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Dead Bad Things (Thomas Usher #2)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  96 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
He sought to flee his tragic past, but when Thomas Usher hears a clockwork voice on the phone, and sees ever-more disturbing visions in a derelict warehouse, Usher realises that he has to return home—for the sake of his own sanity. Meanwhile, a deadly figure from Usher's past threatens to undermine the very fabric of reality.

Gary McMahon’s short fiction has appeared in num
ebook, 416 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Angry Robot
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Kwesi 章英狮
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, e-book, gary-mcmahon
Mystery is not my cup of tea because I need to focus to guess the killer in the near end; unfortunately, this is not the typical mystery book that you regularly read. This is something more mystical, part fantasy and tidbits of mystery to enjoy. I also remember some dark books like The Alienist by Caleb Car; I mean in comparison, they have few similarities. In the other hand, this is something special, something dark that make you pee while reading it.

Who the hell is Thomas Usher? I don't have a
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay so here we have another one of my random gambles and I must admit I am greatly surprised by it - as you can see I have given it a full five stars although I am sure there will be many out there who have read it who will utterly disagree with me. Well I have no intention of defending myself for this choice (hey its free will after all) but I will try and explain my logic.

First of all reading this book you cannot help but draw similarities to other stories out there - I can think of at least
The follow up to 'Pretty Little Dead Things' is just as grim and gritty, and once it has you in its black grip it won't let go!
This is an excellent urban horror tale featuring Thomas Usher, a character I've come to like immensely, although this book focusses more on police constable Sarah, and her now deceased, abusive policeman father. However, hers and Thomas' paths cross, culminating in a decisive and other-worldly battle.
Colin Leslie
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dead Bad Things takes us once again into the carefree and jolly world of Thomas Usher, where the hat is always on the side of the head and everyone has a cheery smile for each other...okay, maybe not. In my review of the previous novel Pretty Little Dead Things I enjoyed the "horrifically bleak" scenes, well I can tell you now compared with this book, that was a technicolour extravaganza. You want bleak, this is bleak!

Once again we meet Thomas Usher a man haunted by his ability to communicate wi
Ben Babcock
My first outing with Thomas Usher didn’t go so well. People died. He moped around. I wasn’t sure why or how I should care. Pretty Little Dead Things was a car crash of a dark and nasty novel that would definitely appeal to certain people who are not me. But still, I had Dead Bad Things on my tablet courtesy of my Angry Robot Books subscription, so I thought I would give it a chance.

Gary McMahon brings Usher back to Leeds in Dead Bad Things, this time for far more personal reasons. I won’t preten
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The follow-up to “Pretty Little Dead Things”, this is a very dark exploration of family secrets and lies, unnatural desires and cosmic horror. Usher has gone to ground, to try and get his head clear with what’s happened but finds that the dead (and an armless Rwandan refugee psychic) still have things to tell him. A minor character from PLDT - Sarah - is suffering too, haunted by her father both in death and from memories of her childhood. Everything seems to hinge around the ritualistic murders ...more
Terri Wino
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2016
I'm going to round up and give this 3 stars, because once this book reached the end and some things were revealed it became much more interesting. I really only read this because it was a sequel to Pretty Little Dead Things and was curious what happened next to Thomas Usher. This book ended up not having much to do with him until the second half and centers more around Sarah and a mystery surrounding her police officer father.
This book is definitely dark and deals with some sad and depraved cha
Janette Fleming
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He sought to flee his tragic past.
But when Thomas Usher hears a clockwork voice on the phone and sees ever-more disturbing visions in a derelict warehouse, Usher realises that he has to return home – for the sake of his own sanity. Meanwhile, a deadly figure from Usher’s past threatens to undermine the very fabric of reality.

The follow-up to “Pretty Little Dead Things”, is skin crawlingly good, beautiful prose describing horrific crimes, disturbing visions and some of the most dreadful p
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
Two police officers find a dead boy in a house in Leeds. Constable Sarah Doherty is dealing with the demons left by her abusive father whilst psychic Thomas Usher is dealing with actual demons in London. This was dark, extremely dark, but quite a rollercoaster of a novel.
Steve Byrne
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can't beat a bitta McMahon. Another bleak, moody, well characterised and thoughtful novel. If Gary wrote uplifting tales of triumph-through-adversity featuring nice, middle class protagonists, he'd most probably be up there in the best seller lists. Thank a non-existent deity that he doesn't. We need real, gritty voices like this in horror fiction, and writers who can deliver this sort of quality prose. Although I was a little disappointed that Thomas Usher didn't feature as greatly in this ...more
James Everington
Gary McMahon’s Dead Bad Things is the second of his Thomas Usher novels (following on from Pretty Little Dead Things). Thomas Usher is a man who can see the dead, following an accident in which his family died. As such, he is known to the Leeds police force for his ability to help them, although Usher views his power as a curse rather than a blessing.

If the first novel welded McMahon’s distinctly nihilistic and downbeat style of horror to the police procedural genre, this second seems to be infl
Richard Wright
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The sequel to Pretty Little Dead Things, which I read a while ago. I found that novel to be beautifully written, but unrelentingly grim. I found the worldview captivating, but the main character (Thomas Usher) too self-piteous to sympathise with. Without creating spoilers, I also questioned the worth of the grim ending, in which Usher literally loses everything, leaving the reader almost as hollow as the character. Dead Bad Things suddenly gives sense to all that. Where the first book has flaws ...more
J.C. Hart
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My goodness. This book. If I had a list of top five things that have creeped me out this year, this would be on it.

The writing is good for the most part, the story broken into three lines – at times I wondered how they would ever meet up, but they did, and in a way I hadn’t predicted.

I hadn’t read the first book in the series (though I will be going back and doing so, now!), so I was a bit behind the eight ball when it came to the story so far. I think it might have helped, but I enjoyed it a lo
Dead Bad Things is Book# 2 in the Thomas Usher series of horror novels. Book #1, Pretty Little Dead Things, was called the best horror novel of 2010 by both Dark Fiction Review and Horror Fiction Review. Dead Bad Things can be read as a stand alone novel; however, I might have better understood some of the prior events alluded to in it if I had read Pretty Little Dead Things first.

This review comes with some strong cautions because Dead Bad Things is only for hard-core horror fans. It is defini
Kate Sherrod
I would give this a fourth star, and still might retroactively, but I read this without reading Pretty Dead Things first and so had no idea why I should give a crap about the first person narrator vs the policewoman's much more interesting, compelling and fully realized story. The policewoman's story and the other two narrative threads were pretty fantastic, though. If Usher had been more of a presence throughout, or if his status as the first person narrator in those few chapters were made more ...more
Anthony  Corbo
Gary McMahon's writing style moves along nicely. I appreciate his demented gruesome (off center) grip on reality he presents in this book. I love most context dealing with a supernatural realm. Of course allowing leeway for unrealistic occurrences within a story. But... Mr. McMahon has at least one of his characters (bad Guy) go to great lengths to deceive the good guys just to go ahead and practically lead them right to the truth. The details of this unlikable questioning of this part I leave o ...more
Eugenia O'Neal
Thomas Usher is a man who can see the dead and walk through the veils between worlds. This makes him very attractive to an entity which desires his powers and who has been manipulating circumstances around him for years.

Dead Bad Things is told from different points of view, including that of some very bad people and gives an insight into how people rationalize evil. McMahon leavens the darkness with light touches of humour here and there so it's not completely relentless.

There was one scene I wa
I read the first two thirds within two days...then I was having trouble picking it up again. I realized at that point I really didn't care how it ended. I didn't care about the main characters, I didn't care about whether or not the romance would work out in the end, and I didn't care about what the antagonist was up to.

On the other hand, what kept me reading for as long as I did was that Gary McMahon IS a good writer. Though I didn't care what he was writing about exactly, I was enjoying what h
Mar 19, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one. people I hate.
Recommended to Taueret by: goodreads.
horrible, awful book. Not because it was scary or gross or confronting (it wasn't really any of those). Just a horrible, bad book. Funny in the way horribly bad things are sometimes, but that's all. I saved notes and highlighted "special" bits on the Kindle app, but it feels like kicking a puppy to belabour it. Loads of people love this author, I just- don't.

If you want to read something that hits the mark this so aspires to, try old-school King, from when he was whacked out on coke and writing
See my full review at:

Horror/Thriller, similar to a Stephen King or Dean Koontz book. Takes place in modern times and includes angels; dark and light...ghosts and crazed killers.

The first sentences are of a man crooning of the shallow grave of a boy child whom he's just tortured and killed. He's a psychopath and a man who deals with the devil and his minion.

This is a frighteningly good book. Good enough to make me want to read the previous books of Mr. MaMah
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not read the previous book in this series (as I did not realize it was part of a series) but I believe that this book does well as a stand alone story. The author paints impressive and grotesque scenes in the reader's mind. The tale is dark and twisted and has a supernatural element. It is a great horror tale (as long as you can stomach some really horrible people doing really horrible things - if not, this book is not for you).
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never read a book where I wanted to put it away and never look at it again, but then would contine reading it. I truly had a love/ hate relationship with this book. I read this book without reading the first one, which might have made me hate the book more. I did not care for Thomas Usher, sure he could see ghosts, and live in haunted spaces, but his character was so bland. I love a book that makes me question noises in my house, or the strange people I encounter. This book did it.
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, ebook
I like that even though Thomas Usher was the hero, or anti hero, he was periphial through about half of the book. The serial killer/Benson/Emerson storyline could have been a story in itself. As it stands, it felt a little rushed. Maybe Thomas will get some answers now. And DI Tebbit needs to be allowed to go on and die, no more lingering.
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better, I think, than its predecessor novel ( Pretty Little Dead Things ), Dead Bad Things takes little time to dive into and rarely lets go of the reader's attention.

One word of warning: this book deals with some intense and disturbing subject matter, so reader discretion is certainly advised.
David Marshall
I think this is a good story but it's weighed down by some gratuitous violence that I feel adds little or no value to the whole. So this is a horror story hiding some nice ideas about determinism, but not for the faint-hearted.
Patrick Freivald
A good read in many ways, and reminiscent of Clive Barker, Dead Bad Things starts in the middle and stumbles toward a deus ex machina finish. If you've got nothing else to read it's not a waste of your time, but I wouldn't go out of my way to find a copy.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of adventure, thriller, horror and sci-fi genre
Gary McMahon deftly pulls three seemingly independent story lines together to an excellent close in this second installment of his Thomas Usher novels. A bit horror, a pinch of mystery and a cup full of thriller make for an exciting read. I look forward to the next installment!
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I loved the mix of horror and mystery. I read this series out of order but look forward to going back and reading the 1st one.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, kindle
Unflinching, uncomfortable and very dark horror.

Update 18/10/11 - rating 5/5 - a week after finishing this book I am still thinking about it!
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Gary McMahon lives, works and writes in West Yorkshire but posseses a New York state of mind. He shares his life with a wife, a son, and the nagging stories that won’t give him any peace until he writes them.
More about Gary McMahon...

Other Books in the Series

Thomas Usher (2 books)
  • Pretty Little Dead Things
“Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.” 0 likes
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