“Black Mountain” (Putnam), by Laird Barron
Like a lyricist, Laird Barron excels at manipulating the tones and cadence of language. Like a Gothic novelist, the mood he creates is often bleak.
“You don’t teach a child to become a killer by rote lectures,” he writes. “To create a predatory machine, you foster an appreciation of the natural world and our minuteness upon its canvass… We are as nothing and that permits us to do anything.”
It comes as no surprise, then, that Barron wrote both poetry and horror before turning to crime fiction with “Blood Standard (2018),” a novel that introduced former mob enforcer Isaiah Coleridge. At the start of that violent book, Coleridge appeared to be such