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Sometimes We're Cruel  and Other Stories

The Debut Collection from J.A.W. McCarthy

out now from
Cemetery Gates Media

A town where people go missing and inexplicably return as cruel versions of themselves.

A not-quite-human mother races against time to build a new body for her ailing daughter.

Lovesick ghosts inhabit the body parts of living people in a world where the only other choice is amputation.

A woman takes extreme measures to combat the repercussions of a childhood hazing ritual gone wrong.

Obsession. Selfishness. Cruelty. Doppelgängers. In these dark, speculative stories—six reprints and six never before published, including the novelette “Girls Tied to Trees”—J.A.W. McCarthy explores how far humans and the not-quite-human will go to tame the darkness in their world and within themselves.

“A horror revelation, Sometimes We’re Cruel is part fantastical body horror, part meticulous dissection of the soul. Bodies are shared, reshaped, escaped, leaving us with a residue of dread. Easy to tell from early on that this merciless book is something special. At the crossroads of Gwendolyn Kiste and David Cronenberg, J.A.W. McCarthy will haunt you.”

Hailey Piper, author of Queen of Teeth

“Written with the painstaking finesse of a master wordsmith, McCarthy’s collection Sometimes We’re Cruel firmly cements her as one of the finest storytellers of modern dark fiction.”

Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

“There’s a peculiar darkness to Jen’s writing which immediately draws me in. Like those peripheral entities you can’t ever quite see—Sometimes We’re Cruel is like having coffee with one of those. Like hearing something we’re not meant to be privy to from an unflinching orator.” 

Scott J. Moses, author of Non-Practicing Cultist

“Sometimes We’re Cruel by J.A.W. McCarthy is a delightfully peculiar and deliciously dark collection that had me reminiscing about the very best of du Maurier, Jackson and Carter. This unique and devastating collection will wreck you if you let it!” 

Ross Jeffery, Bram Stoker Nominated author of Tome 

“Don’t be lulled by the achingly gorgeous and evocative language in these stories, for beneath the dark, still surface of McCarthy’s debut collection lie nightmares reaching to pull you under. Each story made me catch my breath, at the raw emotion, the deep sense of dread, and the beauty of the prose. I absolutely loved Sometimes We’re Cruel.” 

Laurel Hightower, author of Crossroads and Whispers In The Dark 

Table of Contents

Foreword by Michael Wehunt

Sometimes We're Cruel

You Do What You're Told

With You As My Anchor

Black Doves

Those Who Made Us

The Flame That Takes

You Are The Arm

Exactly As We Are Meant To Be

When Your Ghost Comes In

Contrition (1998)

Something All The Little Girls Want

Girls Tied To Trees