Charles Ripley has a good job as an engineer, a pretty wife, and an expensive house in a fashionable San Diego suburb. But it isn't until Ruskin Marsh moves in next door that Ripley realizes how passionless his life really is. Marsh, a connoisseur of the arts, high-powered lawyer, model husband and father, and effortless seducer of women, is so supremely alive that Ripley finds himself irresistibly drawn to him.
But after Marsh's arrival, local girls begin to vanish, marriages end violently, nights are split with endless, desperate screams, and horribly mutilated corpses are found. Soon, Ripley becomes caught up in an accelerating maelstrom of sex, drugs, violence, and ghastly, unimaginable rites...and begins to see the beauty of life.
From its profoundly unsettling first pages, Eric C. Higgs's The Happy Man (1985) reveals the nightmare underside of the American dream and brilliantly echoes the Gothic horror tradition of Edgar Allan Poe and Roald Dahl.
"The Happy Man is an essential '80s horror read: smart, sharp, unforgiving, unlike anything else in the genre." - Too Much Horror Fiction
"[A] grisly shocker, understated for the most part but carrying the impact of a fist to the stomach...a most promising debut." - San Diego Union
"A thoroughly engrossing Gothic horror story." - South Bend Tribune