Cover illustration by Christopher Shy.
The Secrets of Insects is the first short story collection by New York Times bestselling writer Richard Kadrey. Covering more than 20 years of his career, these tales take readers from the plains of Siberia to a decimated Los Angeles, from Hell to long forgotten cities, from hidden murder rooms to houses haunted by more than ghosts.
The stories here explore themes of primal fear, loss, fractured love, and a search for meaning in a meaningless world.
In “Razor Pig,” we meet a father in search of his lost daughter, both of whom have sinister secrets.
“Flayed Ed” brings together murderer Ed Gein and an ancient Aztec god.
“In Suspect Zero” a young killer goes in search of a mentor and finds something far stranger.
“Candy Among the Jades,” which appears here for the first time, shows us Sandman Slim’s Candy reunited with her Jade sisters only to be confronted with an impossible request.
These tales showcase both Kadrey’s wide-ranging imagination and his clean, precise prose style in a host of stories ranging from strange fantasy to the darkest horrors.
From Publishers Weekly:
“Bestseller Kadrey (King Bullet) brings together 16 horror and dark fantasy shorts spanning more than two decades of his career for his treasure trove of a first collection… It’s not all grim, either—there’s a genuinely tender romance in “What Is Love but the Quiet Moments After Dinner?” even if it is between two monsters. This vivid, inventive, and delightfully twisted collection offers horror fans plenty of nightmare fodder.”
The morning David O’Meara took a leave of absence from the junior college where he was head security guard, he loaded his Chevy Suburban with maps, protein bars, and a recent birthday photo of his daughter. He’d taken the picture out of the frame the day after Lucy disappeared and laid it in a drawer. Putting it in his pocket was the first time he’d seen her face in a week. He knew there might be trouble when he tracked her down, so he packed a Glock 9mm pistol in a holster that fit at the small of his back. That way, the gun would be hidden under his untucked shirt. No need to show the thing if he didn’t have to. Besides, when he found Lucy, he didn’t want her first sight of him to be packing heat. That, he knew, wouldn’t help the situation at all.
A Trip to Paris
Houston, Texas 1963
Roxanne Hill cut her finger on a broken tea cup while finishing the dishes. She went into the bathroom and doused the injury with iodine, grimacing as it burned, but not making a sound. The pain was her penance for being clumsy enough to shatter one of her late mother’s cups. When she was done, she returned to the kitchen, but left the rest of the dishes to soak rather than ruining the bandage she’d carefully wrapped around the wound. She would finish the cutlery and plates tomorrow, at the same time she would scour the wall clean where a small patch of mold was beginning to grow on the wall behind the faucet.
The Tunguska Event
Old Anna began her story over tea, “Mikhail Vasilovich Boltrushko, the young master, had been smuggled to Canada just before the Great Patriotic War,” she said. “Soon after the German surrender in 1945, he returned to the family’s manor here in Irkutsk.”
Tony Lansen looked at the old, weathered woman. He still wasn’t sure how she’d found him at his hotel. He hardly ever came into Irkutsk, preferring the clean air of the Siberian taiga. But the old woman had insisted on speaking to him because he alone, an American scholar, might understand.
Candy Among the Jades
Candy awoke early and crept out of bed carefully so she wouldn’t wake up Stark. She took her clothes into the kitchen and dressed quietly. The last thing she did on her way out of Max Overdrive was leave a note next to the coffee so Stark couldn’t miss it.
Auntie Bi is in town and I’m going to see her and maybe
(probably) party with some of her Jade pals. I might (probably
will) be out late.
you know who
Downstairs, she took some money from the cash register and caught a cab to Bel Air, wishing the whole time that she could steal cars as easily as Stark. Her stomach was full of butterflies and she wished she could show up at the mansion in something more impressive than a Yellow Cab. Maybe a Rolls Royce or even one of those old muscle cars Stark liked. But here she was stuck in the back of a taxi feeling like a child on her way to the principal’s office. She knew the day would come when Auntie Bi Routhav’n would come calling—it had been years since she’d seen her—but she didn’t imagine the audience would weigh on her so much. No. That was a lie. She knew exactly why the matriarch of all the Jades was in town and the thought of seeing her again made Candy feel cold inside.
Table of Contents:
- Ambitious Boys Like You
- The Secrets of Insects
- Razor Pig
- A Trip to Paris
- A Hinterlands Haunting
- Suspect Zero
- Black Neurology—A Love Story
- Flayed Ed
- A Sandman Slim Christmas Carol
- The Air Is Chalk
- The Tunguska Event
- Horse Latitudes
- Snuff in Six Scenes
- What Is Love but the Quiet Moments after Dinner?
- Devil in the Dollhouse
- Candy Among the Jades
- Richard Kadrey
- Christopher Shy
- eBook Edition