End Of The Road
Collected for the first time are Brian Keene’s weekly columns, originally written for Cemetery Dance during his 2016 Farewell (Not Really) book Tour to promote Pressure and The Complex.
After Gabino Iglesias uses the book’s intro to convince us why Keene isn’t an asshole, we’re treated to the passenger side of a writer’s journey as he hits the road towards the twilight of his life’s work and beyond.
Through a mazework of hotels, conventions, and fan interactions, we can’t help but understand what fuels Keene’s dark and humble heart. His love of our genre flows through his veins as thoroughly as any blood, sweat or tears scattered in his wake. It all comes to fruition in the ink scrawled across each page, interspersed with photographs as raw and real as the words surrounding them.
Ghosts play a common theme connecting several entries. Mostly the ghosts represent friends who’ve died, but occasionally, they exist from Brian’s design, leftovers from the scourge of his muse and own worst fears. Turns out, it’s not all fandom and glory for the writer on the road. Like when Brian ends up with some dead ISIS fighter’s psychic suicide bomb in his travel bag. Or that one time he dismantles the country’s response to potential nuclear war with Joe Landsdale as his unsuspecting accomplice. And that other time he convinces a guy to snort dirt from Lovecraft’s grave as a right of literary passage. Whether a reflection of Keene’s latest shenanigans, or discussing the collapse and resurgence of our industry, each word is hammered home with bleak precision that’s as haunting as it is hopeful.
Accompanying each order, On the Road With Brian Keene by John Urbancik, is a journal of every strange encounter and misadventure shared along the way with Brian during Urbancik’s five day portion of the tour across five states. Our perspective is held just below the surface with a sense of intrigue as Urbanick recounts dodging crazed fans, lurking alligators and all the madness in between stops.
An essential roadmap for creative explorers, it’s time to buckle up, hold on, and roll out!
You can grab your digital copy of the book HERE, and can also expect a paper back edition by the end of the year.
This review first appeared in the special pandemic issue of Rue Morgue Magazine #195 Jul/Aug, which I encourage you to snag a copy of HERE while supplies last.