As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

by Richard Thomas

Spontaneous Human Combustion - Richard Thomas
Editions:Hardcover - First Edition: $ 29.99
ISBN: 978-1684427550
Pages: 231
Paperback - First Edition: $ 19.99
ISBN: 978-1684427543
Pages: 248
Kindle - First Edition: $ 12.99
Pages: 236

"In range alone, Richard Thomas is boundless. He is Lovecraft. He is Bradbury. He is Gaiman." —Chuck Palahniuk

With a Foreword by Brian Evenson

In this new collection, Richard Thomas has crafted fourteen stories that push the boundaries of dark fiction in an intoxicating, piercing blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Equally provocative and profound, each story is masterfully woven with transgressive themes that burrow beneath the skin.

  • A poker game yields a strange prize that haunts one man, his game of chance now turned into a life-or-death coin flip.
  • A set of twins find they have mysterious new powers when an asteroid crashes in a field near their house, and the decisions they make create an uneasy balance.
  • A fantasy world is filled with one man’s desire to feel whole again, finally finding love, only to have the shocking truth of his life exposed in an appalling twist.
  • A father and son work slave labor in a brave new world run by aliens and mount a rebellion that may end up freeing them all.
  • A clown takes off his make-up in a gloomy basement to reveal something more horrifying under the white, tacky skin.

Powerful and haunting, Thomas’ transportive collection dares you to examine what lies in the darkest, most twisted corners of human existence and not be transformed by what you find.

This book is on:
  • 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: Turner Publishing
Cover Artists:
Tropes: Abandoned Place, Becoming a Monster, Body Modifications, Dying World, Fallen Hero, Fish Out of Water, Humanity is Dangerous, Humanity is Good, Hunted, Old Person in the Woods, Post-Apocalyptic, Redemption Arc, Ultimate Evil, Waiting/Sleeping Evil

Languages Available: English


In the beginning, there was no pattern to the sacrifice, merely one more thing to clean up after a long, hard day—no reason to believe that I’d brought this upon myself. No, it was just another violent moment in a series of violent moments—so many mornings waking up in the city, the Chicago skyline vibrating in the distance, my knuckles tacky with dried blood, gently running my fingers over my bare skin looking for bruises, indentations, and soggy bandages. In the kitchen, the sound of laughter—my son and wife crisping some bacon, a million miles away. The decapitated squirrel on my front stoop, I stepped right over it, hardly seeing the fuzzy offering, heading out into the snow, boots on, leather coat pulled tight, the bourbon still warm on my tongue, my belly filled with fire. The blue feathers tied into a bouquet, lashed to the wrought iron fence, they fluttered in the wind, and I barely noticed.

Reviews:Publishers Weekly on Publishers Weekly wrote:

STARRED REVIEW. Excerpt: “Thomas breathes fresh air into the genre of dark speculative fiction with a brilliant collection that teems with haunting elements, dark nostalgia for lost love, dysfunctional families, and self-torment. Equally devastating and refreshing, this is a collection to be savored by horror fans and literary readers alike.”

Emily Vinci on Library Journal wrote:

STARRED REVIEW. Excerpt: "Fans of science fiction, horror, and dark fiction will relish immersing themselves in this collection for all its grit, lyricism, and unquestionable profundity."

Kristen Allen-Vogel on Shelf Awareness wrote:

STARRED REVIEW. Shelf Awareness: "This chilling collection of short stories, with plenty of twists and turns, as well as echoes of Lovecraft and Bradbury, probes the dark corners between the horrors humans inflict on each other and those that haunt our nightmares. This volume will please Thomas's existing fans and will surely create new ones."

About the Author

Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of three novels, four short story collections, 165 stories in print, and the editor of four anthologies. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, Thriller, and Audie awards. Visit for more information.