book cover of What Grows in the Dark
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What Grows in the Dark

A novel by

"At once suspenseful and tender…a queer horror masterpiece."
—Marisa Crane, author of 
I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

In this chilling contemporary horror novel, a phony spiritualist returns to her hometown to assist in an investigation that eerily mirrors her sister’s death, forcing her to confront the secrets she’s been running from.

Sixteen years ago, Brigit Weylan’s older sister, Emma, walked into the woods in their small hometown of Ellis Creek. She never walked out. People said she was troubled—in the months leading up to her death, she was convinced there was a monster in those trees. Marked by the tragedy, Brigit left town and never looked back.

Now Brigit travels around the country investigating paranormal activity (and faking the results) with her cameraman, Ian. But when she receives a call from Ellis Creek, she’s thrust into the middle of a search for two missing teenagers. As Brigit and Ian are drawn further into the case, the parallels to Emma’s death become undeniable. And worse, Brigit can’t explain what’s happening to her: trees appearing in her bedroom in the middle of the night, something with a very familiar laugh watching her out in the darkness, and Emma’s voice on her phone, reminding Brigit to finish what they started.

More and more, it looks like Emma was right: there is a monster in Ellis Creek, and it’s waited a long time for Brigit to come home.

Genre: Horror

Praise for this book

"Utterly unsettling and wildly original, What Grows in the Dark is an authentic and atmospheric reading experience and a triumph of a horror debut. Jaq Evans isn't satisfied with crafting a terrifying narrative to slice into your nightmares with X-Acto knife precision; her unflinching prose will ensnare you in a twisting knot of dread as thick as a pine copse... The only way out is to follow Evans's exquisitely-realized characters through the living, breathing, growing dark." - Christa Carmen

"At once suspenseful and tender, What Grows in the Dark joins the ranks of Yellowjackets as a queer horror masterpiece. It is so many things: a spooky page-turner, an unflinching examination of trauma, and a moving and brilliant exploration of all the things that possess us and keep us trapped in the past - guilt, shame, failure, and monsters, both real and of our own making. This is a surprising, haunting, and necessary book." - Marisa Crane

"Like the characters who dare to enter the Dell, What Grows in the Dark will lure and lock you under its spell in this new horror offering that crackles with wit and sensitivity as well as scares." - Kelly J Ford

"What Grows in the Dark is a brilliant book written by a brilliant writer. Jaq Evans lasers in on relationships, lies and secrets with panache and verve. This story's heart of darkness beat all around me as I stayed up all night, night after night, and slept (fitfully) with the lights on. My jaw dropped at the ending. Jaq Evans is the new voice of horror." - Nancy Holder

"Jaq Evans's dazzling exploration of grief, identity, and the ties that bind is a powerful and unflinching journey into the hidden corners of the human heart. Compulsively readable and unfurling with the seductive beauty of a night-blooming flower, What Grows in the Dark is a thrill ride of a debut." - Robert Levy

"Atmospheric and haunting, What Grows in the Dark gripped me from its first pages. The chilling imagery has stayed with me, but so have the intricately crafted characters. It was hard to close this book and part with Brigit and her found family. I could have followed them forever." - Cole Nagamatsu

"A surreal and deftly crafted debut. Evans weaves mystery, horror, and family through impossible forests, making you question character and truth in unsettling yet deeply satisfying ways. Though readers might invoke writers such as Paul Tremblay and Kelly Link (and perhaps even Joe Hill), Evans carves out a patch of cursed soil all her own. This is the rare book that crawled under my skin so deep that I wanted to re-read it again to see what I had missed in the dream state Evans conjured." - Sequoia Nagamatsu

"Jaq Evans offers you a trip back home to unravel the mysteries of a traumatic but half-forgotten past in What Grows in the Dark. This is a smart, absorbing debut novel with memorable characters and much to say about remorse, friendship and sacrifice." - Christi Nogle

"Through mounting dread, with every turn of the page, What Grows in the Dark explores - terrifyingly so - the notions of family, indebtedness, and how the past never really lets us go." - Keith Rosson

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