Josh Malerman – Spin a Black Yarn Review

Genre: Horror
Length: 400 Pages
Publisher: Del Ray
Release date: August 15, 2023

Five harrowing, all-new novellas overflowing with horror, imagination, and moving portrayals of humanity–from the mind of the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box.

Josh Malerman is a master weaver of stories–and in this spine-chilling collection he spins five twisted tales from the shadows of the human soul:

A sister tells her little brother that Half the House Is Haunted with a presence that only she can see, but is it her own mind that is haunted? In Argyle, a dying man confesses to homicides he never committed, and reveals long-kept secrets far more sinister than murder. A tourist takes the ultimate trip to outer space in Jupiter Drop, but the real journey is into his own dark past. In Doug and Judy Buy the House Washer™, a trendy married couple buys the latest home gadget only to find themselves trapped by the out-of-control machine… and each other. And in Egorov, a set of Russian triplets is devastated when one of the brothers is murdered; but will vengeance heal their pain?

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

I find books from Josh Malerman a hit or a miss, not many are middle ground. The novellas here have been appropriately named, and many yarns were spun. A did quite enjoy the following; Argyle, in all its darkness, Doug and Judy buy the House Washer, a dark tale, and The Jupiter Drop, for the thrill ride it was.

Half of the House takes a little time to gain any momentum because the characters are six and eight years old. The gibberish thoughts are a bit annoying and take time to decipher. As the story moves forward in time the siblings are in their 40s. This is where the story becomes a yawn of a yarn. Could half of the house be haunted? I’m not sure the answer was clearly meant to be known.

Argyle is about our protagonist Shawn Hasbro who is on his deathbed. He has never been so happy in his life for something he never did. Argyle is by far the darkest novel in this collection. Shawn’s confession is at times hard to stomach as Josh Malerman spins a dark and sinister yarn. The suspense is masterful and the ending well played.

Doug and Judy Buy a House Washer was among my favorites. Doug and Judy are so easy to hate, and hate them I did in quick order. They are an ostentatious asshole couple who want to be so far ahead of their neighbors they will do anything. They want to be ‘The Joneses’, and to that goal they buy a house washer to one up their neighbors. This House Washer does more than clean their home, to the shock of Doug and Judy. This was nothing short of a smartly written redemption story for a disgraceful couple.

Jupiter Drop is a thrill ride journey to Jupiter. It’s surreal and unusual to be sure and a bit of a tear jerker. It’s a bit difficult to say more for fear of giving away the story. For me this was an interesting sci-fi tale.

Egorov is a revenge story of twin brothers, who try to find the killer of their triplet. There are plenty of tense moments and Josh Malerman builds a suspense filled atmosphere in the fictional Little Russia neighborhood. You feel like you’re transported to that place, and the suspense gets you more thrilled and agitated at each chapter. This is the longest novella of the book, and the yarn takes many twists and turns. Overall Spin a Black Yarn was time well spent as I took another trip to the ever growing universe from the mind of Josh Malerman.

Link to purchase Spin a Black Yarn

Josh Malerman, Biography-

Josh Malerman is a New York Times best selling author and one of two singer/songwriters for the rock band The High Strung, whose song “The Luck You Got” can be heard as the theme song to the Showtime show “Shameless”. His book Bird Box was made into a Netflix film of the same name, starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. He has been nominated for 8 Bram Stoker Awards and has written 36 books, many of those (14) prior to the publication of Bird Box, his debut. Daphne will be his 11th published book. He lives in Michigan with his fiancee, the artist/musician Allison Laakko.


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