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Book Reviews

“It takes a village, or at least a neighborhood, of misfits to deal with the malignant monsters at the core of this accomplished psychological horror story from Malfi (Come with Me). Jamie Warren, a not-quite-recovered alcoholic, returns to his hometown to bury his mother and care for his developmentally challenged brother, Dennis, even as his childhood friends Mia and Clay tangle with hauntings involving a homeless drifter all four knew as the Magician when they were young. As children under the Magician’s spell, the friends attempted to reach the source of magic, delving into the vast collapsed coal pit called the Black Mouth. Escaping his control caused tragic deaths—and they worry history will repeat when they discover that the Magician is stalking new apprentices. Malfi pulls in familiar horror elements—a weird carnival, an eerie backcountry filled with ghosts, a serial killer with a face fixation, a disabled person with supernatural sensitivity—but rings new changes on them, keeping readers tensely off-balance and unsure of what’s real. The well-done cosmic horror and mix of mundane and magical scares make this a standout.”
Publishers Weekly

“Malfi, like Stephen King and Stephen Graham Jones, tells horror stories that are anchored in the real world. His characters, like theirs, are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. He earns his screams and shudders honestly, through good writing and careful plotting: there are no B-movie jump scares here, just an increasing sense of dread that erupts into blood-chilling horror. Don’t miss this one.”

“Unsettling and, at times, genuinely frightening, it’s the best horror novel I’ve read in quite some time. Highly recommended.”
Cemetery Dance

“Stunningly good, with echoes of King, Bradbury, Straub, and McCammon, but somehow purely Malfi. Full of malevolence and dread, and peopled by truly compelling characters, the book locks in Malfi’s place as one of the best writers in the genre.”
Christopher Golden

Black Mouth is good magic about dark magic: a powerful meeting between adulthood and childhood, the people we pretend to be and the people we have to be. Smart, character-driven horror.”
Andrew Pyper

“Malfi has established himself as one of the all-time great horror writers, and ‘Black Mouth’ shows him working at the peak of his dark powers. Equally terrifying and heartbreaking, ‘Black Mouth’ is a book filled with terror, ghosts, and murder, but also hauntings of the heart, and the soul. Riveting, bloody, and cosmic, this novel will tear you apart in all the best ways.”
Philip Fracassi

“Malfi’s writing is visceral and full of interest, with plenty of surprising imagery and a sustained creepy atmosphere throughout.”

“A dark, unsettling and terrifically tense novel. If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s It or Paul Tremblay’s spine-chilling horror stories, you’ll find this one equally difficult to put down.”
Culture Fly

“A perfect fit for fans of Stephen King and modern true crime classics like Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Come With Me both awes and terrifies from beginning to end.”
BookPage (starred review)

“One of the most binge-worthy page turners I have read. Malfi’s compelling writing style sparks an insatiable hunger, lasting until it is finally satisfied at the end of the book. A gripping mystery and a likeable narrator; unputdownable.”
LitReactor, Best Books of 2021

“Malfi (Bone White) impresses in this taut, supernaturally tinged mystery, an intriguing variation on the well-worn serial killer plot. Translator Aaron Decker’s life is upended by tragedy when his wife Allison, a columnist for a Maryland newspaper, is killed in a mass shooting at a mall. His grief is complicated by survivor’s guilt, having turned down Allison’s request that he accompany her that fateful day. Decker’s turmoil is further exacerbated by his discovery that Allison kept secrets from him, starting with a two-night stay at a North Carolina motel he’d never known about. His initial worry that she was having an affair is soon allayed, only to be replaced by concern after learning that she’d been conducting a private investigation into the deaths of six young women in different states that had not been linked by the authorities. As Decker follows the clues in the files Allison left behind, he begins to suspect that her spirit is manifesting itself to him. The supernatural elements are fairly minimal, but Malfi makes his lead’s shifting emotions plausible and sticks the landing with a powerful denouement. There’s plenty here to enjoy.”
Publishers Weekly

 “[A] consistently engaging read, and one that should have you turning the pages long into the night….a great book about childhood. Malfi’s at the top of his game, and December Park is a must-have for horror readers. Highly recommended.”
–Josh Black, Horror Novel Reviews

“This is a frightening, thoroughly engaging read with a deeply moving series of narrative motifs running throughout, ones that needle the mind and tug at the heart in the best way and this reviewers only real complaint is that it had to end at all. A triumph of suspense, an affectionate ode to adolescence and by far Ronald Malfi’s strongest effort to date.”
–James Keen, Horror Novel Reviews

“A complex and chilling tale of friends, family and the often murderous secrets that hide in the dark. Ronald Malfi takes you for a terrifying visit to December Park.”
–Robert McCammon

“December Park is one of those books you can’t put down.”

“December Park is a tale of five boys, searching for answers, finding themselves, and realizing you can never go back. It’s about friendship, and the ties that bind. It’s about childhood’s last, big hurrah, never quite capturing that feeling of flying while sitting on your friend’s handlebars as he peddles hard enough and fast enough to pass the devil himself.”
–Horror News Network

“Malfi is a man of many voices, a sort of literary version of Mel Blanc (the “man of a thousand voices”), but all of his voices are captivating, though none of them quite the same. Horror and crime fans will find much to like here.”

“Malfi (Floating Staircase) brings a cinematic vividness to this story of a dying small town whose fate manifests as a nightmare of supernatural horror. Stillwater, Md., is in the final throes of its decline as an industrial town when it is plagued by a series of weird incidents: hordes of bats start appearing, several young boys go missing, and townsfolk begin seeing phantoms from their pasts. As police officer Ben Journell investigates, a pattern emerges that suggests something malignant is preying on the public and personal miseries of Stillwater and its citizens. Cross-cutting among the increasingly bizarre experiences of several principal characters, Malfi constructs a panoramic narrative in which the despair of individuals sharpens the sense of horror overwhelming the town. This smartly written novel succeeds as both an allegory of smalltown life and a tale of visceral horror. (Sept.)”
–Publishers Weekly

“So, here is a book that should appeal to most horror aficionados: well-drawn characters, horrific creatures, gruesome deaths, plenty of blood for you gorehounds, a soupcon of mystery and an atmosphere of dread that just oozes from the pages.”
–Dread Central

“THE NARROWS is dark, creepy and eerily haunting horror fiction that will make your hair stand on end.”
–Fresh Fiction

“You hear a lot of talk about ‘The next big name’ in Horror….If there is any justice, Ronald Malfi will be a ‘Big Name’. But whether that happens or not, the man is an incredibly talented Writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us in the future.”
–Horror World

“A thrilling edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed….If you love thrillers that keep you guessing, this is a must read.”

Suspense Magazine

“Malfi delivers a nearly straightforward adventure story of man against the elements with man being the most dangerous element of all.”
Publishers Weekly

“Malfi, like the great documentarians, really makes us feel as though we are there. Another fine effort from this increasingly interesting writer.”

“An exhilarating thriller.”
–Harriet Klausner

“Richly detailed and filled with mysteries.”
Urban Bachelorette

“A genuine page turner that grabs you from the very first word and doesn’t stop cranking until the very last.”
–House of Horrors

“An impressive work that leaves the reader eager to see more from this talented writer…Ronald Malfi’s fast-paced plotting, smooth prose and strong, believable characters make Snow one of the best novels to bear the Leisure imprint in some time.”
Dark Scribe Magazine

“Some ‘old school’ horror storytelling of the highest degree.”

“Malfi’s descriptive writing captures the cold and desperate scene in a way that will lure new fans to the genre.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal

“Highly recommended.”
–Erik Smith, Monster Librarian

Snow is a throw back to some of the best horror writing of the late 70’s and early 80’s…Malfi has written a novel that is absolutely brilliant…a must read for every lover of horror fiction and is very highly recommended, you really don’t want to pass this one by.”
–Horror World Reviews

“An impressively atmospheric novel with a wicked streak.”
–Dread Central

“An absolutely top notch horror novel.”
Famous Monsters of Filmland

“This is a bottom-of-the-ninth, two-out, grand slam home run of a book.”
–Lorenzo Carcaterra, Author of Sleepers and Chasers

“The author’s previous books have garnered him acclaim and a small but devoted audience; this one could easily life him into the mainstream.”

“Powerful and harrowing…Shamrock Alley is hands-down the best novel I’ve read all year, and I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to find another book that can top it anytime soon.”
–Andrew Monge, Horror Drive-In

“Malfi’s florid descriptiveness and taut writing style grip the reader right from the get-go.”
Rue Morgue

“A gripping tale that the reader will not be able to put down.”
–Literary Strange Digest

“A superb work of literature as well as a frightening examination of psychological suspense and terror.”
Fear Zone

“Mysterious, thought-provoking and gritty.”
Midwest Book Review

“A spellbinding novel of the walls we all build around us.”
Hilton Head Monthly

“Solid characters and a story to match.”

“With a voice that is clever and appealing…Malfi has proven once again that he is a genuine storyteller.”
Midwest Book Review

“Filled with lush, dark imagery, relentless tension, and sympathetic characters, The Fall of Never heads in directions you’ll never predict and deserves a place on your bookshelf next to Peter Straub’s Shadowland.”
The Harrow

“The Fall of Never is a suspenseful and compellingly original tale that delivers a captivating supernatural mystery with an eerie, dreamlike quality. Ronald Malfi masterfully blends psychological terror and traditional gothic horror into a sinister fairy tale that would make Stephen King and the Brothers Grimm shudder with dark delight. Highly recommended.”
Dark Realms