I've been reading genre fiction for a long time. I always like to watch a writer develop his or her skills. Most start off with modest talent, then gradually segue into something greater. There are exception, however. Debut publications that stun audiences. I'm talking about books like Dan Simmons' Song of Kali. Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls. Norman Partridge's Slippin' Into Darkness. Jay Bonansinga's The Black Maria. Nancy A. Collins' Sunglasses After Dark.

I have no trouble whatsoever putting Norman Prentiss on that list, with his amazing debut, Invisible Fences.

I had previously read some stories by Norman and I liked them. They were good and I noted him as a writer to watch. Invisible Fences, the first-ever book publication from Prentiss, already shows the fulfillment of that early promise.

Invisible Fences is that elusive literary form, the novella. Unless you're Stephen King or some other superstar, the novella is a tough sell. But thanks to Cemetery Dance and other small presses, it has become possible for us to read them. And I've always felt that the novella is the perfect length for horror. Long enough to fully establish character and mood, but brief enough to easily read in one setting.

Norman Prentiss is a multi-faceted writer and Invisible Fences is a multi-faceted work of fiction. Part nostalgic coming of age saga, part ghost story, part psychological puzzle, part metaphorical fantasy. Add it up to 100% originality and sheer reading entertainment.

The novella begins with a typical child growing up in 1960's Baltimore. His life is shattered by tragedy and his psyche is locked in by it and by the cautionary tales that his father tells him...a paternal form of a pet's invisible fence confinement. A barrier that is there, to be sure, but impossible to see with the naked eye. And as such it is all the more impenetrable. How can you overcome what you can't even see?

Invisible Fences is due for publication by Cemetery Dance in late Fall or early Winter 2008. I sincerely believe that it will be one of the most talked about--and critically praised--books in the horror field.

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