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Scowler
Cover of Scowler
Scowler

Equal parts haunting and horrifying, this literary horror novel gives readers insight into the mind of a controlling homicidal man and the son who must stop him.
"Marvin Burke is one of the great monsters of literature, a figure of immense, credible terror and savagery."—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Children and coeditor of Boing Boing
Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too?
Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister eke out a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father's physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.


From the Hardcover edition.

Equal parts haunting and horrifying, this literary horror novel gives readers insight into the mind of a controlling homicidal man and the son who must stop him.
"Marvin Burke is one of the great monsters of literature, a figure of immense, credible terror and savagery."—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Children and coeditor of Boing Boing
Imagine your father is a monster. Would that mean there are monsters inside you, too?
Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke, his mother, and little sister eke out a living on their dying family farm. Ry wishes for anything to distract him from the grim memories of his father's physical and emotional abuse. Then a meteorite falls from the sky, bringing with it not only a fragment from another world but also the arrival of a ruthless man intent on destroying the entire family. Soon Ry is forced to defend himself by resurrecting a trio of imaginary childhood protectors: kindly Mr. Furrington, wise Jesus, and the bloodthirsty Scowler.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • DANIEL KRAUS is a writer, an editor, and a filmmaker. He is currently working on an adult novel with Guillermo del Toro, scheduled for late 2013. Daniel lives with his wife in Chicago.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This well-deserved winner of the 2014 Odyssey Award is not for the faint of heart. Kirby Heyborne begins with precise pronunciations that illuminate the alliterative, imagistic writing. Immediately his dolorous tones establish the setting, a dying 1981 midwestern farm, as well as the vulnerability of 19-year-old Ry, who fears for his family. Heyborne's voice is low and guttural as he portrays a stranger who tells Ry's family of a prison break. Heyborne shifts from a tone of longing to one of menace when the stranger warns Ry that his sadistic father is coming for him. As Ry remembers his escape from horrific past abuses, Heyborne's reading makes his feelings palpable. These amp up even more viscerally when the monstrous father reappears and Ry, and the listener, descend further into a nightmare. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2014 Odyssey Award Winner © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 21, 2013
    No stranger to dark and disturbing stories, Kraus (Rotters) continues to push the envelope with this hallucinatory, dread-soaked tale set in 1981. Nineteen-year-old Ry Burke lives with his mother and sister on a dying Iowa farm, still haunted by the events that landed his abusive monster of a father in prison nine years ago. A freak meteorite strike gives Ry’s father the opportunity to escape and come home, resulting in a brutal struggle for survival. To save his loved ones, Ry summons up the three imaginary friends who helped him last time, risking the same descent into madness that claimed his father. While Ry’s desperate journey into manhood is gripping, with Kraus skillfully amplifying a sense of tension and claustrophobia, much of the book’s subtlety is lost in the chaotic latter half, which is part fever dream, part slasher film. The narrative is littered with graphic violence and extreme body horror, which may be too much for many readers (though perhaps not for fans of The Marbury Lens). The end result is a memorably brutal assault on the senses, not for the fainthearted or delicate. Ages 14–up.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 29, 2013
    In Kraus’s novel set in 1981, 19-year-old protagonist Ry Burke is living with his mother and sister on their eroding Iowa farm when a meteorite shower falls on the nearby prison, freeing Ry’s criminally abusive father. The return of his near-demonic dad, whom he helped to convict, sends Ry into the embrace of three imaginary protectors from his childhood: a kindly bear named Mr. Furrington, an all-knowing Jesus, and an impatient, violent Scowler. Narrator Kirby Heyborne’s portrayal of Ry’s shift from complacent teen to family defender is successful. In giving voice to Ry’s imaginary friends, Heyborne adds a British accent to the ever-optimistic Furrington, a bland blissfulness to Jesus, and a chilling ferocity to Scowler. Additionally, Heyborne pushes the envelope in making Ry’s father a monstrous force that even the author may have never imagined. The result is a truly chilling, blood-drenched tale. A note of caution: the book’s graphic description of violence and torture is not softened—and is perhaps even intensified—in this audio edition. Ages 14–up. A Delacorte hardcover.

  • Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and coeditor of Boing Boing

    "Marvin [Burke] is one of the great monsters of literature, a figure of immense, credible terror and savagery."

  • Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone and BRZK "The demon offspring of Stephen King's The Shining and Hitchcock's Psycho."
  • Publishers Weekly "
    "A memorable, brutal assault on the senses, not for the fainthearted or delicate."
  • Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award finalist "
    "Daniel Kraus writes raw and deft and dangerous. Consider yourself warned."
  • Booklist "A boldly visceral coming-of-age story that explores the darkest spaces in family life and the shocking resilience of the human psyche."
  • School Library Journal "
    "This book has the pacing of a Stephen King movie, and it never lets up in its gruesomeness."
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "Connoisseurs of the grotesque have come to the right place, as Kraus' impeccable sense of thriller timing spins out the terror."
  • Kirkus Reviews "A Midwestern gothic family saga that will hook readers."
  • Bloody-Disgusting.com "So unrelentingly bleak, it stretches the very definition of YA horror."
  • Rue-Morgue.com "Scowler is dark, poetic, and challenging."
  • Portland Book Review "For lovers of dark thrillers and horror narratives, Scowler is one crazy roller-coaster ride."
  • Chicago Tribune "Bound to scare up many jaw-dropping reactions."
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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