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05 October 2021
An autumn 2021 pick for New York Times
* Observer
* Esquire
* O Quarterly
* Chicago Tribune
* Shondaland

'[A] gripping piece of storytelling' GUARDIAN 'Brilliantly conceived and unsettling' SUNDAY TIMES 'Clever, insightful and unnerving' OBSERVER

Most people didn't make it to Cell Six, he said. Most called out the safe word - reprieve - after the first Cell. It was that intense.

When Bryan, Jaidee, Victor and Jane team up to compete at a full-contact escape room, it seems simple. Hold your nerve through six terrifying challenges; collect all the red envelopes; win a huge cash prize.

But the real horror is unfolding outside of the game, in a series of deceits and misunderstandings fuelled by obsession and prejudice. And by the end of the night, one of the contestants will be dead.

A startlingly soulful exploration of complicity and masquerade, Reprieve combines the psychological tension of classic horror with searing social criticism, and seamlessly threads together trial transcripts, evidence descriptions, and deeply layered individual narratives to present a chilling portrait of American life.
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   640g
ISBN:   9781526635556
ISBN 10:   1526635550
Pages:   416
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Han Mattson was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in North Dakota. The author of one previous novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves, he is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of awards from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America and Humanities North Dakota. He is currently the fiction editor of Hyphen Magazine and has taught at the Universities of Iowa, Cape Town, Maryland, George Washington, Murray State and California, Berkeley. In 2009, he reunited with his Korean birth family after 30 years of separation.

Reviews for Reprieve

A horror tale and a Franzenesque multistranded literary novel that are interwoven . . . the latter turning the haunted house into a metaphor for America . . . Reprieve is brilliantly conceived and unsettling * Sunday Times * This genre-savvy horror thriller is an assured, ambitious debut ... A smart and troubling book that feels very relevant in 2021 * SFX * I raced through this beautifully written literary thriller . . . A fascinating exploration of privilege and power within a tight framework of plot points heading towards an uneasy denouement * Daily Mail * A chilling blend of horror and thriller that explores racism and the desperate desire to belong with skin-crawling exactitude . . . Clever, insightful and unnerving * Observer * This eerie novel about a death inside a full-contact escape room stretches the genre to eye-opening degrees * Entertainment Weekly * Straddles genres in the best possible way . . . Sure to spark conversation and debate at book clubs across the land * LA Times * Mattson crafts a nail-biting horror saga while also implicating us in our sick obsession with horror. So too does the novel evoke blistering social horror, forcing us to reckon with how racism, prejudice, and complicity are more horrifying-and more fatal-than anything that goes bump in the night. Unrelenting and unforgettable, Reprieve is an American classic in the making * Esquire * Not only just a straight-up terrifying horror novel, Reprieve is jam-packed with biting social commentary that manages to touch on everything from capitalism to race. It is hold-your-breath tense throughout and will leave your mind feeling like someone's had their fingers in there, fumbling around just to make you feel something . . . Wild and risky and audacious in the very best way possible * Shondaland * A self-aware and furious deconstruction of the horror novel, contrasting those who seek out fear with those who face the ever-present dangers of prejudice * CrimeReads * Reprieve takes horror as its subject, while also using the genre as its means, delivering twists and fright and the kind of storytelling that keeps you turning pages -- Rumaan Alam, bestselling author of Leave the World Behind An eventual American classic that is unrelenting in its beauty and incisive cultural critique -- Kiese Laymon, bestselling author of Heavy: An American Memoir A timely, devastating story about intersecting lives drawn to a dark and frightening place . . . Reprieve is the rare novel that will make your heart pound with terror while it aches with grief -- Jung Yun, author of Shelter Surprising and spellbinding, Mattson's latest offering is a page-turner that keeps you guessing right until the explosive end . . . A must-read! -- T. Geronimo Johnson, bestselling author of Welcome to Braggsville Sharp as a razor's edge . . . Mattson's devious trick is in revealing America itself as a topsy-turvy house of horrors * O Quarterly *

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