ATLANTA, Ga. (August 27, 2019) — A Southern Buddhist thriller, The Appalachian Book of Dead is a tasty treat of stoned ground grits with chai latte. Cormac McCarthy meets the Dalai Lama.

In Appalachian Book of the Dead, a psychopathic killer disappears into the mountains and haunts the troubled residents. After the murderous Angel Jones escapes from a prison work crew, he mysteriously vanishes deep into the North Carolina woods forcing newcomers Cal and Joy McAlister to deal with his macabre presence lingering in the secluded forest.  Burdened with grief, guilt, and unfilled dreams, Cal and Joy are joined by an oddball handyman and a young detoxing neighbor as they grapple with the enigma of Angel’s menacing specter. Each of them brings their private ghosts to live and gives their worst fears flesh.

This Southern Gothic tale blends ancient metaphysics with tantalizing thrills to make readers keenly aware of the wonders and woes of the world is set to be release by metro Atlanta based publisher SFK Press this September.

“For me it takes a least two opposing ideas in friction to strike a spark for fiction,” said Neal.

A spooky atmosphere, intriguing cast and razor-sharp prose deliver way more than a spark. Each character is haunted by his or her own worst fear coming to pass. “You give your fears flesh. You give your ghosts life.”

A veteran journalist and writing teacher, practicing Buddhist and North Carolina native, Dale is the author of two previous novels, The Half-Life of Home and Cows Across America, winner of the Novello Literary Award.


Praise for Appalachian Book of the Dead:

Appalachian Book of the Dead is a novel whose excellence defies easy categorization. To call it a metaphysical thriller conveys only a part of the novel’s strengths, for the novel’s characters are as complex and vividly realized as we’d expect in more character-driven fiction. Dale Neal’s novel, once begun, will be hard for any reader to put down.”
—  Ron Rash, New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall

“It is time for readers everywhere to acknowledge what we in Western North Carolina already know: Dale Neal is simply one of the most natural storytellers writing novels today. In his newest, The Appalachian Book of the Dead, he smoothly, vividly unfolds the dramas in the lives of characters who hope to reinvent themselves, to reckon with the ghosts of their former lives, to move, at last, through the in-between condition in order to know how to truly be themselves. Neal has woven genuine wisdom into the rich thematic elements here that effectively, unselfconsciously echo the instructions in The Tibetan Book of the Dead and the meditations of the Stoic, Marcus Aurelius. Readers who appreciate attentive and accurate evocations of the natural world and of rural life, will find themselves compelled to tell others about the memorable fictional community of Yonah, North Carolina.”
— Kevin McIlvoy, At the Gate of All Wonder and 57 Octaves Below Middle C

“I was properly scared through most of this book, and properly delighted.  It begins with a double murder and a disappearance, and then the Tibetan Book of the Dead guides us through a landscape of human miscalculations.  It had me enthralled from page one.”
— Joan Silber, author of Improvement and winner of the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award


How to Purchase and More Information

For review copies and interview requests, email or call (770) 683-1239.

More information about Appalachian Book of the Dead can be found at:

More information about Dale Neal can be found at:

Purchase Appalachian Book of the Dead September 3rd from your favorite local independent bookseller or online.

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