Return to Skillute

As I revise my new novel–The Worst Is Yet to Come–set in the fictional town of Skillute, Washington, it seems like a good time to promote the Skillute Cycle. These four books–a novel and three novellas–form a kaleidoscopic pattern of overlapping characters, histories, themes, and images. At its core the story is about shattered childhood dreams, recurring cycles of abuse, and a dark, magical undercurrent born of unhappy women trying to break free of the roles they’ve inherited. Two of the books were nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. I think they are best read in the following order: Knock Knock, Delphine Dodd, Astoria, In the Light. Here’s what other people have to say about the series:

“Everyone needs to read this story.” – Gemma Files, author of Experimental Film, reviewing the series on The Outer Dark

Knock Knock is a powerful debut, opening strong and ending with a punch…one of the better weird horror novels of the past few years.” – Justin Steele, Arkham Digest

Delphine Dodd not only expands and illuminates the tragedy in the brilliant novel, Knock Knock, but also further proves Miskowski possesses that talent most enviable in a writer: she makes you believe.” —Simon Strantzas, author of Burnt Black Suns

“Beautifully written and relentlessly suspenseful.” – Lucy Taylor, author of The Silence Between the Screams

“…more than a great read; [Knock Knock] is a fascinating meditation on the nature of horror. There are supernatural elements to the book, yes, but the setting (an impoverished, ruined logging town) and the main characters (three school girls with hopes and dreams made improbable if not impossible by their realities) are a beautifully rendered commentary on the cyclical nature of real-world human tragedy.” – Molly Tanzer, author of Vermilion

Knock Knock is awesome. It combines the two things I love best: creepiness and clean, beautiful writing.” – Michael Wehunt, author of Greener Pastures

“Eventually the story achieves a momentum all its own, rushing headlong to a shattering finale, and the prose, which Miskowski uses with such care and accuracy throughout, in the final pages attains a fever dream intensity, so that we can’t trace any clear divide between reality and the skewed perspectives of the characters, the two blurring into each other, everything viewed through a blood red filter and in the light cast by flickering flames.” – Peter Tennant, Black Static

“There are scenes that may horrify the reader, but that is because it looks clear-sightedly, without rancour, at cruelty, selfishness and deceit. And there is as much beauty here as there is horror, thanks to the author’s finely-crafted prose.” —David Longhorn, editor of Supernatural Tales

“Miskowski further enriches the all-too-real horror movie world of Knock Knock with Astoria, a novella that is part Hitchcock, part David Lynch, and all Miskowski’s distinctive, thoughtfully crafted, slow-burn literary terror.” —Molly Tanzer, author of A Pretty Mouth

“S.P. Miskowski has been chronicling the mundane horrors of women’s lives – marriage, motherhood, family, and domesticity – through the lens of the supernatural since the publication of her Shirley Jackson Award nominated novel Knock Knock. Continuing with her related Skillute Cycle of novellas, Miskowski is unafraid to plumb the darkest impulses of the female psyche, and her gift for vivid characterization and naturalistic detail suffuses her fiction with a sense of frightening and devastating reality. In Astoria, a white-knuckle terror trip across the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, the darkness closing in on one woman’s desperate bid to escape the monster she birthed and the life she loathes becomes as palpable as the pages we’re turning; we can bolt the door and turn on the light, but in the end, Miskowski warns us, no matter what we do, our demons are coming for us.” —Lynda E. Rucker, Black Static columnist and author of The Moon Will Look Strange

Astoria by S.P. Miskowski is a perfect and unique blend of The Omen and Elizabeth Berg’s The Pull of the Moon. Miskowski’s writing is dark, delicious, and wonderfully layered. As always, her effortless elegance shines through the chilling prose, highlighting the ugly feelings that we wish weren’t inside all of us. She manages to turn the reader inside out alongside her characters, revealing that we’re all monsters and merely human at gut level.” —Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows

“…a flair for imbuing mundane things with a strange sense of menace…a beansprout grown in a cup and a moth fluttering around a child’s bedroom take on subtle qualities of malevolence…” – Rob Russin, Geeks Out

“The tension and fear is built up with small details, each innocent in itself but together evoking a sense of forces beyond the character’s control…” – James Everington, This Is Horror

“A wonderful and fitting end to the Skillute Cycle, though it’s a shame to say goodbye. Full of beauty and life and dark magic, the Skillute books are a joy to read.” – Alison Littlewood, author of The Unquiet House

All four books in the Skillute Cycle are published by Omnium Gatherum. The new novel is forthcoming from JournalStone/Trepidatio.

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Cover art by Russell Dickerson

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