Can You Beat the Game?

glare3dI haven’t updated this blog in forever, but with The Glare releasing on July 14, it’s time. This “eerie tale” (Booklist) that was inspired by my phone addiction and my weird isolated childhood is finally going to hit shelves. (Preorder and support your local indie store here.)

The Glare is the story of Hedda, whose mom has kept her offline and away from all screens (which Hedda calls “the Glare”) for the past 10 years. Naturally, when Hedda finally leaves their remote desert ranch, the first thing she does is get online. The second thing she does is try to unravel the mystery of her mom’s technophobia.

That mystery leads her to a legendary first-person shooter on the dark web, also called the Glare, and when she downloads the game and plays it … very bad things happen. Not just to her, but to her new friends.

Is this SF/mystery/horror tale for you? You can find my content warnings on Goodreads.

The Glare has starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. And they say it will scare you:

“The expertly balanced reality-blurring storyline and strategic technology depictions seed psychological scares that will linger long after reading. … A chilling way to turn screen time into scream time.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Harrison … will thoroughly scare readers in this eerie tale of playing people’s fears against them with the power of suggestion. … a worthwhile read for lovers of horror and beyond.” — Booklist (starred review)

Finally, I’m bowled over and humbled by what Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians trilogy and someone who knows quite a bit about technology and culture, had to say about the book. This quote is going on the cover!


Now, I’m a horror fan. In my experience, horror fans know better than to believe someone who tells us a book or movie is scary, because we’ve so often been disappointed. We know fear is a wild and strange and fickle and subjective thing. Trying to explain why one thing scares us and another doesn’t is as hard as explaining to a non-horror fan why fear can be a healing and cathartic experience for us.

I’m all about psychological horror—creeping dread, rather than body counts or gore (though this book does have some of both). One thing that creeps me out is urban legends, specifically internet-related ones—online content that supposedly terrifies or mind controls those who interact with it. (Remember the “Momo challenge”?)

The Glare pivots on just such an urban legend—a game that supposedly kills every player who dies 13 times on level 13. Is it your brand of scary? Here’s what Hedda learns when she googles “the Glare.”

And remember, once you start playing, it’s already too late.