It’s been a rare occasion in my life to come across an author that truly excites me. Stephen King was one, obviously. Peter Straub and Clive Barker even more so. Those guys know their way around character, setting, plot, etc., and they’re all exemplary wordsmiths. But there’s another trait they’ve mastered that makes the work exciting: the art of story. The ability to engage your attention and imagination, to transport you from the realm of skeptic to the realm of suspended disbelief. Another author I’ve recently discovered who has that ability is John C. Foster. He’s got it in spades.
My first experience with John’s work was in an anthology from Grey Matter Press titled DARK VISIONS – Volume Two. The story was “Mister White” and it blew my fucking mind. He was immediately added to my list of authors to watch for. That story was so chilling, and so well written it hung with me for weeks and I went back and reread it several times after my initial reading. But the thing it really did, whether by design or by happenstance, was leave me wanting more. Foster’s new novel, MISTER WHITE, is born of that story and does so much more than satisfy the craving.
So, what can I say about MISTER WHITE that would do it the justice it deserves? Not much, probably. But my penchant for babble won’t let me leave it alone, and my intense excitement about this author and this book makes me need to share this with you. I thought about starting this blog for a few years but my insecurity and self consciousness kept getting in my way. Foster’s debut novel, DEAD MEN, was the impetus that finally got me off my ass and into the blogosphere. That incredible book showed me that Foster is as capable, maybe even more so, with long fiction as he is with the short form and I felt like I had to write about it. MISTER WHITE reveals an author who does what every great author does: he gets exponentially better with every book he writes and I find myself again needing to write about a John C. Foster novel.
MISTER WHITE is a genre shattering story of a broken family, living thousands of miles apart but trying to come together, all the while being stalked and tormented by the most horrifying villain I’ve encountered since King’s Randall Flagg. Mister White is a vague figure, but Foster uses that vagueness to strong effect, creating a villain that is as mysterious as it is terrifying. A masterful blend of occult horror and spy thriller, the novel moves along at superluminal speed and once you grab hold there’s no letting go. Such pacing in the hands of a lesser author would result in a cast of flat, undeveloped characters, but not in Foster’s capable hands. His characters are so well developed you practically bleed with them when they’re cut, and cry with them when they’re sad. And you damn sure feel terror with them when they’re terrified. But try not to get too close to them. Foster gets as much delight from killing his darlings–often in the most brutal of ways–as he does from creating them. George R.R. Martin would be proud of him.
Of contemporary authors, John C. Foster is one of my top five and I won’t be surprised if MISTER WHITE is a breakout novel for him. John is a master of skin-creeping fear, shocking twists and turns, and even testicle shrinking jump scares from time to time. There’s a scene on a train that was so horrifying it kept me awake the night I read it. It stunned me and chilled me to the bone to see how flawlessly he portrayed childhood fears and made them fresh and real again.
MISTER WHITE is like a literary blend of Clive Barker and Ian Fleming, so intricate, so eerie, so breathtakingly good it floored me. This book raises the bar for modern dark fiction more than just a few notches and I can’t wait to see the response when it becomes generally available. If you’re a horror fan–or a spy thriller fan–and you haven’t read Foster’s work, do yourself a favor and click those links just below, and make sure you keep an eye out for MISTER WHITE in April of this year. But, whatever you do,
To learn why it isn’t wise to speak his name, go to donotspeakhisname.com
Here’s a brief description of MISTER WHITE from GREY MATTER PRESS (you can read the full description here):
In the shadowy world of international espionage and governmental black ops when a group of American spies go bad and inadvertently unleash an ancient malevolent force that feeds on the fears of mankind, a young family finds themselves in the crosshairs of a frantic supernatural mystery of global proportions with only one man to turn for their salvation in the new dark thriller from author John C. Foster, MISTER WHITE.
Combine the intricate, plot-driven stylings of suspense masters Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum, add a healthy dose of Clive Barker’s dark and brooding occult horror themes, and you have an idea where the latest genre-busting dark thriller MISTER WHITE will be taking readers when it is released by Grey Matter Press this spring. In preparation for the upcoming release, the publisher has revealed the sinister cover artwork and issued a rather ominous warning, urging readers that whatever they might do, “Do not speak his name.” Learn why evoking the name of Mister White is a bad plan at the new website at www.DoNotSpeakHisName.com.
About John C. Foster
John C. Foster is a New York City writer of thrillers and dark fiction whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Shock Totem Magazine, Dark Corners, Death’s Realm,Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume 2, Under the Stairs and Big Book of New Short Horror among others. Foster’s first novel, Dead Men, was published in July 2015 and is the first in his Libros de Inferno trilogy. Mister White becomes his second long-fiction release when it is published in 2016 by Grey Matter Press. For more information, please visit www.JohnFosterFiction.com.