Results of the Bram Stoker Award in the year 2005.
On a cold October night, five people gather in a run-down motel on the Jersey shore and begin preparations to break into the Paragon Hotel. Built in the glory days of Asbury Park by a reclusive millionaire, the magnificent structure—which foreshadowed the beauties of art deco architecture—is now boarded up and marked for demolition.
The five people are “creepers,” the slang term for urban explorers: city archeologists with a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their dying secrets. On this evening, they are joined by a reporter who wants to profile them—anonymously, as this is highly illegal activity—for a New York Times article.
Frank Balenger, a sandy-haired, broad-shouldered reporter with a decided air of mystery about him, isn’t looking for just a story, however. And after the group enters the rat-infested tunnel leading to the hotel, it becomes clear that he will get much more than he bargained for. Danger, terror, and death await the creepers in a place ravaged by time and redolent of evil.
Dread in the Beast: The Novel used to be a novella about the goddess of waste and the king of wasters. Now it is a novel, stuffed full of the gruesome and horrible. Taken from the mythologies and histories of humankind, it follows the trail of the Mother Spririt of the worst that the world is capable of producing. From the catacombs of ancient Rome where a blasphemous sect twisted the message of the early Christians—to modern America with its obsession with violence, deities and saints and the reincarnations of beasts battle over sublime and profane, where the very reasons for existence for us all may lie in the unthinkable.
Everything changed for Gil Stewart on the day he saw the old man die. Gil had witnessed the bizarre accident on the highway and stopped to help. The old man couldn’t be saved, but just before he died he clutched Gil’s shirt and whispered a warning: “The Keepers are coming!” That was when Gil’s nightmare began. At first he thought it was merely odd, a series of weird coincidences. Household pets started acting strangely. Zoo animals escaped. But now he can see a pattern emerging, a chilling reminder from a past that he can’t—or won’t—remember. As the true horror becomes clear, and terror builds upon terror, Gil can only await the coming of…the Keepers.
Two years ago Shad Jenkins went to prison for assaulting his sister’s attacker. Now he has returned to the southern mountain town of Moon Run Hollow, only to find that Megan is dead. No one knows how she died–or why she was found on Gospel Trail Road, a dirt path leading up to the gorge high above the Chatalaha River, where victims of yellow fever were once brought to die.
Navigating a world filled with abnormal children and clandestine snake handlers, one that is slowly being poisoned by illegal moonshine, Shad must pierce the townsfolk’s superstitions and terrible secrets to find out the truth about his sister’s death. But the Blood Dreams he’s suffered from since childhood have taken on an eerie urgency, revealing to Shad the nightmarish form of an unseen adversary. Plagued by the wraiths that haunt the hollow, Shad finds himself increasingly unsure of his own sanity as he begins to piece together what may have happened to his sister–and who exactly his enemy is…