One of the most hauntingly original dark fantasy debuts in years—perfect for fans of Lost and Mark Danielewski’s cult classic, House of Leaves.
Something has happened in Spokane. The military has evacuated the city and locked it down. Even so, disturbing rumors and images seep out, finding their way onto the Internet, spreading curiosity, skepticism, and panic. For what they show is—or should be—impossible: strange creatures that cannot exist, sudden disappearances that violate the laws of physics, human bodies fused with inanimate objects, trapped yet still half alive. . . .
Dean Walker, an aspiring photographer, sneaks into the quarantined city in search of fame. What he finds will change him in unimaginable ways. Hooking up with a group of outcasts led by a beautiful young woman named Taylor, Dean embarks on a journey into the heart of a mystery whose philosophical implications are as terrifying as its physical manifestations. Even as he falls in love with Taylor—a woman as damaged and seductive as the city itself—his already tenuous hold on reality starts to come loose. Or perhaps it is Spokane’s grip on the world that is coming undone.
Now, caught up in a web of interlacing secrets and betrayals, Dean, Taylor, and their friends must make their way through this ever-shifting maze of a city, a city that is actively hunting them down, herding them toward a shocking destiny.
This is the photograph you know:
The soldier’s shirt has been torn open. There are bloodred trenches scoured across his flesh--gouge marks, the work of his own fingernails. And there, right in the middle of his chest, is an arm sprouting up from his breastbone. It’s a thin white arm--sickly pale, like something that’s never seen the sun--reaching up through a puckered, jellied wound, protruding all the way up to the bicep. It looks like the whole arm has been punched up through the man’s body, slammed through from the floor at his back. But the wound is small--too small for such violence.
The arm is bent slightly at the elbow--a crooked tree sprouting up from the dead man’s chest. The wrist does not hang limp. Instead, it is cocked back, the gore-streaked fingers splayed with tension. Teardrops of blood hang from sharpened fingernails.
The soldier’s head is tilted back as far as it will go, the tendons in his neck as taut as a hangman’s rope. His expression is pure agony. His eyes are open, staring at the wall behind him.
The floor is solid concrete. The parts we can see are smooth and unblemished. And there is nothing--save that one horrifying limb--to suggest that there is anything beneath the room, anything except more concrete, earth, and rock.
It is insanity, printed and framed. Pure insanity.
The photograph is real.
I should know. I took the damn thing.
Excerpted from Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp. Copyright © 2012 by Richard E. Gropp. Excerpted by permission of Del Rey, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Richard E. Gropp
Richard E. Gropp lives on a mountain outside of Seattle with his partner of fifteen years. It is a small mountain. He studied literature and psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has worked as a bookstore clerk, a forklift driver, and an accountant. He has a hard time spelling the word broccoli, and in his spare time he dabbles in photography and cooking.
WINNER OF DEL REY’S SUVUDU WRITING CONTEST
A Library Journal Best SF/F Book of 2012
A Locus Magazine 2012 Recommended Reading List selection.
“A chilling, surreal, terrifying, beautiful book . . . an impressive and promising debut.”—Caitlín R. Kiernan, author of The Drowning Girl
“One of the most exciting and accomplished debuts I’ve read in years, Bad Glass welds the eerie, atmospheric horror of Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves to the transgressive apocalyptic vibe of Samuel R. Delany’s classic Dhalgren.”—Paul Witcover, author of Waking Beauty
“(A) promising debut … with well-drawn psychological portraits of realistically flawed people.”
–Publishers Weekly, notable book
"The terror of this dark fantasy lies in Gropp’s grotesque creatures, who are grounded in reality...Bad Glass is a disturbing yet immensely entertaining story." --Romance Times (4 1/2 Star review)
"Well-drawn and utterly believable characters...Anyone who enjoys thoughtful fantasies will find much to celebrate here."
--Library Journal (starred review)