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Valancourt Books

Valancourt Books

Valancourt Books is an independent small press specializing in the rediscovery of rare, neglected and out-of-print fiction. 

 

Pre-Order Now: The Late Breakfasters and Other Strange Stories by Robert Aickman

Now available for pre-order!

 

One of our most exciting October Horror Month releases, an omnibus collection of the master of weird fiction, Robert Aickman, is now up for preorder! This hefty 430-page volume contains the complete text of the novel THE LATE BREAKFASTERS, as well as six of Aickman's rarest 'strange stories', plus a new intro by Philip Challinor.

 

Pre-order available in the US and CA only. Visit our website for links.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall of Valor (1946) by Charles Jackson

New Release

 

One we're extremely excited about! Charles Jackson's first novel, The Lost Weekend (1944), a harrowing story about alcoholism, was a bestseller and became an Oscar-winning film. But his next novel, THE FALL OF VALOR (1946), was even more daring, the story of an ordinary husband and wife whose marriage may be destroyed when the husband falls in love with a handsome Marine captain while on holiday. Critics praised the writing but were disgusted by the frank treatment of homosexuality (it was 1946, after all!) Features a new introduction by Michael Bronski and cover design inspired by the original pulp cover.

 

 

Book Description

 

The Fall of Valor is an unflinching portrayal of a marriage that has faded to a mere duty. John and Ethel Grandin take a summer vacation to Nantucket with the hope of recapturing the happiness they felt in the early days of their relationship. But instead the holiday blasts their marriage wider apart than ever when John falls hopelessly in love with a handsome marine captain.

​This edition features a new introduction by Michael Bronski, who argues that Jackson’s novel deserves rediscovery and a place alongside later classics such as Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar, Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, and the works of James Baldwin.

Reviews

“A finer and more skilful work than [The Lost Weekend] . . . a milestone in our literary progress.” – Saturday Review

“A courageous, ruthlessly probing book.” – Thomas Mann

“One of the best books I’ve ever read.” – Book Week

Available in the US and CA:

Website | Amazon US

Spectral Shadows: Three Supernatural Novellas by Robert Westall

New Release

 

Now available! SPECTRAL SHADOWS: Three Supernatural Novellas by Robert Westall, hailed as the finest British author of ghost stories since M.R. James, collected together for the first time.

 

 

Book Description:

 

BLACKHAM’S WIMPEY

Why should three successive crews flying a Second World War bomber – Blackham’s Wimpey – be driven to madness, despair, even death, though the plane returns from each mission without a scratch?

‘A writer of disturbing brilliance’ – Times Educational Supplement

THE WHEATSTONE POND

Too many deaths, too many suicides. It was more than coincidence. The Wheatstone Pond was a killer. When it’s drained, antique dealer Jeff Morgan gets interested, hoping there’ll be a few valuable wrecks of model boats down there. He isn’t prepared for the horror he will 
find instead . . .

‘Gutsy and energetic, grippingly plotted’ – Guardian

YAXLEY’S CAT

Sepp Yaxley vanished seven years ago, and no one has seen him since. Rose and her children Tim and Jane thought his vacant cottage, alone by the marshes, seemed like the perfect place for a holiday adventure. But that was before they decided to find out what happened to old Yaxley. Before they started to find strange things in the garden. Before the neighbors began to act weird. Before Yaxley’s cat came back . . .

‘Calls to mind Hitchcock’s creepiest films’ – Publishers Weekly

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook

Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Also available:

 

 

The Day on Fire: A Novel Suggested by the Life of Arthur Rimbaud

New Release

 

Available at last! James Ramsey Ullman's epic biographical novel The Day on Fire: A Novel Suggested by the Life of Arthur Rimbaud (1958).

 

 

Book Description

 

By the age of fifteen, Arthur Rimbaud was already one of the most brilliant poets of his time. And for the next four years - and four only - Rimbaud (the Claude Morel of this book) was simultaneously a writer of genius, a visionary idealist, and a deliberate wallower in gutters of depravity perhaps unmatched in all of human experience. But at the age of nineteen, he was through forever with both writing and debauchery, and at this point, he all but vanished, spending most of his remaining years as a vagabond wanderer through Europe and Africa. 

In the epic The Day on Fire (1958), a masterwork of biographical fiction, James Ramsey Ullman retraces the steps of Rimbaud's life from his rebellious youth in a dull provincial town to his teenage years as a homosexual, drunkard and drug addict in Paris, and his later years, wandering the desert in search of some elusive beauty or truth. As Ullman writes in his Foreword, “The truth, the inward core, of Rimbaud's life, is a truth for all times, as long as each of us, all of us, have our nights alone and our days on fire, our seasons in hell and our hope of heaven.”

Reviews

“It comes close to being the best book we've ever read.” - Victoria Advocate

“A literary masterpiece ... One of the most forceful novels of our decade.” - Montreal Gazette

“A haunting tale with an obsessive fascination.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Shocking ... Ullman has succeeded in making believable a life whose terms would be considered absolutely unbelievable if we did not know that they were true.” - Chicago Tribune

“Engrossing ... a tragic life dramatically, poetically and compellingly visualized.” - Booklist

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook

Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blood Secrets - Audiobook

New Release

 

Our first audiobook, Robert Marasco's BURNT OFFERINGS, has been such a huge success that we're excited to unveil our second: Craig Jones's masterful modern Gothic chiller BLOOD SECRETS, narrated by Caitlin Davies. Once again we have 10 *FREE* downloads to give away (US only, sorry)! The first 10 people to comment below will receive a copy. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

Cast a Cold Eye (1984) by Alan Ryan

New Release

 

Now available! CAST A COLD EYE (1984), a terrific ghost story by Alan Ryan, one of the finest writers to emerge during the '80s paperback horror boom. An American novelist travels to a remote Irish village to write his new book, but he quickly discovers something is terribly wrong there. And his search for answers will lead to the terrifying discovery that the ghosts of the past linger in the present, and cry out for blood.... Available in paperback & ebook in the US and Canada.

 

 

 

Book Description

 

Jack Quinlan, an American writer, travels to a small village in the remote western part of Ireland to research a book on the Irish Famine. The quiet, picturesque village seems just the place to spend a few months writing, but beneath its placid exterior lurk dark secrets. Why do the locals behave so strangely? What is Father Henning, the enigmatic parish priest, hiding? And what is the meaning of the strange ritual Jack observes in the cemetery? The search for answers will lead him to the terrifying discovery that the ghosts of the past linger on in the present, and they cry out for blood ...

 

Now available: An atmospheric, haunting ghost story, CAST A COLD EYE (1984) is a slow burn horror novel that will keep readers in suspense until its chilling conclusion. ​

 

Reviews

 

“Alan Ryan is one of the brightest lights among the new generation of horror writers.” – Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story 

“The writing is beautiful, haunting, hypnotic ... The ghosts of Cast a Cold Eye have not left me.” – William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist 

“[Ryan] is in the front ranks of today's horror writers.” – Karl Edward Wagner, in Twilight Zone

 

Paperback and ebook available in the US and CA.

Website | Amazon US
Cover Reveals

Here are some of our newest covers for titles coming out later this year. Which ones are you most excited about? Let us know!

 

 

In the Eyes of Mr Fury (1989) by Philip Ridley

 

The Fall of Valor (1946) by Charles Jackson, with a new introduction by Michael Bronski

 

Spectral Shadows: Three Supernatural Novellas by Robert Westall

 

Cast a Cold Eye (1984) by Alan Ryan

 

The Deadly Dowager (1934) by Edwin Greenwood, with a new introduction by Mark Valentine

 

 

Horrid Mysteries (1796) by Carl Grosse, with a new introduction by Allen Grove

 

 

 

Blood Rubies (1982) by Michael McDowell and Dennis Schuetz

New Release

 

Out today! Michael McDowell has been by far our most popular author, so it's with bittersweet feelings that we publish our final McDowell title, the cult classic BLOOD RUBIES (1982). Never before republished, this '80s camp horror novel tells the story of two twins, separated by violence on the night of their birth, but whose paths will cross again years later, with deadly results. Peter Straub called it a mix of James M. Cain and Ronald Firbank, which seems about right.

 

 

Book Description

 

BLOOD RUBIES

It would bring bad luck, they said. But she split her pair of ruby earrings and gave one to each of her beautiful twin babies. Within hours she was burned to death in a fire. The twins lived.

KATHERINE

Raised by a poor, childless couple, Katherine was shy and withdrawn, except in her love for the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. In her heart, Katherine had found God. In her father’s heart, they found a butcher knife.

ANDREA

She grew up with all that money could buy. She was pretty and popular and went to the best schools. Her parents loved her dearly, and gladly did anything to please her. But what made Andrea happy, would make them dead.

THEY MET IN THEIR NIGHTMARES

In the dark of sleep, Katherine and Andrea had terrible dreams of being the other. Until the hand of evil that guided their waking lives brought them face to face with each other . . . and the crossed fate of horror awaiting them both.

Reviews

Blood Rubies is an engrossing study of unconscious evil, unreflective evil, and it is the sign of the book’s wit and audacity that the evil figure is a nun . . . At times I thought I was reading a peculiar combination of James M. Cain and Ronald Firbank . . . a beautifully crafted story.” - Peter Straub

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook

Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
 
All Souls' Night (1933) by Hugh Walpole

New Release

 

Here's another new release in our Vintage Thrills and Chills catalogue.

We really loved Hugh Walpole's ALL SOULS' NIGHT (1933), which is now up for order with a new introduction by John Howard. This collection of 16 tales contains some of Walpole's best, including the classic werewolf story 'Tarnhelm', several great ghost stories, and 'The Silver Mask', which one critic called ‘a masterpiece, a classic example of how a tale can be truly terrible and ghostly with no ghost and only the wispiest hint of the supernatural.’

 

 

Book Description

 

Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) was one of the most popular and prolific English authors of his time, best known for his historical fiction and novels for boys. But it was in the field of the macabre and supernatural that Walpole was at his best, and this collection of sixteen tales contains many of his finest, including the classic werewolf story ‘Tarnhelm’; the oft-anthologized ‘The Little Ghost’; ‘The Snow’, a chilling story of vengeance from beyond the grave; and perhaps the highlight of the collection, ‘The Silver Mask’, which one critic has called ‘a masterpiece, a classic example of how a tale can be truly terrible and ghostly with no ghost and only the wispiest hint of the supernatural.’

This new edition, which reprints the unabridged text of the 1933 first edition and includes a new introduction by John Howard, will allow a new generation of readers to discover an unjustly forgotten master of the eerie and macabre.

Reviews

‘Excellently written and displaying a wide range of interests . . . Mr. Walpole knows well how to make the flesh creep.’ - Sydney Morning Herald

‘There are sixteen stories in Walpole’s collection, and they all reach a high degree of merit; all are marked by the distinguished literary quality one is sure to find in his work.’ - New York Times

‘A macabre master whose understanding of the night side of human experience makes him indispensable fire-side reading.’ - Flesh and Blood Magazine

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook:

Website

Overstock Sale

We still have a lot of titles available!

 

We're in danger of being buried alive beneath the sheer mass of books that have piled up here, so some of them need to go! One-of-a-kind publisher's proofs and books with slight cosmetic defects, 5 for $25 (or single copies for $7.50 each). We'll even throw in a free ebook copy (if available) of any titles you order!

 

One caveat: we're very sorry, but we can only make this offer available in the US due to shipping costs.

 

Head over to our Overstock Sale page for more details.

 

*This is the current list of titles. We will remove titles from the website as copies are sold.

 

Horror, Supernatural, Science Fiction, Mystery, Crime

Colin Wilson - Man Without a Shadow x 1
Colin Wilson - The Philosopher's Stone x 1

Michael McDowell - Cold Moon Over Babylon (D) x 1
Michael McDowell - Cold Moon Over Babylon (D - matte cover/not final cover)
Michael McDowell - Cold Moon Over Babylon x 3

Michael McDowell - Gilded Needles (D) x 2
Michael McDowell - Gilded Needles x1

Michael McDowell - Katie (D) x 1
Michael McDowell - Katie x2

Michael McDowell - The Amulet (D) x 1
Michael McDowell - The Amulet x2

Michael McDowell - The Elementals (D) x 5
Michael McDowell - The Elementals x 3

Russell Thorndike - The Master of the Macabre x 1
Stephen Gilbert - Ratman's Notebooks x 1


Gay Interest

Colin Spencer - Panic (P) x 1
Forrest Reid - Uncle Stephen (P) x 1
Forrest Reid - The Retreat (P) x 1
Hugh Fleetwood - Foreign Affairs (P) x 1
Hunter Davies - Body Charge (P) x 1
Kenneth Martin - Waiting for the Sky to Fall (P) x 1
Martyn Goff - Indecent Assault (P) x 1
Martyn Goff - The Plaster Fabric (P) x 1
Martyn Goff - The Youngest Director (P) x 1
Robin Maugham - Behind the Mirror (P) x 1

Literary Fiction

A.E. Ellis - The Rack (P) x 1
C.H.B. Kitchin - A Short Walk in Williams Park (P) x 1
C.H.B. Kitchin - Birthday Party (P) x 1
C.H.B. Kitchin - The Sensitive One (P) x 1
Claude Houghton - A Hair Divides (P) x 1
Claude Houghton - Julian Grant Loses His Way (P) x 1
Colin Wilson - Necessary Doubt (P) x 1
Colin Wilson - The World of Violence (P) x 1

David Storey - Pasmore (P) x 1
David Storey - Radcliffe  (P) x 1
David Storey - Saville (P) x 1
Francis King - The Man on the Rock (P) x 1
Francis King - To the Dark Tower (P) x 1
Isabel Colegate - The Blackmailer (P) x 1
J.B. Priestley - The Thirty-First of June (P) x 1
John Braine - Room at the Top  (P) x 2
John Braine - Room at the Top x 1

John Hampson - Saturday Night at the Greyhound (P) x 1
John Wain - A Winter in the Hills (P) x 1
John Wain - Strike the Father Dead (P) x 1
John Wain - The Smaller Sky (P) x 1
Keith Waterhouse - Jubb (P) x 1
Michael Frayn - A Very Private Life (P) x 1    *a couple light markings in the margins
Michael Frayn - Matchbox Theatre (D) x 5
Michael Frayn - Matchbox Theatre x 9

Michael Frayn - Sweet Dreams (P) x 1
Michael Frayn - The Russian Interpreter (P) x 1
Michael Frayn - The Tin Men (P) x 1    **a couple light markings in the margins
Michael Frayn - Towards the End of the Morning (P) x 1    **a couple light markings in the margins
Michael Nelson - Knock or Ring (P) x 1
Nevil Shute - An Old Captivity (P) x 1
Nevil Shute - Landfall (P) x 1
Piers Paul Read - Monk Dawson (P) x 1
Russell Hoban - Kleinzeit (P) x 1
Russell Hoban - Pilgermann (P) x 1
Russell Hoban - The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (P) x 1
Thomas Hinde - Mr. Nicholas (P) x 1

 

 

Burnt Offerings the Audiobook - Now Available!

New Release

 

Our first-ever audiobook is now available: Robert Marasco's BURNT OFFERINGS, widely recognized as one of the most chilling haunted house novels ever written. This audio version is narrated by Audie Award winner R.C. Bray.

 

 

Description

 

Ben and Marian Rolfe are desperate to escape a stifling summer in their tiny Brooklyn apartment, so when they get the chance to rent a mansion in upstate New York for the entire summer for only $900, it’s an offer that’s too good to refuse. There’s only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs. Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals.

But Mrs. Allardyce never seems to emerge from her room, and it soon becomes clear that something weird and terrifying is happening in the house. As the suspense builds towards a revelation of what really lies behind that locked door, the Rolfes will discover that their cheap vacation rental comes at a terrible cost...

The basis for a classic 1976 film adaptation and an acknowledged influence on Stephen King’s The ShiningBurnt Offerings is one of the most original and scariest haunted house novels ever written.

 

Available worldwide:

 

Website

Wicked Stepmother (1983) by Michael McDowell & Dennis Schuetz

New Release

 

Our newest release is sheer fun from start to finish: WICKED STEPMOTHER, an '80s camp classic from the great Michael McDowell. Seducing a rich Bostonian and making him die of a heart attack a week after the wedding was easy. Now his three children stand between her and the multi-million dollar trust fund. But what wicked stepmother couldn't get rid of three children....?

 

 

Book Description

 

Seducing a proper Bostonian was easy. Making him die of a heart attack a week after the wedding was hardly any trouble at all. Now she has money, social status, everything she has cunningly schemed to get since she was a poor little girl. Everything except the Brookline mansion and the multi-million dollar trust fund left to the three children. 

But what wicked stepmother couldn't get rid of three children? 

Jonathan, too smart for his own good and suspicious about his father's death, has to be the first to go. Then there's pretty, spoiled Verity, hooked on cocaine and perpetually drunk - who'd ask any questions if she died suddenly? And clever Cassandra, just out of college and beginning a career as a literary editor, will simply have to get over being dead. Wicked Stepmother (1983) is the second of the camp classics written by Michael McDowell (co-author of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas) in collaboration with Dennis Schuetz. Five of McDowell's classic horror novels are also available from Valancourt.

Available worldwide in paperback and ebook:

Website | Amazon UK | Amazon UK

URL
Michelle and Barack Obama read Where the Wild Things Are

I love this.

Behind the Mirror (1955) by Robin Maugham

New Release

 

Our newest reissue is by Robin Maugham (nephew of Somerset Maugham), who at his peak was among the most popular novelists in England. Which is surprising, maybe, since his novels dealt openly with homosexuality and featured very dark, disturbing plots. BEHIND THE MIRROR (1955), which Francis King called one of Maugham's best, is a riveting psychological thriller that's hard to put down. Reproduces the original jacket art by the noted gay artist John Minton, who committed suicide in 1957. (US only on this one, sorry!)

 

 

Book Description

 

A film company is making a movie about Daphne Moore, a famous actress of the 1920s, but to proceed they must secure the permission of Norman Hartleigh, a former diplomat once deeply involved with the star. So far, the reclusive Hartleigh has ignored all communications, so scriptwriter David Brent is sent to East Africa to track him down. When Hartleigh refuses to cooperate, Brent resolves to learn why and must uncover the details of his relationship with Daphne Moore, the real reason for his abrupt resignation from the Foreign Office in 1928, and the true nature of his involvement with his young companion, Bill Wayne. In a dramatic climax, the whole truth of what lies "behind the mirror" is exposed, with shattering consequences ...


Robin Maugham (1916-1981), who at the height of his career was one of the most popular authors in England, is best known today for his novella The Servant (1948), The Wrong People (1967), a controversial novel and classic of gay fiction, and his writings about his famous uncle, W. Somerset Maugham. Behind the Mirror (1955), the first of his explicitly gay-themed novels, is both a page-turning mystery and an acutely insightful psychological thriller. This new edition reproduces the original jacket art by John Minton.

Reviews

‘One of Lord Maugham's best novels.’ – Francis King, Spectator

‘Never ceases to be entertaining.’ – New Yorker

‘Exciting and compelling ... This is one of those small books that says a lot more than many bulkier volumes.’ – Saturday Review

Website | Amazon US

The Space Machine (1976) by Christopher Priest

New Release

 

An homage to H.G. Wells, Christopher Priest's THE SPACE MACHINE (1976) is a SF adventure set in the Victorian era and drawing on elements of Wells's The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. A young couple, Edward and Amelia, find themselves inadvertently hurtled through space and time and must thwart an invasion of Earth by grotesque, octopus-like monsters! A terrifically fun read from the author of The Prestigeand other classics.

 

 

Book Description

 

When a young Victorian couple inadvertently tamper with Sir William Reynolds’s latest invention, a time-space machine, they find themselves flung not only into the future but also across the void of space. Now, trapped on an alien world with a landscape of weird vegetation and overseen by giant, long-legged machines operated by gruesome octopus-like creatures, they must find a way to survive. And when they learn that the monsters are plotting an invasion of Earth, can they find a way to return home and save the planet?

 

Reviews

 

“This is an astonishing change of pace for Mr. Priest, and one which extends his powers in ways which reveal him as one of the best and most persuasive young British writers.” - The Times (London)

“First rate . . . science fiction at its best!” - Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

“A novel that is unusual for its kind, a science fiction story with recognizable characters and a sense of style, atmosphere and humour. Imaginative and full of amusing curiosities.” - SundayExpress

 

Paperback and ebook available in the US and CA

 

Website | Amazon US | Amazon CA

The Mummy (1912) by Riccardo Stephens

New Release

 

Now available: Riccardo Stephens's incredibly scarce weird mystery THE MUMMY(1912). Two young men have been found dead, their deaths perhaps connected to an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus inscribed with a terrible curse. As the deaths continue, Dr Armiston must discover whether the Mummy is responsible, or if there is some other explanation. Fans of Richard Marsh, Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Machen will love this one. Features a new intro by Mark Valentine.

 

 

Book Description

 

Dr. Armiston, middle-aged bachelor and general practitioner, has his quiet and routine life interrupted when he is called in to consult on the deaths of two young men. One case seems to be a tragic accident, the other the result of natural causes, but they have one strange thing in common: the presence of the same ancient Egyptian mummy case in both men's homes. When Armiston learns that the sarcophagus is inscribed with a terrible curse promising vengeance on anyone who disturbs the mummy's repose, and as the series of deaths continues, the doctor will risk his own life to unravel the mystery and find out whether the mummy - or something or someone else - is responsible. 

As Mark Valentine argues in his new introduction to this edition, Riccardo Stephens's exceedingly scarce The Mummy (1912) is a fine piece of storytelling, an inventive weird mystery that bears comparison with the works of Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. This edition follows the text of the 1923 Hutchinson edition.

Available worldwide in hardcover, paperback and ebook

Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK