The Woods All Black (Hardcover)

The Woods All Black By Lee Mandelo Cover Image
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April 2024 Indie Next List

“A visceral queer revenge story wrapped in the mists of Post-WWI Appalachia. Mandelo’s rabid, religious community unsettles with its modern parallels. But it’s his eerie, possibly unhealthy forest that will drag you in and refuse to let go.”
— Christy Peterson, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA


The Woods All Black is equal parts historical horror, trans romance, and blood-soaked revenge, all set in 1920s Appalachia

Leslie Bruin is assigned to the backwoods township of Spar Creek by the Frontier Nursing Service, under its usual mandate: vaccinate the flock, birth babies, and weather the judgements of churchy locals who look at him and see a failed woman. Forged in the fires of the Western Front and reborn in the cafes of Paris, Leslie believes he can handle whatever is thrown at him—but Spar Creek holds a darkness beyond his nightmares.

Something ugly festers within the local congregation, and its malice has focused on a young person they insist is an unruly tomboy who must be brought to heel. Violence is bubbling when Leslie arrives, ready to spill over, and he'll have to act fast if he intends to be of use. But the hills enfolding Spar Creek have a mind of their own, and the woods are haunted in ways Leslie does not understand.

The Woods All Black is a story of passion, prejudice, and power — an Appalachian period piece that explores reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, the terrors of small-town religiosity, and the necessity of fighting tooth and claw to live as who you truly are.

About the Author

Lee Mandelo is a writer, critic, and occasional editor whose fields of interest include speculative and queer fiction, especially when the two coincide. His debut novel, Summer Sons, which has been featured in NPR and the Chicago Review of Books, is a contemporary Southern gothic dealing with queer masculinity, fast cars, and ugly inheritances. Other work can be found in magazines such as, Uncanny, and Nightmare; he has also been a past nominee for awards, including the Nebula, Lambda, and Hugo. Aside from a stint overseas learning to speak Scouse, Mandelo has spent his life ranging across Kentucky, currently living in Louisville and pursuing a PhD at the University of Kentucky.

Praise For…

A Men'sHealth Most Anticipated Fantasy!
An Indie Next Pick!

“Mandelo doesn’t pull any punches, including in his delivery of PEAK queer revenge. If you don’t absolutely howl with schadenfreude at the ending, I don’t know what to do with you.” —Shelley Parker-Chan for SciFiNow

“Tense, haunting, and deeply human, this is the Appalachian horror of the year.” —Gretchen Felker-Martin, author of Manhunt

The Woods All Black is a hopeful, wrathful meditation on monstrous religiosity and queer survival. A bloody, howling catharsis of a book.” —Tasha Suri, World Fantasy Award-winning author of the Jasmine Throne series

“Retribution has never been this sexy.” —Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters and What Kind of Mother

Praise for Feed Them Silence

“Feed Them Silence is a toxic love story with the world we're killing. You'll want to put it down, but you won't.” —Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Once and Future Witches

“Holy hell, what a visceral and heart-clenching book. Feed Them Silence is a searing portrait of what it means to give up distance for the sake of understanding.” —Sarah Gailey, bestselling author of Magic for Liars

“Marvelously original and told with sensual perfection, Feed Them Silence is a beautiful, haunting testament to human need—and a lament for everything it destroys.” —Andy Davidson, author of The Hollow Kind

“An unsettling exploration of intimacy...Feed Them Silence subtly illuminates the disintegration of boundaries: humans and animals, work and love, research and exploitation.” —E.J. Beaton, author of The Councillor

“Mandelo delivers a powerful message about environmentalism and the limits of technology that doubles as a page-turning story about a collapsing marriage. Urgent, intimate, immediate, this is sure to wow.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This novella... will make readers consider their own beliefs regarding ethics, research, technology, and relationships.” —Library Journal

Additional Praise for Lee Mandelo

“Hooks you hard and fast from the start, then drags you kicking and screaming and loving it on a twisted backroad nightmare full of bad boys and badder revenants. A damn fine mystery thriller, wrapped in aching gorgeous prose and gasping action.” —Sam J. Miller on Summer Sons

“A gripping, gasoline-drenched story of ghosts, friendships, and things left unspoken.” —Sarah Pinsker on Summer Sons

“Full of angst and lingering spirits, Mandelo’s debut is like Tennessee molasses—dense, dark, slow-moving, and with a distinct Southern flavor.” —Publishers Weekly on Summer Sons

“So visceral that you can feel the clammy sweat of fear and secrets, and it's full of the ugly rubbing edges of masculine frustration that's both the desire for violence, and desire itself.” —Shelley Parker-Chan on Summer Sons

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250790316
ISBN-10: 125079031X
Publisher: Tordotcom
Publication Date: March 19th, 2024
Pages: 160
Language: English