Stephen Graham Jones has ten novels and two collections published so far, and more than a hundred and thirty stories. His most recent novel, Growing Up Dead in Texas, was published in 2012, and other recent works are Zombie Bake-Off and It Came from Del Rio. Coming soon is Flushboy. Stephen’s been an NEA fellow, has won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Award, and has been a Stoker finalist. To learn more, visit demontheory.net.
It’s time for the annual Recipe Days bake-off in Lubbock, Texas. Soccer moms and grandmothers gather to show off their family recipes, learn new secrets for the perfect shortcake, and perhaps earn a chance to be on the famous cooking show, How Would You Cook It, Then? When the bake-off is crashed by a federation of pro wrestlers — including American Badass, Jersey Devil Jill, Tiny Giant, The Village Person, Jonah the Whale, the Hellbillies, and the fan favorite Xombie — all hell is set to break loose. Your heart beats faster as you anticipate who will come out on top in the ultimate showdown of the century: soccer moms or pro wrestlers. Anything can happen.
There are borders and then there are borders. Between right and wrong. Between Texas and Mexico. The first is a joke to Dodd Raines, the second a payday. Then there’s the borders he’s made. Between himself and his estranged daughter, the border patrol agent. Between himself and his one-time employers. And there’s another border, one he cares about even less than the Rio Grande: the border between life and death. Used to, the shadow Dodd Raines cast when he stood dripping from that water – it was the shadow of a fugitive. But now that fugitive’s coming home, and the shadow he’s casting? It’s got rabbit ears. Listen, you can hear the chupacabras padding along beside him – their new master. He’s that big guy in the hood, slouching out by the gas pumps. Walking north, for justice. Austin’s never seen anything like Dodd Raines, and never will again. Get ready.
On Halloween night, following an unnerving phone call from his diabetic mother, Hale and six of his med school classmates return to the house where his sister disappeared years ago. While there is no sign of his mother, something is waiting for them there, and has been waiting a long time. Written as a literary film treatment littered with footnotes and experimental nuances, Demon Theory is even parts camp and terror, combining glib dialogue, fascinating pop culture references, and an intricate subtext as it pursues the events of a haunting movie trilogy too real to dismiss. There are books about movies and movies about books, and then there’s Demon Theory—a refreshing and occasionally shocking addition to the increasingly popular “intelligent horror” genre.
It was a fire that could be seen for miles, a fire that split the community, a fire that turned families on each other, a fire that it’s still hard to get a straight answer about. A quarter of a century ago, someone held a match to Greenwood, Texas’s cotton. Stephen Graham Jones was twelve that year. What he remembers best, what’s stuck with him all this time, is that nobody ever came forward to claim that destruction. And nobody was ever caught. Greenwood just leaned forward into next year’s work, and the year after that, pretending that the fire had never happened. But it had. This fire, it didn’t start twenty-five years ago. It had been smoldering for years by then. And everybody knew it. In the tradition of Robert McCammon’s A Boy’s Life and Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, Growing up Dead in Texas is a narrative lens onto the past, to see where things started. And where they keep starting again and again.