TerrorCon 2017 and the short films of XX (2017)

Hey everyone. A couple of quick items:

First of all: This weekend (Feb. 25th-26th) Black T-Shirt Books will be repping hard at TerrorCon 2017 in Providence, RI.

If you’re in New England, I encourage you to stop by. The guest list is insane and I’ll be there slinging books alongside superpals Matt Serafini and Patrick Lacey. Hope to see you there.

Second of all: thank you. The response to Video Night, The Summer Job, and Zero Lives Remaining being re-released has been truly incredible.


As a quick tip for anyone who’s purchased the paperback editions of any of these books (even if they were the old editions): through Kindle Matchbook you’re eligible to get a FREE ebook copy of the new edition. Just make sure you’re logged into the same Amazon account and that the kindle book rings up $0.00 before you click to purchase. Even if you’re a technophobe: claim your free ebooks because it helps out the books visibility on Amazon.

Lastly but certainly not leastly: I managed to get an episode of Project: Black T-Shirt up in observance of Women in Horror Month. In the episode I do a segment-by-segment rundown of XX, the new multi-director anthology film. Spoiler alert for the video, but: I recommend you check this movie out. Especially if you’re a Jack Ketchum fan, as it includes a great adaptation of one of his best (and most anthologized) stories.

As always: views, likes, comments, and subscribes on the YouTube page help me out immensely.

That’s all for tonight. Hope to see you at the show and thank you again for reading (and reviewing on Amazon) these books. I wouldn’t be able to keep writing if it weren’t for your generous support.


Video Night Returns! The Con Season is Cheap!

Check this out:

Yeah boy! That’s the stuff. Above is the new cover for one of my most popular titles, recently relaunched under a new imprint. If you’re new to my work, or somehow just missed this one, then I urge you to click over to amazon to check it out.

It’s about the 1988 alien invasion of Long Island, NY. So it’s not only thrilling, but educational.

The book’s not only got that sweet new cover by Fredrick Richardson, but a new afterword, and a couple of editorial nips and tucks.

If Video Night is something you’ve already got, then maybe I can interest you in The Con Season, my newest novel, for the next couple of days priced at 99 cents. Yup, one dollar will get you a full brand-new novel and 5 will get you two novels and the self-satisfied warm and fuzzies that accompany helping out an independent author. (Sorry, this offer has expired, but the book’s still cheap at $2.99).

Speaking of being an indie author, that new version of Video Night has been wiped of its 40+ reviews, so if you’ve read it and liked it: I would really appreciate you taking a few seconds to review on Amazon.

Okay, pimping over. Other than trying to sell you those two things, I also wanted to share that I’ve watched and reviewed a couple of movies since we last spoke. The best of which was The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which I did a video review for right here. Please hit that like and subscribe button if you haven’t already. It helps.

Beyond that: I want to here from you. Consider signing up for the mailing list if you haven’t by clicking the “Free Short Read” button at the top of this page, I’ll send you an exclusive ebook for your troubles.

Piece,love, blood, and guts,


Catching up with Andrew: Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary)

I’ve been a fan of Jeff Strand’s work for a few years now, but I’ve never picked up his earlier work (hop in the ole time machine and read about my first exposure to Strand right here. Why was I underlining titles back then? Was it my 5th grade book report?). More specifically I’ve never read his Andrew Mayhem series of horror/comedy/thrillers. Last month saw the re-release of the first three Mayhem books in spiffy* new digital editions (that are intended to prepare readers for the forth), so I decided to give the first title a whirl.

I really had no idea what to expect with Graverobbers Wanted (No Experience Necessary). I’m not much a fan of ongoing series, so would it feel too TV-ish to me? Would Strand’s prose be as funny and dry as his later work? How would I be able to fear for a character’s safety when I know they’ll be around for at least three more books?

The answer: those were all stupid questions and I should stop being a doubting Thomas.

Graverobbers is a ghoulish rocket that runs on the propulsive combination of its ludicrous plot and the likeably doofy voice of its narrator. Andrew’s first adventure is as enjoyable as he is inept.

The book is labeled as an “Andrew Mayhem Thriller” but I think “Mystery” would give perspective readers a better idea what to expect. Andrew may be a schmuck, but he’s still a detective in the tradition of Sherlock, Marlowe, Spade and Lew Archer. The clue elements may not be as integral to the overall success of the book as its humor and gore are, but there’s a mystery going on here nonetheless.

If we need further evidence to prove that Strand’s playing around with the genre of Chandler and Hammett, there’s also that great hardboiled cliché of the protagonist getting knocked around. Andrew is pummeled, shot and stabbed for our amusement, so even if he can’t detect, he’s got that in common with his forebearers.

Even if when all this violence that is perpetrated on poor Andrew, we don’t feel that the stakes are quite high enough, Strand ratchets up the tension by throwing some innocents into the fold. Where the aforementioned detectives are all aloof lone-wolves, Andrew’s got a family to protect and we can’t help but fear for them.

Graverobbers Wanted
is three bucks, you should check it out.
If the sign of a good series can be measured in the amount of time it takes a reader to purchase the next book, then let it be known that I finished the transaction for Single White Psychopath Seeks Same a minute after reaching “The End.” If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

*With striking covers by Strand’s wife, author Lynne Hansen.

Only Women Bleed: The Woman by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee

Has the whole world gone crazy? We as a culture/subculture/peoples have plenty of opportunities to ask ourselves this question on a daily basis. Here’s one more:

There is a new book co-written by Jack Ketchum out and the world hasn’t taken enough notice.

A new Ketchum book, let alone one co-authored by filmmaker Lucky McKee (the man behind the indie neo-classic May and is also responsible for what I feel is the best Ketchum screen adaptation: Red) is a reason to celebrate, people!

A quasi-followup to Ketchum’s Off Season and its sequel Offpring, The Woman‘s titular character is the lone surviving member of the cannibal tribe in the first book. At the beginning of the story The Woman, injured and alone, is found by Chris Cleek, a small town lawyer and closet psychopath. Cleek captures The Woman and brings her home where he keeps her in his fruit cellar and tries to “civilize” her with the help of his family. Any more synopsis is spoiler territory, so I’ll stop there.

Those who read that description and shudder that Ketchum and McKee will be content to settle for exploiting the ol’ horror chestnut of “modern man is the real monster” can breathe a sigh of relief. The authors take the trope of man’s bottomless capacity for cruelty and twist it, emphasizing the “man” part (and place it in direct contrast to “woman”) and creating a bold novel that simultaneously works on two levels as both a philosophical critique of misogyny and an explosive, disturbing horror novel.

The work’s staunchest detractors (aside from those violently off-put by the subject matter, but let’s not count them) will probably claim that this is Ketchum returning to the well-trod “woman is bound and tortured” setup one too many times. I can see value in this argument as The Girl Next Door and Right to Life share similar themes and plot conceits. The Girl Next Door is probably Ketchum’s most widely read and controversial book, but where The Woman owes most similarities is to the lesser-known novella Right to Life. Much of The Woman‘s middle section parallel’s Life‘s prisoner/captor dynamic pretty closely, but there are some fundamental differences that not only make The Woman a very different novel, but a much better one.

First and foremost among those reasons: the ending. The final quarter of The Woman is absolute dynamite, truly the most satisfying and legitimately scary (how many horror novels these days actually pull that one off?) climax that I’ve read in ages.

Secondly: its literary weight. Ketchum knows his way around a pen, and, looking at the evidence, McKee does as well. The prose in The Woman is a strong confident step above most of the genre. It’s a short book, but that’s because it’s not bogged down by excess fat or padding. Every word counts and while every passage may not ring as lyrically, the book has more than it’s fair share of beauty(and purposeful, abject ugliness). I read it on the Kindle, and while I do enjoy being able to save parts for later, it is very rare that my fingers get such a workout highlighting so many passages. American Pastoral and Horns are the only books I’ve used that function as much for and those things were behemoths.

Finally: The Woman, though upsetting and unnerving in many places, devotes very little of its page count to descriptions of Cleek’s cruelty. For me, this is a huge plus. Ketchum and McKee wrote a book that is more about the ideas of ugliness and destruction than it is about the actual acts. It is a book that launches these ideas into the air, bats them about, and takes an introspective look at the wreckage.

I wrestled with the idea of not reading this book, as McKee had filmed a feature adaptation around the time the novel was being written. What we have here strikes me as a chicken/egg type of question. Of two works created at the same time, which will emerge as the dominant form of the story? Does there have to be one? We’ll see.

I’m more than excited for the film adaptation, but I’m also glad I got to experience the novel with all its shocks and surprises intact.

You can start reading The Woman instantly if you get the ebook from Crossroads Press. Cemetery Dance is also offering a hardcover edition, with a bonus novella “Cow” (that’s one double-dip I’ll be partaking in).

Not Print, No Problem: Nightjack By Tom Piccirilli

I’ve had a Kindle since the second generation model was released almost two years ago now. I’ve mentioned my undying allegiance to the amazon corporation in posts before, so that’s not really news. Two days ago my friend bought a Kindle 3, he carries it around in a Ziploc baggie (because he hasn’t settled on a case yet) but that’s not the point. The point is that ebooks, to quote the seminal film Class of 1984: “are the future.”

If you need further evidence to support the idea if a digital revolution beyond my personal anecdotes (and really, why would you?), chew on this: noted crime/horror author Tom Piccrilli’s newest book, Nightjack, makes its debut exclusively in the digital format. This is not only important because it is a new work by an established author appearing first in digital, but because Nightjack is one of Piccrilli’s finest moments. Blending the hard-boiled/noir nature of his later work with the more gruesome, slipstream narratives of his horror output (i.e. A Choir of Ill Children) Nightjack is a cross-genre work that charms with its off-beat sensibility and inventive twist on the “split personality” trope.

The story concerns William Pacella. Well, technically it’s about Pace. Pace is one of Pacella’s myriad alternate personae that arise when his psyche is fractured by the murder of his wife. With the split also comes Nightjack, a Jack the Ripper-esque killer who is handy with a knife and whom Pace uses to take revenge on the crime family responsible for his wife’s death. We the reader enter the story post-killing spree, when Pace (and the rest of his alternates) has been incarcerated in a mental hospital. He’s joined on an adventure by three other multiple-personality cases (Pia, Faust and Hayden) that will send them across the globe to Greece to unravel a mystery that could either cure or kill them all.

Don’t let that gonzo synopsis scare you away, this is a plot-filled, borderline-psychedelic ride, but one that remains readable and enjoyable throughout. It’s one of those novels that is so twisty and dense with characters that it defies proper condensing. Piccrilli’s prose is slick, scary and, occasionally, very funny (the novel is about as much of a comedy as a meditation on loss, sorrow and revenge can be).

Pace is a likable protagonist, even if he does spend the majority of the novel slightly more bewildered than the reader. But it is Piccrilli’s supporting cast (and their numerous alternates, one a pug named Crumble) that truly keeps things interesting. My favorite of which is Pia, the hopelessly damaged go-getter whose main ambition during the course of the novel is suicide.

Pace sets his sights on saving everyone, but Nightjack has different plans. One of the many joys of the novel is having a protagonist that is both admirable hero and sickening villain in one body. To elaborate further would lead to spoilers, the novel is only five bucks and I guarantee you’ll find it worth every penny.

Nightjack was released in digital and audio by Crossroad Press who is also in the process of re-releasing John Skipp and Craig Spector’s original splatterpunk classics, and have just this week put out an uber-affordable edition of Jack Ketchum’s wonderful Ladies’ Night . My kudos to them for providing not only great new material but re-issues of some amazing work.

Also, while on the subject of the “digital revolution” I encourage you to check out Ken Wood’s editorial in Shock Totem #3 to hear the redemptive story of a one-time naysayer who has seen the light.