The Shaft by David J. Schow
A low-level drug runner named Cruz finds himself exiled from sunny Miami to frigid Chicago. He holes up in a decrepit rooming-house, the Kenilworth Arms, in the dead of winter. There he meets Jonathan, a yuppie struggling to get over a failed romance, and Jamaica, a prostitute on the payroll of the drug kingpin Bauhaus. When Cruz and Jamaica are forced to drop two kilos of cocaine down a ventilation shaft in the rooming-house to escape a police raid, strange things begin to happen…
“The Shaft has an intense, moody, in-your-face style, a great sense of place, and beautiful use of the weather as a claustrophobic device. The prose is about as dense as you’ll see in a post-World War Two horror novel. This takes time, effort, care, and most of all, talent. The book is packed with images—great images. Schow tosses away visions in a single line that other writers would spend paragraphs exploiting. When you turn to another novel after reading The Shaft, the prose will seem impoverished.” — F. Paul Wilson, author of the Repairman Jack series.
“Let me assure you that until you have read this book, your education in horror literature is not complete. The really strange thing about this book is that it has a superb drug/murder/gangster story as its theme; it would stand up on its own as a powerful novel without the horror, which is a bonus.” — Gordon Young, Jersey Evening Post