Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Nothing That Is

Rate this book
It's 1986. Cade McCall is an assistant manager for a catering business. Driving to work one morning, part of the local graveyard explodes. Later the same day, Cade gets an odd message from a client who needs catering for an Extreme Food Club. He calls himself Mr. Dinosaur. And he’s paying $11,000. Despite Cade’s reservations, he takes the gig. Although, who’s feeding whom is another question entirely...Involving female biker gangs, cults, possessed furniture, and a full dose of cosmic horror, THE NOTHING THAT IS serves up the weird.

184 pages, Paperback

First published April 19, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kyle Winkler

3 books56 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
111 (38%)
4 stars
103 (35%)
3 stars
57 (19%)
2 stars
14 (4%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Char.
1,638 reviews1,488 followers
July 24, 2021
For a long time now, I've thought that novellas are the perfect medium for horror or dark fiction stories. THE NOTHING THAT IS is a prime example of why.

Cade McCall is an assistant manager at a catering company. A company where the managers are embezzling the place dry and they're jerks to boot. When Cade retrieves a static-filled message about a catering job, one which will be pre-paid in cash, he decides he's going to take care of it himself, on the side. When Mr. Dinosaur, (weird, I know, but you'll see), gives him the instructions for the dinner, Cade himself thinks it weird, but hey, CASH! Upon arriving and serving the meal, this tale takes an entirely different tack: from the mundane to the profane in about two minutes flat! Will Cade survive the strange dinner with Mr. Dinosaur? You'll have to read this to find out!

There are other things going on in this novella, (exploding cemeteries, for one), but I'm not going to say anything more about the plot. Instead, I want to say the writing here is definitely more than what I was expecting for a debut novella. Vivid descriptions in short, succinct prose made everything so easy to picture in my mind.

Over my many years of voracious reading, I've learned that this type of writing is my favorite. I've read the wordiness of the gothic Anne Radcliffe and the cosmic H.P. Lovecraft and almost everything in between. While I can and do still enjoy those types of tales, I prefer prose that's lean and mean, descriptive but not long winded. THIS is one of those tales. I enjoyed the hell out of it!

Highly recommended!

*Thanks to the author and to Erin Sweet-Al-Mehairi for the e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!
Profile Image for M. Todd.
Author 1 book143 followers
June 3, 2021
When reading this I realized something - some of my most favourite novels are ones in which I have no idea what will happen next because absolutely anything is possible. This novel was a 'fucktastic dreamscape' of cosmic horror. The cloak that obscures reality is terrifyingly pulled away, and what is revealed is a horrifying nihilistic philosophical construct.

There are so many great quotes that I have highlighted - which is another aspect of my most favourite novels. When the writing is this good, I am drawn to re-read passages over and over again, in order to savour every well placed word and thought. Here's a sample - "Every pore in my body had a mouth. And in that mouth was a hunger for the next mouth’s teeth. I would tear myself apart. This is how I felt." - brilliant.

The Nothing That Is is also full of humour. Metaphors abound like Bo-Peep's found sheep shorn of their tails, which are hung on tree limbs throughout the story.

The novel is rich in dread-inducing imagery with absurd situations and a cosmic monster that will make your head spin - and fun, lots of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and finished it very quickly. I devoured this. Ate it up. Thank the gods for little spiders that encourage writers to follow through on their musings - surely 'Fuckery was afoot' in Kyle's cosmic field the day this story came to him.
Profile Image for M. Todd.
Author 1 book143 followers
June 2, 2021
When reading this I realized something - some of my most favourite novels are ones in which I have no idea what will happen next because absolutely anything is possible. This novel was a 'fucktastic dreamscape' of cosmic horror. The cloak that obscures reality is terrifyingly pulled away, and what is revealed is a horrifying nihilistic philosophical construct.

There are so many great quotes that I have highlighted - which is another aspect of my most favourite novels. When the writing is this good, I am drawn to re-read passages over and over again, in order to savour every well placed word and thought. Here's a sample - "Every pore in my body had a mouth. And in that mouth was a hunger for the next mouth’s teeth. I would tear myself apart. This is how I felt." - brilliant.

The Nothing That Is is also full of humour. Metaphors abound like Bo-Peep's found sheep shorn of their tails, which are hung on tree limbs throughout the story.

The novel is rich in dread-inducing imagery with absurd situations and a cosmic monster that will make your head spin - and fun, lots of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and finished it very quickly. I devoured this. Ate it up. Thank the gods for little spiders that encourage writers to follow through on their musings - surely 'Fuckery was afoot' in Kyle's cosmic field the day this story came to him.
Profile Image for Richard Martin.
219 reviews43 followers
June 2, 2021
Delicatessen meets Twin Peaks

Cade McCall is stuck in a go-nowhere job as an assistant manager at a local catering company. With a thankless job and a nightmare of a boss, he’s keen to branch out on his own. He gets the opportunity that he’s been waiting for when he receives a mysterious phone call from a man calling himself Mr Dinosaur. He claims to be part of an extreme food club who wish to hire him for a small but exclusive dining experience. The pay is more than Cade could turn down, and more than enough to start his own catering firm, but he soon wishes he had never accepted.

When Mr Dinosaur reveals himself to be something more than human, and Cade finds himself embroiled in a terrifying waking nightmare, haunted by the dead and unwittingly part of a biker cults terrible rituals, he must find a way out of the deal he has made before both he and the world suffer a fate beyond imagining.

This latest cosmic horror novella from Kyle Winker is a book that defies description. What starts out as a seemingly straightforward tale of a down on his luck employee joining a sinister club of elites soon descends into a surreal, blackly comedic and dream-like series of unsettling events that would feel right at home in a Lars Von Trier movie. If you’re looking for a book with a straightforward story to tell, turn away now. If, however, you’re in the mood for something a little more challenging, where every turn of the page is a new and disturbing surprise, and literally anything could happen next, then ‘The Nothing That Is’ is the book for you.

Cosmic horror is a broad definition that may give you some idea of what this book is about, but if so, it is cosmic horror by way of David Lynch. There are haunted wingback chairs, talking raccoons, exploding graveyards and an all-female nihilistic biker gang. Suffice to say, things get weird. By the mid-way point, any semblance of normality has gone out the window but the book is no less gripping for its wild unpredictability. Part of the reason is thanks to Cabe, who is such a relatable character. He is likeable but flawed, and you can’t help but project yourself onto him whilst reading, and get swept up along in the insanity alongside him.

If the above description gets across that ‘The Nothing That Is’ is a funny book, it is. Its pitch-black comedy and grand scale combine together wonderfully, but there is more to it. It is also an incredibly disturbing book, and oddly grounded and character-driven at times. Even when things get to the world-ending, incomprehensible cosmic terror stage past the midway point, when Cabe has lost all control and understanding of the situation he has gotten himself into, there are still scenes where he’s worrying about money, or the woman he likes, or getting up for work the next day. It’s a tough balance to pull off, but it works wonderfully.

‘The Nothing That Is’ will not be a book to suit all tastes. Answers are not always forthcoming, and what answers we do get may have no grounding in reality, but one of the joys of the book is its unbridled creativity and punk rock, anything goes attitude. It is impressive to read a book that achieves so much in such a short page count. It is genuinely disturbing, getting under your skin effortlessly with its nightmarish imagery, whilst simultaneously being darkly funny and a slice-of-life style story that never loses sight of how the lead character is experiencing the bizarre events happening around him. Closing out my review, I still don’t feel as if I’ve done the book justice, so I can only urge you to pick up a copy, strap yourself in and experience the ride for yourself!

This review was initially written for and published by Horroroasis.com
Check out their site for horror book and movie reviews, articles, giveaways and more.
Profile Image for RP.
164 reviews
April 23, 2021
I just finished it. It's one of the best stories I've read in a long time. So much horror disappoints, but there are tons of unsettling, creepy moments in this short book. It goes to unexpected places, believe me. It will surprise and frighten you. I want to gab about it, but don't want to ruin it for you! Just read it. A mind-bending, beyond strange, creepfest. For fans of cosmic horror, weird fiction, Lynch, Carpenter. The voice is punk, funny, snarky, and smart. An 80s horror delight in a lovely little package.
Profile Image for DarkBetweenPages.
253 reviews62 followers
May 11, 2021
If you are looking for a read that is going to MESS WITH YOUR MIND, I mean COMPLETELY FU** you up, well my friend...
Look no further!

I'll be completely forward and honest. When I first completed this novella and was left staring at the end pages I thought "Ummm, I don't LOVE it... but I don't HATE it".
However, this is one you need to sit on, one you need to let simmer slowly and fully cook in your imagination... if you catch my drift.

I had the privileged of reading this with a friend as a buddy read and the more we talked about it, the more we discussed it... I realised this read was for me and clearly it was impactful, one I'll never forget.
The Nothing That Is really had my brain working at full capacity.
I also learnt shortly after, while having a life chat on my YouTube channel with the author himself, Kyle and my lovely friend Linda that we were COMPLETELY wrong with our thoughts on what was going on in this story.... HAHA!

Anyhow, what I am trying to say is "The Nothing That Is" is truly a cosmic horror at it's best. Kyle's writing talents shine through with his debut horror release. To be able to create this piece that is completely unpredictable and 100% mind bending is brilliant!

Here at first I was a bit torn on my thoughts with this read but the more I though about it, the more I discussed it, the more I pieced it together, the more I was pulled in and completely intrigued.
I mean, I finished it weeks ago and STILL am not sure what the heck I read and I just simply cannot stop thinking about it. I mean ... the characters... the whole concept of this story... MIND BLOWN.

I will tell you that much for sure, you will not have read anything like this.

Now that I have said a whole LOAD of stuff on the story itself I feel like I should also say I really enjoyed Kyle's writing style. There were a few transitions that I felt were a bit clunky and didn't flow as smooth as others. However, I'm starting to wonder if that was by design in order to keep the story unpredictable throughout.

If you've read this and thought "this may not be for me" trust me, let it simmer for a while before you decide. This ones truly a thinker!

I look forward to the next installment in this crazy world and more of one of my favourite characters in particular.

Kyle is such an awesome guy with one fascinating brain, full of creativity. I really enjoyed getting the chance to chat with him.
I will leave the link below to the live show on my channel for anyone that is interested in checking it out and learning more about Kyle and his Horror debut.

Thank you all for reading
Your FOOLED Book Worm

Live Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8dfH...
Profile Image for Darryl Suite.
496 reviews382 followers
June 3, 2021
This type of horror is the best type of horror, where you say to yourself: what the hell am I reading? What the hell is happening? What does this mean? What does that mean? Why did that happen? Ew, that was gross. Ooh, that was fascinating, Oh, that was clever. That’s just weird… but I likey. I’m stumped. (In other words, nothing is spelled out for you).

All to say, this was an entertaining read. Icky moments, strange happenings, obscure meanings,, awesome characters, and a wtf plot. I’d say greed is one of the major takeaways here. Experience greed is all of its many facets. Fun read. Unsettling vibe.
Profile Image for Yvonne (The Coycaterpillar Reads).
686 reviews214 followers
August 10, 2021
The Nothing That Is by Kyle Winkler was a huge surprise. Adrenaline and mystique keep the reader engaged. We get everything that we could possibly anticipate from an excellent Cosmic Horror. Winkler sets impossibly high standard from the get go. That exquisite level of imagination is continued throughout the novella. Trust Winkler and his vision, he doesn’t steer you wrong.

The Nothing That Is is a creation that lives in the deepest recesses of a brilliant mind. His writing never once failed me. I love Cosmic Horror and the accuracy and shock value entranced me. The plot is a dangerous roller-coaster of strangeness and obscurity. It’s the perfect stage for an experience borne from chance and desperation. I really relished his exploration of societal themes of financial burden and beliefs beyond our own reality.

Cade McCall is a down on his luck Assistant Manager at a Catering firm. He is desperate to move on and start up his own company. There’s only one thing holding him back, money. His solution seems to just drop into his lap unbidden. A Mr Dinosaur phones up with a very specific catering brief. He is representing a food tasting group, and although it all seems very weird, he’s being paid in cash, what’s not to like? Well, if things seem to good too be true, then they probably are.

The Nothing That Is was an experience. It felt like being trapped in the eye of the storm. You know what it’s supposed to be like but the reality is far more violent, far more intense. The unease emanating from the pages is omnipresent but so freaking awesome. Cade caters for the dinner but the requests get stranger and stranger, but Cade only thinks of the red-hot cash!

Oh, and exploding cemeteries… Yah!

Quite often I had to stop in my marvel at the fact this was the authors debut work. The writing and red-hot narrative was flawless. Topics tackled with respect and research but without diminishing the impact of societal norms. Man, it was just tantalisingly gruesome.

The skill of the author had the lines blurring, I couldn’t decipher reality and fiction. The town seems to be a giant shroud of secrets and its up to Cade to get to the bottom of it before it’s too late. I will be watching with bated breath for Winkler next release. This guy has serious talent.

The Nothing That Is is deliciously dark and gritty, with its brilliantly drawn characters and tightly plotted narrative, it just simply refuses to let go.
Profile Image for Sara Murphy.
Author 5 books276 followers
May 3, 2021
Horror can be so tricky to get right, which is frankly what makes it one of my favorite genres. On the one hand, horror narratives always feel richest when the supernatural or cosmic horror is blended with a more relatable brand of horror: the horrors of everyday life. But it's hard to make sure those two elements weave together in a satisfying way instead of stepping on each other's toes. THE NOTHING THAT IS sees Winkler expertly blending the existential, slow-creeping horror of an unrewarding and low-paid job -- exploitative bosses you can't quite hate because you see that they're just trying to get by, too -- with the cavernous, sucking need of a power beyond human comprehension. There are so many scenes and images in this slick, eerie, quick-moving novella that unsettled me, even when reading in broad daylight. The '80s references felt familiar and authentic, and I appreciate that answering machines have now become terrifying in addition to nostalgic in my head. This novella is smart, terrifying, and purely, originally weird, and the perfect length to read in one go before bedtime if you want insomnia.
Profile Image for Alana K. K..
Author 6 books43 followers
June 2, 2021
Ever read a book that refreshingly got under your skin? This novella did that for me because of its originality. It was odd and creepy. I loved every bit of it. Without saying too much, Cade McCall is an assistant manager at a catering company where his boss uses him and throws him under the bus daily. On the day of a bizarre graveyard explosion, a message comes through for a lucrative catering job - but on the machine that has been broken and needing replaced. When Cade contacts the caller back, there is something majorly offputing about this, Mr. Dinosaur....

I highly recommend this novella!This is a rare type of thought provoking read.
Profile Image for Melissa Markle.
307 reviews11 followers
June 1, 2021
Fantastic cosmic horror with some really solidly scary moments. This one's a gem.
Profile Image for William Lawrence.
284 reviews
January 10, 2023
The Nothing That Is by Kylie Winkler is the novel every author should aspire to write. I'm envious of this one! This is a quick, short read with a few good laughs along the way. You'll feel like you won't be able to stop, but you'll need to pause along the way to catch your breath. Winkler captures the early Palahniuk I always enjoyed. The first chapter is all about introducing you to the genuine voice of the first-person narrator, Cade McCall. The second chapter is an absolute hook you won't be able to dislodge from your mind. The setting is 1986 and you'll feel the vibe, but it's not dated in a bad way.

Cade McCall is the typical American. He can't turn down the temptation of money. He needs it. He takes it. No matter how weird, you will consider a proposal if it has the promise to change your mundane life. Here's my take on the antagonist. Mr. Dinosaur is tradition. He feeds off the rare, disgusting, or the vulnerable sources he can find. He is a symbol of anything powerful with promise and illusion. He may well be an allegory for the traditional system and cycle of higher education. The plot oddly reminded me of my time as an adjunct professor. Those seeds. As for the nothing, I like that space between too.
Profile Image for Joshua Marsella.
Author 9 books174 followers
October 31, 2021
A fantastic novella about a caterer that gets a bizarre request from a mysterious extreme food club. This story pulled me in from the get-go. The mystery surrounding the creepy Mr Dinosaur and the food club kept me guessing and took me to places I wasn’t expecting, especially with the cosmic angle. The writing was great and I loved the completely original story, especially after reading the acknowledgments and where the story idea came from. I definitely recommend this one to fans or horror and cosmic horror.
Profile Image for Catherine McCarthy.
Author 26 books223 followers
June 6, 2021
The first thing I must say is I had no clue this novella was the author's debut until after I read it. The standard of writing is that good.
Now, weird cosmic horror isn't my favorite sub-genre, but I really enjoyed this one. All the way through, I found myself willing Cade on, hoping the guy might catch a break. Humorous moments pepper the story, all of them bizarre. Oftentimes, events take on a nightmarish quality so that you have no idea what's coming next.
I'm sure the mood and feel the author created in the writing will stay with me for quite some time. We'll definitely be seeing more from this author - mark my word!
Profile Image for Kristina ||.
342 reviews28 followers
May 3, 2021
Oh my goodness..this book! I fell in love with it. I am a very visual person and typically play out books/stories/scenes in my head like a movie while reading them--this book was so cinematic in my mind, I was beyond inspired to make art because of it (this statement feels overdramatic but it's the truth lol).

THE NOTHING THAT IS is about a guy who works for a catering company and he gets offered to work an "exotic eats" type of dinner event for a person going by the name Mr. Dinosaur. Needless to say very strange things happen at the dinner and for the rest of book.

This book has the cosmic horror that blends well with the fantastical and psychological sides that I love. Honestly, every scene in this story was written out so well and was so atmospheric, I really felt like I was in the moment with the main character (Cade). Speaking of the MC, he was believable and likable. All the characters were actually pretty well rounded and added a lot to the plot. The plot was definitely different in a good way and was pretty unique. The whole time I was reading the book, I kept trying to figure out what was happening or what was going to happen but I was so off by my guesses. I like when stories aren't super predictable but have a simple plot that flourishes to crazy plot twists and revelations. This book gives you all that plus some.

I believe the ending might not work for some people but I enjoyed how the book ends. I definitely would love to read more stories from other characters or continuing with this storyline. I don't want it to end!

I was attracted to this book by it's cover and boy, I'm happy I read it and was able to discover a new favorite author.


*Thanks to the author for an e-copy in exchange for my honest review.
May 25, 2021
I have literally just finished reading Kyle Winkler's 'The Nothing That Is' and I am jumping right into the review because my excitement is extremely high right now.
So here it is; fresh from the oven. (pun intended)

Meet Cade McCall, catering business assistant manager living the normal, boring life with a dream burning a hole in his soul, an a**hole for a boss and the lust of his life definitely out of his league; all in the year of someone's lord 1986.

Winkler's world will turn upside down as strange occurrences in the likes of exploding graveyards and cryptic answering machine messages from exotic food connoisseurs set in motion a dreadful chain of events.

An $11K food deal with a certain Mr. Dinosaur, even though it sounds too good to be true, does not specify who will eventually eat and who will be eaten....

From that point onwards everything in the book is summed up to the essence of a punk rock song. Short, Sharp, Super Fun, Shock.

The author managed to put together a wonderfully written, fast paced, fun thrill-ride and injected the right amount of horror...pure cosmic horror, just the way I like it. Mr Lovecraft would be proud... And the prose... Oh my Great Old Ones, the prose; Unique, smart and punch liney..

As a guy who grew up in the 80's, this delicious 'offering' 😉🤫 by the author, brought out the best that era had to offer. I mean come on, cults, gangs, possessed objects, cosmic dread at its finest? What is there not to love.

I can see this easily being made into a movie as it already reads like one. Think of it as a better version (yes I dare say that) of 'The Twilight Zone' laced with the right amount of wonderful, dark humor. And even though it is short you will definitely remember this for a long time.

This is a solid 5star read. Straight into my top five short reads of the year. Damn this was so good. Mr Winkler is there more? We need some the soonest.

Get :The Nothing That Is' at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZK2SL68/...
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 70 books459 followers
April 15, 2021
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **


No matter my thoughts on this book (and upfront, I really enjoyed this), ultimately I felt incredibly proud to read Kyle Winkler’s debut novella ‘The Nothing That Is.’


Kyle messaged me a while back on Twitter, asking a few questions about taking his idea from an idea to a release, and while I played a 1% role in this thing coming to fruition, it just fills me with so much pride to know that Kyle stuck with it and released it.

And you know what?

It’s really, really good.

What I liked: Don’t be fooled by the description. Some people will read this and think that it’s going to fall into the Bizarro scope of stories, but this quick, brutal read wears its influences on its sleeve and this story itself wouldn’t be out of place in a Stephen King collection.

Cade is an assistant manager at a catering company. His boss sucks, but overall he enjoys his job and his coworkers, while still dreaming of the belief that one day he’ll open his own business.

A strange event at the graveyard, followed by an even stranger message leads Cade into a macabre world where he meets Mr. Dinosaur.

For a debut, this is a very solid effort. The writing is strong and the plot moves along swiftly and confidently. Added by Erin Al-Mehairi’s deft editing, Winkler crafted a story that is brutal, bleak and dark. I loved the back story and having his coworker aid him in digging up more about what just might be happening was a great touch.

This has a very Twilight Zone/The X-Files feel to it, which worked really well in keeping the reader engaged and wondering just when the boot was about to drop or the floor would disappear from under our main characters.

What I didn’t like: There were two minor things here. The first was the subplot about embezzlement didn’t really do anything for me and I’m not that sure it was needed. The second was the ending segued into a bit of an epilogue and I had hoped to learn more about the final group we are introduced to. I did enjoy the epilogue of how things affected Cade but wished it had been a smidge more.

Why you should buy this: As I mentioned, this is an incredibly strong debut novella and Winkler has done his due diligence with a great cover, fantastic editor and a stunning layout. Best part – the story matches the package. This thing hummed along and made for a really intriguing read. Big congrats to Kyle on this, one I hope many people snag and devour. We need to make Mr. Dinosaur happy after all.
Profile Image for Giorgia ☾.
157 reviews109 followers
May 27, 2021
not for me, I was bored half the time. I thought it was an horror story but instead it was a boring story
Profile Image for Karla Kay.
358 reviews54 followers
April 18, 2021
"How does one purge nightmares? Or can they be extinguished? Maybe they're like an external flame, the kind that was supposedly the cause of the graveyard explosion?"

First and foremost, thank you so much Kyle for the early readers copy of you're debut! So appreciated!

Cade works for a catering company, his bosses are the typical grinders. Get the customers, get the work done. But Cade has a dream of opening his own business, get out from under the bigwigs. He agrees to a deal to serve an Extreme Food Club, not knowing that it will be his life's work. A life of darkness and the unknown.

Mr. Dinosaur. He's a diabolical ancient creature, and he's hungry. He will not stop until he is satisfied. He's chilling, dark, obscure, repulsive, and the stuff of nightmares.

Other characters and deplorable creatures were involved, but I don't care to go into too much detail as I wish not to spoil the whole story.

This is how I felt while reading: Chilled, uncertain of the noises around me, turning my head to look behind me, checking to see if something was there. Feeling so awful for what Cade and the characters were facing. Picking out the beauty of the words so deftly written. Engaged and entertained. Not wanting the story to end, but actually quite satisfied with the ambiguous ending. Left a feeling of loss and loneliness. Especially as Cade says: " I move often. I have to. I can't stand the guilt."

Really enjoyed this excellent debut!

Fans of the horror/cosmic horror/occult horror genre, grab your copies and get ready to be chilled by Mr. Dinosaur!!
Profile Image for Emily.
97 reviews17 followers
April 21, 2021
So while I have finished "The Nothing That Is" for a little bit, I really just wanted to sit with it a bit. I needed it to simmer in the ole noggin before giving a review. Mostly this was because I didn't quite know how to sum up my feelings about "The Nothing That Is", which sounds insane but bear with me. Firstly we are following our main character Cade McCall in the 1980s as he is working for a catering company. His boss is a douche, he works more hours than anyone and he's lusting after a woman who is just out of reach. When he gets a strange message on his answering machine about an exotic foodies club he is excited. This is his chance to find his footing and become his own boss. But like with everything in the world, not everything is as it seems. Very Twilight Zone, Kyle Winkler gave us a story full of twists and turns that we as readers were not expecting. I found the story to be fun, colorful, heart-pounding, and full of soul. This sounds weird but you can just tell Kyle put his whole being into writing "The Nothing That Is". It was impressive and I was left wanting to read more, the words flowed on-page and frankly, I loved it. The only complaint I have is the beginning was a little slow and sometimes things can get a bit clunky. It really is a 4.5 star for me and I hope to read more by Kyle Winkler in the future! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC for you, Kyle! Happy Reading! x
Profile Image for Sarah.
348 reviews54 followers
April 19, 2021
I received an e-Galley ARC of The Nothing That Is, authored by Kyle Winkler, cover design by Ryan Dunn, interior drawings by Claudia Landahl, for review consideration. What follows is my honest review, freely given.

I rated this novella 5 stars. This was another Twitter opportunity, the author posted looking for additional reviewers, and I snagged a spot (cue happy dance!). The summary and cover art had me itching to read it, I love feeling an instant call to a piece of fiction.

The first three sentences sizzled, I just knew this would be a great read.
Context: Making grilled cheese sandwiches on the stove top. You pre-heat the pan so when you place the buttered bread down it sizzles; no sizzle the bread won’t brown properly, sizzle means you’re hot to trot! I’m not saying I have to be grabbed by the opening sentences by way of action or drama; the tone and connection of the sentences fit. I could tell, at least with some certainty, I liked the book’s overall vibe. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe with a movie then, opening scene? I hope it has at least once, because it is a thrill.

The off kilter phone conversation was the first big dive into the weird for the reader; perfectly written. I found myself touching the spot of my neck right behind my ear, as if checking for or shooing something away.

Cade, our MC, has entered into a contract with something so far outside of his comprehension, purely by a split decision I might add, that it is the stuff of my nightmares, at the very least; it should be of most peoples honestly. Some of the things that happens to him, not restricted to the usual horror tropes of isolation and dark of night, instill a disquiet that I am carrying with me still, which is something to be proud of whether or not it’s a debut. I may not find libraries an automatic safe haven for awhile (sacrilege, I know!).

It’s hard to gush about my favorite parts when I don’t post spoilers, but trust me when I say that it is a phenomenal read. There is wit, horror, sadness, terror in these pages, and the lingering spirits of all, long after the tale is done. A favorite of mine for 2021, cannot wait to read more by Kyle Winkler.
Profile Image for Lee Howard.
Author 29 books129 followers
May 4, 2021
Just finished reading Kyle Winkler’s novella, THE NOTHING THAT IS. Loved it because it’s: 1) Short. 2) Contains delightful similes. 3) Quirky and weird. 4) Set in the 80s. 5) Darkly funny. 6) Mentions food, eating, and chafing dishes. 7) Actually freaked me out a few times.

About this last point: I read mostly horror, and it no longer scares me. Yet I found myself reeling on the brink of terror from Winkler’s descriptions of cosmic horrors, like I was about to lose my grip on reality and become untethered, set adrift in the chaotic void. His narrative is reminiscent of early Ramsey Campbell, the master of paranoiac disorientation.

Loved the characters and characterization. Tension mounts to the point of unbearability (a good thing, don’t you think?). I heart Kyle Winkler because of sentences like these: “I felt like I’d fallen behind the couch of reality…” (me too) and “My red-drenched hands hung at my sides like gore mittens.” Yeah, baby! And 8) You can’t beat cosmic horror from the mouth of a dead raccoon. Buy it. Read it. You’ll love it too. 5 stars!
1 review
May 6, 2021
Bizarre things happen, but in unexpected ways. Unsettled is the word that comes to mind when I think of the events in the book.

There’s a mysterious weirdo, strange food stuff, biker gangs, an answering machine, embezzlement, and exploding graveyards. My husband asked, has the graveyard exploded yet? The first line: “The graveyard exploded.” So, yes, it did.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants an unsettling Hoosier vacation in the mid-80s. Take a look and sit with the weirdness that is Kyle Winkler’s brain.
Profile Image for Catfish.
49 reviews
April 28, 2021
I enjoyed this; a very quick, dark, funny and bizarre read. Comparisons to the novels of David Wong are apt. Thanks to those that suggested this.

“Then, I thought: But what the hell could it do to me—comfort me to death? How the hell did a chair get in here?”
Profile Image for Jeff.
16 reviews5 followers
September 27, 2021
First, I love cosmic horror, and I love novellas. Second, still, I wasn’t ready for how good this book is. What a surprise. This is a delightful gem with some truly scary moments and a dash of humor throughout. I had no idea what was going to happen next. And to then find out, this is the author’s debut work. Bravo Kyle. I look forward to what’s next (coming in October, I believe. I Can’t wait).
Profile Image for Michael Goodwin.
Author 16 books76 followers
December 10, 2021
An assistant manager at a catering company gets a phone call from a mysterious potential client. If he fulfills their odd requests, he'll get $11,000. Tempted by the money, he agrees to go through with it. The events that ensue challenge his perception of reality and himself. Oh, and there are graveyard explosions and biker gangs. Trust me, it works.

What a mind-bending, hard hitting book. This is cosmic horror at its best. Our narrator is relatable, his personality uniquely apathetic, but everything changes as he chases his dream of getting out from under his boss's thumb. His arc is beautifully tragic, and the decent of his optimism into despair, remembering he had the choice to walk away but did not, is heartbreaking.

Winkler writes with a razor blade, unafraid to cut deep and expose the thoughts and things that are kept in the dark. I wanted more from this story, especially the ending (which felt rushed), but a day after finishing it, I feel that its succinctness is part of its beauty.

Make this book one of your next reads, and buckle up.
Profile Image for Damien Casey.
Author 11 books42 followers
April 23, 2021

I was severely disappointed this wasn’t a novella taking place in the Jim Henson a dinosaurs universe.
After this initial disappointment, I found myself in a really wonderful story. Kyle winkler manages to capture the emptiness and dread of lovecraft with this tale and flawlessly weave it together with the humor of a book like John dies at the end. While I make these comparisons, this book was unlike anything I have read in recent memory. A short, quick, and fun(?) Read that leaves you craving more after you’ve read the first page. A great debut novella and I really look forward to more from the author.
Profile Image for Elford Alley.
Author 14 books44 followers
July 28, 2021
There's a lot of cosmic horror out there, and there are a lot of 80s-set horror too. But you won't find anything like The Nothing That Is. A caterer desperate to leave his terrible job takes a gig for strange person known only as Mr. Dinosaur, who heads an exotic foods club. He's then drawn into a world of doomsday cults, biker gangs, and exploding cemeteries, all in orbit of Mr. Dinosaur, with the fate of the planet in the balance. I was bummed when I got to the last page, I wanted more! I hope there are more stories to be told here.
Profile Image for Joseph (Kevin) Lewis.
59 reviews4 followers
February 6, 2022
Thoroughly enjoyed this funny, gross, cosmic horror story about Cade who works for a catering company and gets caught up with a mystery client who pretty much leads him into all kinds of existential dread. Winkler does a great job throwing the reader curveballs that oddly makes sense in the end, but definitely leave you contemplating the Nothing That Is!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.