One of the “Ten Most Fantastical Local Books of 2016″—Indy Week (Durham, NC)
“Fantasy and horror blend in Winter’s debut novel about a man who discovers his family’s links to the supernatural. … Overall, this novel has a lot to recommend it, especially its complex set of characters, including protagonists and antagonists who provide clear context to Alex’s life and to the more fantastic elements of the story. The prose is clear and crisp throughout but never rushed, giving the tension plenty of time to build. Winter also makes sure the emotional elements of the story—fear, grief, uncertainty—fully hit the reader. … A clever, engaging view into dark places.”—Kirkus Reviews
Blood Family is a literary occult thriller that explores themes of familial bonds, the weight of the past, and the elusiveness of truth in a world where each level of reality conceals a deeper one beneath it.
Divorced technical writer Alex Whitfield lives a life of studied normalcy, in sharp contrast to his deeply dysfunctional family: uncle in prison for arson, half-sister missing after a stint in rehab, father dead by suicide in a psych ward. But Alex’s normal life is shattered one night when he finds his half-sister, April, lying in his bathtub with her wrists slashed—until she disappears a few seconds later.
Alex is terrified to think he might have inherited his father’s madness, but when he confides in a friend, she suggests that Alex might not have been hallucinating; instead, perhaps he saw April’s ghost. Alex doesn’t believe in ghosts, and he doesn’t want to believe April is dead, either. Still, he dreads hearing what a doctor might say about his sanity, so he delays the inevitable by letting his friend take him to see a “witch” who supposedly can help him.
Thus begins Alex’s reluctant journey from the streets of Atlanta to the mountains of Appalachia and from this world to the next one as he’s forced to grapple with hidden truths about himself, his family, and the very nature of reality. Along the way he’ll find friends and enemies among both the living and the dead, and he’ll learn why his father really committed suicide, why April went missing, and why she desperately needs his help.
Blood Family is available for purchase at the following outlets:
If you’d like to read the first three chapters of the book, you can download a PDF here.