The Secret of Ventriloquism

Artwork by Dave Felton, © 2016

Winner, 2016 Golden Ghoul Award for Fiction (Foreign)

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“…for those who enjoy fiction of a weird nature with a capital ‘w’ The Secret of Ventriloquism should not be missed.”
Kev Harrison, This Is Horror

“There’s quite enough variety of tone, setting, and focus here to surprise and disconcert any reader, and leave preconceived expectations flopping and gasping in the cold black mud of Padgett’s imagination…Padgett is a chilling master in his own right.”
Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Associate Editor of Teleread

“Jon Padgett… satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories… are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be.”
Charlene Cocrane, Horror After Dark

“This collection is the work of an extremely talented and intelligent writer… the constant change[s] in form give the impression that the book is evolving as you go along, especially [given] the ever-increasing number of references to previous stories… It’s like the creation of a hive-mind.”
Kayleigh Marie Edwards, Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Jon Padgett’s The Secret of Ventriloquism may very well be at the vanguard of a new movement in American Weird,where the lessons of Thomas Ligotti are recontextualized and used to birth something as frightening and bizarre as it is different.”
Simon Strantzas, author of Burnt Black Suns

“…let me guarantee you one thing about Jon Padgett’s writing: It will lead you outside your comfort zone like a creepy stranger leads you away from home. Padgett both knows how to tell a story and how to scare people and The Secret of Ventriloquism is an intoxicating display of these two skills.”
Benoit Lelievre, Dead End Follies



Weird Fiction Review (by Adam Mills)

Paul StJohn Mackintosh

This Is Horror (by Kev Harrison)

Ginger Nuts of Horror (by Kayleigh Marie Edwards)

Simon Strantzas

Dead End Follies (by Benoit Lelievre)

Horror After Dark (by Charlene Cocrane)

Gestalt Real-Time Review (by D.F. Lewis)

The Plutonian (by Scott Dwyer)

Beauty in Ruins (by Donald Armfield)



Selected as the Best Fiction Book of 2016 by Rue Morgue Magazine.

“Jon Padgett’s The Secret of Ventriloquism is a horror revelation. The interconnected short stories are ghastly, clever, dryly witty, but also genuinely and bone-rattlingly creepy and disturbing. Sure, going in, I was already afraid of ventriloquist dummies, but now I’m deathly afraid of Jon Padgett.”
–Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

The Secret of Ventriloquism is horror with a capital H. Some of Padgett’s lines raised the hair on my neck. The stories radiate darkness… In a year of exceptional weird fiction, this is a mattock-handle-wrapped-in-barbed-wire heavy hitter.”
–Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase

“Padgett proves with his stunning debut collection to be a worthy successor to Thomas Ligotti. There’s no gristle, no bone, no dilly-dallying here: only pure meat whose terrors seamlessly grow into the metaphysical. This volume is jam-packed with the stuff that nightmares are made of.”
–Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue Magazine

“…Greater Ventriloquism is the fictional philosophy cutting through all of the stories in this collection, giving them a much appreciated spine of intent and eerie energy. When we understand that we are no better than dummies–when we see the strings that move us and hear the voice that animates us–we become the uncanny object, as opposed to the dummy. Our own embodiment thus becomes a vessel for great horrors.”