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The Saturday Night Ghost Club
Cover of The Saturday Night Ghost Club
The Saturday Night Ghost Club
A Novel
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE: An infectious and heartbreaking novel from "one of this country's great kinetic writers" (Globe and Mail)—Craig Davidson's first new...
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE: An infectious and heartbreaking novel from "one of this country's great kinetic writers" (Globe and Mail)—Craig Davidson's first new...
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  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE: An infectious and heartbreaking novel from "one of this country's great kinetic writers" (Globe and Mail)—Craig Davidson's first new literary fiction since his bestselling, Giller-shortlisted Cataract City
    When neurosurgeon Jake Baker operates, he knows he's handling more than a patient's delicate brain tissue—he's altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows well, can be a tricky thing.
    When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls, a.k.a. Cataract City—a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place—one of Jake's closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the "Saturday Night Ghost Club"—a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City's more macabre urban myths. Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake not only fell in love and began to imagine his future, he slowly, painfully came to realize that his uncle's preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.
    By turns heartwarming and devastating, written with the skill and cinematic immediacy that has made Craig Davidson a star, The Saturday Night Ghost Club is a bravura performance from one of our most remarkable literary talents: a note-perfect novel that poignantly examines the fragility and resilience of mind, body and human spirit, as well as the haunting mutability of memory and story.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover As a boy, I believed in monsters.

    I was convinced that if I said "Bloody Mary" in front of a mirror, a hideous witch-woman would reach through the glass with nails sharp as splinters. I considered it a fact that the Devil lingered at shad­owy crossroads and went to dance halls in disguise, where he'd ask the prettiest girl to dance and reel her across the floor while spectators stood terror-stricken at the sight of the Devil's goatish shanks, until the girl fainted dead away and the Unclean One vanished in a puff of brimstone.

    There was no falsehood I wouldn't swallow, no quilt of lies you couldn't drape over my all-too-gullible shoulders. But for a boy like me—chubby, freckled, awkward; growing up in a city where the erection of a new Kmart occasioned our mayor to announce, "This marks a wondrous new chapter in our town's history"—imagination was my greatest asset. Not to mention my defence against a foe worse than the most fearsome monster: loneliness.

    My ally against that foe was my uncle Calvin. If I told him there was a bottomless pit in my basement, he'd say, "Tell me, Jake, is the air denser around the mouth of the pit than in other areas of the basement?" Cocking an eyebrow: "Do ominous growling sounds emanate from this pit of yours?"

    Uncle C was the ideal nursemaid for my paranoid fantasies. His knowledge of urban legends and folk­lore was encyclopedic—with the added bonus that he seemed to consider most of it true.
    "Hey," he'd say, "did you know there are crocodiles living in the sewers of our fair city? The poor suckers get smuggled up from Florida by dumb tourists. Sure, they're cute as a bug's ear when they're six inches long.

    But when they grow up and get nippy? Ba-whooosh, down the porcelain mistake eraser. They get fat 'n' sassy down there in the pipes, where there's plenty to eat if you're not choosy. Every year a couple of sanita­tion department workers get gobbled up by sewer crocs. The press bottles it up, unscrupulous snakes that they are, but it's a fact you can set your watch to."

    Uncle C would fiddle with the beads of his brace­let—each an ornate pewter Cthulhu head, mouths and eye sockets sprouting tentacles—and offer a wistful sigh. "And that, Jake, is why owning a pet is a big responsibility."

    Once, when I was six or seven, I became convinced a monster lived in my closet. I told my dad, who did what 99 percent of adults do when their child makes this claim: he flung my closet door open, rattled coat hangers and shoved shoeboxes aside, making a Broadway production of it. "See? No monsters, Jake."

    But monsters make themselves scarce when adults are around, only to slither back after dark. Every kid knew this to be an unshakable fact.

    Uncle C arrived for dinner that night, as usual— Mom invited him every Sunday. He got an inkling of my worry as I sat picking at my Salisbury steak.

    "What's the matter, hombre?"

    "We have an unwanted visitor in a closet, appar­ently," Mom informed him.

    "But we've established that there's no monster," my father said. "Right, buddy?"

    "Ah," said Uncle C. "I have some expertise in this area. Sam, with your permission?"

    Mom turned to my father and said, "Sam," in the tone of voice you'd use to calm a jittery horse.

    "Of course, Cal, as you like," my father said.

    My uncle pedalled home to his house, returning ten minutes later with a tool box. Once we were in my bed­room he motioned to the closet. "I take it this is its lair?"

    I nodded.

    "Closets are a favourite haunt of monsters," my uncle explained....

About the Author-

  • Craig Davidson
    Craig Davidson was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. He has published four books of literary fiction, including Rust and Bone, which was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film of the same name, and Cataract City, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Trillium Book Prize, was a national bestseller, and has been optioned for film. Davidson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his articles have been widely published across North America. He has also published a number of thrillers and horror novels under the pseudonym Nick Cutter. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and child. The author lives in Toronto, ON.
    Corey Brill
    A veteran of more than 30 narrations, actor Corey Brill has found a home in today's audiobook landscape. Corey resides in Los Angeles and has performed on Broadway, at The Kennedy Center, and in regional theaters across the country. He has appeared on television in The Walking Dead, Chicago PD, Scorpion, and You're the Worst. Some of his book narration credits include: "The Troop," "The Deep," "Little Heaven," (all by Nick Cutter) "Find You in the Dark," (Nathan Ripley) and "The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (Ken Liu). A graduate of Otterbein College and University of CA, San Diego, Corey also writes songs and keeps bees on a rooftop in Downtown LA.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 20, 2019
    Davidson’s well-crafted, whimsical coming-of-age tale (after Cataract City) follows a fateful summer in the ’80s. Twelve-year-old Jake Baker navigates between being bullied and exploring mysticism in his Niagara Falls hometown. The sleepy town is stagnant aside from tourists, and impressionable Jake doesn’t have many prospects for the summer aside from visiting the occult shop owned by his Uncle Calvin, who believes in the spirit world. Calvin encourages friendship between his nephew and new residents Billy Yellowbird and his sister, Dove, and invites them to a ghost hunting club. Jake is smitten by Dove, who, at 14, flits in and out of the club, while Jake and Billy raptly follow Calvin and his friend, Lexington, a devotee to Betamax, on weekend exploits. The meetings kick off with Calvin telling the tragic story behind each of the ghostly places they visit before they investigate the areas. Their group visits “The Screaming Tunnel,” a car accident site, the charred remains of a house, and a graveyard. Over the course of the summer, the hidden connection behind the locations reveals itself to Jake. Davidson creates a quirky landscape and colorful characters, resulting in a novel that will entertain readers while providing a nice dose of nostalgia. Agent: Kirby Kim, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

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