Pressure (2006)
A novel by Jeff Strand

Introduction by Michael Prescott

Afterword by Jeff Strand

Art by Eric Dinyer



SYNOPSIS: Alex stared at the red pocketknife shown to him by his daughter. A pocketknife owned by somebody he hadn't seen in years …

CHILDREN

They met first in boarding school at age twelve. Alex Fletcher, shy and scared. Darren Rust, always furiously scribbling away in a private journal. It was not an immediate friendship, but then one night Darren convinced his roommate to sneak off school grounds to see something glorious. There was a sleazy strip club, you see, and every once in a while the back door opened just long enough to maybe catch a quick glimpse …

Though a bond was formed from their pre-pubescent interest in naked women, Darren had another interest. A morbid curiosity about death. A curiosity that turned into something much more sinister.

FRIENDS

They crossed paths again in college and became the best of friends. But Darren wasn't just looking for a friend. He had dark, ghastly urges squirming around in his head, and he believed he saw the same things—the urge to hurt, the urge to kill—in Alex. He was looking for somebody who understood. A partner.

But Alex could never become a monster. Not even when Darren tried to bring out his friend's most deeply buried feelings of rage. Not even when Darren tried to show him the euphoria of having that much power over another human being. It just couldn't happen … right?

ENEMIES

Now Alex has a wife and a daughter. And Darren is back. He's hiding. He's patient. His mind is twisted in the worst possible way.

And he's seeking a soul mate.

PRESSURE is a defining moment in Jeff Strand's career as an author, and an unforgettable psychological thriller you do not want to miss.

 

Read the prologue of PRESSURE for free!

 

PRESSURE features a Foreword by New York Times bestselling author Michael Prescott and an Afterword by Jeff Strand. Dustjacket art and interior illustrations by Eric Dinyer.

PRESSURE is available in the following editions:

Trade hardcover (not signed) $25
150 numbered hardcovers, bound in cloth with higher quality endpapers than in the trade hardcover, and signed by Jeff Strand and Michael Prescott on a special limitation sheet $50
SOLD OUT
26 lettered, traycased hardcovers, books and traycases will be hand made with the finest materials (e.g., leather, Japanese cloth, hand made Japanese paper, and/or French marbled paper), signed by Jeff Strand, Michael Prescott, and the artist, Eric Dinyer, on a special limitation sheet $375

SPECIAL DEAL: Customers who buy a numbered edition can get a trade edition for $20 ($5 off); customers who buy a lettered edition can get a numbered edition for $40 ($10 off) and a trade edition for $20 ($5 off).

 

 

"A bloody joyride."
—RUE MORGUE

"Marvelously creepy reading...the horror in this tale of twisted friendship is relentless."
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"An outstanding novel of nail-biting tension. Strand's debut in the genre of suspense is about as top notch as it gets."
—INSIDIOUS REFLECTIONS

"Nail-biting, non-stop suspense seldom seen in the small (or large for that matter) press. This one forced my heart into my throat for more than half of it! I can’t say enough good things about PRESSURE, a novel that you’ll find very difficult to put down. Jeff Strand has left an unforgettable mark here; you’ll be thinking about this one for days."
—THE HORROR FICTION REVIEW

"A tight running noose of a nightmare, 237 pages of excruciating tourniquet-taut tension. The characters are believable and the action compelling. PRESSURE catches you by the throat and won't let go."
—HELLNOTES

"PRESSURE is one of the best-written thrillers in recent memory. It doesn't rely on ancient codes or terrorist threats for its intrigue. Instead, Strand captivates us by pitting one good man — a regular guy — against a human monster. PRESSURE is a novel that demands to be read in one sitting, followed by staying up all night, listening for any unusual sounds outside."
—Horror World

"PRESSURE is a masterpiece. The pressure of the book's title is the pressure the reader feels, knowing the entire time that all the happiness and good things that happen to Alex [the protagonist] are only fleeting. The ferocity with which these things are taken away from him is the only variable in question, which is what will keep the reader on edge for the entire novel. It's all made somewhat tolerable, so the strain isn't quite enough to kill you, because Jeff Strand also has a fantastic ability to make light of the situation. As a character, Alex is a bit of a smartass, [and releases] just enough pressure to keep you moving forward. I think without this perfectly timed humor, this book might be too oppressive for some readers. You do not want to miss this book under any circumstances. 5 out of 5 Mugs O'Blood."
—The Horror Channel

"PRESSURE is a deeply unsettling psychological thriller that probes the darkest recesses of the mind — as expressed in the disturbing relationship between two childhood friends who grow up to be more than enemies.... Relentless, gripping, and frightening. An outstanding novel, impossible to put down."
—Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling co-author of RELIC and DANCE OF DEATH

"Jeff Strand's PRESSURE is an ominous, disturbing study of two lives closely interwoven from childhood onward in an elaborate tapestry of vengeance, paranoia, and death. A chilling, flesh-crawling experience. I read it in one sitting and haven't been the same since!"
—Michael Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of MORTAL FAULTS

"Jeff Strand's PRESSURE is a remarkable book. As I read it, I kept thinking ... 'Oh no. You're not going there!' ... but he did — and then some! A frightening mix of TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS meets LORD OF THE FLIES, this is a great story all the more remarkable because of the light it shines into the darkest corners of the human psyche and soul. I highly recommend this book."
—Rick Hautala, author of OCCASIONAL DEMONS and FOUR OCTOBERS

"Brilliant, unflinching, and unforgettable. PRESSURE will blow you away."
—J.A. Konrath, bestselling author of RUSTY NAIL

"This dark and mesmerizing novel left me shaking. From its amazing opening line to its nerve-wracking final chapters, PRESSURE is a raw nerve, an open-wound of a narrative wherein Strand deals with some of the bleakest and most disturbing aspects of the human psyche. One of the richest, most compelling, and memorable novels I've read in the past 5 years."
—Gary A. Braunbeck, Stoker Award-winning author of PRODIGAL BLUES

"Harrowing, disturbing...Jeff Strand's PRESSURE is the closest I've come to having a nightmare with my eyes still open. If Brett Easton Ellis had written CAPE FEAR, you might approach the primal suspense of Strand's lean and mean novel. A crackling, buzzing hornet's nest of psychological terror spanning two decades in the lives of two extremely dysfunctional friends. I could not put this one down. Highly recommended."
—Jay Bonansinga, bestselling author of TWISTED, FROZEN, and THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND

"I believe Jeff Strand channeled the ghost of Richard Laymon for this one. I know for sure he would have loved it."
—Jack Ketchum, author of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

"Jeff Strand continues to amaze me. Every time I decide his writing can't get any better, he pulls another story out of his hat and proves me wrong. From the first time I read him his blend of wit and brutality have caught my attention and kept it. With PRESSURE, Stand turns down the humor and ups the suspense to lethal levels. Electrifying and intense, disturbing and even a touch nostalgic, PRESSURE is the sort of book one should savor. Just remember to check the doors when you're reading. Unexpected noises could be hazardous to your health. Simply put, PRESSURE is a masterpiece."
—James A. Moore, author of BLOOD RED and SERENITY FALLS

"PRESSURE is superb. I read it over a feverish twenty-four hours, snatching it up whenever I got the chance in order to devour just those few pages more. On this evidence, Strand should be up there with the likes of Joe Lansdale. His characters are achingly, touchingly real, his dialogue laugh-out-loud witty and his horror almost impenetrably black."
—Mark Morris, author of THE IMMACULATE

"Jeff Strand is an excellent writer and PRESSURE is an elegant, dazzling showcase for his talents, clever and funny and dreadfully cruel. I loved it."
—Christopher Golden, bestselling author of WILDWOOD ROAD and THE MYTH HUNTERS

"PRESSURE showcases Jeff Strand is at his best—a terror-filled roller coaster ride that doesn't let up until the final pages. Strand redefines what horror is all about!"
—Steve Gerlach, author of RAGE, LAKE MOUNTAIN, and LOVE LIES DYING

"PRESSURE is a well-written coming-of-age tale, with a wicked twist that will leave the reader turning the pages well into the night. Despite its atypical start, readers will soon come to realize that author Jeff Strand is about to reveal to them a darker side of life, both in childhood and adulthood, that we as human beings fail to recognize, and rightly so. There are sicknesses felt and experienced here that will affect the reader for days to come."
—Michael Laimo, author of THE DEMONOLOGIST and DEEP IN THE DARKNESS

"In PRESSURE, Jeff Strand writes with an enviable deftness whether he's depicting the perils of childhood or the agonies of adulthood. Be glad you're not in his narrative crosshairs."
—Matthew Warner, author of THE ORGAN DONOR

"Strand gets serious and follows the antagonistic (to say the least) friendship of two boarding-schoolmates throughout their lives. The characters are fully-drawn with strengths and flaws on both sides. With the right marketing, this could be a mainstream best-seller—it's that good and that accessible to the general reader."
—Craig Clarke, Craig's Book Club

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff Strand is best known as the creator of Andrew Mayhem, the hero of such thriller/comedies as GRAVEROBBERS WANTED (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY), SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME, and CASKET FOR SALE (ONLY USED ONCE). He has also written novels about giant killer ants, dead princesses, and sketch comedy troupes, although PRESSURE contains none of these elements. He is very pleased to be a published novelist because it means that his degree in Creative Writing wasn't a total waste (although it was close). He lives in Tampa, Florida, because it's warm.

 


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