El Dia de los Muertos
a novella by Brian A. Hopkins
cover art by John Picacio

El Dia de los Muertos, by Brian A. Hopkins

Winner of the 2002 Bram Stoker Award!
Nominated for the 2002 International Horror Guild (IHG) Award!

On Locus Magazine's 2002 Recommended Reading List!

"El Dia de los Muertos [is] damned good, a very effective story about guilt, Mexican archeology, and bloody-minded Aztec gods. We read it in one sitting, and you probably will, too. You'll be impressed by the use of detail, which reads like a combination of careful research and first-hand knowledge. This story should be a contender for most of the awards this year." -- Darrell Schweitzer in Weird Tales

"For a horror story, you can't get any better than this: the gods are frightening, the rituals appear barbaric, and Mexico is an exotic place ... [Hopkins] displays spot-on timing and Hitchcockian talent at creating suspense ... El Dia de los Muertos is his best work to date.  It is an exceptional piece of writing that has me looking for more of the author's work to consume." -- Wayne Edwards, from a review in Flesh and Blood magazine

"I read, with real headlong pleasure, Brian Hopkins's El Dia de los Muertos, a fine evocation of place, character, and the Aztec mythos: a love story, a travelogue, a history lesson, a horror story, and a tragedy bundled into one compelling narrative." -- Michael Bishop, Nebula and Rhysling Award Winning Author

"El Dia de los Muertos is probably the finest story Brian Hopkins has ever written.  Intelligent and well-executed, it builds to a stunner of an ending.  The horror of death is juxtaposed against the horrors of life in an enthralling story that also explores history, mythology and profound differences between the cultures of Mexico and the U.S. ... By the time this review is published, the limited edition run will probably be sold out." -- Paula Guran, from a review in Cemetery Dance Magazine

"...Hopkins has crafted a small masterpiece, a novella with tremendous emotional depth, an atmospheric tale of loss and all the wrong paths to redemption ... This is one of the best dark fantasies of the year." -- Tim Pratt, from a review in Locus Magazine

"...so brilliant and terrifying that I can hardly find words to describe it ... If you read only one book in the year 2002, horror fans, make sure it's this one." -- J.L. Comeau, from a review at Count Gore's Creature Feature

"...one of the best stories I have ever read.  Very highly recommended." -- Paul Kane, from a review in Terror Tales

"El Dia de los Muertos is a subtle, well-crafted work of power and grace, which conveys a depth of feeling rarely displayed in genre fiction.  The raw intimacy of its first person narration gives it the ring of truth, and its authoritative evocation of modern day Mexico City grounds it in bleak reality.  In this setting, the supernatural aspects of the narrative are easy to accept.  Expertly paced, it carefully builds towards the shocking pyrotechnics of its surprising climax." -- Hank Wagner, from a review in Hellnotes

"Anyone who's read earlier Hopkins collections ... will already know that he has the innate ability to slip an emotional dirk through your jaded armor and skewer your heart just when you don't expect it.  You won't be disappointed with this novella, a masterful blend of thoroughly modern grief and old gods, as well as those who would invoke the latter to relieve the former ... Rife with observation, speculation, spirituality and belief, this thin novel brings to bear themes found in Frankenstein and King's Pet Semetery, among others, but then twists them to draw completely different conclusions.  The temple scene is alternately unbearable and riveting, and the moral quandaries facing Ricky Bennington swirl around the heart of the novel -- how we learn (or refuse) to face loss ... No two ways about it, Brian A. Hopkins is a master at asking the big questions." -- William D. Gagliani, from a review in Chiaroscuro

"Down with a cold today, so I had a chance to read Brian's El Dia de los Muertos -- all in one sitting, I should add.  Didn't even get up for a second cup of coffee ... Please pass my admiration on to Brian.  I was intrigued and surprised throughout and often very moved.  His style's so graceful here you barely even see it working, but work it does." -- from an email from award-winning author Jack Ketchum to the publisher (used by permission)

"[Hopkins] knows his history and mythology thoroughly and explains them clearly within his text without being professorial.  The simple beauty of his writing brings the sights, smells, and culture of Mexico to bristling life on the page  ... Even with the strength of his intellectual content, the true genius of his storytelling lies in his emotional content.  His depictions of grief and horror are so genuine you can't help but feel them yourself.  That's what good writing is all about -- something for the head and something for the gut.  Hopkins delivers both."  -- Garrett Peck, from a review in Cemetery Dance Magazine

"True horror exists not in the creatures we've invented to frighten each other, but in the blood and bone of our bodies, and in the stones and recorded images of our histories.  True horror comes out of our lives.  As the narrator tells us in El Dia de los Muertos, '...blood is the animating substance of the universe...it's essential the gods be fed human blood in order to keep the universe operating.'  In this tale of profound loss and ancient sins, Brian Hopkins skillfully layers the frailties of individual lives with the historical weight of humanity's desperate attempts to transcend that frailty.  An unforgettable journey into the heart and past of Mexico." -- Steve Rasnic Tem, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award Winning Author

"El Dia de los Muertes by Brian A. Hopkins is a rich work. It possesses a flavor overpowering with death and violence, rich with the heavy taste of human flesh and mortal blood. Its flavor is enhanced with the richness of the imagined precolumbian American world overlaid with our own contemporary one. Above all, it is rich with the overpowering detail of heavily researched cultural history. It should be sampled carefully, then wolfed down." -- Ed Bryant, Award Winning Author and Locus Reviewer

"Hopkins, a master of terror, is at the top of his form with this one." -- Jack McDevitt, author of Moonfall and Deepsix

"Reading El Día de los Muertos is like scanning a blazing flashlight across the intricately carved ceiling of a pagan temple erected by a long forgotten race, the unyielding beam oscillating among glyphs variously grotesque and beautiful, horrific and poetic, alien and affirming, wrenchingly violent and profoundly moral. I am grateful to Brian Hopkins for taking me on this searing journey into the mythic soul of Mexico and the intolerable heart of loss." -- James Morrow, author of Only Begotten Daughter and Towing Jehovah

"Brian Hopkins' novella reads like a fusion of Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano and some early Paul Bowles added to make things even grimmer.  This is a hallucinatory portrait of a search through several levels of hell as both a physical and spiritual reality.  You come away clawed and poisoned by it.  You sure as hell will never forget it.  A powerful, serious and excellent piece of work."  -- Ed Gorman, author of The Dark Fantastic

"El Dia de los Muertos stands as a genuine triumph in the career of Brian A. Hopkins; not only is this one of the most intriguing, atmospheric, and compelling novellas you'll ever read, it achieves something all too rare in contemporary horror fiction: it terrifies the reader on a primal level.  Using an incident of shattering grief as his springboard, Hopkins has created a genuinely disturbing nightmare that is both epic in its scope and uncomfortably intimate in the emotions it forces the reader to grapple with." -- Gary A. Braunbeck, author of The Indifference of Heavan

"Brian Hopkins has a voice that lends itself to the telling of tragedy, the unwinding of emotion wrapped too tightly about the things that hurt us most.  In this work, you feel the pain of a grieving father, a love that is lost, and ride along on the sadness that follows, with -- if not understanding, at least a form of compassion the writer's words evoke in endless, detail-soaked images.  This is a powerful story, and one that won't leave you quickly, or easily." -- David Niall Wilson, author of This is My Blood

"An incredible, fascinating tale, rich in Mexican heritage and unforgettable characters.  Once again, Brian Hopkins proves he can write from his heart to his reader's soul." -- Yvonne Navarro, author of Dead Times

"Brian A. Hopkins offers here a great blend of the literate and mythic, the grotesque and spellbinding.  Even after you finish it, the images are not easily forgotten." -- Charlee Jacob, author of Dread in the Beast


Available from Earthling Publications
500 Signed, Numbered Hardcover Edition -- $30.00
15 Signed, Lettered Hardcover Edition -- $150.00



Brian A. Hopkins is the four-time Bram Stoker Award winning author of such books as Something Haunts Us All, Cold at Heart, The Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club, Salt Water Tears, and These I Know By Heart.  He's also been nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for science fiction.  Above is Brian atop el Castillo de Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

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Copyright © 2011 Brian A. Hopkins, 2011-08-01 15:54, www.bahwolf.com