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Worse Angels by Laird Barron

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About Worse Angels:

Ex-Mob enforcer and now private investigator Isaiah Coleridge pits himself against a rich and powerful foe when he digs into a possible murder and a sketchy real estate deal worth billions.

P.I. Isaiah Coleridge is hired to investigate a suspicious death tied to a stalled supercollider project in the northern reaches of New York State. An industrial tycoon recently turned senator may be involved–at least his alienated ex-major-domo and bodyguard sure thinks so. Meanwhile, Coleridge and Lionel attempt to solve the mystery of 1.5 million bucks they recovered during their last case, and decide what to do with it…


Praise For Worse Angels:


“Intricate and deftly written.”–BookPage

“The writing is as fresh as always…Fast-paced, atmospheric, and dark enough to satisfy fans of Barron’s previous work in horror, Worse Angels is a crime thriller with a heart full of black magic; a meaty novel full of creepy moments in which the threat of violence is constant.”–Criminal Element 




Darkness is calling again to Isaiah Coleridge and it has in it web mucho money, technology and cults, an enigma awaits with impeding doom in his cross-hairs.
The world within this tale a kaleidoscopic assemble, a laying down of wise words and wise cracks too, with the twist of thee Barron cosmic horror and noir conjuring.
The days of walking with the Ex-Mob enforcer-turned-private investigator never a dull moment and where anything and everything can happen around him.

The realm that contains Isaiah coupled with the unique prose style, a page turning fusion with reverence to arcane things, the third eye interpretations interjecting reader amidst cosmic noirness.

No longer in Alaska, his abode of rest a cabin in “near the rural outskirts of New Paltz.”
The devout hound Minerva abides.
New client Badja Adeyemi will pay his day rate due to lack of funds mission accepted.
The curse of multi-billion-dollar white elephant awaits with these rules of war of his, “When conflict is inevitable, take the fight to the enemy. As far as I was concerned, conflict was absolutely inevitable.”
May catch him eating his T-bone steak bloody whilst watching Jonny quest in spare time.





Example of metaphor usage:

“His posture spoke volumes. Reminded me of the deceptive laziness of a grizzly several heartbeats before it decides to charge.”

“I brought that pipe down like fabled John Henry driving a railroad spike. This blow nearly tore my arms out of their sockets. It wasn’t lost on me that John Henry fought a steam engine and died.”

“I’m a believer in omens and auguries, except by different names—pattern recognition and quantum entanglement. Reality is a frequency, time is a ring, and gravity bleeds through a membrane that cocoons this universe from its neighbors; cells gently colliding within an infinite superstructure.
Which is to say, I’d scaled a mountain summit and instead of finding a wise man in a cave, Death looked me in the eye and winked.”

“The machinery of the universe is always grinding. Now and again, we fleas intersect with the gears’ teeth.”

“At Meg’s urging to “get in touch with your mother’s blood,” I’d reacquainted myself with the rich tapestry of Maori culture and mythology. In the U.S. of A., every youngster learns of Alexander, Thor, and Zeus. Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin, and Oberon’s court. Kids here are steeped in the cult of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and The Catcher in the Rye. Having swallowed enough of that for this particular rotation of the grand cosmic wheel, I made it a practice to range farther afield. A humble beginning, yet it awakened a network of sleeping nerves with pinpricks of sublimated awareness.”

“Some street lamps were smashed. Birds decomposed in the gutters. The broken glass and graffiti merely accented the ongoing hostile reclamation of this patch of land. Herzog was fighting a rearguard action that barely tamed the camp’s devolution and reversal into primeval darkness. Yeah, the old Beat writer William Burroughs had been onto something: Nature does not want for evil in the absence of humanity. Organized wickedness is exchanged for the insensate craving of a much greater and no less ruthless organism.”


“Why dogs are perfect: For them, your companionship is the sum total of their universe. And yet, if I could’ve explained to Minerva that I would outlive her by many, many years, and go on adventures and pet other dogs, she would wag her tail and say, I am glad. I love you.”


“There were moments since my last dog, Achilles, died that the pain, always present, reached a crescendo and stole my breath. Once or twice, I’d been absurdly tempted to slam my face into a tree and leave bloody teeth embedded in the bark. Just to express the pain, to one?up it. The moment always passed. I turned my head slightly where he couldn’t see, and cuffed my? self once, hard. Little birdies and wheeling stars were preferable to the awful melancholy of contemplating the mortality of loved ones.”


“Beasley said he’d meet me in ten. It was closer to twenty when he pulled up beside my rental in a salt?eaten Jeep Cherokee, climbed out, and knocked on the door. Were I compelled to summarize Beasley in a pithy sentence, it would’ve gone something along the lines of, professional beach bum commando moments before a killing spree. A bruiser in a dark T?shirt and jeans, and steel toed boots that had carried him through years of hiking. Buzz cut, thick neck and shoulders, huge thighs. Hard?bitten, half?tanned, and half?sunburned. At home in the arctic or Saharan desert. Ten to fifteen years on me, but moved as if he comfortably jogged five or six miles every morning before eating razor wire and guzzling lye for breakfast. A webwork of minor scars, plus a couple fit to start a party conversation. An almost handsome mug that appeared to have been used for soccer ball kick? ing practice. He wore a military brand fighting knife on his belt. If it came to a tussle, this was the sort of character you immediately tried to cripple or kill; pain wouldn’t faze him.”

“Oil canvases hung in the hallway, staggered at intervals and varying heights. I felt seasick traversing the hall. The master canvas occupied an otherwise blank wall in the living room. Six?by?six feet of pure concentrated negative space. It generated the optical illusion of a portal into a black, eternal velvet. I mildly hallucinated specks of cosmic dust, the glint of pinprick stars, and the devilish choir in my nightmares that had drawn me through the black door in the family garage.”


“I’m partial to folklore. Legends, gallant expeditions. Hacking through a jungle to photograph an ancient temple. You guys were the embodiment of Rudyard Kipling’s and H. Rider Haggard’s stories. The pulp cliff?hangers on Saturday morning. I loved you.”


“Communities of any size husband secrets. Secrets span generations. Secrets corrode and deform. They persist like a tumor because most people who come into contact with them choose, or are encouraged, to look away, if not forget . . .”


“Fortune favors the bold. Fortune also favors the prepared.”


“It was a beautiful night to be on dire business. North and east, a bulwark of raw, primeval darkness held sway, and it enforced a zone of scarcely fathomable stillness that, for several moments, reeled my listening soul back to an epoch when a single mighty forest blanketed the mountains and the plains. Birds of prey glided silent as death; wolf packs yipped warnings to their rivals; a breeze rustled the canopy. During that misty stretch of prehistory, men wisely hid themselves after sunset. My soul strained to decipher the message of this beckoning quiet. The jawbone knife on my hip knew it well, had persisted through eons along an axis of immutable blood. Wild animals were yet animals in this digital age. Only we tool?making primates had radically evolved; and, for our pains, edged an inch or two nearer annihilation every day.”


Laird Barron was born in Alaska, where he raised huskies and worked in the construction and fishing industries for much of his youth. He is the author of several short story collections and two novels, and his work has also appeared in many magazines and anthologies. A multiple Locus, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker award nominee, he is also a three-time winner of the Shirley Jackson Award. Barron lives in Kingston, NY.

Read our Interview with Laird Barron On writing:

Previous works:

Blood Standard


Black Mountain


The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All: Stories

Girls Without Their Faces On & Strident Caller