The Lantern Man

Down & Out Books
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Shortly after her brother, Stormy, is convicted of the brutal murder of a classmate, seventeen-year-old Lizzy Greiner is found dead in an abandoned mountain shack, the result of an apparent suicide by fire. Next to Lizzy’s charred body, investigators find several of her journals, safely stored inside a fireproof box. It soon becomes evident that these journals contain a narrative that Lizzy wanted the police to read, the truth that she wanted them to know.

Detective Russ Buchanan is tasked with determining the veracity of her narrative, including Lizzy’s belief and obsession that the mysterious and murderous Lantern Man is haunting the mountains near her family’s house. He interviews family members, teachers, and classmates; he studies her psychologist’s extensive case notes. And he learns that Lizzy isn’t the only one who believes in the Lantern Man. After generations of ghost stories, is it possible that the Lantern Man actually does exist, a real-life boogeyman? Did he have something to do with the murder? Or is he simply a figment of Lizzie’s deluded imagination, an attempt to rationalize her brother’s brutality? The further into the investigation he delves, the more Buchanan questions everything he thought he knew about Lizzy’s death and the murder for which her brother was convicted.

Eschewing a conventional narrative, The Lantern Man is told through newspaper articles, encyclopedia entries, artwork, police interviews and notes, and, most importantly, a dead girl’s journal. While bearing similarities to House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Night Film by Marish Pessl, and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The Lantern Man stands alone in the genre of contemporary mystery/suspense. It is at once a mystery, a family drama, and a ghost story, the type of novel that is sure to keep you flipping pages deep into the night.


The Lantern Man is an extraordinary novel that defies categorization. With shades of Stephen King, Silence of the Lambs, journalism, and author Jon Bassoff’s own groundbreaking vision of how to use the printed page to give readers the best story possible, The Lantern Man is a landmark novel that will make you wonder, marvel, and remember.” —James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor

The Lantern Man is disorienting in the best sense of the word. Jon Bassoff masterfully blurs the lines between genres—no, scratch that, among genres—by creating a hellish hall of competing mirrors, each holding its own twisted version of the truth. The Lantern Man is a true shape-shifter of a novel. It’s one that will remain with readers long after the last page.” —Lynn Kostoff, author of A Choice of Nightmares and Words to Die For

“An engaging and immersive mashup of mystery and horror, Jon Bassoff’s The Lantern Man offers a dizzying world of clues interlacing the disappearances of several girls with the mythology of a local boogeyman. Bassoff weaves a tight and creepy tale through a series of mediums: a girl’s diary, police transcripts, a detective’s notes, newspaper articles, letters, photos, and sketches. The result is an exceptionally creative, compelling, and dark whodunit that will leave its readers, like the Lantern Man himself, hungry for more.” —Carter Wilson, USA Today bestselling author

The Lantern Man is a brilliant—and terrifying—puzzle-box narrative that dares you to keep reading. It's the kind of book that you better cancel any plans you might have before you start.” —Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

“Ever been eyebrows deep in a horrifying investigation? You’re about to be... Part memoir, part case file and completely absorbing, The Lantern Man is a compelling pastiche on the verge of madness.” —Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire mysteries, the basis for the Netflix drama Longmire

“A genre-bending novel—an original, captivating mystery that might pave the way we write crime fiction forever.” —Jax Miller, author of Freedom’s Child 

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Down & Out Books
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Published on
Mar 9, 2020
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Fiction / Crime
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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Frankie Avicious is a hard-luck fellow with a sordid past. Living in a dreary meatpacking town, stuck in a loveless marriage, and spending his days slaughtering cattle, Frankie has nothing to look forward to but his next swallow of bargain whiskey. His wife is threatening to leave him, and the local sociopath is threatening to kill him. And then there’s Scarlett Acres, a stripper with a heart of fool’s gold. Frankie can’t stop thinking about her…

With the encouragement of a mysterious traveling salesman, Frankie sets out to reverse his destiny through a series of bizarre murders. The consequences of his brutality turn out to be far worse than even he could imagine.


“The Disassembled Man is lean and mean—with the emphasis on mean—a true psycho-noir novel that leaves the reader to work out the truth behind events we can only see from the point of view of the protagonist. The twist that comes maybe two thirds of the way through the book ups the stakes even more and those last few pages are a real mindbender. Taken as a whole, The Disassembled Man is a damn fine read; a brilliant and raw example of the Psycho Noir genre.” —Russel D. McLean, Crime Scene Scotland

“For the first third of Jon Bassoff’s beautifully ugly first novel The Disassembled Man, I felt the presence of Jim Thompson. Nothing wrong with that, the tone and feel of Thompson are appropriate to the material. But then Bassoff gets going on his own and you realize that while he uses the same kind of Swiftian tone Thompson did, every nuance of ugliness writ large—I always had the feeling that Thompson used it as comic relief, a kind of fabulism if you will. Laughing past the graveyard that would all too soon claim you. I don’t get that feeling at all with the Bassoff novel. The power of this book, and it has considerable power, is that Bassoff never apologies for his people or their story. An impressive and imposing debut.” —Ed Gorman, Ed’s New Improved Blog

“Jon Bassoff’s The Disassembled Man is one strictly for the purists, the basement crazies, the inmates that are so fucked up that they don’t even know they’re in the asylum—much less able to run the fucking thing. The story of a nasty fucker who only gets more pit-bull-snarling-fucking mean as the story progresses, this shit ain’t for the casual crime fans. No sir, dear readers, The Disassembled Man is for the folks who want their pulp served rare, as in still pumping steaming hot fucking blood. So yeah, you could say I dug the holy fuck out of Jon Bassoff’s debut.” —Peter Dragovich, Book Central Station Review

“Bassoff has written sheer, nasty beautiful prose with this book. The wince factor is high and the characters horridly riveting. The envelope has not just been pushed, but set on fire.” —Jennifer Jordan, Crime Spree Magazine

“The Disassembled Man is remarkable for its ugliness. It’s hard to think of a book with a character as despicable as Frankie Avicious. This Jim Thompson on mescaline story is not for the faint of heart.” —Nathan Cain, Independent Crime

“Jon Bassoff’s novel The Disassembled Man is a wince-inducing front row seat to a soul shredding. It’s so unrelentingly dark, so hopeless and dank, that when the humor rears its fugly head you’ll want to wretch because you laughed. You will hate yourself for those laughs. But you will laugh. Whatever literary tag it’s given, The Disassembled Man is a hell of a statement.” —Jedidiah Ayers, Hardboiled Wonderland

“Bassoff is good, and the things that are at the heart of a good psycho noir—great characters, lurid action and a propellant plot—are all here in abundance.” —John Kenyon, Things I’d Rather be Doing

“Jim Thompson’s psychotic hell brutally collides with Bruce Jay Friedman’s absurdist humor in this shotgun blast of a novel.” —Dave Zeltserman, author of Small Crimes

“Having read quite a number of psycho noirs, I’d have to say this one’s a bit special. Jon Bassoff really nails it.” —Allan Guthrie, author of Slammer

“This is strong stuff, definitely not the kind of thing that you’re going to find from a mainstream publisher. If you have a taste for the off-beat, this might be just what you’re looking for.” —Bill Crider, author of Murder in Four Parts

“Flexer’s gritty, nasty tale in the classic dime-novel tradition moves like a bullet from a Beretta.” —Mike Segretto, author of The Bride of Trash

“The Disassembled Man is the most horrifyingly funny, perverse and shocking crime book I have ever read–and that’s saying something. It pushes way past Jim Thompson territory. It’s also amazingly well-written with characters who are utterly unique. And like the greatest noir books and films, it’s also a razor-sharp commentary on certain unsavory aspects of contemporary society.” —Ethan Goldman, screenwriter of Warner Brothers’ The Breaks 

A mysterious Iraq war veteran with a horribly scarred face…A disturbed young man in a strange mountain town…A masked preacher with a terrible secret…Amidst a firestorm of violence, betrayal and horror, their three worlds will eventually collide in an old mining shack buried deep in the mountains.

Corrosion, the shattering debut novel by Jon Bassoff, is equal parts Jim Thompson, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner, and an unforgettable journey into the underbelly of crime and passion. Drawn from the darkest corners of the human experience, it is sure to haunt readers for years to come.

Praise for CORROSION:

“Bassoff confronts directly the traumatic stress disorder of our world today and tears off its mask, even if the face must follow.” —New York Magazine

“Corrosion is a beautifully bleak noir novel that stretches the boundaries of the genre to its breaking point. A virtuoso performance by the terrific Jon Bassoff.” —Jason Starr, international bestselling author of The Craving

“Like some unholy spawn of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God and Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time, Corrosion offers pungent writing, a cast of irresistibly damaged characters, and a narrative that’s as twisted and audacious as any I have read in a long while. A dark gem.” —Roger Smith, author of Dust Devils

“Sharp, original, fierce, a real gut-ripper. Corrosion is one of the most startlingly original and unsettling novels I’ve read in ages. It ramps your pulse, it claws at your sweet spot. Bassoff has a career ahead of him brightly lit by a very bad star.” —Tom Piccirilli, author of the Edgar Award-nominated novel The Cold Spot

“Imagine Chuck Palahniuk filtered through Tarantino speak, blended with an acidic Jim Thompson and a book that cries out to be filmed by David Lynch, then you have a flavor of Corrosion. The debut novel from the unique Jon Bassoff begins a whole new genre: Corrosive Noir.” —Ken Bruen, Shamus Award-winning author of The Guards

“Jon Bassoff gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Hell on earth’ in his debut novel, Corrosion. It’s a harrowing page-turning tale of lost, misplaced, and mangled identity that barrels its way to breakdowns and showdowns of literal and figurative biblical proportions.” —Lynn Kostoff, author of Late Rain

“Jon Bassoff’s stream of conscious novel sports Faulkner-like as this dark tale is told in first person timelines. It will grip and engage and ultimately leave you shaken to the core. Not for the tenderhearted… not no way, not no how. Corrosion is the tale of a man on a mission from God… or is it the Devil? Dare to find out.” —Charlie Stella, author of Johnny Porno

“Talk about a book starting one way and then springing something on you…[Bassoff’s Corrosion] is dark and funny and sick, a book as much about identity as it is about crime.” —Bill Crider, author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series

“Corrosion is a fever dream, a lucid nightmare. It is at once poetic and brutal; hypnotic and vicious; empathetic and heartless. It is the most effective kind of horror—the kind you believe. Reading it is a deeply uncomfortable experience in the best possible way.” —Marcus Sakey, author of The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

“An archetypal, nightmare journey down a hall of mirrors. Corrosion will burn your eyeballs. Keeps you reading relentlessly to the end.” —Jonathan Woods, author of A Death in Mexico

The year is 1953. Disgraced in the psychiatric hospital where he’d practiced for nearly thirty years, Dr. Walter Freeman has taken to traversing the country and proselyting about a very new kind of salvation: the transorbital lobotomy.

With an ice pick and a hammer, Freeman promises to cure depression and catatonia, delusions and psychosis, with a procedure as simple and safe as curing a toothache.

When he enters the backwater Oklahoma town of Burnwood, however, his own sanity will be tested. Around him swirls a degenerate and delusional cast of characters—a preacher who believes his son to be the Messiah, a demented and violent young prostitute, and a trio of machete-wielding brothers—all weaved into a grotesque narrative that reveals how blind faith in anything can lead to destruction.


“A twisted tour through the asylum that Jon Bassoff calls his mind. The Incurables is filled with the mad and desperate, but ultimately it’s the humanity that Bassoff finds in his broken characters that sets this novel apart. Don’t get me wrong though, The Incurables is certifiably insane—and I mean that in the best possible way.” —Johnny Shaw, Anthony Award-winning author of Big Maria

“Jon Bassoff’s The Incurables practically bleeds off the page with a dark poetry so intense, that you can still feel it after your eyes are closed. It’s the rarest type of novel that won’t only sink its teeth into you, it will leave you relishing the scar.” —Todd Robinson, author of The Hard Bounce

“With influences and homage as wide and varied as The Alcoholics, Cuckoo’s Nest, and ‘Murder in the Red Barn,’ The Incurables oddly and most affectionately invokes Nick Cave—but not Cave the singer, Cave the novelist—with its backwoods preachers, hellbent harlots, and dead-eyed dreamers. Think And the Ass Saw the Angel, only superiorly written, carved by prose that cuts deep. Bassoff’s crooked trip to hell is a powerful rumination on the beauty of the damned.” —Joe Clifford, author of Junkie Love and Lamentation

“The Incurables reads like an unhinged murder ballad. In it, Bassoff’s crafted a violent—and oddly affecting—ode to the outcasts, the downtrodden, the broken, the grotesque, and the misunderstood.” —Chris Holm, author of The Big Reap

“The Incurables is terse, sparse and brutal, yet strangely touching at times. Another winner from the Bassoff pen.” —William Meikle, author of The Hole

“Imagine One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as re-written by Elmore Leonard. A mesmerizing novel.” —Ken Bruen, Shamus Award-winning author of The Guards 

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