Jon Padgett - With themes reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti, and Bruno Schulz, but with a strikingly unique vision, Padgett's work explores the mystery of human suffering, the agony of personal existence,

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Jon Padgett, The Secret of Ventriloquism, Dunhams Manor Press, 2016.








Jon Padgett's The Secret of Ventriloquism, named the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine, heralds the arrival of a significant new literary talent. With themes reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti, and Bruno Schulz, but with a strikingly unique vision, Padgett's work explores the mystery of human suffering, the agony of personal existence, and the ghastly means by which someone might achieve salvation from both. A bullied child seeks vengeance within a bed's hollow box spring. A lucid dreamer is haunted by an impossible house. A dummy reveals its own anatomy in 20 simple steps. A stuttering librarian holds the key to a mill town's unspeakable secrets. A commuter's worldview is shattered by two words printed on a cardboard sign. An aspiring ventriloquist spends a little too much time looking at himself in a mirror. And a presence speaks through them all.




"Jon Padgett's The Secret of Ventriloquism is a horror revelation. The interconnected short stories are ghastly,clever, dryly witty, but also genuinely and bone-rattlingly creepy and disturbing. Sure, going in, I was already afraid of ventriloquist dummies, but now I'm deathly afraid of Jon Padgett."
--Paul Tremblay

"The Secret of Ventriloquism is horror with a capital H. Some of Padgett's lines raised the hair on my neck. The stories radiate darkness... In a year of exceptional weird fiction, this is a mattock-handle-wrapped-in-barbed-wire heavy hitter."--Laird Barron

"Padgett proves with his stunning debut collection to be a worthy successor to Thomas Ligotti. There's no gristle, no bone, no dilly-dallying here:only pure meat whose terrors seamlessly grow into the metaphysical. This volume is jam-packed with the stuff that nightmares are made of."--Dejan Ognjanovic



"...Greater Ventriloquism is the fictional philosophy cutting through all of the stories in this collection, giving them a much appreciated spine of intent and eerie energy. When we understand that we are no better than dummies--when we see the strings that move us and hear the voice that animates us--we become the uncanny object, as opposed to the dummy. Our own embodiment thus becomes a vessel for great horrors."--Adam Mills


"One of the first lessons any great comedian learns is that the personal is universal and within The Secret of Ventriloquism we are allowed to watch Padgett using his personal obsessions as fuel for his artistic vision. The Secret of Ventriloquism's courageously naked display coupled with its adroit manipulation of the reader's expectations makes for a singular reading experience. Padgett's work enraptured me on both an aesthetic and a philosophical level without my ever being aware of either."
--Acep Hale



"There's quite enough variety of tone, setting, and focus here to surprise and disconcert any reader, and leave preconceived expectations flopping and gasping in the cold black mud of Padgett's imagination...Padgett is a chilling master in his own right."--Paul StJohn Mackintosh



"...for those who enjoy fiction of a weird nature with a capital 'w' The Secret of Ventriloquism should not be missed."--Kev Harrison


"This collection is the work of an extremely talented and intelligent writer... the constant change[s] in form give the impression that the book is evolving as you go along, especially [given] the ever-increasing number of references to previous stories... It's like the creation of a hive-mind."--Kayleigh Marie Edwards


"...let me guarantee you one thing about Jon Padgett's writing: It will lead you outside your comfort zone like a creepy stranger leads you away from home. Padgett both knows how to tell a story and how to scare people,and The Secret of Ventriloquism is an intoxicating display of these two skills."
--Benoit Lelievre


"Jon Padgett... satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories... are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be."--Charlene Cocrane



"Jon Padgett's The Secret of Ventriloquism may very well be at the vanguard of a new movement in American Weird, wherethe lessons of Thomas Ligotti are recontextualized and used to birth something as frightening and bizarre as it is different."--Simon Strantzas



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