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.
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 (born 1967) is an American author. His focus is on neo-noir fiction, typically touching on the darker aspects of life, including elements of violence, mental instability, breaks in reality, and tragedies. His work is rich in setting and sensory details, and often has a sexual element to it. It has also been called transgressive and grotesque.
Written by Bob Milne 2013-10-09
What's so remarkable about the stories contained within Staring Into the Abyss is not that they're often so short, but that they often work so well. Word count and issues of quantity aside, the shorter a piece is, the harder it often is to imbue it with any sort of quality. Fortunately, Richard Thomas knows precisely what he is trying to convey with each piece, and he does so without so much as a wasted word. I know it's a bit of a cliché, but what he's written here is really quite ... (more)