Philip Fracassi the renowned author of BOYS IN THE VALLEY

Philip Fracassi the renowned author of BOYS IN THE VALLEY

Philip Fracassi the renowned author of BOYS IN THE VALLEY spoke LIVE with R.J. Huneke on TFF on August 21, 2023.

We discussed Philip’s new novel, many of his previous works, including GOTHIC, SHILOH, SACCULINA, BENEATH A PALE SKY, BEHOLD THE VOID, and more (find them all on his site here), as well as some of his upcoming projects, including some pulp fiction and science fiction, as well as the BITV book tour, and insight into his writing.

Readers and Fictioneers, this is not one you want to miss.

The remaining dates on Philip Fracassi’s BOYS IN THE VALLEY Book Tour can be found here – go and see him!

Here is a preview of our TFF review of this incredible book:

“BOYS IN THE VALLEY by Philip Fracassi is a chilling classic.”

philip fracassi, r.j. huneke, tff, author, boys in the valley, book tour, nyc

Fracassi’s tale is labeled as horror, but is much more than that: this is a deep, gritty coming-of-age story that delves its own mark on readers.

BOYS IN THE VALLEY, Philip Fracassi, horror, tor nightfire, orbit books, stephen king, Earthling Publications,

In 1905, when the priests at a Catholic orphanage in rural Pennsylvania are brought a possessed man to heal, things go horribly wrong, for the clergy and for the 30 boys in their charge.

From the shocking opening to the pandemonium at the book’s ending, BOYS IN THE VALLEY grabs you and does not let up!

Fracassi has a great writing style that combines vivid imagery, tight-knit prose, and a tense build-up of suspense littered with unexpected action, as he creates an in-depth world filled with memorable characters.

Read the rest of the review here.

BOYS IN THE VALLEY By Philip Fracassi Is A Chilling Classic

BOYS IN THE VALLEY By Philip Fracassi Is A Chilling Classic

BOYS IN THE VALLEY by Philip Fracassi is a chilling classic.

Fracassi’s tale is labeled as horror, but is much more than that: this is a deep, gritty coming-of-age story that delves its own mark on readers.

BOYS IN THE VALLEY, Philip Fracassi, horror, tor nightfire, orbit books, stephen king, Earthling Publications,

In 1905, when the priests at a Catholic orphanage in rural Pennsylvania are brought a possessed man to heal, things go horribly wrong, for the clergy and for the 30 boys in their charge.

From the shocking opening to the pandemonium at the book’s ending, BOYS IN THE VALLEY grabs you and does not let up!

Fracassi has a great writing style that combines vivid imagery, tight-knit prose, and a tense build-up of suspense littered with unexpected action, as he creates an in-depth world filled with memorable characters.

It is because of the many aspects of the characters living within the winter-blasted setting that there are quite a few extremely moving scenes.

The following Book Review of BOYS IN THE VALLEY by Philip Fracassi has mild plot Spoilers*

philip fracassi, r.j. huneke, tff, author, boys in the valley, book tour, nyc

The book starts with its protagonist, nine-year-old Peter, watching paralyzed as his father returns home drunk and faces scorn from his wife for not bringing the starving family any food.

Peter’s father, Jack, snaps. He murders his wife, he stares down his son, and then he turns the gun on himself.

It is the eerily realistic semblance of the defeated father losing it and the powerless boy that sees this play out, paralyzed and mortified, that captures people’s flaws and their humanity so well, and this knowledge shapes Peter, even as the event itself haunts him.

The way Fracassi writes the scene, you can feel how tired Peter’s father is when he “sits heavily” and takes off his battered hat. You get the feeling the man is, at the least, verbally abusive when he is in an angered state, and like the kettle that whistles in the home as Peter’s mother taunts her husband, Jack Barlow simmers on the page until, once boiled, he blows up.

Are the use of ‘Jack’ and ‘Barlow’ a nod to two of Stephen King’s earliest works?

Seven years later, Peter is among the kinder and older boys of St. Vincent’s Orphanage. He is training to become a priest under his friend and surrogate father figure, Father Andrew, and his insightfulness into the difficulties of life, at the orphanage and in general, makes him an interesting lens to watch the tragic story of BOYS IN THE VALLEY unfold.

Peter, now 16, has fallen in love with a neighboring farmer’s daughter, and he has to come to grips with his knowledge that his mentor, Father Andrew, thinks of him like a son, and that to tell Andrew that Peter will not complete his training and become a priest will likely break the man’s heart.

But Father Andrew is a fantastic character and one who continually reminds Peter, despite the priest’s own hopes, that it is Peter’s choice to make.

This is a beautiful display of affection that shines throughout the book and is not forgotten when Peter does not get to make that choice.

Life at the orphanage means strict adherence to the priests’ rules, daily farm work and meager meals that never fill any of the boys’ bellies.

The 30 boys living together act as brothers will, in both caring for one another, especially Peter looking out for the smaller and younger orphans, in entertaining one another, in ribbing one another, and in picking on one another.

Boys are curious.

But the more they learn of the priests’ attempt to heal a possessed man who is then killed and buried on the church grounds, the more a malevolent mood permeates many of them.

Peter’s best friend, another main character and a good foil that makes an impression, as the gruff, ever-cynical older boy, David, is stalwart throughout the book, a pillar that Peter can count on to show no fear. Until he cannot. And when David is afraid, Peter realizes just how wrong things have gone.

Fracassi writes: “David is not easily knocked off his course. He has walls within walls to keep himself insulated from things of the world . . . Any emotions he may or may not feel . . . are buried deep within him, visible only to his inner self . . . [But] to see him so visibly, dramatically shaken is like . . . the first time I saw my mother cry.” [BOYS IN THE VALLEY, Fracassi, Tor Nightfire, Earthling Publications, Orbit Books]

The entire passage is far more impactful than the condensed quote above, but you will just have to read the book, readers.

There are many more memorable characters, from Brother Johnson, the sadistic, lifelong criminal sentenced to serve the priests and therein is often the twisted enforcer of punishments for the boys, and then to Grace, the sweet love of Peter’s life who lends him a great work of fiction every time he visits her.

As the frosty fields are quickly covered with falling snow and then the fell wind of the incoming storm that grows and grows and, finally, blasts St. Vincent’s, so too does the evil follow in its wake.

The possessed boys carry out the most heinous of acts imaginable against their orphan-brothers.

Only the union of the resistant boys under Peter and David stand in the way of the demons.

Fracassi paints so many shades of black.

Though there are parallels between Blatty’s masterpiece THE EXORCIST, Stephen King’s IT, and BOYS IN THE VALLEY, when I think of this book, I keep coming back to two impactful coming-of-age tales: William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES and Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE.

The latter is a favorite of mine, and I would argue Billy Pilgrim as a young man dropped into WWII Germany grows enough to be a bildungsroman in its own right, just as much as Golding’s tale of boys surviving on their own devices does, if in different ways.

LORD OF THE FLIES pits one group of children against another in a poignant way that is echoed in Fracassi’s boys forming of two opposing sides.

Demonic possession has been depicted throughout culture as an evil being often self-describing itself as ‘many’ or ‘legion’ and in BOYS IN THE VALLEY, the demons that inhabited a child murderer spread, like a disease, so that a horrific army of possessed young boys is formed and bent on further infection of the clergy and their brethren boys and the world, and for any who resist they want only to maliciously harm them.

Dominance and survival are two of the qualities that seep from Golding and from Fracassi.

There are even two orphan boys that are so close in age and friendship, they are called brothers even though they are not related, and these two inseparable characters are pitted against one another in BOYS IN THE VALLEY and it is terrifically terrible.

End of SPOILER Warning*

The horrors of war, the sheer atrocities performed by humans pitted against humans, that Billy Pilgrim is caught in in Dresden, Germany are so harsh as to be revolting, which was the point: the writing is as real as the terrible acts of war were/are.

So too does BOYS IN THE VALLEY invoke violent depictions of its own deeply personal war. But this is also realism and writing at its most effective.

This is how these characters behave.

BOYS IN THE VALLEY sticks with you like a knife in the ribs: it never really goes away.

For horror fans, you may need to read this one in the warm light of the summer sun, because the darkness and the bitter cold stalks the reader, just as it daunts the characters in the book.

Yes, there are some brutal, graphic scenes in BOYS IN THE VALLEY, but they are reflective of the history that the story takes place in, as well as the realistic actions of the characters.

Fracassi’s tale is one you will happily reread even though it still hurts.

BOYS IN THE VALLEY, Philip Fracassi, horror, tor nightfire, orbit books, stephen king, Earthling Publications,

I was fortunate to receive an advanced review copy of this book to do a Preview Review of the Earthling Publications signed limited edition for Halloween 2021 that is a stunner, and I have reread the ARCs provided to me by Tor Nightfire and by Orbit Books to do this review to expound on BOYS IN THE VALLEY for their July 2023 release dates. The book is out NOW.

Philip Fracassi is on the BOYS IN THE VALLEY Signing Tour NOW.

Get your copy NOW, eager readers.

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


Want To Buy A Book & Support A Local Bookseller? Click Here!

 

“BOYS IN THE VALLEY by Philip Fracassi is a chilling classic” Was Written By R.J. Huneke.

philip fracassi, r.j. huneke, tff, author, boys in the valley, book tour, nyc

R.J. Huneke will also be conducting a live interview with Philip Fracassi on August 21st in advance of his New York City appearance later in the week. Stay Tuned!

 

 

Gothic By Philip Fracassi-Beware Of The Madness Within

Gothic By Philip Fracassi-Beware Of The Madness Within

Gothic by Philip Fracassi – beware of the madness within these pages, because it may unravel your soul.

There are few books that come along – and I usually read many books at once – that demand all of my attention, and I cannot put them down, and Gothic by Philip Fracassi was one of these.

The thrilling tale of Gothic’s Tyson Parks and his world, packs a hell of a bite.

The characters are so real you can hear their voices and recall their mannerisms. The writing is fantastically tight and visual, the impacts of violent scenes visceral.

For fans of horror and thrillers that hold back no punches, Gothic is a rare treat.

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

Spoiler Alert for Gothic by Philip Fracassi.

The world-building is extremely well done, as Fracassi paints the posh and the dimmer corners of New York City alongside a publishing world that is genuine, down to the minute details, like the contractual obligation to deliver on a novel’s pitch.

And this is entirely necessary to go along with what is almost certainly a haunted desk that hints at being so much more.

Fracassi presents Gothic in such a way that I might have walked past the same swanky antique store on my way home and seen the corner of a mammoth antique desk there and felt its allure before a chill went down my spine and sent me on my way.

The best-selling author, Tyson Parks, who is out of money and time and inspiration is gifted an antique black oak desk, like no other, that immediately becomes a miraculous muse.

As the tragedy of Tyson, who begins to write rampantly and display violent behavior wholly unlike himself, progresses, with more success meeting more hints at madness, Gothic‘s story unfolds bloodily and brilliantly.

There is a steady build-up that grows faster and faster, until the plot’s rollercoaster car flies down from the track’s summit at blistering speed with many exhilarating and scary twists and turns that form an epic conclusion.

The desk is hungry!

The very first writing marathon that Tyson takes at his new desk causes cracks in his fingertips that bleed. And whenever blood touches the desk and its centerpiece, a massive stone surface, it is absorbed and a sacrificial contract of sorts gets underway.

As the time goes on, more and more blood is fed to the desk, and the carved ivy branches lift from the desk’s surface and slip into the author’s veins.

Though Tyson does not remember what he wrote, exactly, his next book becomes a bigger best-seller than he has ever had.

Despite that, his agency begs him to dial down the rampant violence in his next project, The Horror, and to take out the unsavory elements that fly in the face of many 21st century readers’ morals.

Tyson, enthralled by the desk, and incessantly listening to the old blind wizard that speaks to him from it, goes off on his agency and threatens to walk if his written word is ever questioned again.

He is a multimillionaire and god-like among his world.

But as he discovers at the book launch party for his newest book, the text has inspired madness, suicides, violence, and cult-like reverence that he never intended. He does not even remember the parts of the book that are referenced as causing harm.

Even after losing his family to the desk’s murderous influence, losing his own mind, life, and seemingly his own soul, he – or the spirit of the desk, maybe – writes one final manuscript.

Because he is completely in the hold of the desk, and he cannot stop himself from going to it.

That final work of Tyson’s arrives completed at his agent, Harry’s, office, and Harry who has already succumb to alcoholism and drug addiction as a means to cope with Tyson’s work, starts to read the book, titled Gothic; will it fully unravel his mind?

Not since Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness does a character, like Gothic’s Tyson Parks, tragically reach such megalomaniacal heights that the overthrown mind crumbles and the realization of their lost humanity comes only at the moment of their bitter demise.

As Conrad’s Kurtz sees the darkness about him and within him, he can only mutter, The horror. The horror, as he dies. For Fracassi’s Tyson, the irreparable inward degradation is only made fully apparent to him as the literal cause of his fate in the ancient relic – now a desk – kills him, and at that moment a door opens in it to an alternate plane of existence where a leviathan’s jaws emerge to utterly consume his soul.

Want to question your own grip on sanity? On reality? There is a book for you called Gothic by Philip Fracassi.

For those looking to keep themselves up at night, afraid that some artifact in their home, a desk, a table, maybe, might be haunted and hungry and so much worse, Gothic will oblige.

On Gothic’s Limited Edition

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

In 2022, Earthling Publications released the first printing of Gothic by Philip Fracassi in a gorgeous signed limited edition.

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

Earthling has long held some of the best small press releases in the industry, and this is no exception.

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

With the art, from the gorgeous desk on the cover, by Glenn Chadbourne, to the interior layouts and the lavender textured endpapers, to the quality paper and Smyth-sewn binding, this is a work of art encasing a work of art.

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

In 2023, Gothic – with another badass cover – was released en masse and is available by Cemetery Dance for purchase now. Philip Fracassi’s next major release Boys in the Valley will hit shelves in Summer 2023!

Gothic, gothic by philip fracassi, philip fracassi, horror, earthling publications

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


Want To Buy A Book From A Local bookseller? Click Here!

 

“Gothic By Philip Fracassi – Beware Of The Madness Within” Was Written By R.J. Huneke.

 

 

BOYS IN THE VALLEY By Philip Fracassi Is A Chilling Classic

Earthling Halloween: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi

Earthling Halloween: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi is the fine press pick for the holiday this year, as a horrific The Exorcist meets Lord of The Flies story occurs at the St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys in rural Pennsylvania.

There is a fun unnerving other worldliness to the historical setting for this circa 1900 horror tale.

And the prose by author Philip Fracassi is tight, vivid, and compelling.

On All Hallow’s Eve TFF covers the riveting Earthling Publications ARC read leading up to the spooky season with the following Spoiler-free Preview Review** of Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi.

Boys in the Valley, Halloween, Earthling Publications, Philip Fracassi

The main character Peter Barlow was orphaned by murder and the terrible trauma led him on the path to become a priest.

One night the 30 boys and their sacred caregivers are beset by a group of men bearing a maimed man full of occult symbols carved into his flesh.

The storm foreshadows the evil that his death will unleash on the remote orphanage.

If you are a fan of The Exorcist or Lord of The Flies then Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi will likely give you delightful shivers and more than a few nightmares.

There are still a few signed and limited edition books available exclusively at Earthling here, from a lettered edition of 15 copies hand made using the finest materials signed by all contributors, including artist Glenn Chadbourne and Andy Davidson, to the numbered edition of 500 copies signed by the author of the book and the introduction.

Philip Fracassi’s tales of suspense and dark fiction have long been hailed as triumphs, but this his debut novel is his most ambitious achievement to date.

Boys in the Valley, Halloween, Earthling Publications, Philip Fracassi

Do not just take my word for it.

From Earthling Publication’s website:

Praise for BOYS IN THE VALLEY and the works of Philip Fracassi:

“BOYS IN THE VALLEY is a beautiful novel that should be — will likely be — remembered as one of the best of the young decade. A harrowing and unforgettable debut novel.”
—Cemetery Dance

“With rich, multilayered characters and a setting as hopeless as it is dreary, Fracassi has masterfully orchestrated a tale that is both harrowing and profound.”
—Patrick Delaney

“While I was riveted to the pages, I didn’t realize how invested I was until I could breathe again after I turned that final page.”
Where the Reader Grows

“Paul Miller has added another haunting addition to his much-beloved Halloween Series. Fracassi has written an odyssey through possession and madness that is tough to read. This is my first meeting with Fracassi and I’m sure it won’t be the last.”
The Baryon Review

“A gothic, gory Lord of the Flies tale. The horror here is as much as warning on the dangers of human corruption as a testament to hope in the face of nigh-insurmountable darkness. Horror readers will be hooked.”
Publishers Weekly

“I sped through this gripping and excellently paced novel over three evenings as events quickly spiraled from bad to worse. I suggest you move fast as the 500 hardbacks being released by Earthling are dwindling, and I imagine will all be snagged via pre-orders.”
Ginger Nuts of Horror

Boys in the Valley is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and terrifying.”
—Andy Davidson

“A superior storyteller.”
This Is Horror

“The next big horror writer to blow your mind.”
Lit Reactor

“Especially skillful at creating and sustaining suspense.”
The New York Times


The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


Want To Buy The Book Click Away!

Boys in the Valley, Halloween, Earthling Publications, Philip Fracassi

“Earthling Halloween: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi” was written by R.J. Huneke.