What Kind of Mother

A Novel

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Pub Date 12 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 22 Feb 2024

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A New York Times Book Review Best Horror of 2023 selection.

Packed with profoundly unsettling scenes that’ll slither under your skin and stay there long after you turn the last page.—Gabino Iglesias, author of The Devil Takes You Home

After striking out on her own as a teen mom, Madi Price is forced to return to her hometown of Brandywine, Virginia, with her seventeen-year-old daughter. With nothing to her name, she scrapes together a living as a palm reader at the local farmers market.  

It’s there that she connects with old high school flame Henry McCabe, now a reclusive local fisherman whose infant son, Skyler, went missing five years ago. Everyone in town is sure Skyler is dead, but when Madi reads Henry’s palm, she’s haunted by strange and disturbing visions that suggest otherwise. As she follows the thread of these visions, Madi discovers a terrifying nightmare waiting at the center of the labyrinth—and it’s coming for everyone she holds dear.

Combining supernatural horror with domestic suspense into a visceral exploration of parental grief, What Kind of Mother cements Clay McLeod Chapman's reputation as a “star” (Vulture) and “the twenty-first century’s Richard Matheson” (Richard Chizmar, Chasing the Boogeyman.)
A New York Times Book Review Best Horror of 2023 selection.

Packed with profoundly unsettling scenes that’ll slither under your skin and stay there long after you turn the last page.—Gabino...

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ISBN 9781683693802
PRICE $21.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 63 members

Featured Reviews

Folk horror is one of my favorite sub-categorizations of horror so I was beyond excited when I was given the option to read this! I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the pacing of this was really good, with a solid amount of build-up but not too much, and the reveals and twists were really well done. I didn't quite know what this book was about before getting into it, and that was probably the biggest service I did myself while reading this. Going in a bit blind made every twist and turn and reveal that much more of a gasp-out-loud moment. I think that if you're a fan of folk horror, or interested in the genre, you'll really, really enjoy this!

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A combination of the psychological kind and Southern Gothic. This author has become an instant read for me-- I just know that I'm going to get a dark and terrifying, sometimes a little gross, story from him and I love it. I think Chapman excellently and gradually weaves the supernatural into the story...it was unexpected but it just makes sense. I constantly found myself audibly going "jesus fuck" and that's pretty high praise in my books. What more can I say, just read this and enjoy a really good fucking book 🤷🏻‍♀️

Received this from the monthly ABA box we get at my bookstore. Good thing I'm the only horror reader at work, otherwise I definitely would have thrown down a glove and had it out with them 🤣

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CMC is back with a new terrifying tale that'll make you scared to get back into the water.

If you think you know Clay, you better think again. He comes at you hard with this book. It reaches out from the depths and grips you by the throat. Not letting go as you gasp for breath. It knows that you are seconds away from death but it never lets up. It stares at you as the light leaves your eyes and when you are on your last breath, it lets go. That panicked feeling is this book. It's mesmerizing.

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Cover to cover, this is one of the absolute best books that I have EVER read. Clay McLeod Chapman has knocked it so far out of the park we will still be struggling to catch up in five years.

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What Kind of Mother takes you everywhere you weren’t expecting. What seems like the typical missing child tale of sadness, despair, and who done it mystery quickly turns into a nightmare of epic proportions. Not many stories come along where the wheels fall off so fast, and I mean that in a good way. If you’re looking for something dark, gory, and original, look no farther!

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5 stars

Now this is a 5 star reading experience. This is what I love. This is deep pain, grief, love with no bounds. Horror of the best kind. Clay McLeod Chapman has been an instant buy for me for a long time now, but this book sealed him as one of the best of the best!

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A Southern Gothic take about mothers and children, a father’s love, and how the water gives and takes. There is body horror as well in this story of a single mother drawn back to her hometown when her daughter’s father finds religion and decides he wants to parent.
Trying to scrape by reading palms, Madi and her seventeen year old daughter Kendra try to keep their family together as they deal with the introduction of Kendra’s father into the mix.

Madi’s high school beau, Henry McCabe, a recluse and fisherman reconnects with Madi at the farmer’s market where she is reading palms. Five years ago, Henry’s infant son Skyler died. Reading his palm gives Madi strange visions and nightmares as she’s drawn into the strange world the water promises.

What starts out as a domestic suspense novel becomes more supernatural and disturbing as the book enfolds. The grief Henry feels is palpable and seems to mirror Madi’s sense of loss as she struggles to adapt to sharing her daughter after years of being a small, tight family unit.

Recommended for those who love suspense but are open to some horror and supernatural elements. Also for horror fans who like body horror, folk horror, and exploration of grief.

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