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Darkly Disturbing Thriller is Next From Emergent Expressions Imprint

Coming-of-Age Trauma

The Dark Matter of Natasha Explores the Disturbing Flipside of Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Black-as-Tar Coming-of-Age Psychological Thriller by Author Matthew R. Davis Arrives June 21st


CHICAGO, April 7, 2022 —The troubled life of a teen struggling with the tragedies of her past amid the scurrilous gossip of a dead-end town is eloquently chronicled in the dark, gritty, and deeply disturbing psychological thriller, The Dark Matter of Natasha, coming from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis and the Emergent Expressions imprint of Grey Matter Press (GMP) on June 21.

The Dark Matter of Natasha is a black-as-tar coming-of-age novella exploring the intertwined lives of two youths on the verge of adulthood attempting to survive the darkest tribulations of a secret past and their suffocating small-town existence. With his portrayal of the haunted Natasha, Davis paints a devastatingly grim, yet often all-too-realistic, picture of teenagers seemingly unable to escape the closed circle of circumstances beyond their control and the horrifying consequences of youthful indiscretions that endure long into adulthood.


“I put aside the horror for this one and ended up writing something even more harrowing,” said Davis, the Adelaide, South Australia-based author.  “On the surface, Natasha is about sex, drugs, crime, and heavy metal. But its longest shadows are cast by responsibility, hopelessness, mistrust, and the inability to escape one’s circumstances—all the things that are truly frightening!”

The Dark Matter of Natasha is the second of four titles to be published by GMP during the 2022 calendar year in its Emergent Expressions line that features genre novellas by the ascending voices of modern fiction from the thriller, horror, science fiction, crime/noir, horror, speculative fiction, fantasy and other dark genres.

Natasha is a deeply poignant tale from the darkest side of ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll’ that reads like the literary version of a Slayer concert on the page,” said Anthony Rivera, editor and publisher at GMP.  “A lightning-fast heavy metal tempo combined with pitch-perfect notes build to a devastating crescendo that will resonate with anyone who’s ever struggled with personal trauma or questioned their place in the world. Which is to say: every one of us. With this novella, Davis cements himself as one of a distinguished group of ascending voices; and it’s a voice readers are going to want to hear on repeat.”

The company’s Emergent Expressions imprint seeks to elevate the fiction of emerging authors by offering a viable, collaborative and professional publishing outlet committed to highlighting exceptional talent and generating greater awareness for their work under the banner of Grey Matter Press.

When The Dark Matter of Natasha is released on June 21st, it will be available in both trade paperback and electronic formats at bookstores worldwide.



Paperback copies of The Dark Matter of Natasha are currently available for pre-order at a 30% discount exclusively at the GMP Bookstore. More information can be found at http://greymatterpress.com/the-dark-matter-of-natasha/.




Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their oppressive lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer. What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?

When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life?  Or is he just helping himself? The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone.

A tar-black coming-of-age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.



Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia. His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award. He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021). More information about Davis is available at matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com/.


Grey Matter Press is a Chicago-based publisher whose mission it is to discover and cultivate the best voices working in the dark fiction genre. The company is committed to producing only the finest quality volumes of fiction containing exceptional tales from the suspense-thriller, crime-noir, dark fantasy, literary fiction, horror, and speculative genres. More information about Grey Matter Press is available at greymatterpress.com.


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