The Painted Darkness

The Painted Darkness



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)

About 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 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.

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)

Customer Reviews

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Painted Darkness 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 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.
StefanY on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I found this short book to be fairly entertaining and a really fast read. There was a nice juxtaposition between the events in present day and the flashbacks to the main character's past. The pace of the plot kept things moving along nicely and I managed to finish it in one day of reading (and it was a work day, so you can see that this is indeed a REALLY fast read.)The artwork interspersed throughout the story was different in an interesting sort of way and since it tied so closely to the main themes of the novel it was not distracting and did not take away from the story in any way. My only complaints with the novel had to do with the ending. I found it to be a bit simplistic and predictable and actually decreased the tension and horror that had been built up to that point in the story.Overall, I liked this book and found it to be a fun distraction.
INTPLibrarian on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book would have been a GREAT Twilight episode. I felt it was lacking as a book, though. It's compelling. I almost wanted to just skim it so that I could find out what was going to happen faster -- and it's a very short book to begin with. However, I was disappointed when I did get to the end. The author drops the twist/explanation on you and then that's it. The end.I feel like the author wrote out an outline of his plot, and it's a good one, and then added paragraphs to it instead of really fleshing it out.
dlgiddings on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This books was a fast read, once I had the time to sit down and read it. With the changes in the time line, between childhood and adult, helped to really move the story along and keep the flow going. I do agree that this book does remind me of Stephen king a bit, being a fan of his I can see how other write like he does. I would recommend this book to others but it was not something that stands out above others for me. It was a good read, fast and easy, but if I was in the bookstore it would not be a first pick for me. I would probably have bought it, but I would have picked up other novels first.
Linellsb1 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This novella is a quick read and entertaining, but not much more. The "past to present" alternating chapters mimic Steven King and almost as good, but not quite. A little more depth of the characters other than Henry would help get the reader more involved. I finished with a "Is that all?" and "Where have I read this before?" feelings. So only 2 stars.
pith on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Since The Painted Darkness is only 176 pages long (fewer, actually, if you take out the illustrations and such), I think it's a stretch to call it "both a meditation on the art of creation and . . . an examination of the secret fears we all share". I generally enjoy stories about creative types, but found this rather simplistic and flat. If it's aimed at an adult audience, the "endgame" is far too obvious; if it's meant for a YA audience, many kids won't get some of the nuances. I think Freeman did a good job drawing parallels between Henry the Child and Henry the Adult, but ultimately, the outcome was too obvious. It's a quick read and still enjoyable, but I certainly wouldn't pay the price ($19.99) that's quoted on the back for something so short.
Spiceca on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was taken aback a bit at the size of this novella. Very short and I was skeptical as to how well developed a story could really be presented. Surprisingly, the book packs quite a nice little punch with the suspense and ultimately the conclusion. It wasnt so much the story of a big monster battle but the concept of the depths of the mind and what personal tragedy can unleash within and without ones inner self.I wouldnt call it quite on the realms of the horror genre but would classify this more as a pschological thriller. Its a nice quick read if you've got an hour to spare.
zanykm on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. I was kept glued to Henry's plight against his childhood demons. I did not want to put this book down. Author Brian James Freeman reminded me of Stephen King and he did an amazing job. I highly recommend this book.
angelikat on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Early ReviewerThe Painted Darkness, written by Brian James FreemanI really enjoyed this book; it is a very fast read, something that can be finished on a lonely, rainy afternoon. The plot revolves around Henry, not only as a young boy, but also as the man that he becomes. Henry has a very vivid imagination; it is both his blessing and his curse. I really don¿t want to give anything away about this story, but if you like light horror fiction along the lines of early Stephen King; you will definitely like this book.
dyetye on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I have mixed feelings with this book. It was a short book, so it was a really fast read. I really enjoyed the flashback part of the story when Henry was a child, and I think I would have liked this book more if it was more like this. I thought the part of the story in present time, with Henry as an adult, was ok. Nothing really new, but it was still a decent story that kept me interested. I thought the use of a boiler was kind of cheesy, but the ending in the basement made up for it. The twist at the end was nice, although it wasn't one that fully caught me by surprise, but a nice enough twist to the story.Overall, it was definitely worth the read, especially being a quick read.
Heptonj on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I liked the fact that this book was a quick, easy to read volume. It kept my interest by making me try to work out just what the writer was trying to convey.The story is about the child and man called Henry and slowly reveals through alternating between time zones of his life the connections between what is happening now and what has happened in his past. He works through his fears by painting dark-themed pictures although his mind has totally blanked out the traumatic experience in the forest which began his psychological problems.As Henry gets married and has a child his descent into the imaginery world of art becomes deeper until it threatens to take over his life and destroy his marriage. The ultimate result of this is a terrifying confrontation.I beleive this book is about the problems created when deep trauma is suppressed by the mind and the consequences of the sudden return of the memories. Well worth reading.
lesleydawn on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This story was really slow for me, which is disappointing because I was extremely excited to read it. The entire time I was reading it, I felt as if I was waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. And I don't mean waiting in a good way; as in "Oh, this is really exciting, I can't wait to find what happens", but in a "Okay, I'm getting bored, when is something actually going to happen. The writing was good, but to me the story was stretched past what it needed to be. There was a lot of potential but it didn't do it for me. The art was fantastic though.
JechtShot on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A young boy sneaks off into the woods during a snowstorm and witnesses an event that will change him forever. Time passes, and the young boy grows to become an artist, forgetting his past. The lines of fantasy and reality are blurred as he begins to remember the events from long ago. "I paint against the darkness" is his mantra and these words may save him in the end.The Painted Darkness is a novella that will keep the reader engaged to the very end.
FSkornia on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was one of the excellent books I received through LibraryThing¿s EarlyReviewer program. Reading this felt very similar to reading a work by Stephen King. Both authors have the ability to delve into the sometimes dark place that artists and writers go for their creation. In this case of The Painted Darkness, the monsters that haunt Henry¿s paintings and dreams are real and take him back to a traumatic experience he had as a child.We encounter Henry in the modern day alone in his old house, as his wife and children have left after he got too distracted by his artwork. Freeman does a masterful job intertwining the story of present-day Henry with the story of what happened 20 years earlier. The childhood story is slowly unwound as we¿re faced with the horrors that older Henry is facing alone in his house.This volume is not particularly long, offering a couple of hours of reading, but the text is interspersed with beautifully horrible illustrations that help give visions to the creatures that haunt Henry¿s twisted brain. An excellent book to add a little chill to those nights reading while the wind and snow pound outside your windows. Just don¿t let your boiler go out.
drjahnke on LibraryThing 10 months ago
An entertaining read that draws you in with its imagery. The intense feeling of cold and anxiety stay with you. The content is reminiscent of The Shining, but the story line gets a bit garbled in the end as the main character descends deeper into his personal madness. The illustrations could use a little work or be dropped all together. Worth the time on a rainy afternoon, but you may feel you've read it before.
sdobie on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Henry is an artist who gets deeply involved in painting dark subjects. Alone, in his remote house in the winter, he realizes that one of the monsters from his paintings may exist and is in the basement. The other half of the story tells of a day in Henry's early life that shaped a lot of who he became.Starts out with a nice buildup of suspense, but just starts getting strange as it progresses. It becomes a story where everything might be in Henry's head, or it it might not, which is too inconclusive for me.
booksgaloreca on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I am the first one in line when it comes to getting a free books, so was quite excited to find that this author was giving away copies of his book in ebook format (for a limited time). It was an engrossing, creepy story. My only negative was that it was too short. :-)
jeanie1 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a quick, suspenseful read. I downloaded the PDF version and read the whole book in about a hour. It is a story about a young boy with a very vivid imagination. Adulthood seems to magnify some of the fears he had as a child, but he wards off these feelings by painting until that does not work anymore... Read this book with the lights on.
mphchicago on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this story. It is a quick read that can be finished easily in one sitting. But don't start it too late in the evening. It kept me up past midnight because I couldn't put it down. I liked the juxtaposition of the childhood v. the present day stories. It really worked to build the suspense. Very creepy. Loved the cover art - it drew me into the story. I also liked the author's use of the nearly universal joys (snow days) and terrors (dark basements) of childhood to bring the story alive for me. I remember very well being poised at the top of the stairs peering into the gloom below, heart beating, hands sweating, but determined not to give in and admit to anyone that I was too scared to go down there alone! I can laugh now but it was very serious then. Thank you to Mr. Freeman for reminding me so vividly of what it was like to be that child.
barefootlibrarian on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The Painted Darkness was my first foray into the horror type story and it was good. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a vivid imagination will be instantly gripped by this story about a little boy who becomes a man and walks the thin line of whether believing is seeing or seeing is believing. Freeman deftly moves between wonder and caution, awe and uncertainty, security and fear. This is an excellent novella and the author has certainly peaked my interest in the genre. So should you read it? Yes. After all, there's something waiting for you in the cellar.
frut02 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A very quick read however i couldn¿t put it down, i just had to keep reading. i did find it slightly creepy in places but of course that is a good thing. The transition between the present and 20 years before is a really great way of putting this story it made it flow nicely. The whole book was filled with suspense and wonder. Creepy but a recommended read.
jynxpierce on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Engrossing story reminiscent of early Stephen King. Easy, quick read with a great plot line and characters. The idea of Imagination running away with you is not a new one but still very classic and well developed. Definitely going to look up more by Brian James Freeman.