Book Response: "The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt

Book Response: "The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt

"The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt

Other Books I Enjoyed by This Author: ​Greener Pastures, Everything Is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here, The Tired Sounds, A Wake

Release Date: June 20th, 2023

BISAC Categories: Horror - General Occult & Supernatural

Sub-Genre/Themes: Weird, speculative, bleak, haunting, disturbing, death and dying, relationships, paranormal phenomena, psychological, anxiety, dread, family dynamics & drama, marriage, supernatural occurrences, human monsters, science fiction, love & kindness

Writing Style: lyrical, melancholy, atmospheric, unexpected, emotional

What You Need to Know: This book is fully illustrated by the legendary illustrator of creepy ghouls and monsters, Trevor Henderson. A menacing enhancement to the already gloomy and goosebump-inducing subject matter of the stories themselves. It’s exciting to look forward to turning the page to experience the next horrific vision. I recommend not flipping ahead to look at all of them, but rather savoring each one as they come up in their designated place between the pages. I also recommend reading the stories in order. You know how some albums tell a complete story if you listen to each track one right after the other–no skips? The Inconsolables is an album you listen to all the way through–the songs are best enjoyed in order.

My Reading Experience

"Vampire Fiction"

Now an adult, Fulton thinks back on how he used to imagine vampires in his everyday life. A strangely comforting habit of squeezing his eyes shut to conjure the presence of a vampire. This habit helped him process the painful emotions after the death of his brother. When Fulton’s wife grows distant and their marriage cools, he turns back to vampires.

This story is a great opener to the collection and a little love letter to horror fans. An homage to vampire fiction; the evolution of bloodsucking lore from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. It’s also a nod to Wehunt’s horror fiction colleagues…you’ll see. I marveled at the way Wehunt can turn a phrase. I read certain sentences over and over because of the deliberate and interesting word choices. It was so good to be back in a Wehunt collection of short stories after loving Greener Pastures so much.

The trees in the neighborhood began to turn the vivid colors of death. The weather began to lose its warm blood.


isn’t it strange how a sentence in a book can reach out through the page and grab your heart? Claudette is an elderly woman in a facility, looking out the window when she notices some strange activity going on outside in the alleyway. She reflects on how she came to the senior apartments.

The narrative reads, ...her daughter put a shockingly small portion of her mother’s life in boxes…

I immediately thought of my grandmother’s little assisted living apartment and how so little of the contents of her house were represented in it. Almost like a hotel room but with a few recognizable things from the past. Wehunt is so good at those small details.

Later, Claudette ...struggled up from the chair and shuffled toward the bed where her pain pills were, her bones full of gravity.

Her bones full of gravity.

A story full of little details.

"Caring For A Stray Dog (Metaphors)"

Big hug for this one. Deep breath. I feel like a little trigger warning is in order. If your family or a family you know has been impacted by a school shooting, this might be a difficult story to read. If you’ve lost a child or a loved one recently, this could be a difficult read.

I find that the horrors of living in this world are, sometimes, too big for me to handle, emotionally. A story like this one helps me process my feelings in a way that feels gentle and soothing. Horror is cathartic for me.

I had tears in my eyes while I read; blinking a lot to keep the words from blurring. We all know that despair can come for us at any time. It’s not the fear of the unknown I worry about, it’s the fear of what I do know…that grief could come and swallow me up whole. That I could lose a loved one and in the wake of that kind of devastation, I could lose everything. This story unlocked that drawer of my heart I keep shut.

He and his wife, the inconsolable, grasping ahead in their separate throes of worship.

"The Pine Arch Collection"

Listen. The first time I read this story, I did this involuntary thing with my eyes where I would lightly skim over certain details. Because they were scary. This time, the second time, to refresh my memory for this review, I read every word and I am not okay. What is it about documentary-style horror? Found footage?

And Wehunt is the best there is at this. From Greener Pastures, the story, "October Film Haunt: Under The House" ties into this one and it doesn’t stop there, because as per a recent announcement, a new novel called, The October Film Haunt—pitched as Scream meets Hereditary—is coming from St. Martin's press. Haunt is about a cult film shrouded in urban legend, a fan group's viral post about the movie that results in the gruesome death of a teenager, and a disgraced single mother's attempts to make amends and rebuild her life a decade later, until a mysterious VHS tape appears in her mailbox, hinting at a sequel that threatens everything. I can’t wait for Wehunt's debut novel! Maybe we’ll get a creepy movie out of this too.

"The Tired Sounds. A Wake"

So, I have a fun story about this story. Originally, this was ‘sold separately’ from Dim Shores in a very limited run of 200 copies. I managed to get my hands on one (thanks, Michael) and when I posted it on #bookstagram, it created a bit of a fuss. Everybody wanted it. Re-reading my review, I feel I need to share this part because it still holds true and is even more relevant now after reading so much more of Wehunt’s work,

I read one description in here about grapefruit with my mouth gaped open like a big, stupid fish because how did he *do* that?? How did he find the exact thing to say about grapefruit? Like he crawled into my head and extracted some random thought I had like several years ago...about GRAPEFRUIT. I don't know. As I said, this writing is oddly personal.

"A Heart Arrhythmia Creeping Into A Dark Room"

This story is even more meta now: He even re-printed it in his second collection, The Inconsolables…

I love when the author can break down that wall between us and have some fun with it.

How will my monster fit into this world? I must assemble it, give it sinews and lungs, and something like its own heart, and it will give me a story.

"The Teeth of America"

First, the illustration. It’s safe to say, Trevor Henderson has a finger on the pulse of our fears. Second, This story. This all too real, modern, folk horror story.

The Teeth of America Cult.

Without getting too far off into the weeds of my own, personal relationship with the subject matter of this story, let me just say there were moments in the last few years when I felt the most scared in my life. Wehunt unpacks it all.

I saw it everywhere. It clouded the air. It tasted like an ignored power. The hate flowing from mouths, breaking the hearts and even the minds of those who wanted the truth to be truth and kindness to be kindness.

This is a new demonology. These are the teeth of America.


Like a living horror story with no end.

"It Takes Slow Sips"

Here’s a tip: If you get any hand-delivered mail from Pine Arch Research, do NOT engage. Maybe go through the spam folder of your email account and look for anything from pinedemon@z.z. if you see something, delete it. Do NOT engage.

"Is There Human Kindness Still In The World?"

This story is about love. An absorbing kind of love between two people and how inside that intimate space they have created together, there is a shared hope for the future; promises. But sometimes, our circumstances don’t support the plans we’ve made and everything changes.

Jessie’s story of transformation after the death of Rob, after the death of their future together, made my heart ache. Wehunt’s storytelling is pitch-perfect here. Through the careful arrangement of words on a page, I was drawn into a relationship with Jessie. I’m sharing in her grief, her pain and suffering, and all the fear. Me. Personally. I’m there with her through everything. When she visits a rest stop and encounters a man who wants to do bad things to her, he grabs her wrist and it’s me that gasps. Jessie is the one caught off guard as she exits the restroom, but it’s me behind the page going through it with her. I honestly don’t know how to describe it. This particular reading experience was unlike the others.

I don’t know how writers do it.

Writing a story that so many different people will read, a huge audience, right? But somehow cause each reader to feel like they are the first. They are the target audience.

"Is There Human Kindness Still in The World" is a strangely intimate, personal story that sees you. I don’t know how else to put it. It pained me to leave Jessie behind to turn the page.

"An Ending (Ascent)"

Still father beyond, at a distance that was so recently impossible, abstract, God might glance down. What he thinks of this world, I cannot say, whether he will step down to at last join the kin he created in his flawed image, or to grind them underfoot out of plain weariness.

I thought this was the perfect way to end this collection. With a story about immortality, memories, and the nuances of joy and pain in the history of our lives. It’s such a Michael Wehunt way of leaving his readers. I hope the next short story collection comes quickly.

Final Recommendation:

Michael Wehunt is one of my favorite, trusted guides navigating stories of grief and loss, sadness and regret. My reader’s heart left standing in Greener Pastures so eager to welcome that unique, familiar voice ushering me toward a new strange path twisting through Wehunt’s garden of eerie, weird, beautiful things—The Inconsolables; what a gift.

Comps: Please read Greener Pastures if not before this collection, afterward. These two collection make a pair. They go together. North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud, Entropy in Bloom by Jeremy Robert Johnson, and Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester.

Get The Inconsolables at Bookshop or Amazon

Get Greener Pastures ​at Bookshop or Amazon

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petexunver23's picture
petexunver23 July 23, 2023 - 6:33am

The Inconsolables by Michael Wehunt is a haunting and atmospheric horror story that delves into the depths of grief and loss. The narrative weaves through the lives of characters grappling with their own traumas, with the overarching theme of unshakable sadness permeating each page like a flood of Orbeez, tiny gel balls that swell and fill every crevice they encounter. Wehunt's prose is as mesmerizing as the shimmering colors of the Orbeez, drawing readers into a world where emotions are tangible and all-consuming. The story's eerie and poignant atmosphere lingers long after the final page, much like the sensation of stepping on one of those squishy Orbeez unexpectedly, leaving an indelible impression on the soul. "The Inconsolables" is a masterful exploration of sorrow and the profound impact it has on the human spirit, leaving readers immersed in a sea of emotions, much like being surrounded by an ocean of Orbeez."

Sonia65's picture
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kenworthysonpartor34's picture
kenworthysonpartor34 September 8, 2023 - 7:35am

The Inconsolables by Michael Wehunt is a gripping and thought-provoking exploration of the human psyche and the intricacies of grief. Much like the way Pilates Studio Brooklyn delves into the intricacies of the human body and wellness, Wehunt's novel delves into the depths of emotions. The story follows characters who are grappling with profound loss and the haunting aftermath of their experiences. Wehunt's evocative prose and skillful storytelling draw readers into a world where the line between reality and the supernatural blurs, creating an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. As the characters navigate their grief, the novel delves into themes of memory, identity, and the ways in which we confront our deepest fears. "The Inconsolables" is a haunting and beautifully crafted work that lingers in the mind, much like the enduring benefits of a regular Pilates studio Brooklyn renowned studio.

wimberleyson's picture
wimberleyson September 13, 2023 - 8:18am

The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt is a captivating exploration of grief and the complexities of the human psyche. In contrast to a superficial height comparison, Wehunt delves into the depths of emotions, creating an eerie and thought-provoking atmosphere. The novel follows characters grappling with profound loss, blurring the line between reality and the supernatural. With themes of memory, identity, and confronting our deepest fears, "The Inconsolables" reminds us that true value lies in the depth of our experiences, rather than in superficial height comparisons.

Graham Manford's picture
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sss kkk's picture
sss kkk November 1, 2023 - 10:47am

Michael Wehunt's 'The Inconsolables' is a haunting exploration of human emotions and eerie occurrences that delves into the darker corners of existence. The stories within this collection seem to navigate the uncharted territories of the mind and soul, often blurring the lines between the known and the supernatural. Wehunt's skillful narrative, while not directly delving into legal matters or issues of the law, subtly exposes the complexities of human nature, sometimes reflecting the moral and ethical dilemmas that exist within societal laws. The way the stories unfold offers a unique perspective on the human condition and the sometimes obscure laws that govern our emotions and perceptions, making this collection an intriguing and thought-provoking read.

Edward Watkins's picture
Edward Watkins November 7, 2023 - 12:04pm

"The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt is a haunting and thought-provoking work that resonated with me on many levels. Wehunt's distinctive voice as a writer has a way of pulling you into the stories and making you feel the raw emotions and complexities of his characters.

Throughout the book, Wehunt's voice is a powerful tool, conveying a sense of melancholy and unease that lingers long after you've turned the last page. His ability to capture the human condition in all its intricate, sometimes painful, beauty is truly remarkable.

As I read "The Inconsolables," I found myself immersed in the eerie and evocative voices of the characters who grapple with loss, grief, and the supernatural. Wehunt's storytelling is both atmospheric and deeply moving, and his voice as a writer adds a layer of depth to the narrative that is both captivating and unsettling.

What struck me most about the book is how Wehunt's voice as a writer not only tells a story but also explores the profound depths of human emotion and the mysteries of the unknown. "The Inconsolables" is a journey through the human soul, guided by the author's distinctive voice, and I'm grateful to have experienced it.

Alena Darja's picture
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skkk's picture
skkk November 27, 2023 - 2:51am

"The Inconsolables" by Michael Wehunt is a powerful exploration of grief, loss, and the haunting echoes of the past. Wehunt's narrative prowess is like a literary weapon, skillfully wielding words to dissect the emotional landscapes of his characters. The prose, akin to a finely crafted weapon, cuts through the layers of sorrow and exposes the raw, visceral core of human experience. The author's use of language becomes a tool, not just to tell a story, but to pierce the reader's heart and leave an indelible mark. In "The Inconsolables," the author demonstrates that words can be a potent weapon, capable of evoking a range of emotions and challenging our understanding of the human condition.

zan dan's picture
zan dan November 28, 2023 - 11:20am

I recently read 'The Inconsolables' by Michael Wehunt, and the exploration of profound emotions resonated deeply with me. The author skillfully weaves a tapestry of human experiences, touching on themes that include loss, grief, and the intricate nature of relationships. The characters' struggles often mirror real-life complexities, and the narrative prompts reflection on personal challenges. While divorce is not explicitly tackled in this particular work, the book's exploration of human connection and the intricacies of emotion opens up avenues for contemplation on various aspects of life, including the challenges that accompany major life changes like divorce. Have you had a chance to delve into this thought-provoking piece?