END OF THE ROAD by Brian Keene

“My name is Brian Keene. I’m a writer by trade and a road warrior by heart. Neither of these things are wise career or life choices. The tolls add up.

Over the last twenty years, things have changed. Book tours have changed, publishing has changed, bookselling has changed, conventions have changed, horror fiction—and the horror genre—have changed. I’ve changed, too.

The only things that haven’t changed are writing and the road. They stay the same. The words we type today are the past tomorrow. Everything is connected like the highways on a map are connected. This holds true for the history of our genre, as well.

I rode into town twenty years ago. Now I’m riding out. You’re all coming with me…”

So begins Brian Keene’s End of the Road—a memoir, travelogue, and post-Danse Macabre examination of modern horror fiction, the people who write it, and the world they live—and die—in. Exhilarating, emotional, heartfelt, and at times hilarious, End of the Road is a must-read for fans of the horror genre. Introduction by Gabino Iglesias.

The IndieMuse Review

Originally published as a weekly blog on the Cemetery Dance website over a nine-month period in 2016, and later as a limited-edition hardcover earlier this year, Brian Keene’s autobiographical recounting of his farewell (but not really) book tour is now being released as a mass-market paperback and as a Kindle Edition.

The book is ostensibly a travelogue, recounting Keene’s misadventures on an almost year long road trip consisting of book signings and convention appearances in support of his two new books, The Complex and Pressure. It soon becomes apparent that End of the Road is about so much more, as we are presented with a rundown of the authors take on the horror genre, both as a newcomer and an established writer, an in-depth look into what has changed and why, as well as a deeply personal meditation on loss, friendship, and the importance of family, whether that be the one you have or the one you choose.

Most horror readers will be familiar with Brian Keene the writer. His output over the last twenty years has been prodigious to say the least, and he is responsible for some outright genre classics, (such as The Rising and Dark Hollow). A few may recognize him from his seminal (and now, sadly defunct) podcast ‘The Horror Show’. Former Horror Show listeners will identify Keene’s trademark voice here, and the self-deprecating style that is so effective at making you empathize and connect with him.

I went into the End of the Road expecting a light tale of Keene’s escapades as he gets up to no good, enjoys a drink with friends, and gives the reader plenty of fun anecdotes along the way and, while I did get that in abundance, the book went to far darker places than I ever expected.

The book is paved with setbacks and losses and doubts and while we as the reader may not be able to relate to the specific issues facing a famous mid-list horror writer, they speak to universal truths that impact all of us. It feels as if the book is speaking to you directly.

It is an extraordinary work, much greater than the sum of its parts, and a deep and sometimes uncomfortable look into the thoughts and fears of one of the genres most prominent figures. End of the Road, as dark as it gets, never loses its prevailing sense of optimism and it is an absolute joy to see Keene’s undying love for everything horror bleed through onto the page.

Heart-breaking, hilarious, raw and cathartic. End of the Road is an absolute must have for anyone with even a passing interest in the horror genre, whether they be a writer or reader. This is one of those rare books that I can see myself revisiting and rereading over and over for years to come, and it having the same emotional punch each and every time.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

2 reviews for END OF THE ROAD by Brian Keene

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  1. Tatiana Pelchat  

    This was a really entertaining book, I’d highly recommend it. The characters were believable, the plot was interesting.

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  2. Lucia Walling  

    I really enjoyed it. Every time I had to put the book down, I looked forward to picking it up again and getting back into the story. I recommend.

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