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The American Paperback – October 30, 2020

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


This bracing supernatural tale easily pulls readers into its dark, disturbing mystery.
- Publishers Weekly

The American rivals Ellis and Barker in terms of sheer darkness. Thomas combines horror and thriller to merciless effect.
- Laird Barron, author of 
Swift to Chase

With his unerring eye for the disturbing and horrific, Thomas sinks us into a Vietnam few have ever seen. A haunting page-turner about the power of friendship, debts owed, and the countless wounds of war. A brutal, riveting read.
- Erica Ferencik, bestselling author of
The River at Night and Into the Jungle

Peter Straub's
Koko meets Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer in this relentless plunge into darkness from Bram Stoker Award finalist Jeffrey Thomas. Refreshingly ordinary, fallible heroes, wounded physically and spiritually, work to solve a heartbreaking mystery rooted deep in the harrowing and gruesome underworld of human trafficking. Aided by a skin-crawling manifestation of the supernatural, their efforts lead them toward a figure chillingly banal in his unrepentant cruelty, and a bittersweet ending you'll never see coming.
- Mike Allen, World Fantasy Award-nominated author of
Unseaming and Aftermath of an Industrial Accident

The American is a deep, dark plunge into transglobal post-colonial Late Capitalism paranoia, juxtaposing moral horror with its supernatural effects in ways that crack the reader's third eye open - gradually, terribly, implacably. It's a ghost story about history, layers folding over layers of willing, knowing self-pollution, desire melding into hunger melding into horror; the slime we leave behind ourselves as we slug-trail around this awful world, finding the places where we can debase ourselves until we disappear. I started reading and couldn't stop, no matter how much I wanted to.
- Gemma Files, author of
Experimental Film

An exquisitely-written, compulsively-readable dark thriller steeped in Vietnamese culture with eerie supernatural overtones. The characters- villains with a touch of humanity, heroes with more than a hint of darkness -are haunted by ghosts of the past, both literal and metaphorical. This is one of the best books I've read in years, and you'd be a fool to miss it.
- Tim Waggoner, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

About the Author

Jeffrey Thomas is the creator of the dark science fiction setting Punktown, in which many of his stories take place. His short story collection The Unnamed Country is also inspired by his many visits to Vietnam. His novel Monstrocity was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, and his novel Deadstock a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award. Thomas' stories have been selected for inclusion in The Year's Best Horror Stories XXII (editor, Karl Edward Wagner), The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #14 (editors, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling), and Year's Best Weird Fiction #1 (editor, Laird Barron).

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ JournalStone (October 30, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 266 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1950305414
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1950305414
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

About the author

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Jeffrey Thomas is the author of such horror and science fiction novels as THE AMERICAN, DEADSTOCK (finalist for the John W. Campbell Award), BLUE WAR, MONSTROCITY (finalist for the Bram Stoker Award), LETTERS FROM HADES, SUBJECT 11, and BONELAND. His short story collections include PUNKTOWN, GHOSTS OF PUNKTOWN, THE UNNAMED COUNTRY, HAUNTED WORLDS, UNHOLY DIMENSIONS, THIRTEEN SPECIMENS, and THE ENDLESS FALL. Stories by Thomas have been reprinted in THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR, THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES, and YEAR'S BEST WEIRD FICTION. Though he considers Vietnam his second home, he resides in Massachusetts.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
28 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

Neil Clench
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story with great characters, especially if you’re interested in modern day Vietnam.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 4, 2021