Publishers Weekly gave it starred review saying:
Teeming with the cosmic horrors that distinguish the fiction of Lovecraft, Machen, and other weird fiction masters, this eerie first novel offers up a picture of human civilization as a plaything in the claws of malignant alien entities.
The narrative toggles back and forth from past to present, establishing a rhythm between disturbing events and their foreshadowing that reaches a terrifying climax. Barron (Occultation) has studied the work of his predecessors well; already acknowledged a master of the horror short story, he shows himself equally skilled at novel-length work.
I waylaid Laird for a Q&A to introduce him to y'all!
1. Tell us about THE CRONING
It’s reminiscent of On Golden Pond, except for the sex, blood, clandestine government agents and black magic.
2. How long did it take to write?
About a year.
3. Do you outline, or just write by the seat of your britches?
This one was purely extemporaneous.
4. What did you learn when you wrote it?
The novel was mostly written while I dwelt in a shack in Montana high country. It was an attempted exorcism. I discovered that you can wallop the hornet nest with a big stick, but good luck with that.
5. When you're stuck while writing, what do you do?
Drink. Look at art, listen to music. Drink some more.
6. What did the copy editor catch that made you groan?
She caught gaffes a-plenty, but nothing that merits a chuckle. In a recent story I meant to say “prostrate” but forgot the ‘r.” That’s comedy.
7. Do you have a favorite book about the craft of writing?
I have read a number of such books. I’ve found nuggets in some. When I wish to instructed, I read Hemingway, Or McCarthy, or Martin Cruz Smith. And I take notes.
8. A memorable book you've read this year, and what made it stand out?
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. What the hell is there left to do with a werewolf story? Read this one and you’ll know. Duncan’s prose is masterful.
9. If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?
I’m pretty much doing that already. It isn’t for the weak, is all I can say.
10. Is there a book that makes you think "if I could write something like this, I'd die happy?"
BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy.
11. Care to confess to any guilty pleasures?
I don’t feel particularly guilty about it, but I have a bit of a crush on Charlize Theron.
12. What's your ringtone?
I don’t carry a cell.
13. How does your dog or cat make you laugh?
I think it goes the other way around. She lives with a writer. You either laugh or you cry.
14. Will the world end in fire or ice and why do you think so?
It will end in a whimper. Eliot said so.