book cover of What Kind of Mother
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What Kind of Mother

A novel by

A palm reader is swept into a bizarre missing-child case in this modern Southern Gothic horror with a twist you won't see coming, from the "21st century's Richard Matheson" (Richard Chizmar, Chasing the Boogeyman.)

Perfect for fans of T. Kingfisher and Paul Tremblay.

After striking out on her own as a teen mother, Madi Price is forced to return to her hometown of Brandywine, Virginia, with her seventeen-year-old daughter. With nothing to her name, she scrapes together a living as a palm reader at the local farmer's market.

It's at the market that she reconnects with her high school boyfriend Henry McCabe, now a reclusive local fisherman whose infant son, Skyler, went missing five years ago. Everyone in town is sure Skyler is dead, but when Madi reads Henry's palm, she's haunted by strange and disturbing visions that suggest otherwise. As she follows the thread of these visions, Madi discovers a terrifying monster waiting at the centre of the labyrinth—and it's coming for everyone she holds dear.

Genre: Horror

Praise for this book

"Equal parts terrifying and beautiful. Chapman crafts a folk tale that slides under your skin and burrows its way into your heart. Visceral. Surprising. Stunning. Not to be missed." - Erin E Adams

"What Kind of Mother is a masterpiece--a beautiful, intimate work. Clay Chapman is the storyteller supreme, and I will follow him anywhere." - Andy Davidson

"What Kind of Mother is a deeply unsettling, oddly sweet book about what love can become." - Sarah Gailey

"Another stunner . . . one of horror's modern masters. Beautifully written, deftly plotted, and completely engrossing, What Kind of Mother will get under your skin and take your breath away and break your heart and chill you to the bone. A profound exploration of parental love and loss, of regret and sacrifice." - Rachel Harrison

"There's a moment in What Kind of Mother when a character worries that he's telling the story all wrong. The opposite is true of Clay McLeod Chapman. His lyrical prose shimmers, moving us seamlessly from one wounded soul to another. A good old-fashioned salty summer scare about the beautiful, terrifying power of belief." - Caroline Kepnes

"A tremendous, heartbreaking work of dark fiction, where the horror seeps in quietly until you're left drowning. You won't forget about this tale anytime soon. A masterpiece." - Ronald Malfi

"What Kind of Mother is both a breakneck story about running from your past and also a meditation on loss and guilt. Which is typical Chapman, a writer who always finds ways to marry our real-life fears with crescendos of pure unadulterated horror. His writing is intense, beautiful, disturbing, heartbreaking, and this book is no different. First it takes you by the hand, then it takes you by the wrist." - Gus Moreno

"What Kind of Mother will make you pace the room, reconsider your own sanity, and question the stubborn instinct to nurture." - Rachel Eve Moulton

"What Kind of Mother mixes Southern Gothic, a missing child story, and body horror into an entertaining brew sure to inform your nightmares." - Paul Tremblay

"An ink-black story about grief, courage, and what we'll do for those we love." - Catriona Ward

"I'm not sure how Clay McLeod Chapman manages to be both tremendously tender and brilliantly hideous in What Kind of Mother, but he does--in this strange, poetic, and gut-wrenching portrait of parenthood." - Erika T Wurth

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