Fans of Burroughs and PK Dick will find a lot to like in John Claude Smith. Riding the Centipede is an intense trip into Bizarro Land.
— Laird Barron, author of _The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All_ and _The Croning_
Riding the Centipede by John Claude Smith is an impressive, hallucinatory and dynamically written novel that entertains, and provokes depth of thought with visceral prose and poetic hum. More than an ode to the Beat generation, this mythical, psychedelic drug trip mirrors the complexity of unorthodox language, uncommon perspective and nonconforming communicative style made famous by Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, and Charles Bukowski, yet stands on its own with the very heavyweights it pays homage to.
Smith masterfully anchors his story in lush description, cleverly crafted analogy and metaphor, and a twisted and darkly imaginative narrative. Highly recommended.
— Taylor Grant, Bram Stoker Award Nominated Author, The Dark at the End of the Tunnel

Private Investigator Terrance Blake spends most of his days shadowed by an event from his past, while dismantling the lives of those driven by the masochistic need to confirm the lies they deny are cold, hard truths, until Hollywood socialite Jane Teagarden calls him for only the third time in years with news on the whereabouts of her runaway brother, Marlon.

Marlon Teagarden has been a ghost for ten years, traveling through the underbelly of society as a means of blotting out a past allegedly rife with child abuse, until he is chosen to Ride the Centipede, leading to the ultimate experience, courtesy of literary translator of languages and drug-infused visions from inner and outer space, William S. Burroughs.

Just your average road trip chase through the dark frontier of addiction and alternative realities gone sideways.

Not quite.

Also along for the ride, at the behest of a mysterious employer, is a nuclear-infused force of corrupt nature, “some kind of new breed of human and radiation, a blotch, an aberration, cancer with teeth.”
Allow me to introduce you to Rudolf.

Rudolf Chernobyl.

Let the games begin…

Even if you set aside the rich beauty of John Claude Smith’s descriptions and the dense atmosphere he builds into this tale of horror both cosmic and man made, it’s a joy to observe how he brings all of his marvelous and monstrous creatures together. A poetic sensibility and the cynicism of a classic California private eye meld with the spirit of William Burroughs informing/infecting countless details. And over all, Smith extends the deep shadow of something incomprehensible threatening to overtake the boundaries of detective fiction and its implied logic. Beautiful, crazy, poetic, and strange...
— S.P. Miskowski, author of _The Skillute Cycle_
When it comes to addictive language and all the areas of after-midnight nightmares, John Claude Smith is a master storyteller who infuses his work with a poet’s vision and a madman’s eerie gaze at horrible things. This debut novel by one of weird fictions rising stars, is a _true_ journey into wonderful. I dare you to try to put it down!
— Joseph S. Pulver, author of A House of Hollow Wounds