Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Mr. Cables

Mr. Cables is an 82-page novella from 2020 by horror author Ronald Malfi. The story is narrated by a successful horror author named Wilson Paventeau. At a bookstore signing, a fan asks him to sign a 1999 hardcover called “Mr. Cables” by Wilson Paventeau. The problem? Wilson never wrote the book.

He trades the mysterious hardcover for a copy of his new novel and brings the book home. It’s published by an unknown imprint that placed Wilson's photo on the author page with a mostly-accurate bio. Why would anyone go to this much trouble to create a counterfeit book?

Things start getting truly scary once the reader begins to understand the content of the book itself. I won’t spoil it for you here, but Malfi avoids the trap of using the “book inside a book” gambit and instead allows the reader to draw their own conclusion about why the novel scares its readers so much.

Late-book revelations shed satisfying light on what exactly is happening here as Malfi explores the sources of the authors’ ideas and inspiration. I enjoyed Mr. Cables quite a bit and found sections to be genuinely unnerving. As such, I can recommend this book to contemporary horror fans without reservation. This was my first experience with Malfi’s writing, but it won’t be my last. 

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