The Painted Darkness

The Painted Darkness

4.4 10
by Brian Keene, Brian James Freeman
     
 

When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his grief by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually Henry's mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.

Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his…  See more details below

Overview

When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his grief by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually Henry's mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.

Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his disturbing works of art. He loves his wife and his son and life couldn't be better... except there's something not quite right about the old stone farmhouse his family now calls home. There's something strange living in the cramped cellar, in the maze of pipes that feed the ancient steam boiler.

A winter storm is brewing and soon Henry will learn the true nature of the monster waiting for him down in the darkness. He will battle this demon and, in the process, he may discover what really happened when he was a child and why, in times of trouble, he thinks: I paint against the darkness.

But will Henry learn the truth in time to avoid the terrible fate awaiting him... or will the thing in the cellar get him and his family first?

Written as both a meditation on the art of creation and as an examination of the secret fears we all share, The Painted Darkness is a terrifying look at the true cost we pay when we run from our grief--and what happens when we're finally forced to confront the monsters we know all too well.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
A free prerelease e-book edition has garnered plenty of advance buzz for this fast-paced, satisfying horror novella from Cemetery Dance Magazine editor Freeman (Blue November Storms). Twenty years after a traumatic childhood incident, Henry has become a professional painter who uses his work as an outlet for his inner demons. Something from his past has taken up residence in the basement of the house he shares with his wife, Sarah, and young son, Dillon, challenging Henry's ability to "paint against the darkness." The narrative builds up to a conclusion that isn't entirely shocking, but it still makes for a compelling read thanks to skillfully composed prose that builds tension and evokes emotional response. The paper edition includes several eerie full-page b&w illustrations by Jill Bauman. (Nov.)
Stillwater Public Library Newsletter
This book... is not to be missed. A well-written suspense tale that will frighten and touch.
The Horror Review
...a stunning example of how a skilled writer can make just a few hours in a character's life and leave readers spellbound... Freeman is a gifted writer. His descriptions vivid, the horror lurking in the shadows he creates unsettling, the novella is carefully crafted like Henry's paintings... This story is not designed to make you jump, the horror here is subtle like the prose of a master like Poe or Hawthorne. It lingers long after you are done reading. Highly recommended, this ranks with some of the best literary thrillers I have read.
David Morrell
Brian James Freeman's evocative tale about the dark corners of an artist's imagination is elegant and haunting.
Publishers Weekly
Fast-paced, satisfying horror... a compelling read thanks to skillfully composed prose that builds tension and evokes emotional response.
Richard Matheson
Spooky stuff!
Stewart O'Nan
The tone and building dread reminded me of classic Stephen King. Great velocity and impact, and super creepy. Don't go in the basement!
Tess Gerritsen
The Painted Darkness is a dark, terrifying, and deeply moving gem of a novella. Brian James Freeman managed to both scare me and move me to tears.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587672088
Publisher:
Cemetery Dance Publications
Publication date:
12/21/2010
Pages:
171
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.00(d)

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What People are saying about this

Stewart O'Nan
The tone and building dread reminds me of classic Stephen King. Great velocity and impact, and super creepy. Don't go in the basement! (Stewart O'Nan, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Country and A Prayer for the Dying)
Bentley Little
Wonderfully reminiscent of the quiet horror of Charles L. Grant, The Painted Darkness takes readers on a gently chilly walk through the forest of fears both conscious and subconscious. With Straubian lyricism, Brian James Freeman evokes not only the irrational terrors of childhood, but addresses the roots of creativity and the vital importance of art. A very impressive achievement. (Bentley Little, author of The House and His Father's Son)
Michael Koryta
The Painted Darkness delves into territory that fascinates so many of us—the fine lines between beauty and horror, faith and fear, art and the unconscious. Both a wonderful allegory and a gripping read, Brian James Freeman has written a taut, memorable tale. (Michael Koryta, award-winning author of So Cold the River, The Cypress House, and The Ridge)
Tess Gerritsen
The Painted Darkness is a dark, terrifying, and deeply moving gem of a novella. Brian James Freeman managed to both scare me and move me to tears. (Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Keepsake)
Richard Matheson
Spooky stuff! (Richard Matheson, New York Times bestselling author of What Dreams May Come and I Am Legend)

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Meet the Author

Brian James Freeman's short stories, essays, novellas, and novels have been published by Warner Books, Leisure, Cemetery Dance, Borderlands Press, Book-of-the-Month Club, and many others. His newest book-length work of fiction is The Painted Darkness, which took the Internet by storm during the summer of 2010 and was published in hardcover in December 2010 by Cemetery Dance Publications. The Painted Darkness was also offered as the "Free eBook of the Month" by WOWIO.com in October 2010, and within two weeks it became the most downloaded title in the program's history. Brian lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a German Shorthaired Pointer who is afraid of the cats. More books are on the way.

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Painted Darkness 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
avanders More than 1 year ago
This is a creepy little page-turner that explores the boundaries between reality and imagination. Freeman tells dual stories surrounding Henry, an artist with a dark imagination. Henry's story is told through chapters that alternate back and forth between "The Present," when Henry is an adult artist who paints to master his dark imagination, and "The Birth of the Artist," when Henry is five and experiences a trauma that shapes the remainder of his life. Although the novella is short, it is replete with details that create an ambiance of danger, mystery, and threatening darkness. Freeman effectively uses this interplay to drive the narrative forward and urge his readers to uncover the mysteries of the past and the present. I definitely recommend for readers who like to be a little creeped out.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
I sat down to read this book and couldn't stop until I got to the end. This was the first book I'd read by this author but it won't be my last. This story is written in alternating present and past chapters. The present gives us a look at the artist who "paints against the darkness" or the demons that seem to haunt him. The Past gives us a look at the artist as a child and how he came to be haunted by these demons. The fear I have of basements made this book even more scary for me as it seems the monster he must face lurks in the basement of his house. This was so good that I can foresee his books sitting on the shelf next to the names of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. This is a must read for anyone who loves horror. Just don't read it at night.
Sonnyci More than 1 year ago
If you want a shor novella that will garb you from the start and leave you thinking at the end, this is the book . It is totally enetertaining and I suggest any reader who enjoys the unknown pick it up
RobertJK More than 1 year ago
The Painted Darkness is one of the best books I have read this year in my opinion. I first started reading this when it was initially offered as a free eBook from Cemetery Dance. I knew when I was only a short way into it that I really wanted to buy the physical book and read it that way instead of in an electronic format. Instead of finishing up reading a free book I waited until I had the money available to buy a physical copy so that I could read it in that format instead. While the switch between the child and adult versions of the books main character, Henry, isn't something I was used to and not something that I ever would have imagined liking before, for this story I liked it and feel it served a purpose, though if this had been a long novel I am sure the switches would have had the opposite effect and ended up taking me out of the story.
Micheles_reviews More than 1 year ago
This is another book I couldn't put down. Great storytelling. scary/weird at the same time. Kind of sad at end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows five years old Henry has a vivid imagination so when his parents are away and his babysitter preoccupied, he decided to have an adventure. This was a disaster from the time he climbs on an old tree-house. He sees a skeleton falls to the ground, follows rabbits with red eyes and falls into the frozen river. He can't swim against the current, but he becomes caught on a tree branch. He follows the rabbits, which leads to the school where his father is eaten alive by monster rabbits. He gets home to see his father is okay, but tells him what happens as a way to release his fears. Twenty years later, married with a son Henry is having another adventure. There are things in the basement where there are three graves and his furnace starts to talking to him. Henry is scared to death as he hears noises throughout the house. He chalks it up to his imagination, but he is an adult not a preadolescent child. Henry's fear and imagination lead to his painting chilling but brilliant art. The chapters alternate between the past and present; enabling the reader to see the similarities between Henry the child and Henry the adult as he makes choices. This is an entertaining but frightening ride filled with heart wrenching moments as the readers wonders whether Henry is psychotic or an oracle.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago