Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. The mysterious blues man’s dark, driving music–broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station–is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.
Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur’s trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.
But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he’ll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell . . .
In a masterful debut of Lovecraftian horror and Southern gothic menace, John Hornor Jacobs reveals the fragility of free will, the dangerous power of sacrifice, and the insidious strength of blood.
NOMINATED FOR THE BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A FIRST NOVEL
WINNER OF THE DARRELL AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
“A sumptuous Southern Gothic thriller steeped in the distinct American mythologies of Cthulhu and the blues . . . Southern Gods beautifully probes the eerie, horror-infested underbelly of the South.” – The Onion AV Club
“If you dig crime/horror/dark fantasy/southern gothic crossover… written with a confident voice and a haunting, poignant edge, pick up John Hornor Jacobs’ debut novel Southern Gods. I recommend it wholeheartedly and look forward to whatever else Jacobs presents to us next.” – Tom Piccirilli, Four-Time Bram Stoker Award and Two-Time International Thriller Award winner
“A brilliant, smartly-written horror-noir novel, and one of those ideas that every writer worth their salt will say ‘Damn! Why didn’t I think to do that first?'” – Brian Keene, Bram Stoker Award winning author of The Rising, City of the Dead, Kill Whitey, and The Conqueror Worms
“While Lovecraftian themes and imagery are pervasive, it is the tale’s depth of emotion that profoundly haunts. . . Southern Gods creates a malign magic all its own.” – Hellnotes
“To say Southern Gods is just a gothic horror novel would do it a huge injustice. Hornor has created something much bigger and more important. He delves into the horrors of society and family, paralleling the blight of Hastur. The setting bleeds into the reader’s mind and pulls him or her into the author’s world.” – Horror World
“Southern Gods is scary, smart, and effective both as Lovecraftian fiction and as a Southern Regional novel set in 1951.” – David Drake
“Not only aesthetically outstanding, it also conveys a vein of terror and intrigue effortlessly. The delta Blues have never been experienced like this. Join antagonist, Bull Ingram, on a journey to Hell and back via the backwoods of Arkansas, as he journeys to find Ramblin’ John Hastur. It will be a trip you won’t forget.” – Gothic.net
“Promising…well-written gumshoe noir deserves to put [Jacobs] on every horror fiction fan’s radar. An excellent supernatural introduction to a very promising new horror writer.” – Rue Morgue Magazine
“A dark and dreamy delight … enlivened by the sort of characters only Elmore Leonard and Shirley Jackson could write … Southern Gods [by John Hornor Jacobs] held me fast until the end, leaving me wanting more, but satisfied that I had witnessed enough brilliantly rendered brutality and compassion for one sitting.” – Weston Ochse, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of Empire of Salt and Scarecrow Gods
“A bit of HP Lovecraft, a touch of William Hjortsberg, Southern Gods is an effective combination of cosmic horror and southern Gothic traditions. John Hornor Jacobs will turn heads with this debut.”
– Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of The Imago Sequence and Occultation
“Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs – If you ever read William Hjortsberg’s terrifying Falling Angel or seen the fantastic film it inspired (Alan Parker’s Angel Heart) then you know just how well the mid-century detective novel can work when inflected with ancient spirits. You wish John D. McDonald, William Faulkner and H.P. Lovecraft had collaborated more often? This one’s for you.” – Barnes & Noble, Ransom Notes Blog
“In Southern Gods, John Hornor Jacobs turns the classic blues horror story of the devil at the crossroads into a true Lovecraftian nightmare. Steeped in Southern Gothic – and not for the faint of heart! – this is a bold and mighty debut written with breathtaking assurance. Powerful, horrific and beautiful, Southern Gods is a revelation and Jacobs is an author to shout about. Both deserve to go very far indeed.” — Adam Christopher, author of Empire State (Angry Robot, January 2012)
“John Hornor Jacobs’ fantastic debut novel, Southern Gods, is both terrifying and beautiful. His eye for detail and compelling characters makes this one you’ll remember long after you’ve finished it.” – Stephen Blackmoore, author City of the Lost (DAW Books 2012)
“If William Faulkner, Jim Thompson and H.P. Lovecraft had an orgiastic blood sacrifice ritual to honor the Old Ones in the Delta Swampland at the height of the muggy Deep South summer at midnight, Southern Gods would probably be the result.” – Ed Kurtz, author of Bleed
“Southern Gods is one hell of a debut . . . a darkly fun, fast, and furious read.” – Jesse Bullington, Author of The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart and The Enterprise of Death
“Southern Gods marks the return of a much-missed archetype in dark literature — the genuine anti-hero. In Lewis ‘Bull’ Ingram, John Hornor has created one of the most compelling and complex central characters I’ve encountered in a long time. The tragedy of his situation gives his every action, even the most brutal, an undercurrent of poignancy that’s certain to create conflicted feelings within readers. Add to that the quirky yet bone-chilling cosmology lurking in the background of Ingram’s quest, throw in a good measure of crisp, literate dialogue, sprinkle tensions and terrors liberally throughout, and you’ve got the recipe for a hands-down winner. Compulsively readable and definitely memorable, Southern Gods will ensure that you’ll never hear radio interference quite the same way again.” – 5-time Bram Stoker Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck, author of Coffin County and Far Dark Fields
“Great Yuggoth, what a great debut novel! With a sure hand for intriguing characters and deft plotting, John Hornor Jacobs establishes himself as an author to heed. The prologue to this exceptional novel is one of the most terrifying things I have ever shivered through. It will kiss your paltry soul with fear. With superbly handled echoes of Chambers and Lovecraft, we encounter the mystery of that Tattered Man, Ramblin’ John Hastur, who escorts us to the arcane secrets beyond the sun, beyond the stars, beyond that long black veil!” – W. H. Pugmire, author of The Tangled Muse
“Hell-hound blues! Zombies! Lovecraft! Jacobs’ engrossing gris-gris will take ya down to the crossroads and on then to the Deep Places where the hungry Old Ones sho gon git’cha!” – Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., author of SIN & ashes
“John Hornor Jacobs. Remember the name, because if there’s any justice in the universe, he’s going to be a big deal one day soon. John’s prose is by turns lyrical and tough-as-nails. He effortlessly conjures an eerie southern landscape that will surely haunt the dreams of anyone who reads Southern Gods.” – Bryan Smith, Author of Darkened, House of Blood, and Kayla and the Devil
“John Hornor Jacobs’ novel Southern Gods is filled with real people, real Southern flavor, and real soul. Pull up a chair, tuck your bib in, and feast on this welcome addition to the horror smorgasbord.” – Christopher Ransom, author of the international bestseller The Birthing House
“Southern Gods is a tour de force of Dixiefied darkness and depravity! Every page drags you downward, ever downward, into the blackest and most fetid cellar of the human — and inhuman — psyche. An incredibly intense and gruesomely gratifying first novel by John Hornor Jacobs!” – Award-winning author, Ronald Kelly
“Implied tentacles, motherfuckers. Read it.” – Kent Gowran, Pushcart Prize Nominated Author and Editor of SHOTGUN HONEY, Flash Fic Crime Zine.