Genre publisher Subterranean Press has announced that it will soon publish a new “ultra-dark” novella from fantasy author Robert Jackson Bennett, In the Shadows of Men.
The book is set for release this August. Here’s the plot:
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 back during the wildcatter days of the last oil boom.
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?
Bennett has earned considerable acclaim for his fantasy novels, including American Elsewhere, which earned him the Shirley Jackson award for Best Novel in 2014, as well as his Devine Cities trilogy (City of Stairs, City of Blades, and City of Miracles) as well as his ongoing Founders trilogy, which began in 2018 with Foundryside, and which continues this month with Shorefall.
Last year, Bennett published Vigilance with Tor.com Publishing, a dark social satire on the proliferation of guns in the United States. This new novella looks as though it’s in a similar vein: a realistic, modern story with some biting commentary on the state of the world.