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Mary: An Awakening of Terror

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Im scared, Nadine. Somehow, I managed to forget everything. About my past. About my present. How can I know who I am if I dont know who I'we been? I absolutely adore Aunt Nadine’s darkly sarcastic and humorous character. Susan Bennet perfectly captures her wit and personality. I could listen to an entire book about Aunt Nadine! So imagine my surprise and horror when I got the contract to finally write Mary, and, for the first time in my professional life, the work … came out … excruciatingly … slow. Nat Cassidy’s Mary: An Awakening of Terror reads like a riposte to King’s Carrie; Cassidy has the audacity (and the skill) to write convincingly about perimenopause.”— Esquire

Nat Cassidy’s highly commercial, debut horror novel Mary: An Awakening of Terror**, blends** Midsommar with elements of American Psycho and a pinch of I'll Be Gone in the Dark**.** But here was hard evidence: turns out that idea has ALWAYS been a part of the fabric of this story. And, sure enough, it found its way into the final product, where it was meant to be.

Genuinely scary, and at times both heartfelt and heartbreaking, Mary is a powerhouse of a horror novel, with something important to say. We need more like this. Standing ovation!”—Brian Keene

This was weird. Like Twilight Zone weird. I kept waiting for Rod Serling to pop out and tell me that I'm traveling through another dimension. As a playwright, Nat is known as "one of New York City's rising playwrights, with numerous productions and awards, critical acclaim, and a reputation for producing intelligent, bold, darkly comic plays with one foot in horror and the other in literary allusion" (Usher Nonsense). He writes thrilling, emotionally compelling horror stories about demons, zombies, Old Gods, ghosts, serial killers, werewolves, cannibals, mutants, and all kinds of ends of the world, and his work has been produced and/or developed at places such as The Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, Primary Stages, The Flea, and numerous other companies throughout New York City and regionally. His scripts have been published by Samuel French, Broadway Play Publishing, Smith & Kraus, Applause Books, NYTE, and Indie Theatre Now. Nat is an alumnus of Primary Stages' ESPADrills and was commissioned by The Kennedy Center as part of the inaugural American Opera Initiative to write a libretto with composer Scott Perkins, which the Washington Times called "brilliant" and "remarkable." Nat was named one of NYTHEATRE.COM's People of the Year in 2011 and is an inductee in the Indie Theater Hall of Fame. That’s when I realized I had a 180,000-word Frankenstein’s monster on my hands. For those who don’t know, these days the sweet spot for a horror/thriller is like 80-90,000—and Mary was always envisioned as an homage to Carrie, which is, like, 60,000 words! So, yeah, I’d, uh, gone a little overboard. I was going to have to cut. A. Lot. His debut novel, MARY: AN AWAKENING OF TERROR, was published by Tor Nightfire in July 2022 and was named one of the best horror novels of that year by Esquire, Paste Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, CrimeReads, and The Lineup. His follow up novel, NESTLINGS, is due out by Nightfire in October 2023. Cassidy created a corner of relatability, and yes, empathy, in Mary, one that normalized King’s Carrie. But for Mary, it’s just another unexplained occurrence in her life, like the killings.Nat Cassidy’s Mary was truly dark and creepy, and a novel that clearly and unequivocally announced the arrival of a superb new voice in horror.“— Locus But also, look: it got done! The book exists! You can go out and buy a copy of it right now! Seriously. Try it. You’re a rebel; they can’t stop you. At first, I could somewhat relate to her, the feeling invisible, the avoidance of mirrors. The story has a really strong beginning with creepy scenes and some humor too. Then it sort of peters out and turns into a draggy slow paced festival of weirdness that is too out there even for me. And that is really saying something. I'm not that bothered that a male author attempted to write from the viewpoint of a menopausal woman, in fact, kudos for even trying to understand. I have no problem with male authors writing female characters or vice versa. It just didn't really work for me. It tried to combine too many elements into one plot that stretched on for too long. You may enjoy it more than I did. She’s been stripped nude, save for the pillowcase pulled over her head. A clean, almost glaringly white pillowcase, featureless other than the huge stain of dark, sopping blood in the center. The topography of what was once a face presses out of the middle of the dark, wet stain. There’s so much blood the fabric clings to what’s underneath like a second skin, leaving hollows where the eyes, the still-screaming mouth had been. This book has been on my TBR for months—c’mon, once you see this cover, it’s impossible to not be intrigued, right?! The ominous cover only alludes to what may be one of the most bizarre and creepy reads I’ve read this year.

I’ve seen Mary: An Awakening Of Terror being raved about within the online horror community and can see why now! 💀🖤

Mary, Mary, quite extraordinary... How does your novel grow? With pillow cases hiding sliced off faces, and porcelain dolls all in a row. With an acidic sense of humor more barbed than any cactus, Nat Cassidy's fast-paced Mary is a perfect blend of Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne and Frank De Felitta's Audrey Rose. This book goes out to all those bad seeds who have gone beyond their bloom and entered the twilight of their murderous lives.”—Clay McLeod Chapman, author of The Remaking Nat Cassidy's Mary is a bravura journey into horror, cults, and the estrangement of middle age. It's one BANANAS ride, by a very talented writer.”—Sarah Langan

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