Review: Secrets of the Weird by Chad Stroup

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record in praising Grey Matter Press for their recent efforts, but they just keep hitting balls out of the park. Talent should never be overlooked, and that’s exactly what author Chad Stroup brings to the table with this stunning, dynamic, and engrossing debut.

A fine example of body horror, Secrets of the Weird hits some serious pressure points: cannibalism, mutilation, modification, mutation. But I find the term a bit reductive in this case, minimizing the psychological dimension of the text – which is brilliantly developed.

What could be more frightening than being born in the wrong body? To be held captive in an alien frame? We live this horror through our protagonist, Trixie – a sensitive, beautiful transgender woman, longing for transformation, completion.

With a diverse cast of unique characters, Stroup populates an artfully realized community with a skill akin to that of Stephen King. It was as though I took a stroll through Sweetville myself – and man, I came out feeling weird. Renewed. Or rather: transformed. And that is, after all, the best response an honest writer can hope for.

This is the right book at the right time considering the current social and political climate. May it serve to broaden some minds.


Review Written by W.J. Renehan

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