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A hunted community. A haunted author. A horror that spans centuries.
Men are disappearing from Toronto's gay village. They're the marginalized, the vulnerable. One by one, stalked and vanished, they leave behind small circles of baffled, frightened friends. Against the shifting backdrop of homophobia throughout the decades, from the HIV/AIDS crisis and riots against raids to gentrification and police brutality, the survivors face inaction from the law and disinterest from society at large. But as the missing grow in number, those left behind begin to realize that whoever or whatever is taking these men has been doing so for longer than is humanly possible.
Woven into their stories is David Demchuk's own personal history, a life lived in fear and in thrall to horror, a passion that boils over into obsession. As he tries to make sense of the relationship between queerness and horror, what it means for gay men to disappear, and how the isolation of the LGBTQ+ community has left them profoundly exposed to monsters that move easily among them, fact and fiction collide and reality begins to unravel.
A bold, terrifying new novel from the award-winning author of The Bone Mother.
About the Author
DAVID DEMCHUK has been writing for print, stage, digital, and other media for nearly 40 years. His debut horror novel The Bone Mother, published in 2017, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, the Toronto Book Award, the Kobzar Book Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award in the Best Novel category. It won the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult Fiction category. It was listed in the Globe and Mail's 100 best books of 2017, came in at #22 in the National Post's top 99 books of the year and became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.ca.
“Demchuk’s unconventional approach to storytelling holds readers close, speaking directly to them and sharing in the terror.”
—Quill & Quire
“Can a horror novel be too disturbing? David Demchuk’s Red X begs that question, not because of any excess of gore or violence but because of its singular and unflinching dark vision. That’s a good thing — too much contemporary horror fiction plays for easy shocks and even easier sentimental tears, and Demchuk is clearly after something deeper.”
“[Red X is] a book full of heart and righteous fury, an urban nightmare with some retro-horror stylings that sidesteps that genre’s usual pitfalls of splatter and pessimism to deliver a story of emotional heft and guarded optimism. While it’s relentless and can be incredibly disturbing, there are also moments of beauty, hope, and a certain melancholy. It’s a complex, disturbing, challenging, and compulsively readable work that commands your attention, and indeed deserves it.”
“[Red X] is an important work for the horror community.”
—Cemetery Dance Publications
“…it feels special to have something specifically marketed as queer horror and written by a queer person. This is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read and is my favourite of 2021 so far.” —Horror Obsessive
“Demchuk does what few authors can do – make you scared, sad, angered and repulsed all within a single sentence.”
“With Red X, Demchuk flexes many of the skills he honed throughout his career as a playwright and scriptwriter. As he pieces the men’s stories together with his own experiences, he gradually spins a long thread of history that, finally and consciously, situates things in the realm of the supernatural. Yet much of the novel’s effectiveness lies beyond plot, in mood and structure and tone, and especially in place: outside of Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion, there may be no work more deeply rooted in the psychogeography of Toronto.”
—Literary Review of Canada
“Demchuk paints a vivid picture for anyone who knows the periods described, and he takes great care to craft his fiction based on the reality of Toronto at that time.”