As you probably know from reading this Substack, I write books. Books are wonderful. I feel very privileged to get to publish and hope to continue doing it for a very long time. When it comes to writing, I have something of a workhorse mentality. People are sometimes surprised by my output and wonder where I get the time to write various stories, essays, and books. Honestly, I try to use my free time as aggressively as I can. If I’m at home at night and there’s empty time, I write. If I’m at home during the day and there’s empty time, I write. I believe in waiting for the muse but also forcing out text on a page. Perhaps it’s a compulsion. I do it because I love it and it’s one of the few above-average skills I have. (Softball is another, but that doesn’t pay any bills.)
This week, Kirkus reviewed my new novel, The Night Burns Bright, which will come out on Feb. 1, 2022. Since Kirkus is a trade publication, reviews come out far ahead of time. Non-trade reviewers write about books as they are published or after the publication date. I was fortunate several publications, including the Nation, reviewed my book about Andrew Cuomo, but in an environment of diminished review opportunities—many newspapers, beyond the New York Times and Washington Post, have gutted their book review sections—I don’t expect many. The Kirkus review can be a nice launching pad and I’m happy to report Kirkus, which can sometimes be a little backhanded, had warm praise for my novel.
Well, what’s the novel about? The review gives you a pretty good idea.
It’s hard not to root for Lucien and to desperately hope that his mother will save him, for their bond is lovingly conveyed throughout the first half of the book. Though Barkan never uses the word cult, House of Earth is chillingly evocative of many, and as the novel takes its darker turns, the end is both shocking and inevitable.
The child narrator’s perspective builds surprisingly effective suspense and horror.
If you are interested in reading about murderous woodland cults in upstate New York and want a novel that melds the literary, thriller, and horror genres—a literary thriller?—you should get the novel. You can pre-order now. And for the very first time, I’ll have an audiobook! My Cuomo book, The Prince, did not have an audiobook and I know that disappointed a few people. I’m told there’s a pretty good voice actor doing it.
Here’s a deal for you. I’ve got free pre-order print copies of The Night Burns Bright to give away. If you are a paid subscriber to this newsletter, just reply to this email, send me your address, and I’ll get you a free copy.
If you are reading this newsletter for free—totally fine!—and decide to become a paid subscriber in the next three days, I’ll send you a free galley copy of The Night Burns Bright. It’s that simple. Click here to subscribe or try the button below.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back with more reporting and essays here very soon.