Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

From Stem to Calyx: Black River Orchard News Roundup

We are two weeks out from harvest time, and before the fruits begin to drop and the book hits shelves, it seems high time for a quick news roundup.

Jenny Lawson — aka The Bloggess, obvs — recommended the book over at her blog, saying, “Would you like to be afraid of apples? Because you will be. Chuck Wendig never misses.” She also recommended What Kind of Mother, by Clay McCleod Chapman, which is the rare horror book that climbed under my skin and stayed there; Black Sheep by Rachel Harrison, which I’ve got on pre-order; September House by Carissa Orlando, a book I’ve been hearing a lot about since it launched, so I’mma get that; Stephen Graham-Jones’ most excellent comic, EarthDivers. And more! A kind recommendation. And also you won’t be afraid of apples after reading the book. You’ll love apples. And they’ll love you. And you’ll love yourself. And you’ll be better than you ever were.

Hey, not only am I going on tour and getting to chat with Owen King, Aaron Mahnke, Sadie Hartmann, and Clay McLeod Chapman — but now one of my best pals and also one of my favorite writers, Delilah S. Dawson, is joining the Lehigh Valley date. October 3rd, The End bookstore, in Allentown. I’ll talk Black River Orchard. She’ll talk Bloom. Huzzah farmer’s market horror? Is it a thing? It’s a thing. More tour details here.

A starred review from Publisher’s Weekly? Don’t mind if I do.

Book Riot’s Liberty Hardy did a round up of September’s scariest reads, and Black River Orchard makes the cut. “Chuck Wendig’s books are always a good time! This novel is one that is best read knowing as little as possible about it. It’s about a special apple orchard in the town of Harrow that grows apples unlike any other. People clamor for the apples, but they come with a cost. And in this tale, an apple a day won’t keep the nightmares away…

Kirkus says of the book: “The myth of the poisoned apple belies the very real evil growing in a Pennsylvania orchard… Wendig writes doorstoppers, but it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone here, from the creepy Eyes Wide Shut vibe (complete with sacrificial rituals) to the Stephen King–laced dichotomy between the world’s everyday cruelty and the truly grotesque carnage that follows…Both complex and compelling, a nightmare-inducing parable about our own wickedness.”

This is Horror calls Black River Orchard a book to look out for.

The Escapist puts it on their list of best new horror in September. “Chuck Wendig has written so many novels that I absolutely adore. If you haven’t read Wanderers and Wayward, put those on your 2023 list. Right now. The Book of Accidents is outstanding, and if you’re a Star Wars Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy does a wonderful job setting the stage for the Sequel Trilogy.”

Library Journal says: “Insatiable, passionate, weird, and creepy, Wendig’s latest is perfect for those who appreciate the slow-burning horror tomes of Stephen King and Robert McCammon.”

Novel Suspects lists it as one of their most anticipated fall books.

BookPage puts it as one of their most anticipated SFF/horror books of fall 2023, as well, alongsize Scalzi and Martha Wells and Tanarive Due and the new Kadrey/Khaw jam and more truly excellent company.

Every Read Thing calls the book “a twisted, gnarly read that will absolutely find a spot in my top five fiction reads in 2023.” And, “While I still read dozens and dozens of books a year, it’s been a while since I’ve felt that compulsive need to race through a book. With Black River Orchard, if I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

I casually remind you that I’m running a pre-order giveaway — wanna win some books? Or a shirt? OR A SINISTER POSTCARD FROM ME WHERE I INVENT A NEW EVIL APPLE VARIETY FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE??? Ahem. Well, go on over and check out the rules. And get to pre-ordering.

It’s rocking five stars at Netgalley — with some killer quotes that honestly, I kinda love.

Just when I thought this book couldn’t get any darker, the moon went behind a cloud and I realized was darkness truly was. Masterful storytelling.” — Amanda A.

This had to start out as a dare. How great of an author are you? Can you write an award winning horror novel about the most mundane thing imaginable, an apple. And do you know what, Chuck Wendig absolutely nailed it.” — April J.

Without a doubt the horror book of the fall, “Black River Orchard” will have you never looking at an apple the same way again.” — Leah C.

Michael Patrick Hicks says some kind words about the book at his blog: “Nothing says fall has arrived quite like apples and cider. Throw in a farming community cult, a welcome dose of body horror, and a whole lot of bloodshed, and you’ve got yourself a new, quintessential fall horror book that I suspect will be ripe for loads of annual re-reads come spooky season.”

And finally, what may be one of my favorite reviews comes from Jordy’s Book Club on Instagram: “Let me be a little more clear: BLACK RIVER ORCHARD is one of the most unhinged books I have ever read… No seriously. I’m telling you right now, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FUCKED THE SHIT GETS IN THIS BOOK… That being said, I loved it. All the stars. #BlackRiverOrchard is my favorite Chuck Wendig book ever (and WANDERERS was a JBC TOP 10 title). This has the hallmarks of a classic Chuck Wendig novel: it’s horror infused with humor; part SALEM’S LOT, part IMAGINARY FRIEND, it’s dark and twisty, funny, emotional, and super violent. And did I mention weird? The book is truly bizarre. In all the best ways. And I promise you will NEVER look at **shudder** apples **shudder** the same way ever again.⁣”

Hashtag, blessed.

Two weeks till harvest.

Hope you check out the book and spread the good word about the Ruby Slipper apple. There’s no taste like home!