Hot and getting hotter…

The weather’s been unprecedented here in the UK recently, with temperatures in the high to mid-twenties every day now for a number of weeks. Apparently we have a couple more weeks of it to look forward to. I’m not complaining – apart from the fact it’s bloody lovely to have a decent summer for the first time in years, it’s also fun to see the effect that a heatwave has on book sales. Whenever the sun appears, STRAIGHT TO YOU has a sales spike.

For those who’ve not read the book, it’s a simple story of a man trying to get to his wife before the sun dies and burns the planet to a crisp. The novel has quite a history to it: it was my first novel but I grew to hate it so rewrote it 20 years later, and it almost kind of nearly reached the big screen. It’s also one of the novels I’m proudest of having written (the 2014 version, anyway).

The novel is currently free to read on WATTPAD, and they recently made it a featured story. If you’ve not yet read it, head on over and give it a go. For maximum impact though, grab a paperback version, lie on your back in the middle of one of the UK’s many parched public parks, and read it before the weather breaks!

ALL ROADS END HERE – important update

Hello. Long time no speak. I’ve had my head down writing the final HATER book  – CHOKEHOLD – but I’m briefly coming up for air to bring you an important update about ALL ROADS END HERE.

On the whole, I’m pleased with how ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING has been received since its release last December. It’s still getting plenty of good press. Just this month, STARBURST magazine called it “a gripping, visceral read, glistening with gore and studded with extreme brutality and with a relentlessly downbeat tone which will please lovers of hard-edged apocalyptic fiction”, whilst SFBOOK REVIEW said it was “clever, convincing, claustrophobic fiction”. Just yesterday, GEEK SYNDICATE published their verdict, with Ian Simpson noting that by the end of the book “you’re likely to be standing in a pile of gore, or not standing at all.”

My publisher has been looking again at how we publish and market the second HATER trilogy, and we’ve decided that these are books which better suit a paperback release. ONE OF US… was hardcover only and is likely to stay that way until we’ve shifted more copies, but ALL ROADS END HERE and CHOKEHOLD will be released as paperbacks from the get-go.

In the case of ALL ROADS END HERE, this means that publication is going to be delayed, unfortunately. The book will now be released on February 12, 2019.

If you’ve pre-ordered the hardcover, please cancel your order. The paperback edition is already available for pre-order here.

Apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment. This is definitely the right approach for the series as a whole and I cannot wait for you to read the remaining books. In the meantime, can I suggest you re-read DOG BLOOD? You’ll be catching up with a few familiar faces in some unexpected places in ALL ROADS END HERE

And again, I’m sorry you’ll have to wait to read the new book. Rest assured I’m working on something to cushion the blow, and I hope to announce an upcoming release for 2018 very soon.

Year of the Zombie – out now

In 2016, Wayne Simmons and I curated YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE, which saw a host of zombie authors each contribute an original novella to a year long project. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve now collected the 12 stories together and made them available in a single volume. YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE is out NOW from Infected Books. The ebook – coming in at a massive 180,000 words – costs only $3.99. The paperback is a hefty 492 pages!

We recruited a star-studded line up of authors for the project.

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Saying Goodbye to the End of the World

Them or Us (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)It’s been an odd few weeks (though, to be honest, I’ve forgotten what a normal few weeks is supposed to feel like). I’ve spent a lot of time travelling, culminating in my first trip to Iceland which was the single most surprising and invigorating place I’ve been in a long time. Seriously, if we get word that the end of the world is imminent, I’m booking myself another ticket over there. It’s a remarkably quiet, remote, welcoming, and self-contained country. More about that another time. I’m sure I’ll set a book there one day.

Right now, though, my mind is focused on the setting for one of my earlier versions of the apocalypse – the town of Lowestoft, as featured in THEM OR US, the final book in the first HATER trilogy. At the moment I’m outlining CHOKEHOLD – the final book in the second HATER trilogy (hope you’re keeping up with all these book numbers!) which bridges the gap between the end of DOG BLOOD/ALL ROADS END HERE and THEM OR US.

I wanted to brush up on my HATER history, so I’ve worked my way through the original books while I’ve been developing the new series. It’s a weird feeling when you go back and read your own work. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but it always catches me by surprise. I remember most of the plot twists and can finish many lines in my head long before my eyes have reached the full-stop at the end of the sentence, and yet there always seems to be plenty I’ve forgotten too. I’ve enjoyed reading HATER and DOG BLOOD for the first time in years, but THEM OR US has been a different experience altogether because reading it followed the recent passing of my mother-in-law.

Betty was the indirect inspiration for THEM OR US. I’ve written here before about how my in-laws’ decision to relocate to Lowestoft in 2004 resulted in me getting to know this most unusual of towns. I’ve a real personal affection for the place, but because of its geographic location (it’s the most easterly point in the UK), it’s often overlooked. Generally, you don’t go to Lowestoft unless you’re going to Lowestoft. It’s not on the way to anywhere, and in many ways it feels like the end of the line. It has a suitably apocalyptic edge which made it the perfect setting for Danny McCoyne’s last stand.

Do a search for Lowestoft on this site and you’ll find loads of entries: the launch event I held at the town’s library when THEM OR US was first released, the four subsequent HORROR IN THE EAST conventions we held there which were always sparsely attended but huge fun to be a part of, David Shires’ excellent apocalyptic artwork… Lowestoft is a place I’ve enjoyed going back to time and time again.

But no more.

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All Roads End Here – cover reveal and synopsis

The next book in the HATER series – ALL ROADS END HERE – is out 12 February 2019 from St Martin’s Press. Synopsis below (care – contains mild spoilers for ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING).

It’s taken Matthew Dunne almost three months to get home. Never more than a few metres from the Haters at any time, every single step has been fraught with danger. But he’s made it.

In his absence, his home city has become a sprawling, walled-off refugee camp. But the camp – and the entire world beyond its borders – is balanced on a knife-edge. During his time in the wilderness, Matt developed a skill which is in high demand: the ability to anticipate and predict Hater behaviour. It’s these skills that will thrust him into a web of subterfuge and danger. As the pressure mounts inside the camp, he finds himself under scrutiny from all sides.

He’s always done his best to avoid trouble, but sometimes it can’t be helped. The shit’s about to hit the fan, and this time Matt’s right at the epicentre.

Need to catch up on ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING first? More info is available here.


The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Three

I’m very pleased to have a story in THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS VOLUME THREE from my friends at THE SINISTER HORROR COMPANY. The profits from this anthology are donated to charity, and this volume features a host of great names. Release date is February 24. The ebook is available to pre-order now, with print links to follow shortly.

My story is an odd little tale about a small-time crook from the Welsh valleys. It’s called NOLAN HIGGS IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH, and it was inspired in no small part by the most recent album from one of my favourite bands. The band is PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING, and the album is EVERY VALLEY. Give it a listen while you’re reading the book. I’ll post again soon and explain why I chose that particular place and point in time to tell grubby Nolan’s story.

All Roads End Here

Well, the final tweaks have just gone off to my editor so I guess I can now announce that the HATER story will continue on 25 September 2018 with the second novel in THE FINAL WAR series: ALL ROADS END HERE. The action picks up a couple of months after the events of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING and whilst I’m not able to share any specific plot details with you just yet, I can confirm that ALL ROADS takes place in the same location and at the same time as DOG BLOOD. Can’t wait for you to read it.

Thanks again to everyone who has picked up ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING. Not yet got a copy? It’s available from AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryIndiebound and all other good bookstores. The ebook is available from AmazonKoboiBooks and other stockists and the audiobook version can be found at AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

For the collectors amongst you, you can still get hold of signed first edition hardcovers of ONE OF US, along with a wide range of my other books, from www.infectedbooks.co.uk.

Killing a work colleague

Autumn: Purification (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011)A clickbait post title if ever there was one, but there’s a genuine point to this so bear with me. It begins many years ago, when I worked as a manager in a processing centre for a bank, looking after around 100 staff as we wound our centre down to a close. The work we did was being farmed out to newly opened sites overseas, where it could be done at a fraction of the cost, leaving my team and I redundant. I’m glad it happened, all things considered, because leaving the bank gave me a chance to take Infected Books to the next level and turn my part-time writing hobby into a full-time career.

But that’s not what this post is about. I was working on AUTUMN: PURIFICATION at the time, and having to deal with the redeployment of so many people in the real world brought unexpected benefits to my writing. I was able to release my stresses on the page (ever wondered where the inspiration for Samurai sword-wielding Harry Stayt came from?), and if I found myself becoming frustrated by my bosses, members of my team, or other people I was having to deal with at the time, I’d often picture them as a zombie and give them a particularly gruesome death in the book (without mentioning any names, of course, as I’d already got enough to deal with without being sued by anyone who took objection).

My new book which came out last week, ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING, has again reminded me of the usefulness of creating characters based on facets of people you know or who you’ve had interactions with. I find that it really helps keep them grounded and real, and if the characters in a horror novel are believable, it can add an enormous amount of weight to the emotion and impact of the vile situations you drop them into.

At the weekend I went away with my wife, and on the way home we stopped at Crosby Beach near Liverpool where Antony Gormley’s spectacular ANOTHER PLACE is installed. If you’ve not come across it before, it’s a series of 100 cast iron figures placed facing out to sea across a 2 mile stretch of beach. We visited on an ice-cold, exceptionally windy day, and that added to the impact of the sculpture. There’s something really affecting about seeing so many motionless (and emotionless) figures being buffeted and beaten by the waves. It felt quite dystopian, and the picture I took which I’ve posted here reminded me both of Danny McCoyne in THEM OR US, and Matthew Dunne at the beginning of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING. These characters are the intentional antithesis of each other, and both play pivotal roles in their respective trilogies as you’ll discover as the new series progresses.

When I was at a particularly low ebb a few years ago and my creative spark had been snuffed out, my wise wife said to me ‘how can you write about people anymore when you don’t know any?’. She was right, of course. I’d become a bit of a recluse, and my writing had suffered. I went back to work in an office, intending to stay there for a few months, and I’m still there after more than 3 years (and just by way of an aside, I now manage a team doing pretty much exactly the job I had Danny McCoyne doing in HATER all those years ago!). Though I have less time to write, the writing I produce is far, far better now that I’m mixing with other people on a daily basis again, and dealing with all the emotions of those interactions, both positive and negative. For me, the benefits of having a completely separate day job are clear, and right now it’s something I wouldn’t want to be without.

And that’s the reason for this post, I guess. ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING has been my first major release for some time, and it’s the first novel in which I’ve used characters inspired by the people I’ve recently worked with. Being around such a wide range of people while I’ve been writing the new HATER novels has been bizarrely therapeutic. I don’t really advocate killing your work colleagues, but do take inspiration from them. If you’re anything like me, it’ll help you in both your writing and non-writing careers. It’ll improve the quality of your characters, and it’ll help you get through those challenging business meetings as you imagine the horrific ending you’re going to give to the person currently giving you an ear-bending…

So thanks to the real Ronan Heggarty and Paul O’Keefe, for the inspiration they’ve both unwittingly provided. You don’t know who you are, but I do!

One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning – out now

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING is out now from St Martin’s Press. Available from AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryIndiebound and all other good bookstores. Ebook available from Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and other stockists. Audiobook by Macmillan Audio available from Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Signed hardcovers available from Infected Books.

“…a bloody fun ride… Another wetwork nightmare that should delight fans of Haters and intrigue writers who wallow in the genre.” – Kirkus

“Moody really knows how to write creeping, claustrophobic terror, effectively sneaking up on his readers and, finally, scaring the life out of them. Top-drawer horror.” – Booklist (starred review)

“A near-perfect example of humanity fucking up as our last card is played.” – DLS Reviews