President Donald Trump has taken heat in recent days for nominating Brett Talley to a lifetime federal judgeship at the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Talley, a former speechwriter for GOP Senator Rob Portman who has never tried a case, was given a rare “unqualified” rating by the American Bar Association.
In fact, a review of his life’s work suggests he might have a more promising future in horror writing.
The former speechwriter has published several spooky novels over the years, including the modestly acclaimed H.P. Lovecraft inspired work, “That Which Should Not Be.” The book was a finalist for a 2011 Bram Stoker Award — the highest honor in horror writing, the Washington Post reported at the time.
“Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant,” reads an Amazon product description of the book. “So, when Carter Weston’s professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth, Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch, the student doesn’t hesitate to begin the quest.”
His author page on the site reveals related titles, including “He Who Walks in Shadow” and “The Gods of HP Lovecraft” — an anthology that he contributed to.
Talley did not respond to inquires from TheWrap to explain more about his ghoulish hobby or whether he would continue to write horror as a federal judge.
He did, however, speak about his writing to the Washington Post in 2014 — when the meeting with reporter Ben Terris took place during a “ghost hunt” in D.C’s Holy Rood Cemetery.
“On a foggy evening in early December, Talley takes me to the Holy Rood Cemetery in Northwest Washington to show me how to hunt for ghosts. He has come from the Hill, and his black trench coat and suit combination makes him look like he was a lobbyist for the undead,” wrote Terris. “Armed with just a voice recorder and flashlights, Talley’s move is to find graves that seem interesting and ask questions out loud in case a spirit wants to answer. Even in his off-hours, he is trying to channel someone else’s voice. But he seems almost to be doing this with a wink and a smirk. He knows it is absurd.”