous and also what the fuck?!
•Ten and Gone (3/5): Made me think of the other mothers house in Coraline. Crazy how you have to almost be killed by some house baby monster to realize you want to be with your gf and baby???
•Notice (5/5): Loved that this was a letter. Creeeeepy. Lots to unpack.
•A Candle for the Birthday Boy (4/5): okay this bitch CRAZY?! Also why was everyone able to move past that incident????


Thanks to NetGalley and Coronis Publishing for gifting me a digital copy of this book!

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I've read a few horror anthologies and it's always daunting at first, worrying about whether there's gonna be ones you didn't like mixed in with the good ones. Making you power through it just to get done. But this one I can safely say had me enthralled the entire time, with every short story it gave me. At first, we're disturbed by it and it's a fantastic start to draw you in and lead you to not wanting to set it down. Each one had me more and more curious about the next and excited to see what he would describe to me. By the time I got to our shut-in and the delivery man, I was absolutely thinking WHAT. The subtle way he describes things is an art form in itself. He's showing us how hidden and quiet the suburban monsters can be, hidden amongst most of us. I want to go back and re-read to see if there's anything I missed! I loved the other one with the start-up of "superheroes" and how twisted the origin of that was.

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