Fracassi follows up Shiloh with Overnight
Philip Fracassi is a relative newcomer on the horror landscape, but his short fiction has been absolutely knocking it out of the park. Last year his critically acclaimed single author anthology, Behold The Void, hit the shelves and made quite an impression. Such a profound impression, in fact, that one of the previously unpublished stories “Fail-Safe” was selected by Ellen Datlow for her annual The Year’s Best Horror. In 2018 Fracassi kept the hits coming with the trade publication of Shiloh, which included an additional unpublished short story “Soda Jerk” which we absolutely loved. You can read our review of Shiloh here and if you are not familiar with Philip’s work yet, we think it is a great place to start. Frankly, we expected Fracassi to rest back on his laurels a bit but then we heard he had another work, this time a novelette, being published this summer by Unnerving Magazine. Signal Horizon was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Fracassi’s Overnight and needless to say, we loved it!
First, let’s talk a little bit about the length. Overnight is right at 67 pages on a Kindle, which puts it squarely in the novelette/novella category (depending on how and where you make the cut.) A great story is a great story, regardless of its length, but novellas have traditionally be super difficult to publish because in a book store they just can’t stand on their own. Next to a 500 page paperback novel a novella looks like a pamphlet. They were too long for genre magazines, especially when serialization fell out of favor. They could be worked into an anthology, but it often doesn’t feel quite right. Thank goodness we can now rejoice as the novella is seeing a resurgence in the eBook format, where these concerns fade away and novellas now become an excellent way to introduce yourself to an author without committing the time or money that a novel would entail. A new novella renaissance has dawned and Overnight is a brilliant example.
Overnight introduces us to Pete, a working class security guard on movie sets in Los Angeles. Pete has a bit of a rough past, but he is now a working father and husband pulling down the night shift for a barely adequate wage. What is great about this character and this setting is that Fracassi knows them both front and back- he has been working in Hollywood in a variety of roles for years. It is much less about showing off some kind of insider knowledge and much more about adding the nuance and authenticity that really brings this story alive. It feels real and it feels alive, because Philip Fracassi has lived it and likely known a ton of people in a situation like Pete finds himself.
People that follow horror whom I respect very much have often described Fracassi’s writing as a throwback to the heyday of horror in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I get it, I really do, but I think that there is much more to his writing than just that nostalgia value. It would be easy to say that Overnight reminds be of the best of Rod Sterling. It kind of does. Things always run a bit deeper with Fracassi though, and here he shows an understanding of a very particular kind of American desperation and disenfranchisement. This is not the kind of extreme poverty that forces you into starvation, it is the kind that leaves you financially wiped out when the car breaks down. It forces you to make tough choices so that the kid can have those nice to have things that every other kid already has. The fact that Fracassi has chosen to explore this theme on a movie set, where this kind of desperate, just barely keeping your head above water economics rubs shoulders with the ostentatious wealth of movie stars, is a brilliant move. Add to that the authenticity that Fracassi brings to the description of the setting and you have the perfect way to explore the themes of greed, waste, revenge, and desperation.
Mike D’s Grade:
In Overnight, Fracassi finds a way to blend the tone of classic horror with a vibrant and timely setting. Throw in strong characters that are both interesting, creepy, and morally conflicted and you get a great story that is yet another stellar addition to the growing body of work both for Philip Fracassi and the short genre fiction scene. Those familiar with Fracassi’s work should definitely pick this one up and horror fans not yet reading his work will find this an excellent entry point based on its shorter length and low price point.
Overnight will be available July 16th on Amazon in eBook format, just click the affiliate link to the right to buy today for delivery in July. Overnight will also be available as part of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Subscription program, if you want to read more about some of the great horror books that are available and the ins and outs of subscribing, click here. In addition, Unnerving Magazine is making available a limited number of hardcover, signed copies for collectors. Only 60 will be printed, so click here and pre-order yours today! It is an excellent way to get a highly collectible book from an author that is going places in both horror fiction and Hollywood. The best way to keep up to date with all of our news, reviews, and analysis here at Signal Horizon is to click on the follow us button on the right and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletter.