A Uniquely Terrifying Voice: To Drown in Dark Water by Steve Toase

A Uniquely Terrifying Voice: To Drown in Dark Water by Steve Toase

To Drown in Dark Water (Undertow Publications, April 2021). Cover by Stefan Koidl

Undertow Publications, one of the finest small press publishers on the continent, just announced Open Submissions for novels and novellas. It’s caused a huge swell of excitement among many of the writing circles I keep tabs on — and a flurry of folks asking, “Wait, what kind of books do they want?”

Read the guidelines, people. Even better, pick up one of their excellent previous releases, including Simon Strantzas’s Nothing is Everything, V. H. Leslie’s Skein and Bone, Grotesquerie by Richard Gavin, or their top-notch magazine Weird Horror.

Or you could buy their latest, Steve Toase’s debut collection To Drown in Dark Water, just released this week with a magnificently creepy cover by Stefan Koidl. It’s already accumulated strong notices. Nathan Ballingrud calls it “an outstanding first collection,” and Bram Stoker winner Sarah Read says:

There are masters of folk horror and masters of weird horror; there are masters of cosmic horror and masters of psychological horror. But on the Venn diagram where all those intersect, there is only Steve Toase. To Drown in Dark Water is a masterpiece.

Here’s a quote from the rave review at Booklist.

Toase’s debut collection confidently announces his uniquely terrifying voice to the world in 26 stories. Beginning with the folk horror tale “Call Out,” Toase uses close narration and a claustrophobic space to give the reader an intense and traumatizing story of man versus both monster and community. The stories that follow showcase Toase’s command of many different horror subgenres, but what unites these stories and successfully shapes this excellent collection is how he induces absolute terror through his patiently restrained descriptions of awful things… Hand this volume out with confidence to fans of horror stories that crawl inside the reader and take residence such as those by Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, and Samanta Schweblin.

To Drown in Dark Water was published this week by Undertow Publications. It is 272 pages, priced at $17.99 in paperback and $6.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Stefan Koidl. Order directly from the Undertow website.

See all our recent coverage of the best new fantasy and horror releases here.

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Jeff Stehman

Now that’s a book cover.

Andrew P Weston

Thanks John. I’ve had my eye on this publisher for a while now and like what I see. (My exact sentiments for the cover. An excellent eyecatcher.) I may have to give this book a try.

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