Monday, March 13, 2017


It is best not to think about what must come next.
It might be too dismissive to call The Secret of Ventriloquism merely a short story collection. It's much more than that. It's more than just the sum of it's parts and as you experience each story more layers are built onto the themes, location and characters, and you'll realize that the stories form one cohesive whole. It's similar to what Laird Barron also did last year with Swift to Chase.

The book opens fittingly with a guided meditation on horror called "The Mindfulness of Horror Practice". It's a perfect primer that sets the disturbing tone and seems designed to put you in the right mindset to tackle the rest of the book. And from there you will journey into a strange dimension that is all Jon Padgett's creation. A place where reality is fickle and a "trifle," and the line between dreams and what's real is constantly blurred.
In my more lucid moments I know that this life, such as it is, will not last much longer. The man I once was would consider that a mercy, but I no longer even believe in the release of death. It is only a transition into yet another borrowed reality.
I'm not sure who Jon Padgett is or where he came from but he definitely left an impression with this one and I'll be on the lookout from now on for more of his work. There is a level of creativity and bravery here that I personally rarely see in story collections. Every story has an undeniably unique voice and perspective, and each one is impressive in the way that the tension and unease builds and carries over to the next.

There are things in this book that I'm almost positive that I recognize from my own nightmares. In that way, Padgett's work really is pretty unsettling and I would go so far to say that it's a masterpiece of horror and weird fiction and will probably end up on my favorites list at the end of the year. Any fans of dark work should decide if they are ready to gain the knowledge of Greater Ventriloquism. And if that is case, tune out the Static, buy this book, read it slow and let it soak, and while doing so, don't forget to count the fingers on your right hand.

Oh and don't worry:
"Being sick to your stomach now is perfectly normal."

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