On the Horizon – in the shadows of men (Robert Jackson Bennett)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this horror fantasy novella eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here are me honest musings . . .

in the shadows of men (Robert Jackson Bennett)

Title: in the shadows of men

Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Publication Date: TODAY!! (hardback)

ISBN: 978-1596069879

Source: NetGalley

In the Shadows of Men

The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:

  1. I love Robert Jackson Bennett as an author;
  2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and
  3. Who doesn’t like to read about haunted motels?

This novella tells the story of two brothers who decide to go into business by renovating an old motel in West Texas.  Their past was dysfunctional to say the least and they are trying to get a little bit ahead for once by catering to the workers of the fracking industry.  However the motel has an unsavory familial past which bleeds into the brothers’ present.

This is an atmospheric read where the graphic elements of the story are not the focus and happen off the page and yet the horror is always present.  The blending of psychological and paranormal elements is so well done and balanced.  For such a short story, it packs an both an emotional and philosophical punch about generational abuse, the effects of trauma, society’s reactions to violence, sibling relationships, and class privilege.

The story is unsettling, sad, disturbing, and yet ends on a hopeful note.  I feel that this novella highlights the author’s skills.  It is a book where the subject matter wasn’t quite what I was expecting and yet I ended up being fascinated by how it turned out.  That ending was so bittersweet.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!

Side note: This novella reminds me of how much I need to visit his backlog.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novella:

In the desolate flats of west Texas, two brothers purchase an old motel with the intent of renovating it and making a fortune off the population surge brought about by the fracking boom. Though each man is lured there by the promise of wealth, they are also fleeing something: a history of trauma, of failure, of family abuse, and shame.

But the motel proves to have a history of its own. Once the business of a distant relative of theirs, Corbin Pugh, the brothers begin to discover signs that it might have been more than just a motel.

As they live and labor in its dusty halls, fighting the crawling feeling that they are not alone here, they begin to wonder: what kind of a man was Corbin Pugh? What happened in the rooms he owned, so many decades ago? And is the motel changing them, warping them to become more ruthlessly ambitious and brutal – or is this what men must become in order to survive on the edge of civilization

To visit the author’s website go to:

Robert Jackson Bennett – Author

To buy the novella please visit:

in the shadows of men – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

foundryside – book 1 (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

shorefall – book 2 (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)

16 thoughts on “On the Horizon – in the shadows of men (Robert Jackson Bennett)

      1. I’m glad to hear that it is well written – but I’ll take your warning on board. I generally don’t do horror and right now, I’m not in the frame of mind to cope with anything too dark. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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