{Graveyard Shift} Kathleen Kaufman, Author Of The Diabhal Trilogy, Is This Week’s Warden

You are invited to look after the Kendall Reviews Cemetary, and to choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.

As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.

You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.

If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to gavin@kendallreviews.com

A new shift is about to begin. The warden for the week’s #GraveyardShift is…

Kathleen Kaufman

Ten years after the city of Los Angeles is nearly destroyed by a violent domestic terrorist attack, Esther Robertson struggles to reconcile her father’s culpability as leader of the deadly Son of Abraham cult. She grants CBS’s top reporter, Cooper Carlson, a rare interview and insight into her father, Alan Robertson, who sits awaiting trial for his crimes in federal prison.

A report of a horrific and seemingly natural disaster interrupts the interview. Another will follow and another after that. Are these increasingly violent and bizarre phenoms truly natural, or is there another force behind them?

In the epic conclusion of the story of the Society at Sinder Avenue, the end times–put into motion by a demonic deal made generations ago–are finally unfolding. Destruction, famine, war, and pestilence reign. But is it God who comes to answer the prayers of the suffering and dying world, or is it Ceit Robertson, the ascended matriarch of the Society, Goddess of the Dead, and Ruler of the Night Forest? Will they offer salvation or Armageddon?

You can buy The Son Of Abraham direct from the Turner Bookstore HERE

I’ve worked a few graveyard shifts in my time, albeit not in actual graveyards, nevertheless, I feel as though I would be a natural at this. My book selections range from subtly creepy to fantastically disturbing, but all are those that stayed put in my brain long after the first read.


We Have Always Lived in the Castle By Shirley Jackson

“…I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had.”

Shirley Jackson doesn’t just nail an opening, she smacks you over the head with it, and leaves you reeling all the way through the work. Castle is part psychological horror, park mystery, part character study. I have read this multiple times, taught it for my literature course at Santa Monica College, and I always find something different in it on every take, a nuance, a mention, a detail I overlooked before.

The Neverending Story By Michael Ende

The children’s story that is not just for children. This book marks a formative part of my younger self, I read this book cover to cover over and over and over again. It is easily my biggest influence for my first novel, Lairdbalor. The idea that our stories and nightmares all live in a world just a couple of dimensions over was terrifying and fascinating. It validated every odd thought and sense that maybe I wasn’t just imagining things.

The Graveyard Apartment By Mariko Koike

I imagine the atmosphere, the tone, the overall unsettling creepiness of this novel is even more effective in its original Japanese. This book scared the socks off me and I’m not an easy scare. A haunted apartment building and a family trapped, alone and with no hope of salvation. It gets under your skin with its detail, I felt the desperation of the family as sink further and further into the curse that is destroying their home.

Spleen By Olive Moore

This gem comes to us from the 1930’s, and challenges the assumptions then and now of what women are supposed to feel and be, the idea that all women have a maternal and caregiving nature, that motherhood is a natural state for all women. Ruth longs for her unborn child to be ‘new and rare’, the only way she can reconcile her utter lack of maternal feelings is that maybe, just maybe, her child will be something not of this world, something extraordinary and she will not just be another mother to another baby. Her wish comes true, but with devastating results.

Hell House By Richard Matheson

The classic haunted house setup gives stage to some of the most disturbing and terrifying storytelling out there. The ghosts that haunt Hell House range from the sadly despondent to the violently demonic. This book plays into our darkest fears about human nature as well as our paranoia about things unseen.

Oryx and Crake By Margaret Atwood

So this strays from dark horror and fantasy…maybe… not really. A future world in which genetic altering of food and crops has run rampant. Genetically designed humans, and technology that supersedes our waking mind puts everything we know out of balance. In her usual way, Margaret Atwood is part prophet, part storyteller in book 1 of the Maddadam trilogy. Easily my favorite trilogy out there, this speaks to a future that is not that far out of reach.

Wild Seed By Octavia Butler

Time traveling, shape-shifting super creatures that walk among us, and can replicate anyone they choose. This story lives in science fiction as much as horror as the ugliness of mankind is exposed over and over and over as Doro and Anyanwu spar over the course of eons. I never wanted this book to end, and luckily it’s part of Octavia Butler’s Patternist series, so there are many more stories to follow after this book.

The Sundial By Shirley Jackson

Young Mrs. Halloran, looking after her mother-in-law, said without hope, ‘Maybe she will drop dead on the doorstep. Fancy, dear, would you like to see Granny drop dead on the doorstep?’”

The story of the end of the world, maybe, and how the imminence of this supposed end unravels one already entirely dysfunctional family. Brilliant character study and brutal honesty make this book darkly humorous as well as unsettling. I loved every bit of this, it is a study how end of the world stories ought to work – the character-based focus makes the impending disaster personal, terrifying, and probable.


Passionate Kiss: Daniel Pollack

The entire album is classical pianist Daniel Pollack’s Passionate Kiss – a collection of classical pieces ranging from Beethoven, to Rachmaninoff, to Brahms.

The one song in particular that I would claim for my graveyard shift is Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minor. In my twenties, I was a stage manager, and had the honor of overseeing a one-act play festival in Denver, Colorado. One of the showcase pieces was a one-act written around Rachmaninoff’s Prelude, it told the story of a man hanging from a gibbet, having been executed for a crime he didn’t commit. Ever since, that piece of music cuts right down to my gut every time.

This is my writing album, I listen to it on loop when I write, or just need to concentrate.

Luxury Item

A really good pillow. A recent stay in the hospital taught me truly the value of having a really awesome pillow handy, especially if one is planning to sit in a graveyard for long periods of time at odd hours.

Kathleen Kaufman

Kathleen Kaufman’s prose has been praised by Kirkus Reviews as “crisp, elegant” and “genuinely chilling” by Booklist. She is the author of the Diabhal trilogy, featuring Diabhal and Sinder, with The Son of Abraham being the third and final installment. Her novel The Lairdbalor will soon be a feature film with Screen Australia and director Nicholas Verso. She is also the author of acclaimed historical horror Hag and sci-fi thriller The Tree Museum. When not writing, she can be found teaching literature and composition at Santa Monica College or hanging out with a good book. Kathleen Kaufman is a native Coloradan and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, hound, and a pack of cats.

You can follow Kathleen on Twitter @kathleenkaufman

Find out more about Kathleen by visiting her official website www.kathleenkaufman.com

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