Last month I said I had one more cover from 2022 to be made public, having forgotten that there was this one plus another which is currently at the printer, and which I’ll write about at a later date. Things Get Ugly follows last year’s Born For Trouble in being another Joe R. Lansdale cover for Tachyon that uses typography for the whole of the design. As with the earlier cover, this approach sidestepped having to try and summarise a collection of short stories with a single image or graphic. Adding imagery to a collection usually works best when the contents follow a specific theme, which isn’t the case here.
The stories may be described as crime but quite a few of them are dark enough to be included in horror collections. Things do, indeed, get ugly. The intersection between crime and horror fiction isn’t exactly new, the two genres have been entangled since The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and the boundaries remain permeable to this day. The most well-known piece in the new collection is Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, a story that was filmed for TV by Don Coscarelli for the Masters of Horror series, and which also opened the first season in 2005. Coscarelli’s adaptation is even nastier than its source but not everything in the collection is unrelentingly grim. Lansdale has a flair for black comedy which is to the fore in another story, Driving to Geromino’s Grave, in which two Depression-era children have to bring home the rotting body of their deceased uncle. This may not be everybody’s idea of an amusing read but the witty dialogue made me laugh. As well as the cover I’ve designed the interior of this one so I may post samples at a later date.
Things Get Ugly will be published in August. The book can be pre-ordered here.