Staring into the Abyss
Single Author Short Story Collection
As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you.” In this collection of short stories Richard Thomas shows us in dark, layered prose the human condition in all of its beauty and dysfunction.A man sits in a high tower making tiny, mechanical birds, longing for the day when he might see the sky again. A couple spends an evening in an underground sex club where jealousy and possession are the means of barter. A woman is victimized as a child, and turns that rage and vengeance into a lifelong mission, only to self-destruct, and become exactly what she battled against. A couple hears the echo of the many reasons they’ve stayed together, and the one reason the finally have to part. And a boy deals with a beast that visits him on a nightly basis, not so much a shadow, as a fixture in his home.
These 20 stories will take you into the darkness, and sometimes bring you back. But now and then there is no getting out, the lights have faded, the pitch black wrapping around you like a festering blanket of lies. What will you do now? It’s eat or be eaten—so bring a strong stomach and a hearty appetite.
Richard Thomas 136 pages ISBN: 978-9197972598
Praise for STARING INTO THE ABYSS:
"The stories in STARING INTO THE ABYSS are little literary predators that are smart, savage, and stealthy, with a lethal pounce at the end. Readers who enjoy finely-crafted and genuinely disturbing dark fiction will love Richard Thomas's outstanding collection." --Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Monsters in L.A.
"STARING INTO THE ABYSS by Richard Thomas is an outstanding book, a grim tapestry of broken lives and shattered dreams, of dark fantasies and dark reflections. It's one of the better single-author collections I've had the pleasure to read in recent years, and as such, gets my highest recommendation. It's also a fine testament to a talent I suspect we are going to be hearing a lot more from, and soon." --Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy, and Kin.
"With STARING INTO THE ABYSS, Richard Thomas takes you on a ride into a world of darkness and despair, punches you in the gut, and leaves you breathless. You'll hug your psyche a little tighter after reading." --Damien Walters Grintalis, author of Ink
"STARING INTO THE ABYSS is gritty and ugly, seductive and sexy. Inside these filthy walls you will find everything you've ever feared you'd become; thugs, drunks, cons, prostitutes, murderers. Think of these pages as a mirror of what anyone--even you--can become, after just a few critical mistakes in life. Richard Thomas has proven time and again that he is one of the rising stars in the neo-noir culture. With Staring into the Abyss, he proves he has mastered it." --Max Booth III, author of True Stories Told By a Liar and Black Cadillacs
"NO ONE DOES IT like Richard Thomas. Dark and disturbing, his unique blend of horror and noir digs its way into your psyche and leaves you begging for more." -C. W. LaSart, author of Ad Nauseam
"Richard Thomas may well be the best author that you haven't heard of yet...The longest story in the collection ['Victimized'] is...one of the best short stories that I've ever read. This kind of transgressive fiction is absolutely my favorite style of writing, leaning close enough towards horror to satisfy all of my darker urges." --P.M. Buchan, Starburst Magazine
"Richard Thomas is a workhorse who is no stranger to dark fiction. But with his newest anthology of short fiction...[he] cranks the intensity up a notch while simultaneously turning the dimmer switch all the way down...Richard Thomas presents his gritty vision of despair at an unflinching, rapid-fire pace." --Sean Leonard, Horror News
"This collection examines darker elements of the human condition with a mixture of wit and unflinching brutality...There are some great stories here, ranging from subtle humor to rushes of adrenaline. 'Underground Wonder Bound' had me practically euphoric with its pitch-perfect ending. 'Victimized' had me on the edge of my seat, completely wrapped up in the story and oblivious to the world around me." --The Indiscriminate Critic