One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning – read the opening chapter

“She gasps for breath, her mind in overload, struggling to work out what, who, how, and why? and at the same time trying to cope with the most horrific pain imaginable. It fills her whole body, hurting so much it steals her breath from her lungs. Her arms give way and she hits the deck and rolls over onto her back, looking up into the rain and spray. She’s numb and slow to move, and the chain lashes down again and again. She instinctively raises her hands to protect her face, but it does her no good. Busted fingers, split skin, broken teeth, more blood, and so much more pain that it almost stops hurting.”

Less than a month now until the new HATER novel – ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – hits the shelves. You can read the gruesome, tone-setting first chapter right here.

In the meantime, don’t forget that signed copies are exclusively available to pre-order from this link. They’ll be shipping shortly, so please get your orders in quick.

THE RITUAL

I first met ADAM NEVILL in 2011, shortly after our mutual US publisher asked me to write a cover quote for THE RITUAL. If you look at my post about the book, you’ll see that he and I were born a year apart in the same city, but it took the involvement of St Martin’s Press in New York for our paths to cross. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few horror conventions with Adam recently (next up – The Birmingham Horror Con Halloween Special next weekend) and it’s been great to catch up again and compare experiences. Adam recently moved into independent publishing, and I wholeheartedly recommend his two recent short story collections.

The film adaptation of THE RITUAL opened in the UK last weekend, and knowing the book well and having had opportunity to discuss the production of the film with Adam (and the frustrations of film-making for authors – which we talked about on a panel in Liverpool recently – photo below courtesy of Dan Burgess Photography) I was keen to watch it. It didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the blurb and the trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts.

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey.

As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…

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HATER on IN THE SHEETS podcast

Hater (Thomas Dunne Books, 2009)I’m really excited that HATER is the first book to be featured on IN THE SHEETS, a new podcast from Brendan Cooney. Each month, Brendan and his audience will pick two books to read, review, and discuss. The author will introduce the book at the beginning of the month, then take part in an extended podcast towards the end of the month to answer any questions and meet the readers.

Brendan’s been a long-time supporter of my work, and I’m honoured he’s chosen HATER as the first book for this new venture. You can hear Brendan and I talking about the book on episode one.

This isn’t designed to be a passive experience, so please get involved. Join the IN THE SHEETS Goodreads group, subscribe to the podcast, and follow the discussion on Twitter and Facebook. I hope I get the chance to talk to some of you about the book. If you don’t make it this time, make sure you register for updates because I’ll be back in the next couple of months to do the same thing with ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING.

Kirkus Reviews – One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning

First reviews are coming in for the new HATER book, and I’m pleased folks seem to be enjoying it. Here’s the KIRKUS review of the book… They’re saying it’s “another wetwork nightmare that should delight fans of Haters and intrigue writers who wallow in the genre” which sounds good to me!

ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING is released on 5 December by Thomas Dunne Books. Signed copies will be available to pre-order from www.infectedbooks.co.uk in the next few weeks.

Two Halves Make a Whole

I’ve told you a lot about it, but I don’t think I’ve properly explained why I’ve been writing a second HATER trilogy. Is it a cynical cash in? A cheap way to drum up interest in my books again after a quiet couple of years? The answer to both those questions is a very definite ‘no’.

The new trilogy has its roots in some of the many movie-related discussions I’ve had about the books over the years. On numerous occasions, producer Ed Barratt and I have talked about TV adaptations (and we came tantalisingly close to getting that off the ground at the turn of this year but, as is so often the way, our plans unravelled at the last moment). Ed and I discussed the issues we’d face trying to translate HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US to the small screen. Part of the attraction of the books is the fact they focus exclusively on one man’s story, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this relatively narrow approach might present problems from a theatrical point of view.

One of the recurring themes of the series is ‘who is the bad guy?’. When the outbreak (or whatever it is) begins in HATER, the natural assumption is that the Haters are the villains. But, for various reasons, we later start to question that assumption, particularly when the extent of the actions taken by the Unchanged to keep themselves safe is revealed. It’s clear that both sides are capable of doing whatever they have to do to survive, and this comes to a head at the end of DOG BLOOD. I’ll be vague in case you’ve not yet read the books (come on, keep up!), but a pretty unspeakable act is carried out by someone. It’s particularly shocking, because that act has huge ramifications for both sides and every surviving individual, Hater and Unchanged alike.

So that got me thinking, are the Unchanged as innocent as I initially thought? Are the Haters as evil and ferocious as they appear? Do the lines ever blur? Are there weaker Haters and stronger Unchanged? How clear is the distinction between the two?

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HATER timeline

With the release of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING – the first book in the second HATER trilogy – fast approaching, I thought it would be interesting to start showing you how the two series are connected. They both tell different stories, but there are shared events and locations and… and I’m not going to tell you much more just yet.

With apologies for my limited graphics skills, here’s a handy timeline:

In case you’re new around here or need to catch up in readiness for the new books, HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US are available now. EVERYTHING AND NOTHING is a free ebook download which you can get here, and ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING hits the shelves on 5 December 2017.

The Spaces Between

It’s been so long since I posted about this I bet you’d forgotten about it. Or I bet you thought I’d forgotten about it. I first announced THE SPACES BETWEEN back in 2014 – it’s a long, multi-volume horror/ science-fiction series which is, for wont of a better description, like CHILDREN OF MEN meets BREAKING BAD (with a healthy dash of BLADE RUNNER to boot). It’s going to be good. Damn good. I’ve been keeping you waiting for years and… and I’m unfortunately going to be keeping you waiting a while longer yet. The first books are still more than a year away.

Those of you who’ve been following my work for a while will know that the last few years have not gone to plan. Various personal and family issues have repeatedly derailed my writing, and my family and I are right in the middle of another wave right now which is substantially affecting my ability to write. By the end of this year, however, we should be back to business as usual.

But it’s not all doom and gloom around here… a substantial amount of work is still getting done (just not as much as I’d like). THE OTHER HALF (HATER #5) is coming along nicely and will be delivered to my editor shortly. After that I’ll be writing AXXXXX: XXXXXX – a top secret novel I haven’t told anyone about – which should take me through to the end of 2017. In the new year I’ll be diving straight into THE LAST SUMMER (HATER #6), and then I’ll be cracking on with THE SPACES BETWEEN.

At this point I should add that all those folks who won the competition I ran back in 2014 to appear as named characters in the books will all still appear as planned. Apologies, folks, for the unavoidable delay.

Even though I’ve hardly written a word of the series, I’ve been doing plenty of planning. Part of the issue I’ve had is that it’s a HUGE story, and the overall length has fluctuated wildly during the planning process. There’s a lot of world-building to be done, but I’ve taken the decision to separate a lot of that out from the main narrative. So what began as a five book series has now ballooned to nine books which will, in effect, be two separate series which will conclude with a single final novel. The extra books will be THE SHADOWS BETWEEN – the future histories of key events which will define the world of THE SPACES BETWEEN. My plan is that the books will be released in pairs – one from each thread of the story at a time.

You’ve got to trust me on this – it’s all going to be worth the wait. I’m just sorry it’s taking such a long time!

Normal service will be resumed shortly

Normal service will be resumed shortly

It’s been a while – far longer than I’d intended actually. It’s over two months since I last posted here, and that’s a record I’m not particularly proud of. New words, old words, edits, deadlines, other jobs, family matters and many other things have combined to keep me off-line for an uncomfortably long period of time. I’m back now – for the time being at least – and have a number of things to tell you about over the coming weeks.

First and foremost, if you’ve pre-ordered the book, you probably know by now that we’ve pushed back the publication of ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING until 5 December. The copyedits were finished and returned to my editor last Friday, and I can’t wait for you to read the novel. It’s a very different perspective on the world of HATER which opens a whole host of new possibilities I’m currently exploring as I write THE OTHER HALF – book #5 – and prepare the (absolutely) final book in the series, THE LAST SUMMER. I’ve had a blast returning to HATER, particularly with THE OTHER HALF which is a parallel sequel to DOG BLOOD. There’s so much going on in DOG BLOOD that I didn’t realise until now…

I’ll be able to tell you more about the books over the next few months, along with news about new audiobook releases, ebooks, short stories, foreign language editions, film and book recommendations, interviews, events and – hopefully – a brand new serialised novel for the summer. Watch this space.

Until then, you can find out more about ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING here. Shelve it on GOODREADS here.

Hater books 4, 5 and 6

Over the weekend I shared this image to help promote the new issue of SCREAM MAGAZINE. It’s generated a fair few comments on Facebook and Twitter about the new HATER books, so I wanted to give you a very quick update/ explanation.

There are three new books coming in the HATER series: ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING (out later this year), THE OTHER HALF (which I’m currently writing), and THE LAST SUMMER.

This is NOT a continuation of Danny McCoyne’s story from the first three books, nor is it a reboot of the series (how I hate that expression). It’s actually a combination of both. The first book details the outbreak of the HATER epidemic (for want of a better word) from a different point of view to the original novel. The second book takes place alongside the events of DOG BLOOD, so you’ll encounter a few familiar faces and places but, again, they’ll be shown in a different light. Chronologically, book three takes place between DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US and fills in a few blanks I deliberately left vague first time around. Our guide through the apocalypse this time around is a gentleman by the name of Matthew Dunne who is a… no, I’m not going to tell you any more just yet.

Though ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING currently has a release date of 15 August pencilled in, this may change. I’ll let you know more when I do. In the meantime, here’s the back cover blurb…

Fifteen people are trapped on Skek, a barren island in the middle of the North Sea somewhere between the coasts of the UK and Denmark. Over the years this place has served many purposes – a fishing settlement, a military outpost, a scientific base – but one by one its inhabitants have abandoned its inhospitable shores. Today it’s home to Hazleton Adventure Experiences, an extreme sports company specialising in corporate team building events.

Life there is fragile and tough. One slip is all it takes. A momentary lapse leads to a tragic accident, but when the body count quickly starts to rise, questions are inevitably asked. Are the deaths coincidental, or something else entirely? Those people you thought you knew well, can you really trust them? Are you standing next to a killer, and will you be their next victim?

A horrific discovery changes everything for everyone. There’s no way home now, and a trickle of rumours becomes a tsunami of fear. Is this really the beginning of the end of everything, or a situation constructed by the mass hysteria of a handful of desperate and terrified people?

The lower the population, the higher the stakes.

Kill the rest of them, before one of them kills you.