Not many people have heard of T.M. Wright. He floats quietly in the horror genre like one of the ghosts in his stories. Ramsey Campell called him a “one-man definition of quiet horror”. No slashers. No blood, guts, and gore. Just spooky. His characters are humans, just not in an ordinary way. They’re lonely, confused, and don’t quite belong. He makes you care about them though.
Wright’s first book was The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Flying Saucers in 1968. It’s about real-life UFO sightings. His first horror novel, Strange Seed, was published in 1978. In Danse Macabre, Stephen King selected it as one of his Top 100 books, and Dean Koontz said the Wright has a “unique imagination”.
The book I most recommend reading is A Manhattan Ghost Story. It’s such a different kind of ghost story. The main character is a man named Abner Cray, and he can see ghosts. But they aren’t The Sixth Sense kind of ghosts. They’re people, and they’re sort of stuck in their real-life/ghost existence. And they don’t know that they’re dead, they just feel lost. Abner falls in love with a woman in his building…but she’s a ghost.
n this story, people pass ghosts every day and just don’t know it. In the book, Abner says you need “a very good eye indeed to tell the difference”. The ghosts carry on as if they were alive, but something isn’t right. They exist in a sort of time loop that they don’t understand. They do each eventually figure it out, and things happen from there. It gave me the chills, and I hope it will for you too. A Manhattan Ghost Story is the first book in a trilogy about Abner Cray.
Then there’s Strange Seed, another first of a series. This I haven’t read and the reviews are mixed, but from what I’ve seen, the rest of the series makes up for it. A married couple moves into an isolated house near the woods. The husband’s mood becomes darker each day and he gets very quiet. His wife has no idea why, but the woods near her house make her very uneasy. She finds out that there are abandoned children living in the woods, but something’s not right about them either.
His books are more of what I’d call emotional horror. Wright uses fear, grief, and loneliness to create his monsters. They’re surreal and creepy. You’ll think about his books after you close them. You won’t be looking for monsters under your bed, but you will be scared. You just won’t really be sure of what.
Click here for a list of T.M. Wright’s books.