‘Beasts of 42nd Street’ Horror Novel Lands at Dance Cemetery

“With ‘Beasts of 42nd Street,’ Preston Fassel has proven himself to be one of our most powerful upcoming voices in horror literature.” – Rebekah McKendry, Ph.D.

The Beasts of 42nd Streetthe highly controversial novel once deemed “unpublishable” for its “shattering tone and content”, has found a home in Graveyard dance.

Set against the backdrop of 1970s Times Square and described as “horror neo-noir that’s equal parts Taxi driver and hellraiser“, beasts follows junkie theater projectionist Andy Lew as he tries to save a mysterious and possibly cursed film reel from falling into the hands of a corrupt cop, a failed actor and a satanic cult , all of whom wish to possess it for their own nefarious reasons.

Preston Fassel’s sequel to his critically acclaimed and award-winning work Our Lady of Hell, beasts was originally slated for release in 2020 before its then-publisher went bankrupt. Fassel says: “After the success of Our Lady I was given carte blanche to write the kind of book I wanted. And what I wanted was a return to the provocative, subversive, 1980s-style horror that I was old enough to read. Something that has a message but is conflicted in conveying that message, something very Jack Ketchum, Clive Barker, Joe Lansdale in the beginning. Although beasts received rave reviews, Fassel found finding a new publisher to be an “almost impossible” task.

“Two established horror writers set me up with their agents. I submitted myself to dozens of presses, dozens of agents. I had very revealing conversations about the current state of publishing and what’s considered marketable and desirable,” Fassel said. And the response across the board was basically, ‘That’s amazing and I won’t hit it with a three-meter pole.’ tone that people found upsetting. So… I guess I did my job too well.

Says Kevin Lucia, e-book and paperback editor for Cemetery Dance,

“Why did I try my luck beasts from 42nd street, especially as the newest paperback and e-book publisher at Cemetery Dance Publications? The answer is quite simple. In many ways, my take on Cemetery Dance’s new line of paperbacks and e-books isn’t necessarily startling or cutting-edge. I simply want to provide the horror community with varied and diverse horror works, for readers of all tastes. Like the old horror line Leisure Fiction, which offered the extreme horror of Brian Smith, right next to the mythical and existential horror of Gary A. Braunbeck, as well as the comedy horror of Jeff Strand, the cosmic horror by Mary Sangiovanni and the literary, elevated horror of Mort Castle. I’m not necessarily looking for particular subgenres, nor am I opposed to particular subgenres. What I’m looking for are compelling characters with compelling stories. And Andy Lew is convincing. So goes his story. As awful and sneaky, and sometimes downright revolting as Andy and his story are… he and his story are compelling. I just couldn’t stop reading it (even when I felt like it sometimes!) and that’s where I want to define Cemetery Dance’s range of paperbacks and e-books – gripping fiction that you just can’t stop reading, even if you want to. at. Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa is famous for saying that “the role of the artist is not to look away”.

That’s what Preston does with this novel; he refuses to look away, and in doing so he does not allow the reader to look away either. It creates powerful storytelling here, and I’m sure this book is going to have an incredible impact because of it.

Beasts Front and Back - The Controversial Horror Novel

The book features hand-painted covers by Justin T. Coons, who worked with Fassel to develop a unique image that would evoke 1970s exploitation movie posters.

The Beasts of 42nd Street will be released in March 2023. It can be pre-ordered now before it becomes available wherever the books are sold.

Fassel is replaced by YRG Partners.

Tags: Beasts of 42nd Street Preston Fassel

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Irene B. Bowles