The Wrath of Concrete and Steel is my new chapbook from lovely Dunhams Manor Press. It contains three tales clocking in at close to 23k words. What's it all about?
I do not want to be pigeon-holed as a writer who does this or that and only this or that. I would like to think no matter what I do, the tales are distinctly John Claude Smith tales, just as when you read a tale by Laird Barron or Joe Pulver or Damien Angelica Walters or--you get my drift--those writers use words in ways that are distinct to them and their tales, and I for one am interested in wherever their muse leads them. Unexpected places are welcomed. Anyway, my point is, I believe many think, though what I write may qualify as literary (it has been said; really!), a lot of what I write is also...let's call it 'loud.' Weird...yet also Horror and, yes, the Horror is with a capitol 'H' and is quite appropriate.
It can get messy and graphic, but that's not all I want to do.
With these tales, there's perhaps a more subtle strain. (Okay, 'subtle' is a matter of perception; I know the last tale is, yet it's also got the freaky horror element. I know the first tale is, but it has its...moments...) I think they are more subtle, yet distinctly me with moments to please those who've enjoyed what I've done before, while also appealing to those who might be looking for something less...harsh? Sure, why not?
I am honored to have received this blurb from one of the true special talents in the Weird fiction genre, Mr. Christopher Slatsky, whose Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales is an astonishing debut collection. He wrote:
John Claude Smith creates these dense atmospheres filled with decaying streets and dilapidated cities in all their splendor, and he does so in prose that gleams like a freshly stropped razor.
That is downright beautiful, eh?
In the same email, he also wrote a bit about each tale, which I hope he does not mind I post here. I was going to get into them myself, but this works juuuuuuust fine, yes indeed.
All three stories are wonderful symphonies of grotesque body horror and the threat of urban decay spiraling into a deliriously poetic squalor. They all piggyback and complement each other quite well despite being unique tales on their own; a melancholy strain running through The Land Lord and The Wounded Table—the former with the sadness of addiction, the latter with the pain of love; and the pitch black humor of The Wrath of Concrete and Steel, with its horror as absurdity, like a grinning skull behind a phantoms brightly colored mask, or voracious sewer systems…
Oh, damn! I'd buy that. How about you? Ha, I read that line, 'grotesque body horror' and think many who've read my tales are thinking, but that's what you do, JC? But these are...different. Trust me on that. Or buy the chapbook and see for yourself.
I should just shut up now and leave the pre-order link, eh? (Why, yes, JC, please do!)
The link is for DMP, but the book will also be on Amazon, so be on the lookout there as well.
Link--> The Wrath of Concrete and Steel
I will probably do another blog post digging into each tale, but for now, I'll roll with this and the exquisite cover art below.