Reviews of Dark Fiction

Howl and the Hobgoblin of Little Minds By Mark Matthews

In the underground tunnels below Northville Psychiatric Hospital, the mood swings of the mentally ill are manipulated by a roque psychiatrist, transforming them into manic, savage beasts who seek justice by the light of the full moon.

“A man who’s pure of heart, and says his prayers by night.
May still become a wolf when the autumn moon is bright.”
~Florence + the Machine

Incredibly excited to announce my new novel, The Hobgoblins of Little Minds is now available for presale in both kindle and paperback. Publication date is less than 90 days from now.

Thunderstorm Books will also be issuing a limited-edition hardcover, coming soon.

Cover art is by Vincent Chong, an artist who has done covers for Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Josh Malerman, among others. The cover is being revealed this week for the first time.

The novel rewrites the Werewolf mythos and takes place inside the abandoned Northville Psychiatric hospital, a legendary compound not far from my house. It’s a sprawling facility with multiple buildings connected by a maze of tunnels passing underneath.

While the cover art is the visual, there was also an audio for the novel. In fact, everything I’ve ever written I can trace a song that evokes the tone I am aiming to paint with my words.

Milk-Blood was written to the drum beat of the song Inn-a-Gadda-Davida. On the Lips of Children was written to that powerful anthem, Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. All Smoke Rises to a mixture of Tom Wait’s Jockey Full of Bourbon and Florence + the Machine’s Cosmic Love.

Florence + the Machine is the artist I summon most when writing. The lyrics, the heights to which her voice reaches, the rising, dramatic tensions and magnificent crescendos. Her song Howl has guided The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, and soon as I hear the beat and her voice I’m moved:

If you could only see, the beast you’ve made of me.
I held it in but now it seems you’ve set it running free
Screaming in the dark. I Howl when were apart.
Drag my teeth across your chest to taste you’re beating heart.

The incessant desire of the werewolf, the visceral lust and the passion that creates both craving and curse. All of this followed by a raging, painful yet primal HOWL. I heard an interview with Florence once who explained she has to tone herself down in concert, because the song destroys her. It destroys me, too.

My fingers claw your skin, try to tear my way in.
You are the moon that breaks the night for which I have to howl.

This is what I pictured when I trapped two of my characters in the underground tunnels of the psychiatric hospital. They both suffer from sever manic mood swings, triggered by a psychiatrist’ experiments and synced with the pull of the full moon. The doctor knows the two will procreate due to the intensity of their passion and lust.

The problem is (spoiler alert, but I have to tell someone) the woman keeps killing all her lovers, because she indeed wants to tear through their skin, and, like all of the creatures the rest of the novel, wants to taste a beating heart.

Look closer at that cover. The creature holds the beating heart of a victim in his hands. As Florence warns, Be careful of the curse that falls on young lovers, starts so soft and sweet and then turns them to hunters.

The Howl is one of rage, pain, and anguish, and as I told Vincent when doing the cover, I want the creature to look not just as if it is going to cause pain, but to look like as if it is in pain, and all that internal rage turned outwards in a chilling howl. Like some child possessed, the beast howls in their veins.

I invite you to take a look. Presale is offered at a discount, and publication date is just 90 days away. Nothing can save you now, the ropes have been unbound.

Mark Matthews is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a licensed professional counselor who has worked in behavioral health for over 20 years. He is the author of On the Lips of Children, All Smoke Rises, and Milk-Blood, as well as the editor of Lullabies for Suffering and Garden of Fiends. His newest novel, The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, is expected February, 2021. Reach him at

The Hobgoblin of Little Minds Book Cover The Hobgoblin of Little Minds
Mark Matthews
Dark Fiction
Wicked Run Press
February, 2021

Kori Persephone Driscoe suffered through her dad's mental illness. All she wanted was for him to get better, but instead he disappeared. Kori trespasses into the abandoned Northville Psychiatric Hospital, the last place her dad was treated, seeking solace and traces of his memory. What she finds instead is something no longer human living deep in the underground tunnels.

During the last days of the hospital, a rogue psychiatrist had been manipulating the mood swings of the mentally ill, transforming patients into savage, manic creatures who seek justice by the light of the full moon. When the creatures hunt for prey, only an escaped patient and her beloved child can help Kori survive. But they better act fast, because the creatures want blood, Kori wants to save her dad, and the whole hospital is about to be blown to pieces and bury Kori alive.

Kindle version will include the bonus novella, LIZARD, from Lullabies for Suffering

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