Book details

Sacrificial Animals

A Novel

Author: Kailee Pedersen

Sacrificial Animals

Sacrificial Animals

About This Book

Inspired by Kailee Pedersen's own journey being adopted from Nanning, China in 1996 and growing up on a farm in Nebraska, this rich and atmospheric supernatural horror debut explores an...

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Book Details

Inspired by Kailee Pedersen's own journey being adopted from Nanning, China in 1996 and growing up on a farm in Nebraska, this rich and atmospheric supernatural horror debut explores an ancient Chinese mythology.

The last thing Nick Morrow expected to receive was an invitation from his father to return home. When he left rural Nebraska behind, he believed he was leaving everything there, including his abusive father, Carlyle, and the farm that loomed so large in memory, forever.

But neither Nick nor his brother Joshua, disowned for marrying Emilia, a woman of Asian descent, can ignore such summons from their father, who hopes for a deathbed reconciliation. Predictably, Joshua and Carlyle quickly warm to each other while Nick and Emilia are left to their own devices. Nick puts the time to good use and his flirtation with Emilia quickly blooms into romance. Though not long after the affair turns intimate, Nick begins to suspect that Emilia’s interest in him may have sinister, and possibly even ancient, motivations.

Punctuated by scenes from Nick’s adolescent years, when memories of a queer awakening and a shadowy presence stalking the farm altered the trajectory of his life forever, Sacrificial Animals explores the violent legacy of inherited trauma and the total collapse of a family in its wake.

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Press



In The News

"[Readers] will be left gasping in awe. Pedersen’s debut skillfully balances character and atmosphere. Recommend to readers who like creepy, methodically paced stories that focus on unease." —Library Journal, starred review

"An assured and bloody fable heralds the arrival of a gifted new voice attuned to ancient modes of damnation." —Kirkus Reviews

“Kailee Pedersen explodes onto the scene with Sacrificial Animals! A weird, gorgeously written supernatural thriller about how the crimes of our fathers can cast dark and devastating shadows over innocent lives. Very highly recommended!” -Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of Cave 13 and The Dragon in Winter

"Sacrificial Animals is distinctly observant, and distinctly unsettling. It begins with one sort of menace and ends with another entirely, so that while the book barely leaves its little patch of acres, and the souls who occupy it hardly move an inch from the traumas that shaped them long ago, it leaves you with a feeling of immense distances traveled." -Kevin Brockmeier, New York Times Bestselling author

"An incandescent study of American masculinity with an unforgettable genre-busting twist." - Alex Landragin, author of Crossings

"Brutal and mesmerizing, Kailee Pedersen's Sacrificial Animals drew me in immediately. Easily readable in one sitting, this enigmatic family saga is better savored to appreciate the rhythm of the language and the growing sense of unease. Highly recommended." - Kendare Blake, #1 NYT bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns

"A delicately braided and unflinching tale of inherited family damage and revenge that walks a careful line between the realistic and the supernatural, crossing from one into the other before you--or the hapless characters--are fully aware. Sacrificial Animals reads like what might happen if Cormac McCarthy and Lafcadio Hearn were stuck waiting out a snowstorm in Nebraska and decided to collaborate." - Brian Evenson, author of The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell

"Kailee Pedersen employs the rich prose of early Cormac McCarthy, the bracingly vivid descriptive power of Willa Cather, and the doom-heavy fatefulness of Greek tragedy to create something very much her own: a deliciously gothic horror novel. The set-up is simple: an abusive father summons his two grown sons home for a deathbed reconciliation. But before they can bury the old man, the ghost of a crime from their collective past comes calling, seeking vengeance. Sacrificial Animals' final thirty pages will leave you gasping.” - Scott Smith, New York Times Bestselling author of The Ruins

"Kailee Pedersen's terse, tense, deeply unnerving debut novel mesmerized me from beginning to end. This is a young writer to watch!" -Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk

About the Creators

Sacrificial Animals

Sacrificial Animals