Raising Stony Mayhall

RSM coverA Library Journal Best Book of 2011.

The (un)life story of the most polite dead boy in the world.

You can read the prologue and first chapter now (pdf or html).

Order online
Barnes & Noble
Flights of Fantasy Books (great indie bookstore)
Powell’s Books

A Del Rey Books Trade Paperback Original,  ISBN: 978-0345522375

What it’s about

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move.

The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

Reviews and Year’s Best Awards

Library Journal Starred Review and Best of the Year:

Part superhero fiction, part zombie horror story, and part supernatural thriller, this luminous and compelling tale deserves a wide readership beyond genre fans. Review.

Audible.com–Best Zombie Book of the Year 2011 (Full list.)

Publisher’s Weekly–Starred Review and Pick of the Week:

Richly textured settings and nuanced characters mark this introspective novel, in which Gregory (The Devil’s Alphabet) further expounds on his fascination with an altered human condition set against a mundane backdrop. Full review.

Gary K. Wolfe, Locus Magazine:

Despite some notably grotesque touches, such as a zombie philosopher named The Lump who survives with only a fragment of a body, Raising Stony Mayhall is almost restrained in is lack of splatter mayhem and movie-quote set pieces. Instead, what Gregory has written is an odd kind of heroic family romance, in which the occasional limb may fall off, but the love is convincing real.

Karen Burnham, SF Signal

  Stony [is] the best zombie character ever….More than many novelists, Gregory’s work not only withstands but grows richer with re-readings and sustained attention. Full review.

Faren Miller, Locus Magazine:

Raising Stony Mayhall should add to Daryl Gregory’s reputation as a dazzling innovator… [Gregory ] has ‘‘deconstructed’’ the familiar zombie story, providing a self-reflective ‘‘meta’’ take on it. Fortunately for the rest of us, Raising Stony Mayhall is also a fast-paced, exciting narrative laced with both humor and moments of pathos. Full review.

Paul Witcover, Realms of Fantasy Magazine

Richly imaginative, surprisingly funny, both grippingly and sensitively told, the novel is by turns nostalgic, grim, and redemptive. It’s also got real crossover potential, yet it will also satisfy the most demanding zombiephiles. This is a book that has brains… and eats them too.

Christopher Shearer, HorrorWorld:

Like his award-winning previous novels, Pandemonium and The Devil’s Alphabet, Raising Stony Mayhall is a simply written yet complex novel that is sure to linger in the thoughts of its readers long after the book is finished and set aside. And sure to garner Gregory a slew of new readers, win him some more awards, and raise the bar for all zombie and speculative literature to come. Full review.

Steve Sawicki, SFRevu:

Gregory does a masterful job at this and the book is interesting and compelling. I highly recommend it. Full review.

Blurbs from friends and colleagues

Not since Lucius Shepard’s classic Green Eyes has the concept of the zombie been treated with such eloquence and panache. Forget the contemporary culture of nihilistic and facetious walking-dead narratives. Read Raising Stony Mayhall as a mordant political parable; read it as a wry religious allegory; read it as an antic appreciation of otherness; read it as a beguiling meditation on the mystery of bodiliness; read it as one of the best fantasy novels of the year—but by all means read it.
—James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder and Shambling Towards Hiroshima

Stony Mayhall is a brilliant contribution to the literature of the fantastic. To call it a “zombie” novel would be like calling I Am Legend a “vampire” novel. Stony defies category while simultaneously defining it. Heartfelt, fascinating, suspenseful and terrifying — this book involves the reader as only the very best stories can: by entering our dreams. And nightmares.
—Jack Skillingstead, author of Harbinger and the collection Are You There?

Raising Stony Mayhall, like all of Daryl Gregory’s stories and novels I’ve read, is so good that I grieved when I got to the last page, because I wanted it to just go on and on, like a zombie upon whom death has no claim.”
—Chris Roberson, New York Times bestselling author of iZombie and From Fabletown with Love

I read Raising Stony Mayhall with high expectations, and I’m happy to say that not only did it not disappoint, but it’s even better than I had hoped: It’s a delightfully fresh take on the zombie genre and a ripping good read. The zombie faithful will devour this book, but zombie agnostics beware: zombie messiah Stony Mayhall just might convert you.”
—John Joseph Adams, bestselling editor of Wastelands and The Living Dead


17 thoughts on “Raising Stony Mayhall

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  3. This book was absolutely amazing. It was so refreshing to read a book with a completely different look on Zombies. Every new idea introduced blew my mind. I couldn’t put it down and finished it one sitting. I’d give it 6 stars out of 5. Excellent, excellent work.

  4. Hi, I just love this plot! I love it and love it. It’s so different and edgy. I was wondering if you will write a book #2 to it? I would love to see what happens to Stony, Ruby and the rest of the people.

    • Hello, are there still no plans for a sequel? I’m just curious. Sorry if I’m coming off as impatient. I just love that book so much. Raising Stony Mayhall could be as popular as World War Z and it’d still be underrated!

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  6. Hello! _Raising Stony Mayhall_ is one of the top books I’m considering assigning to my rising senior high school English classes for this year’s summer reading. I’m thinking it would be a great kickoff to _Frankenstein_ and some of the classic post-apocalyptic stories they will read in the course next fall, not to mention the “hero’s journey” and messianic motifs. I was wondering if you’ve heard of any parental challenges? The novel does have some language and adult themes and the one scene where the boys together discuss whether or not Stony has any sexual appetites, but these would be 17 and 18 year olds reading it and I’m guessing if it had to be assigned a rating it would be in the PG 13 range? What are your thoughts on assigning it as part of a high school summer reading program?

    • Hi Deborah,

      I haven’t heard of any parental challenges. The book has been taught at the college level, but at the secondary level I only know of one high school teacher who uses it. She gives the book to students as an “extra,” not an official course book. I have heard from high school kids who like the book, because it’s a coming-of-age tale. (One blogger called it a zombildungsroman.) I think 17 and 18 year olds would handle the sex references, language, and violence fine. It’s definitely less violent than almost any other zombie book or movie! And as an ex high school teacher, I’d be thrilled to have it taught in class. Good luck, and let me know if I can help.

  7. Thanks for the quick response! It’s much appreciated. I wasn’t seeing any issues with what I could find out there on the interwebz. I teach in a small charter STEM school in the heart of Research Triangle Park and I think my students would love the book (I certainly did!) and I think it could prompt some great connections and conversations. I will repost with results and reactions.

  8. Get ready for some extra orders from North Carolina– we’ve picked Stony as our summer reading assignment for rising seniors. I’d be happy to send you a link to the student assignment and response questions, and we are looking forward to discussing the story across the curriculum when we get back to school in the fall. Let me know if you want details/updates as we go!

  9. A skype session would be amazing, and I’ll also keep watch to see if your travels and appearances come anywhere near Raleigh. We do have a wonderful independent bookstore called Quail Ridge that does a fabulous job booking authors, if you are setting up anything nearby. Here’s the link to the summer reading assignment– scroll down to the 12th grade to see the subject area questions. And of course feel free to let us know any other suggestions students might consider as they discover the novel!


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