They Said…

The Skeleton Melodies (Hippocampus Press, 2020)


“Fully-realized characters and evocative prose distinguish the 13 horror tales in Smith’s outstanding second collection … This superior volume should garner Smith the wider audience he merits.” — Publishers Weekly, August, 2020

“Smith’s affect is a pendulum that swings from the classical and the mannered into his own vision of contemporary darkness; a darkness that conceals all sorts of hazards. The Skeleton Melodies is a splendid collection brim with viscerally elegant horrors.” — Laird Barron, author of Worse Angels

“Smith is a real find, an elegant stylist with an imagination that’s unsettling, paranoid, gruesomely funny at times, and startlingly original. He’s written one of the scariest sex scenes I’ve ever read, but he can even make vacuuming your own house seem scary.” T.E.D. Klein, author of The Ceremonies and Dark Gods

“Clint Smith’s engaging stories have the verve and energy of classic pulp horror, and the character depth and attention to detail that one finds in literary fiction.  Very enjoyable work!” Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will

“With unflinching clarity and an unwavering voice,  Clint Smith diagrams the locked doors, dark passages, and thin veils that separate our meager world from the myriad darknesses beneath.  Haunted and harrowed, The Skeleton Melodies is a richly detailed anatomy of the horrors — human and otherwise — lurking just below that skin, as well as a postmortem of their ravages.” Gordon B. White, author of As Summer’s Mask Slips and Other Disruptions

“Clint Smith is a wordsmith of the weird beyond compare, a writer of fierce intelligence and originality well-versed in both contemporary and classic Horror.  He uses this knowledge to fashion tales of carefully-wrought brilliance, and the end result is a shadow-stricken oeuvre that is impossible to forget.” CM Muller, author of Hidden Folk

“Witches, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s Bride: Clint Smith refashions pulp motifs from the bones of the American Midwest, transposing familiar melodies to a minor key. Disorienting and devastating.” Daniel Mills, author of Revenants and Moriah

The Skeleton Melodies evokes the hauntingly familiar subverted into nightmare delirium. No other writer pokes at the carcass of our mundane world to expose something malignant quivering inside quite as skillfully as Smith. Drug addicts, the apartment renter down the hall, kids poring over a stash of adult mags and worse; the resurrected flesh of old love, feral homo indomitus, or even deranged cultists, these stories offer glimpses of damaged souls confronted with the impossible. While too much weird horror seems content with concluding predictably like a baleful hand thrust from that nightmare space between bed and floor, clutching vulnerable ankles in the dead of night, Smith’s latest presents those talons as only the beginning. The Skeleton Melodies suggests these are terrors destined to deteriorate into an existential dread that may very well have no end.” Christopher Slatsky, author of The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature

“In his compelling sophomore collection, Clint Smith dives deep into his characters’ psyches, unearthing the histories, the mysteries driving them toward horrors visceral and cosmic.  His stories make reference to the work of John Cheever, of George Orwell, and his fiction displays the same attention to style, to grace and elegance of expression, which distinguishes the writing of those writers.  In Smith’s work, carefully rendered portraits of daily existence open into the weird and terrifying.  There are images of body horror in these pages that would not be out of place in the early films of David Cronenberg, and there are evocations of vistas immense as any in the work of Machen and Klein.  With these stories, Smith solidifies and extends the gains made in his first collection, and leaves us eager for another.” John Langan, author of Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies

“Clint Smith is a master of the literature of delirium.  His tales unnerve you and inconvenience you.  He takes what you thought you were familiar with, like your body or your day to day life, and renders them new and strange.  In an ever more uncertain reality that we find ourselves in, Clint Smith’s work is almost prophetic.  Let The Skeleton Melodies be your guidebook for these unreal times.” Scott Dwyer, Plutonian Press

Ghouljaw and Other Stories (Hippocampus Press, 2014)

(1) Ghouljaw and Other Stories - FINAL Cover

“The 14 stories in Smith’s first collection of short horror fiction range from the poignant and unsettling to the viscerally horrific … Virtually all of the horrors that Smith conjures take their shape and substance from the emotional responses of characters to the estrangement, loss, or death of spouses and family members. Although narrated in a straightforward fashion, these stories have refreshingly unpredictable plots that spring their horrors unexpectedly.” Publishers Weekly

“These smart, unsettling stories give us, with vivid detail, both the squalidly ordinary and the terrifyingly extraordinary-and make clear how closely the two are linked.” Ben H. Winters, Edgar-Award-Winning author of The Last Policeman

When It’s Time For Dead Things To Die (Unnerving, 2019)


“Clint Smith is a true wordsmith of the weird, and this excellent story underlines that fact.  The first half of When It’s Time For Dead Things To Die has all the hallmarks of a compelling gangster tale: the green protagonist who is in over his head based on a poor decision and an unwanted pregnancy; an elderly but potent crime-boss with a terrible secret; a careless, would-be usurper-son who tries to enlist the hero’s help in rising to power. Smith creates a rich, detailed and strange atmosphere–complete with compelling characters and plotline. As the story continues, though, the weirdness of the tale–suggested from the beginning by Smith’s rich, evocative and musical prose–begins to come to the fore in the shape of a truly bizarre and macabre “jukebox” and the man called Gregory Bath.” — Jon Padgett, author of The Secret of Ventriloquism and Co-Editor-In-Chief of Vastarien