Bent is a jazz pianist living gig-to-gig in a dark city of dead-ends. With no family, and no friends, he has resigned himself to a life of quiet desolation. That is, until the night he meets the enigmatic Leonard Fry.
After accepting an invitation to his countryside mansion, where Leonard resides on his own, Bent is offered a deal of Faustian proportions.
“There is a room in this house. There’s only one way in and one way out . . . There’s one lock on the door, and only one key to that lock. Now, what I’m going to ask may seem strange to you. I don’t necessarily need you to understand, but what I do need is for you to agree to help me.”
Disillusioned with his life of excess, Leonard has decided to explore the final frontier of his existence, the margins of his mind, by locking himself in a small room in his mansion for a year. In exchange for Bent’s assistance, everything Leonard owns will be Bent’s for the duration of his self-imposed imprisonment.
But there are two sides to every locked door. As the days go by, and Leonard’s true intentions become clear, Bent will find himself venturing beyond the one terrifying boundary from which he can’t be sure he’ll ever return . . . the boundary of his own sanity.
AuthorBy Fred Strydom
Published14 November 2017
Dimensions5.50 x 8.25in.
About the author
Fred Strydom studied film and media at the University of Cape Town. He has taught English in South Korea and published a number of short stories. He currently works as a television writer and producer in Johannesburg, where he lives with his wife and son, two dogs, cat, and two horses. The Inside Out Man is his second novel; his first, The Raft, was published by Talos Press in 2015.
“[An] unsettling, compelling tale all the way through to its twisted, fitting finale.”—Publishers Weekly
“With quick, almost impatient pacing, Strydom creates a world that is fascinating and horrifying. Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski and of unsettling, mind-bending horror will devour this.” —Booklist
“The Inside Out Man plays a haunting, horrific melody . . . A stylistic, lyrical novel that reads like the jazz its protagonist plays . . . The ending arrives with a climactic flourish, but it’s not the ending you expect, nor the one hinted in the opening chapters.” —B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“As unpredictable as it is macabre and thrilling. . . . without doubt the best South African fiction title of the year.”—Nocturnal Book Club Blog
“Near pitch-perfect prose that will keep the reader spellbound. A finely wrought and twisty novel that dares to go where few authors would.”—Cape Times
“A well-written page-turner that will have you looking over your shoulder, or perhaps in directions you didn't know existed, The Inside-Out Man explores the inner depths of the mind and the soul as it races toward a climax as unexpected as it is satisfying.”—Richard Cox, author of The Boys of Summer
“Astounding . . . a psychological thriller that feels familiar, and yet is unlike anything I’ve read.”—Africa in Words
“A page-burner of a psychological horror story unfolding with the style and intrigue of film noir, The Inside-Out Man is a compelling, unsettling exploration of identity, desire, and the darkest regions of the human psyche.”—Jacqueline Baker, author of The Broken Hours
“Fred Strydom is back with yet another thrilling and genius book . . . [his] effortless use of language and imagination takes the reader on a psychological euphoria with every turn of the page.”—SABC Digital News
“[Strydom’s] inquisitive mind and subversive streak should culminate in a book like The Inside-Out Man. . . Multilayered, honest and, as promised, a hell of a trip.”—Books LIVE: Sunday Times
“Brilliantly sneaky – a story as darn and bent (cough cough) as the main character, The Inside-Out Man is as unpredictable as it is macabre and thrilling. . . . without doubt the best South African fiction title of the year, making the local literary scene that much more enthralling. Kudos to the author; he’s a rock star.”—A Girl with a Book
Praise for The Raft
“A wildly imaginative science fiction odyssey. Always compelling, it works on a lot of levels, and they all come together like clockwork in the end. Highly recommended.”—Scott Hawkins, author of The Library at Mount Char
“Enchanting, captivating, intriguing...none of these do The Raft justice. Styrdom's fresh voice and confident prose will completely engross you. A stellar debut!”—New York Times bestseller Jason M. Hough, author of Zero World
“Strydom’s debut subverts postapocalyptic fiction with a scathing parable of pain and paranoia ... reinvigorates the genre with a suspenseful concept and intimately realized characters. [A] sucker punch of a novel.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“If you think you’ve seen it all, read it all when it comes to dystopian fiction, you really haven’t; not until you’ve experienced The Raft. I was enchanted, awestruck, and ultimately moved by Fred Strydom’s rip-cracking debut.”—Nick Cutter, bestselling author of The Troop and The Deep
“This eerie debut about one man’s search for truth, even though what he finds may hurt more than it heals, features a protagonist with raw emotions and a strong voice, carrying what could be a convoluted plot to an unforgettable ending.”—Library Journal, starred review
“This novel really is a masterpiece. It’s different and haunting. It’s devastatingly good. And it’s beautifully put together. If you don’t read another SF novel this year, shame on you. If you do, make it The Raft.”—John Love, author of Faith and Evensong
“One of the sharpest premises in 2016 . . . The Raft is a must-read.”—B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog