Hardcover, Ebook, audio available! Trade paperback coming May 2016.
A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama and psychological suspense with a touch of modern horror, reminicent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barrett’s plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and they soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality TV show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As Merry recalls those long-ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.
“A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay: Scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.”–Stephen King
“Crackling with dark energy and postmodern wit, Paul Tremblay’s superb A Head Full of Ghosts evokes the very best in the tradition—from Shirley Jackson to Mark Z. Danielewski and Marisha Pessl—while also feeling fresh and utterly new. Deeply funny and intensely terrifying, it’s a sensory rollercoaster and not to be missed.”–Megan Abbott, author of The Fever and Dare Me.
“I loved this book, and could not put it down until the last page. A genuinely scary, post-modern homage to classic horror that invokes Stanley Kubrik and Shirley Jackson in equal measure but also manages to innovate on nearly every page. A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS is both unlike any horror novel you’ve read, and hauntingly, frighteningly familiar.”–Sara Gran, author of Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead and Come Closer
“Paul Tremblay plays fast and loose with the conventions of supernatural and psychological storytellling in this chilling ghost story for the 21st century. A Head Full of Ghosts is the literary lovechild of Shirley Jackson and William Peter Blatty, a novel that’s as disturbing as the worst nightmare you ever had as a kid, and as impossible to forget.”–Elizabeth Hand, author of Generation Loss and Available Dark
“Dark, brilliant, and impossible to predict, Paul Tremblay’s Head Full of Ghosts is more than a perfect horror story. It’s a smart and savage look at American culture in all its madness, and the price girls are forced to pay by a society obsessed with spectacle and sin.” —Cara Hoffman author of So Much Pretty and Be Safe I Love You
“A Head Full of Ghosts doesn’t end just because you close the book. Some horror, it bleeds through the pages, gets onto your hands, stays with you. You’ll be thinking about this one long after you’ve read it.”–Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory.
“A Head Full of Ghosts is such a wonderfully wild novel. Disturbing and destabilizing, haunting and heartbreaking. This is a horror story that also plays with the history of horror tales in a way that’s simply marvelous. Paul Tremblay is an excellent writer and this book is such a fun ride.”–Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
“Paul Tremblay is an astonishingly talented writer, but even better, he’s twisted, and fun. A Head Full of Ghosts is mind-bending – scary, sad, sweet, funny, sick. The blog entries that deconstruct the Barrett family’s breakdown on a doomed reality show is a wild performance on a level with a remix of ‘The Cabin in the Woods,’ taking us through the delicious pop history of possession, then landing an unexpected left at the end. Terrifying, hilarious, smart, and satisfying. Recommended for lovers of Shirley Jackson, Roald Dahl, Richard Matheson, The Exorcist, and of course all found-footage films.”—Stewart O’Nan, author of The Speed Queen, The Night Country, and A Prayer for the Dying
“Paul Tremblay’s terrific A Head Full of Ghosts generates a haze of an altogether more serious kind: the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.”–Terrance Rafferty, New York Times Book Review)
“[B]rilliantly creepy.” (Library Journal)
“The novel is stylishly written and well-conceived.” (Booklist)
“Gripping and truly scary, this book feels of the moment in a way few thrillers do.” (B&N Reads)
“Tremblay paints a believable portrait of a family in extremis emotionally as it attempts to cope with the unthinkable, but at the same time he slyly suggests that in a culture where the wall between reality and acting has eroded, even the make believe might seem credible. Whether psychological or supernatural, this is a work of deviously subtle horror.” Publisher’s Weekly
“The beauty of A Head Full of Ghosts is that there are a number of possible interpretations of the events and that the conclusions drawn by one reader may be very different to those drawn by another.… One thing is certain, though, A Head Full of Ghosts is a masterfully written book that will certainly appeal to horror fans, and which deserves to find a wider audience among lovers of thought-provoking fiction across the entire literary spectrum.”–Richard Cosgrove (This Is Horror)
“As the adult Merry’s memories clash with the televised version of events leading up to the climactic final episode of The Possession—it’s not spoiling too much to say that everything that could go wrong does—readers will begin to question if anyone in the house is truly sane.Tremblay expertly ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost at its breaking point.”–Kirkus