Thomas Usher Novels

Pretty Little Dead Things

(Published by Angry Robot, 2010)

"McMahon is another new/old name to be added to those leading the resurgence of British horror fiction. Like Conrad Williams and Tim Lebbon, McMahon has been active in the small and indie presses for years, but now that horror is hip again, these writers are breaking out into larger markets. Pretty Little Dead Things follows Thomas Usher, a man whose life is both ruined and transformed one night when he is involved in a head-on collision. While his wife and daughter die in the crash, Usher emerges with a gift: he can see the recently deceased. He investigates the murder of a businessman's daughter and the abduction of a child – two cases that turn out to be linked. The story of a grieving man who hates life looking into various shades of human awfulness is always going to be relentlessly grim, but despite the miserablist tone, this is a compelling novel, the puzzle structure of the whodunnit remixed to great effect with the dread of the best horror. Not so much hard-boiled as hard-nuked, this novel puts McMahon firmly in the front ranks of the new wave of British horror."
- Keith Brooke, The Guardian

"I loved it. Subtle, moving and beautifully written"
- Michael Marshall Smith

“Gary McMahon’s vision is as bleak as a Yorkshire moor, but it glows with a wintry light that illuminates the dark we live in. His prose and his sense of place are precise and evocative, and his characters are as real as you and me. He’s one of the darkest – which is to say brightest – new stars in the firmament of horror fiction.”
- Ramsey Campbell

” ‘Pretty Little Dead Things’ is a very disturbing read. Gary McMahon seems intent on taking readers through the looking glass and tearing down the walls between the living and the dead. He creates dark, hallucinatory images that burn in your brain forever. One very creepy dude, and this is his creepiest to date.”
- Christopher Fowler

“Gary McMahon’s horror is heartfelt, his characters flawed and desperate, and this book is a rich feast of loss, guilt, and redemption. His vivid ideas are given life in beautiful prose, and the book leaves you staring into shadows that weren’t there before. His talent shines, and is set to burn brighter still.”
- Tim Lebbon

“Thomas Usher is a great character treading a twilight world between Manhunter and Most Haunted; conflicted by grief, haunted by blame, a ‘magnet for ghosts’ who sees the skull beneath the skin. In Pretty Little Dead Things, Gary McMahon nails genuine horror as few British writers can – or dare. He gets under your skin, then burrows even deeper. Terrifyingly, dangerously, hauntingly so.”
- Stephen Volk (creator of TV’s Afterlife)

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Dead Bad Things

Thomas Usher, a reluctant psychic, has gone off the radar in London, hiding from the fall-out of a previous case involving a missing young girl and several hanged strippers. Before long, and as if to confirm that he can never truly hide from the dead, Usher starts receiving messages - a clockwork voice on the phone, a Rwandan psychic who hears voices, hellish visions in a derelict riverside warehouse. Usher slowly realises that the answers to these riddles, and perhaps to the questions he has never dared ask about his personal history, will only be revealed if he returns home to Leeds...

Sarah Doherty is a police constable in Leeds. She and her partner - who is also her lover - are drawn into a nightmare when they find the mutilated body of a young boy. Is there some kind of serial killer operating on their patch, or do these grim discoveries point to something even worse - something from Sarah's own past, and involving her emotionally damaged family?

Trevor Dove is a disgraced showman, a flamboyant theatrical medium once exposed as a fraud by Thomas Usher. But the truth is, Dove did once possess a genuine ability to talk with the dead, and when he meets the Pilgrim - a shadowy figure from Thomas Usher's tragic past - he begins to rediscover his gift and unearth secrets that will place his very soul in peril. Driven by a thirst for revenge, he is fated to bring together Usher, Doherty and the Pilgrim in a confrontation that will undermine the fabric of reality


"McMahon straddles the line between crime and horror, and succeeds in both genres, just as his hero Thomas Usher is the gatekeeper to an unpredictable world where the line between life and death is increasingly erased; this is a unique series that's gaining resonance and power as it develops."
-Christopher Fowler