Penpal is the first novel by Dathan Auerbach. Auerbach did not originally set out to write a book; he began by posting macabre short stories on a subreddit called "nosleep". The first of these was "Footsteps" and he received such a positive response from the Reddit community that he began writing follow-up, related stories with the same protagonist. This unexpected success prompted Auerbach to launch a Kickstarter campaign through which he was able to raise almost $16,000 in order to self publish his blended works as Penpal in 2012. Auerbach has since published a second book, Bad Man, with publishing giant, Doubleday.
Penpal follows an unnamed protagonist as he is stalked from kindergarten into his teen years by a menacing maniac. An innocent request for a penpal led to years of stalking, an attempted kidnapping, unexplained disappearances and, even, murder. Penpal is a mix of both thriller and horror fiction with enough creepy twists and turns to keep the reader glued to the pages to find out what will come next.