shopify analytics ecommerce


The Cursed Earth

Blood, Sweat, and Fears

“It’s a slow build to a gallop of mayhem in its beautifully written crescendo, as the worshippers of the Grey Lady seek their ultimate release.”

—Zakariah Johnson, on Twitter


Small towns always guard their secrets, and the quaint Pennsylvania tourist town of Lynchburg is no exception. When members of a Pittsburgh gang retreat to the outskirts of the town in an ill-fated bid to hide from the authorities, they—along with a trio of industrial spies, a would-be celebrity chef, and a happy-go-lucky band of unwary festivalgoers—find themselves set upon by the dark forces behind the town’s 50th annual Fungus Festival.

Part folk horror-comedy, part cosmic horror thriller set deep in the forests and hills of Pennsylvania, THE CURSED EARTH hurls readers headlong into the heart of a cosmic folk horror nightmare in a town ruled by the enigmatic La Signora Grigia—the psychedelic Grey Lady—where gangsters, partygoers, investigators, and sinister cultists clash in the midst of the wild festival atmosphere. Who is the Grey Lady, and can outsiders ever hope to survive for long in Lynchburg?

This book is amazing…immersive, engaging, and fun. I would definitely put this book as one of the best books I have read in 2022!

—Tasha, Amazon review


Born in Missouri, growing up in Ohio, and settling in Chicago, D. T. Neal has always written fiction, but only got really serious about it in the late 90s. He brings a strong Rust Belt perspective to his writing, a kind of “Northern Gothic” aesthetic reflective of his background.

Writing his first novel at 29, he then devoted time to his craft and worked on short stories, occupying a space between genre and literary fiction, with an emphasis on horror, science fiction, and fantasy. He has seen some of his short stories published in “Albedo 1,” Ireland’s premier magazine of speculative fiction, and he won second place in their Aeon Award in 2008 for his short story, “Aegis.” He has lived in Chicago since 1993, and is a passionate fan of music, a student of pop culture, an avid photographer and bicycler, and enjoys cooking.

He has published six novels, Saamaanthaa, The Happening, and Norm—collectively known as The Wolfshadow Trilogy—Chosen, Suckage, the cosmic folk horror-comedy thriller, The Cursed Earth. He has also published three novellas—Relict, Summerville, and The Day of the Nightfish.

He co-edited THE FIENDS IN THE FURROWS folk horror anthologies, The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror, The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror, and The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest.


• 2008 Aeon Award, Second Place for “Aegis”
• 2009 Honorable Mention, “Best Horror of the Year,” edited by Ellen Datlow for “Aegis” and “Rotgut.”
• Runner-up, 2013 Best New Novel by a Chicagoan, Chicago Reader, for “Suckage”
• Shortlisted for the 2012 Aeon Award for “Day of the Nightfish.”



“The Cursed Earth by D.T. Neal both embraces and deconstructs the genre of folk horror. Here, at its core, is a self-aware commentary on a genre with deep roots. It’s also a fantastic ride.

Through four distinct story strands, Neal takes the reader to Lynchburg, PA and its annual mushroom festival. This small town functions around the festival, which boasts 100,000 visitors a year. The people of Lynchburg unashamedly embrace their dependence on mushrooms (with restaurants like The Shroom Room) and their dependence on the divine figure of La Signora Grigia (The Grey Lady). Paganism and dark deeds are afoot, but the crop and the cult are on display for visitors to enjoy, experience, and purchase. Even The Grey Lady is commodified with statuettes of the goddess sold in the hotel gift shop.

Regarding the story, Neal masterfully weaves the strands (recently out of college friends, the undercover agents of a big-pharma baron, organized crime members of The Red Deaths, and a ‘semi-celebrity’ chef out of Philly) into an immersive, bingeable, and rewarding tale. The reader is heavily invested in the cast before the book’s 10% mark. The horror of the tale, which is unsettling, creepy, and satisfying, stems from The Grey Lady and Her cult followers, but I’ll leave that pleasure of discovery for your own reading experience.

Neal deconstructs the tropes of folk horror with The Cursed Earth. The town of Lynchburg embraces and embellishes the idea of its rural and insular nature. This is the countryside viewed through the lens of a neon Shroom Room sign, self-aware and commercialized, and there’s a message there that landed with me (I won’t force feed it, but I hope the message sticks with other fans of the genre, as well).

The Cursed Earth is an everyday epic and brilliant storytelling.” —Coy, Goodreads review


“I loved this cosmic, psychedelic, folk horror Mushroom centric Manifesto, everything about this novel is mushroom related.

Set in Lynchburg Pennsylvania; a group of gangsters who have been extorting mushroom farmers attempting to hide from authority, partygoers, mushroom growers and fanatics, and an aspiring celebrity chef, all among those heading to the 50th Annual Fungus Festival, in a town ruled by the psychedelic Grey lady-La Signora Grigia. The festival quickly turns into a struggle for survival, and to identify who the Signora really is.

Sharp, witty, comedic, and fun, this is well-written and held my attention throughout the novel. The characters are relatable and well-developed and it’s easy to feel for them. The way he incorporated mushrooms into everything is amazing. I’d definitely read more by D.T. Neal.”

Thanks to Netgalley and Nosetouch Press for sending this ARC e-book for review. —Dorie K., Netgalley review


“D.T. Neal knows folk horror well. He knows how small towns guard their secrets. Like tightly sealed oysters concealing pearls, they must be pried open to expose the treasure within. So too is it with The Cursed Earth, maybe his best work to date. An absolute psychedelic mix of horror and thriller that pulls no punches and leaves no stone unturned in a cosmic and folk horror mashup.

Welcome to Lynchburg, Pennsylvania. Inside the rolling hills and dark forests is a town ruled by the mysterious La Signora Grigia. The novel starts off strong, setting the tone for what’s to come, depicting a rural setting where anything can happen. Gangsters, cults, an evil clown, and black magic collide with the power of mushrooms and an emotional core that keeps the pages turning.

At the 50th anniversary of the annual Fungus Festival, a veritable cornucopia of characters all bring their unique plotlines to intersect in Lynchburg. There are a lot of characters in this novel and it can sometimes feel a touch cramped. But Neal is a skilled enough storyteller that he is able to deftly balance a variety of different people and keep the story exciting.

The prose is smooth, with Neal getting into different heads and storylines with ease. Each character is well crafted and three-dimensional, whether they are rowdy young adults looking for fun or corporate spies out to steal fungi secrets for their masters.

The reader will be impressed by how much The Cursed Earth feels like an absolute, mushroom-induced trip. Neal paints vivid, sometimes bizarre pictures of the scenery, showcasing a land that is to be respected. Violating that is at the peril of the interlopers, and figuring out just what will happen to everyone involved is a joy.”

—Zachary Rosenberg, HorrorDNA Review————————————————————————————————————

In a little town called Lynchburg in Pennsylvania, there is a huge mushroom business. This family-owned business shares their success by hosting a yearly Fungus Festival. This year is the 50th anniversary of the festival; and it falls on Friday the 13th. This story follows the story of a chef, a group of college friends, a gang, industrial spies and lots of festival goers.

“This book is amazing. A folk horror with a cult, an evil clown, black magic, and lots of mushrooms!

D. T. Neal does know quite a bit about mushrooms and it shows in this story. Neal is fantastic with visualizing in words the atmosphere, the scenery, and the characters emotions and actions. Fans of Ronald Malfi will enjoy this book.

In a little town called Lynchburg in Pennsylvania, there is a huge mushroom business. This family-owned business shares their success by hosting a yearly Fungus Festival. This year is the 50th anniversary of the festival; and it falls on Friday the 13th. This story follows the story of a chef, a group of college friends, a gang, industrial spies and lots of festival goers.

While it may seem that following so many views of the festival can be difficult to follow, Neal has the skills to make this easy to keep up. I never got confused as to who is who and what their role is in the story.

The narration between all the characters flowed easily and smoothly. I enjoyed the banter and learning about the different types of mushrooms.

The action scenes were also easy to follow. I found myself so engrossed and speed reading because I was so involved in what happens to each character. I came to care about what happens to all of the people in this story.

Overall, I found this book immersive, engaging, and fun. I would definitely put this book as one of the best books I have read in 2022.” — Tasha S., NetGalley Review


“This book was silly in the best way, fulfilling every promise made by its charming psychedelic cover.

Four groups converge on Lynchburg, Pennsylvania for the town’s annual fungus fest; a quartet of slasher-film ready obnoxious college kids eager to sample exotic hallucinogens, an opportunistic restauranteur, a group of Pittsburgh gangsters with a truly half-baked scheme to shake down the town’s industrial-scale mushroom farm, and a trio of corporate spies from a California pharmaceutical company.

The prose strikes a balance between breeziness and rich description – and the imagery on display once the hyphae start fruiting is striking and eerily beautiful. The town’s touristy details and festival pageantry is so convincing and specific, that it sent me digging around the internet, sure there must be a real Lynchburg, Black Cap, and Mushy…more an adventure-comedy with horror themes than a horror book, like a less raunchy Christopher Moore.” —Cassandra, NetGalley review


“This was a really fantastic horror novel, I have an allergy to mushrooms so the thought of a mushroom horror novel is terrifying. D.T. Neal has a great writing style and I was invested in what was going on. The plot was what I was hoping for and enjoyed getting to know the characters. The characters felt like real people and it was a great way they handled the situation. I look forward to reading more from D.T. Neal.” —Kathryn, NetGalley review


“This was such a fun, strange, weird novel. I really enjoyed the multiple POV here, as it helped the story quite a bit. The characters were fun and well-developed. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I actually prefer that in this particular genre. The writing style was great and easy to follow. I’ll certainly be getting this as a physical book for my personal library.” — Shasta M., Bookseller, NetGalley review


“The story was fast-paced and exciting…magic mushrooms, goddesses— this whole book feels like a trippy ride on its own!”Ghadah, NetGalley review


“…The book is modern, and yet because of the folk and cult elements, there were times when it felt a bit 70s, a hippy kind of vibe that was bound to happen at a ‘shroom’ festival…I enjoyed that aspect very much. The festival brought the town to life in a multi-sensory way, partly because of the culinary aspects that gave me flashbacks to the TV series, Hannibal.

There are lots of characters to get to know, and several POVs, so you get to see things from more than one perspective which adds depth. My favourite scenes were those that included La Signora Grigia, the goddess who underpins everything that happens in this town. The imagery here felt original and terrifying…” —Catherine, NetGalley review


“There were a lot of characters but they weren’t hard to keep track of and it was easy to care about their well-being. I was invested and wanted to find out all of their secrets and the secrets of the weird, cultish founding family, The Templetons.

This book had everything; small-town horror, cults, drugs, gangs, Magic mushrooms, witchcraft, freaky clown, human sacrifice, and lots of blood and gore.” —Steph L., NetGalley review


  • Paperback: 480 Pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-944286-70-5