The Painted Darkness

Front Cover
Cemetery Dance Publications, 2010 - Fiction - 171 pages
108 Reviews
When Henry was a child, something terrible happened in the woods behind his home, something so shocking he could only express his terror by drawing pictures of what he had witnessed. Eventually, Henry's mind blocked out the bad memories, but he continued to draw, often at night by the light of the moon.

Twenty years later, Henry makes his living by painting his disturbing works of art. He loves his wife and his son, and life couldn't be better... except there's something not quite right about the old stone farmhouse his family now calls home. There's something strange living in the cramped cellar, in the maze of pipes that feed the ancient steam boiler.

A winter storm is brewing, and soon Henry will learn the true nature of the monster waiting for him down in the darkness. He will battle this demon and, in the process, he may discover what really happened when he was a child ‹ and why, in times of trouble, he thinks: I paint against the darkness.

But will Henry learn the truth in time to avoid the terrible fate awaiting him... or will the thing in the cellar get him and his family first?

Written as both a meditation on the art of creation and as an examination of the secret fears we all share, The Painted Darkness is a terrifying look at the true cost we pay when we run from our grief ‹ and what happens when we're finally forced to confront the monsters we know all too well.

Early Praise for the Book:
"The tone and building dread reminds me of classic Stephen King. Great velocity and impact, and super creepy. Don't go in the basement!" - Stewart O'Nan, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Country and A Prayer for the Dying

"Brian James Freeman's evocative tale about the dark corners of an artist's imagination is elegant and haunting. This beautifully designed book with splendid illustrations by Jill Bauman is a pleasure to read and a joy to hold." - David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Shimmer

"Spooky stuff!" - Richard Matheson, New York Times bestselling author of What Dreams May Come and I Am Legend

"The Painted Darkness is a dark, terrifying, and deeply moving gem of a novella. Brian James Freeman managed to both scare me and move me to tears." - Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Keepsake and Harvest

"Wonderfully reminiscent of the quiet horror of Charles L. Grant, The Painted Darkness takes readers on a gently chilly walk through the forest of fears both conscious and subconscious. With Straubian lyricism, Brian James Freeman evokes not only the irrational terrors of childhood, but addresses the roots of creativity and the vital importance of art. A very impressive achievement." - Bentley Little, author of The House and His Father's Son

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

I found myself glued to the quick-paced, easy prose. - LibraryThing
Loved the cover art - it drew me into the story. - LibraryThing
The writing is basic and conversational. - LibraryThing
With no ending or anything. - LibraryThing

Review: The Painted Darkness

User Review  - Kristin-Leigh - Goodreads

This book is terrible; I put it down and was actually embarrassed to think I'd wasted two hours reading it. The only way I can think to sum up the novel is that Freeman actually wanted to write a B ... Read full review

Review: The Painted Darkness

User Review  - Jack - Goodreads

This one was hard for me to rate. I love horror in all of its forms, but I have a particular taste for quiet horror. The Painted Darkness is quiet, though not as quiet as some of the reviews would ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Brian James Freeman is the author of Black Fire, Blue November Storms, The Painted Darkness, Weak and Wounded, Dreamlike States, and More Than Midnight. He is also the coauthor of The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book (with Bev Vincent) and The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book (with Hans-Ake Lilja and Kevin Quigley), and he is the editor of Dueling Minds. His novels, novellas, short stories, essays, and interviews have been published by Warner Books, Cemetery Dance, Borderlands Press, Book-of-the-Month Club, Leisure, and many others. Brian lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and two German Shorthaired Pointers who are afraid of the cats. More books are on the way. Visit him on the web at

Bibliographic information