Jeffrey J. Mariotte has written more than seventy novels, including original supernatural thrillers River Runs Red, Missing White Girl, and Cold Black Hearts, and the Stoker Award-nominated teen horror quartet Dark Vengeance. Other works include the acclaimed thrillers Empty Rooms and The Devil's Bait, and—with his wife and writing partner Marsheila (Marcy) Rockwell, the science fiction thriller 7 SYKOS and Mafia III: Plain of Jars, the authorized prequel to the hit video game, as well as numerous shorter works. He has also written novels set in the worlds of Star Trek, CSI, NCIS, Narcos, Deadlands, 30 Days of Night, Spider-Man, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and more. Two of his novels have won Scribe Awards for Best Original Novel, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

He is also the author of many comic books and graphic novels, including the original Western series Desperadoes, some of which have been nominated for Stoker and International Horror Guild Awards. Other comics work includes the horror series Fade to Black, action-adventure series Garrison, and the original graphic novel Zombie Cop.

He is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He has worked in virtually every aspect of the publishing businesses, as a bookseller, VP of Marketing for Image Comics/WildStorm, Senior Editor for DC Comics/WildStorm, and the first Editor-in-Chief for IDW Publishing. When he's not writing, reading, or editing something, he's probably out enjoying the desert landscape around the Arizona home he shares with his wife and family and dog and cat. Find him online at,, and @JeffMariotte.

The Slab by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Written in powerful prose as dangerous as its desert setting, The Slab is a true epic of horror and dark suspense.

A skull in a fire pit.

A man who can't remember his murders.

A woman snatched off the street, then set free only to be hunted down like an animal—until she becomes the hunter.

When these threads wind together, the result is unstoppable suspense and unforgettable horror. In the grim days following 9/11, three veterans of different wars are drawn together in one of the most remote, forbidding areas of the California desert. As serial killers ply their deadly trade and an ancient evil grows beneath desert sands, these three must discover the terrifying bond they share and learn to harness its power—before the darkness spreads and the world they know is gone forever.



  • "This novel is so jam-packed with action, morality plays, and diversity, that in lesser hands than Mariotte's it could have easily become confusing. If you have ever read and enjoyed those epic horror novels from the 70's and 80's (think Dan Simmons' work) where you were immersed in a sprawling world of rich characterization, smart plotting, and enough subplotting where the horror was deliberately episodic and horrifying, The Slab will be the perfect read for you."

    – TT Zuma,
  • "The Slab is one of those books that transports you back to a time when you first started to fall in love the genre."

    – Jim McLeod,
  • "I absolutely LOVED this story! It was one of those on the edge of your chair, locking your doors and windows at night type of reads!! Reading this book has made me definitely want to read more from the author. And I will never be able to think about 'Dove Hunting' in the same way again! If you want to know what I'm talking about you HAVE to get this book!! This is a must read for all horror/thriller lovers."

    – Brittany C.,



Chapter One


The raven's wing feathers gleamed, black and wet looking in the morning sun, like ink freshly spilled from the bottle. The bird walked with a stiff-legged gait, wings held to its sides as if pinned there. To maintain equilibrium, just before thrusting its pointed beak into the warm, oozing mass at the side of the roadway, it raised one wing like a high-wire artist's balancing arm and jabbed downward with its head.

The raven had no way of knowing—and its tiny brain would not have been able to comprehend, even had it witnessed the event—how this morning meal had come to be here at the edge of the desert road that ran north-south, skirting the eastern shore of the Salton Sea. The raven hadn't seen the jackrabbit waiting patiently on the side of the highway at dawn, hadn't seen the red 1974 Camaro that came barreling up the road twenty miles an hour faster than the posted speed limit, certainly hadn't seen the driver of the Camaro spot the jackrabbit and swerve, aiming for the creature instead of trying to dodge it. The raven hadn't seen the jackrabbit twist mid-stride, in the vain hope of avoiding the onrushing fender. The raven hadn't even heard the whine of the Camaro's engine as it disappeared up the road or the laughter of the driver and his passengers as the jackrabbit twitched and died in the sun's first light.

The raven was only pleased to have found the meal. A bit of intestine clamped firmly in its beak, it hopped backward two steps, cocked its head both ways to look for predators, and then, catching sight of an approaching vehicle, took flight.

Below, the jackrabbit's warm corpse waited for other scavengers—insect, avian, and mammal—to clean its bones. Death at the edge of the Salton Sea was nothing new, and certainly it was nothing that rabbits or ravens contemplated in any way. It simply was.