Tananarive Due Discusses Her Pioneering Black Horror Reissue ‘The Between’

Due, who now teaches a well-known class at UCLA about Black horror film, started writing horror based in the Black experience decades before Peele’s surprise hit film was released in 2017. 

Her 1997 novel My Soul to Keep, about an immortal Black vampire is considered a classic. This October her 1995 debut novel, The Between, was reissued by Harper Perennial. 

The book is about a suburban Black couple targeted by shadowy supernatural forces who possess a white supremacist killer. Its re-release is a measure of what has changed in the horror market in the last 26 years—and of what, unfortunately, hasn’t changed in America. 

The Between is about Hilton, a Black director of a drug rehabilitation facility. His wife, Dede, is the first elected Black woman judge in Miami-Dade. 

Dede starts to receive terrifying death threats, and under stress, Hilton has terrifying nightmares of alternate realities—realities in which he dies in a swimming pool as a child, or in a car accident, or at the hands of Charles Ray, the racist targeting him and his wife. 

The book is a chronicle of Hilton’s disintegration, and of some force outside of time that wants him. His “dreams were like a bridge between the worlds,” and he runs from them because they tell him he “was supposed to be dead.”