With a Blighted Touch

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Pub Date 24 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 12 Oct 2023

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In Scarburn County, Tennessee there is a small mountain community called Black Rock, known for its unusual and prevalent blight that affects all vegetation …

When an unexpected death forces Christopher “Kit” McNeil to return to his small hometown in the Tennessee mountains after eighteen years, he must confront his past and a secret he’s kept since he was twelve.

A talented guitarist with a history of bad choices and even worse luck, Kit soon reunites with an old friend and learns about recent disappearances and mysterious deaths in the area. They begin to wonder if it’s connected to what they witnessed in the woods when they were kids and if a creepy local family is involved. Stranger still, almost half of their high school graduating class has died.

When more shredded bodies begin appearing, Kit becomes a suspect. But what he discovers is even more frightening—evil has set its sights on him and his friends and it won’t stop until it gets what it needs.

Can Kit and his friends band together in time to stop this ancient evil? Or will a new reign of terror that the Cherokee once called Uyaga be unleashed to roam the earth once more? 

In Scarburn County, Tennessee there is a small mountain community called Black Rock, known for its unusual and prevalent blight that affects all vegetation …

When an unexpected death forces...

A Note From the Publisher

The book releases in hardcover, softcover, and ebook. Print distribution through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Gardners Books. Library ebook distribution through Overdrive (all sales models), Baker & Taylor, and Hoopla.

The book releases in hardcover, softcover, and ebook. Print distribution through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Gardners Books. Library ebook distribution through Overdrive (all sales models), Baker &...

Advance Praise

“Reading J. Todd Kingrea’s With a Blighted Touch was like surviving a dark ride designed by Stephen King. The story of an antihero revisiting his Tennessee hometown to defeat a creeping evil was scary, delicious, and fun.” —Steven Ramirez, author of the Hellborn Series

“Bad stuff happens to regular people all the time. In With A Blighted Touch, Christopher "Kit" McNeil is unexceptionally unlucky. But it’s when he starts investigating the deaths of his graduating class that his luck nosedives into what can only be described as Dan Simmons-esque horror. A terrific, slow-burning tale of small-town evil.” —Jeremy Bates, author of Suicide Forest

“Kingrea brings us on a trip to the malignant heart of small-town America. A journey filled with monsters, secrets, and heaps of dread. With a voice that would be at home amongst the greats of the genre…a chiller of a tale which will drag you home kicking and screaming.” —C.M. Forest, author of Infested

“this book just sucked me in after the first few pages.” —LibraryThing Early Reviewers

“Kingrea delivers an immersive small town horror that is full of suspense, nostalgia, and mysterious beliefs. A creepy page turner to the very end.” —S.J. Krandall, author of Fear Farm No Trespassers

“Reading J. Todd Kingrea’s With a Blighted Touch was like surviving a dark ride designed by Stephen King. The story of an antihero revisiting his Tennessee hometown to defeat a creeping evil was...

Marketing Plan

  • Indie Next List & Library Reads Nominations
  • National Review Coverage
  • Prepublication Buzz Campaign
  • Extensive marketing to Booksellers, Librarians, and Book Influencers
  • Bookstagram ARC Giveaway hosted by top horror influencer
  • Digital ARCs Offered on NetGalley & others
  • Targeted Consumer Email Marketing
  • Extensive Social Media Promotion

Key Selling Points:

  • With a Blighted Touch will appeal to fans of Dean Koontz, James Herbert, and John Saul.
  • With it’s focus on Uyaga, a figure out of Cheyenne legend, the novel will appeal to horror fans who like stories focusing on folklore and mythology.
  • J. Todd Kingrea was a Pushcart Prize nominee for his novel, The Witchfinder.
  • Readers who love retro-horror and books with detailed, life-like characters and settings will find a new favorite author in Kingrea.
  • Indie Next List & Library Reads Nominations
  • National Review Coverage
  • Prepublication Buzz Campaign
  • Extensive marketing to Booksellers, Librarians, and Book Influencers
  • Bookstagram ARC Giveaway...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781643973616
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 22 members

Featured Reviews

I loved the small town horror aspect, this was very well written and I enjoyed the folklore elements, the prose felt almost claustrophobic, I felt sucked in and trapped in this disturbing world, would definitely recommend to horror fans!

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I enjoyed the thrilling Folk take very much. Kept me engaged and read in one evening. Creepy, small town lore. Great book.

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Creepy and intense. Almost claustrophobic as it sucks you into a small town cursed over the centuries and the residents who cannot escape. The combination of lost dreams, a psychotic bullying family, and domestic abuse is almost suffocating in it's oppression - and the theme of Native American lore is addictive. Don't start this at night!

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This is a great mix of supernatural horror, second chances, and some coming of age as well.

Our main protagonist is a down on his luck guy who just got kicked out of a band. His life has been in a downward spiral and it's about to get worse.

Going back to the small town he grew up in, people start disappearing. There are no bodies and no clues. But some old memories of his childhood come to the surface and piece by bloody piece, we'll find out that what's happening is much more terrifying than everyone believes.

The author really melds different elements together in a fantastic way. But the main focus is always on the horror and I always appreciate that. Because there are horrors here. Nasty, brutal, and unforgiving. But we also have some well written characters that give more depth to the story.

I really recommend this book and don't be by a window when you read it!

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This title has been selected for coverage in Fangoria's October 2023 print edition. Please reach out to the reviewer directly for a PDF of the write-up (upon completion).

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This was such a creative book! The reader is pulled in quickly and it was so easy to identify with the main character. The idea of a struggling musician really resonates with me as well as the trope of going back home to a small town. Such a great ambiance. I loved the whole country town in the mountains vibe. And those children!! Soooo stinkin’ creepy. There’s a scene in a house where they chase the protagonists that gave me chills. Creepy toddler alert. Highly recommend!!
Thank you to Netgally for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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✨ New ARC Review ✨ A must read if you enjoy spooky/curse like concepts, Stranger Things, and Stephen King!

With a Blighted Touch by @jtoddkingrea ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: Oct 24th, 2023❗️(BHC Press)

I spoke to this author via DM and accepted the ARC because the storyline and title caught my attention immediately. I was then lucky enough to be approved for the ARC on NetGalley shortly after. Once I saw the cover, I was ready to dig in!

“Black Rock” is a community within Scarburn County, TN and it radiates evil. It’s BLIGHT impacts everything around.

Unfortunately, Christopher “Kit” McNeil has to return to his hometown after YEARS due to a personal matter. After returning, there are multiple murders and Kit lands a top spot as the murder suspect. Throughout the book, Kit needs to fight against the evil being presented which forces him to face his past.

Overall the book was a page turner and hit multiple genres I love. I am a huge fan of stranger things (watched them all) and Stephen King (all the horror/thrillers) so I truly enjoyed it. I did feel the end left me with some questions as to what happens next. I want more!

If you’re interested in this authors work, mark your calendars and also make sure to check out his post-apocalyptic epic fantasy Deiparian Saga, “The Witchfinder” and “The Crimson Fathers.” The final installment, “Bane of the Witch,” is intended for release in 2024.

#withablightedtouch #jtoddkingrea #honestreview #bookstagram #goodreads #netgalley #amazon #stephenking #evil #strangerthings #freereview #bookworm

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With a Blighted Touch was a creepy read that was really well done. Having lived in smaller towns myself, to see there be something to the weird stories that got around was definitely something that hit close to home for me. This is worth picking up for some spooky reading, but maybe don’t start it late at night.

Note: arc provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for honest review

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With a Blighted Touch is about middle aged guitarist, Kit, whose life isn’t going so great. When a death in the family brings him back home, he’s confronted with the strange goings-on in his hometown, which has haunted him his entire life. He saw something long ago that he hasn’t told anyone, nearly half of his high school graduating class is dead, and somehow both of these things are connected. Something evil has its sights on him.

This book was absolutely chilling in the best ways. It was suspenseful, to the point where sometimes I both wanted to and was afraid to turn the page. The imagery was gross and creepy in a way that drew me that much more into the story, and Kit, while very flawed, was someone you could root for.

That being said, the beginning was a little slow for me. It kept going back and forth between the present and the Kit’s memories of the past. For me, this was a little jarring and slowed down the pacing early on, though I was thankful for the context it provided later. There were also some logic issues I noticed in the Kit’s reactions, especially regarding the nature of the curse, and how who dies is decided (see more about this in my Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5556463122).

Other than that I found this a quick, thrilling read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes folk horror, or just wants a quick scare.

(Additional Note: I can’t speak to the Uyaga myth, but, as mention of it is made in the book’s synopsis and plays a significant role in the story, a note crediting/paying homage to its origins seems only respectful.)

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‘With a Blighted Touch” by J. Todd Kingrea follows Christopher “Kit” McNeil as he finds himself returning to his hometown following the death of his mother. A guitarist who has wasted his life on booze and drugs wants to make this visit quick. But upon reconnecting with his childhood best friend, some dark memories are dragged to the surface. People have disappeared, and more have started to show up dead. But what is Kit’s connection? And can he stop it. A fun thriller, which is part supernatural and part murder mystery, a recommended read for anyone who likes their true crimes with a shot of spooky.

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I immensely enjoyed this book, although I initially found it a little slow. The second half, however, was an entirely different story. I couldn't put it down; I just wanted to find out how the book ended. Kit considers himself unlucky. After a string of band gigs, which never amounted to much, he returns to his hometown after his mother's death. He reunites with his childhood friend, Troy, and reconnects with his father.

Over dinner. Troy tells Kit that he's been keeping tabs on the people who suffered suspicious deaths. People who drowned while sleeping in bed and all sorts of unbelievable causes of death. The struggling musician and his friend then discover what could be causing the "curse" and find a way to stop it.

I love the small-town country atmosphere of this book and the creepy and spongy children from the cave. I will surely be on the lookout for more from J. Todd Kingrea.

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Thank you NetGalley and BHC Press for the ARC! With a Blighted Touch is a horror novel by J. Todd Kingrea that follows struggling musician Christopher "Kit" McNeil as he is summoned back to his hometown of Black Rock, TN after a sudden loss. Kit reunites with friends and familiar faces from his past as he is pulled back into the strange happenings of the towns. The blight is still destroying plantlife in certain areas, while people are going missing and some are turning up dead. Kit works to uncover the truths behind these disappearances, especially after he becomes suspect number one. With a Blighted Touch is an engaging narrative with definite horrific bits, and it should be noted that its lore pulls from the indigenous Cherokee tribes.

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Well, this turned out to be really good! It started very slow, but it picked up as the plot became more complex and the small-town atmosphere escalated into an atmosphere of dread and mystery. Great suspense toward the ending, sharp dialogue, although the central character of Kit did not always felt convincing. Still, the themes were compelling: mountains with secrets, creepy children, mysterious disappearances, and indigenous lore. Great book for the Halloween!

Thank you to BHT Press and Netgalley for the ARC to review!

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Chilly, gripping and entertaining: an excellent small town horror that kept me reading and on the edge.
I loved the world building and the storytelling
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Kit” has felt like a loser his whole life. Nothing ever seems to go right; not his relationships, not his music career and now his mother passed away and he was not there for the funeral. He decides to return home. His relationship with his father is awful, he has no friends and the town bullies are still the same. Strange things have occurred in the small town for as long as anyone can remember. Kit thinks he is the cause of all the bad luck. Visions from the past send Kit back in time letting him know he is part of the issue with the town. Things slowly begin to get worse and Kit is determined to find out how to fix the town. He comes across some great allies as well as bullies.

I really enjoy books with folk stories entwined. This book made me feel creeped out, listening for weird noises and staying up way too late to finish the book. I could feel the desperation Kit had for what he had planned to get rid of the ‘blight’. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy stories about folklore and the horrors of a small town.

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Just a bit late with this one, but I bought an audiobook copy to help me catch up. The narration from Nathaniel Gray was very good and added to my enjoyment.

The town of Black Rock was always referred to as cursed, but what if it actually was, genuinely? This is a horror novel that features a dark, ancient entity plaguing the town with disappearances, surprising deaths, and bad luck. Kit thought he had gotten out, taken his guitar and moved on with his life. But a surprise visit home, due to the loss of his mother, has drawn him right back into the craziness—and he’s front and center for the show.

For me, Kit wasn’t the most interesting or endearing main character I’ve ever read. However, I did like the fact that he’s forty, a bit heavy, and kind of at rock bottom. It was at least of interest to read a story that doesn’t feature the typical main. And Kit was not without qualities. His willingness to sacrifice is quite a good one, too.

The ancient Uyaga’s use of children was very disturbing, and the description of how they looked made me think along the lines of NOS4A2, which I quite liked, but the stories are very different.

Personally a 4/5*, a nice horror entry, but with quite a quick climax.

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Thank you to the author for bringing this book to my attention and sending me a Netgalley link.

I really enjoyed the writing in this book and it kept me thoroughly engaged all the way through. It is a great read for anyone who likes supernatural thrillers.

I found it to be chilling and creepy and kept me on edge. I loved the small town atmosphere that the author created.

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