It’s about that time of year again for the Earthling Halloween book series to wow horror readers. This year’s offering from Earthling Publications and Paul Miller keeps the streak alive with the eighteenth straight winner, this time from Tyler Jones, author of Burn the Plans, another fine read. This entry scrapes the bottom of the human soul and how far one is willing to go for the ones they love, even if it means losing the riches that build the foundation of who that individual is and how deep their conviction runs. Some might find a comparison to Pet Sematery or “The Monkey’s Paw” — yet this cautionary tale breaks off from the comparisons due to Tyler’s strong talent and grasp of natural storytelling.Continue Reading
Horror writer Kealan Patrick Burke wants you to face your fears. His poetic and visceral prose have helped earn him a devoted readership since The Turtle Boy won the Bram Stoker Award in 2004. Frequently mentioned in the same breath as Josh Malerman, Stephen Graham Jones, and Paul Tremblay, Burke has managed to carve out a unique place for himself writing dark and terrifying work that gets under your skin in the best of ways. He has also laid claim to an often neglected form—the novella. In fact, some of his most popular works are not his novels—although he’s written five of them, and is finishing up a sixth—but his novellas Sour Candy, Jack & Jill, and Blanky, among others.Continue Reading
I can think of several reasons to use more than one name, and most of them involve getting away with some criminal activity. But if you are Michael Marshall Smith, each name represents a category of sorts for bringing stories, novels, and screenplays into the world.
The first time I saw The Anomaly at Powells Books in Portland, Oregon, I didn’t know who the author, Michael Rutger, was. But the description of “Indiana Jones meets X-Files” was right up my alley, so I bought the book, loved it, and it wasn’t until after I finished reading that I searched online and found Mr. Rutger had already written several books I enjoyed, including the influential (and Stephen King praised) novel The Straw Men, under a different name. The Straw Men, by Michael Marshall was later re-released by Cemetery Dance in a special edition that included pages of Smith’s handwritten notes for keeping tracking of all the twists and turns.
Although born in England, Smith spent much of his early childhood growing up elsewhere; America, South Africa, and Australia. His early work, written as Michael Marshall Smith, was mostly horror and science fiction. But when Smith wrote The Straw Men, a novel about serial killers, it was so different from his other novels that he and his publishers decided a name change was in order to market the new work.
That book became part of what was eventually a trilogy that includes The Upright Man and Blood of Angels. Smith continued to write under the Marshall name for his next four supernatural/suspense/thriller novels before returning to Smith for his 2017 novel Hannah Green and her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence.
With The Anomaly, Smith once again took on a new name for what is turning into a wonderful series that follow Nolan Moore, a YouTube documentarian who investigates paranormal phenomena. Part mystery, part thriller, and all adventrure, the new Rutger novel, The Possessionveers straight into horror when Moore and his team look into a what may be a case of witchcraft in a remote American village.
Whatever name he goes by, Michael Marshall Smith has an uncanny ability to write intense and exciting books. He was kind enough to answer some questions via email. Continue Reading
When Joe Lansdale speaks, you listen. A fearless writer and natural storyteller who moves effortlessly between genres, Lansdale has made a career out of doing what he wants. He counts Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Dean Koontz among some of his most vocal fans, and has been steadily earning a large and devoted following since his first novel, Act of Love, was published in 1981. Since then, hardly a year has gone by without a new Lansdale book on the market, sometimes more than one. He has now written nearly 50 novels, dozens of novellas, and hundreds of short stories.Continue Reading