Guest Post Eternal Darkness


By Tom Deady

I was thirteen when I picked up Salems Lot from one of those spinning wire book racks in a local Woolworths. Vampires in a small Maine town? Sounded good to me! I devoured that book, reading late into the night despite having school the next day. How could I go to sleep and leave the Glicks and Ben and Mark and the Marsten House? ‘Salem’s Lot felt like home to me. And so began my lifelong journey as a horror fan turned horror writer.

Forty years later, ‘Salems Lot remains one of my favorite novels. Others on that list include IT, Boys Life, and Summer of Night. It doesn’t take long to see the common thread that runs through these stories – aside from the great writing – is the small town setting. What is it about these stories that draw in so many?

Small town life is an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, everybody knows everybody, and there are often more social gatherings like farmers’ markets or parades for people to get together. There is a sense of community, more than that, a sense of comfort.

On the other hand, does anybody really know anybody? You trust your neighbors and those in positions of authority (mayors, police officers, even parents, etc), but should you? When everybody is worried about “what will the neighbors think?” you have to start to question what they’re up to behind closed doors.

There are many examples, in several horror stories, where the people you think you can trust are really the villain. Stephen King uses this concept often: Big Jim Rennie in Under the Dome and Frank Dodd in The Dead Zone come to mind. Another person of authority often used as a villain: a parent. It’s a special kind of terror when a person has nowhere to turn. After all, home is supposed to be a place you think of safety, comfort, shelter. A place where you can retreat when you need to. When your home is unsafe, there is no comfort. No safety. No protection.

Small town life can also mean isolation. Long stretches of tree-lined country roads are the only way in or out. Deserted houses on the outskirts of town. Lonely ponds or lakes or river beds. No public transportation to hop on, no heavily populated places to just blend into the crowd. Just you and your town, your home, and all your neighbors, good and bad. Throw in a blizzard, a washed out bridge, or a power failure, and then what do you do? Isolation is a powerful component of horror.

I recently reread Salems Lot and was not surprised to see it holds up against the test of time. Small towns may not be the same as they were forty years ago, and technology makes it difficult for anyone to ever feel isolated, but there are some things that never change. Growing up is always going to be hard: there will always be bullies and cliques and cool kids and misfits. The coming-of-age themes found in Salems Lot and the other books I mentioned isn’t a trope, it’s a fact of life.

Relationships, whether friendships or romances, are also difficult. For kids and adults. Ben and Susan in ‘Salem’s Lot, Bill Denbrough and Beverly Marsh from IT – the challenges are always there and seem magnified under the lens of a small town.

Reading Salems Lot as a young teen, I took comfort in knowing – even though it was fiction – that other people were facing the same struggles I was. Today, as a writer, I would like to be able to capture that same feeling and pass it along to my readers.

  I used small town settings in both Haven and Eternal Darkness, as well as a strong coming-of-age theme in each of the stories. If I’ve done it right, older readers will get a whiff of nostalgia, but maybe, just maybe, younger readers will find a nugget of hope to help them through their struggles. Either way, I hope I at least throw a few good scares into them!

Perfect For Fans of The Paperback Horror Days, Don’t Miss Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady!

Available For Pre-Order Now – Reserve Your Copy Today

Holliston, MA – January, 12, 2017 – Tom Deady, acclaimed author of Haven, is releasing another horror book, Eternal Darkness. For fans of old-school horror and character-driven stories with people you can identify with, this is sure to be a hit. Following the author’s debut novel Haven, Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness novel promises a deeper look at the secrets people hide from one another, and the malice right next door.

“First and foremost, that’s what Tom Deady is about as an author: story. And those are my favorite kinds of writers,” says Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance and author of A Long December. “Tom understands this traditional school of writing very well, and if his first two novels are any indication of his focus and growth as an author, all of us readers are in for many more treats in the future. Tom Deady is a true storyteller, and I can offer no higher words of praise,” says Chizmar.

Something is killing the people of Bristol, Massachusetts. Do you dare to find out what? First, a young boy goes missing. Then, his abusive father is slaughtered. Next, his grieving mother burns in an unnatural fire. The only thing you know for sure? Something’s not right. Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack know the stories. Now, they must separate truth from lore when they dig for answers. Who will survive and who will succumb to the eternal darkness?

If there are three things to know about Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness it’s:

  • Someone Has Moved Into The Old Brewster Place
  • Something Is Killing People
  • Sometimes You Can’t Fight Your Own Destiny

“Tom Deady writes the type of novels that made me a fan of the genre decades ago – big, hefty books about regular folks fighting monsters against incredible odds,” says Pete Kahle, owner & founder of Bloodshot Books. “I’m ecstatic that we are able to debut Bloodshot Books’ line of original novels with Eternal Darkness. We need more authors like Tom,” says Kahle.

Perfect for fans of the paperback horror days. Richard Chizmar says, “It would be too easy to tell you that Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of early Stephen King. Sure, it features a small town New England setting, a large cast of colorful children sprinkled with a handful of flawed adults, and a monster straight out of your nightmares. If it sounds like I just described ‘Salem’s Lot or IT, there’s probably a good reason for that.”

Whether you are a fan of Haven looking for more, or new to Tom Deady’s work, Eternal Darkness from Bloodshot Books should be on your 2017 release radar. Pre-order your copy of Eternal Darkness on Amazon Kindle today:

About Tom Deady:

Tom Deady, born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, is not far from the historic (and spooky) town of Salem. He has endured a career as an IT professional, but his dream has always been to be a writer.

Tom has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

Tom’s first novel, Haven, was released in 2016 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

His new release, Eternal Darkness will be published by Bloodshot Books.

As always, he is actively working on his next novel.


  1. […] Read Tom’s guest post on I Heart Reading Small Town Horror […]

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