The shit’s about to hit the fan, and this time Matthew Dunne is right at the epicentre.
Publishers Weekly have had their say on CHOKEHOLD. Considering it’s the sixth book in a six book series (which technically takes place after books two and five and before three – make sense of that if you can), I’m more than happy with this write-up. CHOKEHOLD was never going to be a jumping-on point for the casual HATER series reader! Warning – spoilers ahead.
In Moody’s blood-soaked third Final War novel, Matthew Dunne and a handful of fellow survivors emerge from an underground bunker into a nuclear-blasted Britain still overrun with vicious, rage-fueled Haters, transformed humans whose overriding need is to kill Unchanged people like Matt. Beaten down and exhausted, Matt only wants to be left alone, but he’s drawn back into the fight when he and his group are taken to a fortified compound run by an old acquaintance, Estelle Bisseker, commanding officer of the Civil Defense Force. Estelle is eager to take the Haters down once and for all, but she’s not prepared for a massive cell of Haters that’s primed to wipe out the last of the Unchanged. When Matt spots a Hater in their midst, no one believes him, and he’s drugged, only to awaken to carnage. Matt sets out to find the rest of the group and warn them of the impending bloodbath. Moody toggles between the perspectives of the Haters and the Unchanged, eschewing nuance and peppering Matt’s harrowing journey with brutal fights that pave the way for all-out final battles. Fans of exceedingly bleak survival horror will be satisfied.
And here are a couple of other mentions I’d like to share. SFBOOK recently posted a great review of ALL ROADS END HERE, and I was interviewed by Todd of LONG SHOT BOOKS here. Finally, I recently recorded a huge (three hour!) podcast for THIS IS HORROR on independent publishing, mainstream publishing, and everything in-between. I’ll let you know as soon as it goes live.
Well this one came from out of nowhere and blew me away. Its release last year passed me by, and it’s only thanks to a casual mention of the title by a friend and coming across the movie whilst browsing Netflix that I watched it. And I’m so glad I did. I thought it was a fascinating study of loneliness – something that’s considered less and less in many twenty-first century post-apocalyptic films. The concept of being the last person left alive on the planet is something that used to be a staple of end of the world stories (with I AM LEGEND being an obvious example), and yet in today’s increasingly (superficially) interconnected society, it feels like an inevitable by-product of the apocalypse which isn’t discussed as often as I’d expect.
In THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD our main character Sam is already alone. We meet him as he makes a return visit to his ex-partner’s flat in Paris – filled with people, noise and good times – hoping to collect the last of his belongings. He wants to get in and out fast but is persuaded to stay, and as a result of the booze he consumes to help him get through the obvious awkwardness of the situation, he passes out. When he wakes up next morning, the walls of the flat are covered in blood. He’s slept through the zombie apocalypse.
As you may have heard me say previously, I’m planning a return to the world of AUTUMN next year with two new novels. My aim is that one, if not both of them will be released around October 2020 – the 10 year anniversary of the mass-market release of the first book through St Martin’s Press. There’s a lot of work to be done yet, though, so don’t hold me to that release date. You know how reliable I am with deadlines…
In readiness for the new books I’m planning a number of initiatives to raise the profile of the original novels again, and the first part of that project is now complete. Last week saw the Infected Books re-release of the German language editions of the novels, originally published by Michael Krug of Otherworldverlag. Here are the new editions. I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out.
The books are available now in print and as ebooks from Amazon.de. As you can see, the entire original series is also available as a single German-language ebook for the first time. Huge thanks to Michael Krug for helping me make this happen, and for Craig Paton who allowed me to use some of his original Amy Steadman AUTUMN artwork for the covers.
More AUTUMN-related news coming soon.
If, when my time is up, I’m ever asked to look back and recall pivotal moments in my life, the key writing-related moment I’d cite involves PAN’S LABYRINTH. It was 2006, and I’d just published HATER independently through Infected Books. The release had gone pretty well, and I was happy with how the book had been received. Then, out of the blue, I received an email from a production company in Los Angeles, enquiring about the availability of the film rights. Within a couple of weeks I was speaking to Mark Johnson (who went on to produce BREAKING BAD) about his vision for a film version of HATER. He asked me if I’d seen PAN’S LABYRINTH. I told him I had, and that I thought it was incredible. He said that was a relief, because he was hoping to get Guillermo del Toro to direct HATER.
Of course, as is often the way, things didn’t work out as planned. Del Toro became involved in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of THE HOBBIT and switched roles to produce HATER, only for the project to stall at a later stage. Even now, more than a decade later, I still get goosebumps thinking about how close we came to a del Toro adaptation of one of my books. And I know this post will inevitably result in folks asking questions about the current position of the HATER movie, so I’ll give you my stock answer: I had a meeting with the producer a week or so ago and the project is still very much alive and kicking. The script is in great shape and we’re just waiting for the stars to align. I’ll share more news the very second I’m able to.
Back to PAN’S LABYRINTH. It’s an astonishing film which rightly deserved the critical acclaim it received on release. Now, many years later, del Toro and author Cornelia Funke have adapted the story into a novel and, thanks to the publisher, I was recently able to read a copy. When I heard about the book I was concerned, and I struggled to understand why the story needed to be retold. Having read it, though, I totally get it. Remind yourself of the beauty of the film then read on below for my thoughts.
It’s 1944 and the Allies have invaded Nazi-held Europe. In Spain, a troop of soldiers are sent to a remote forest to flush out the rebels. They are led by Capitan Vidal, a murdering sadist, and with him are his new wife Carmen and her daughter from a previous marriage, 11-year-old Ofelia. Ofelia witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality and is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.
I’m sure you know Tim. He’s a very prolific, very approachable writer whose written many original novels as well as TV and movie tie-in books (including STAR WARS, ALIEN and FIREFLY). I’d known him for a while through social media then met him in person for the first time at a horror convention in Birmingham in February last year. We were table-neighbours for a very enjoyable weekend and, as is the done thing, we book-swapped at the end of the event. He went home with a copy of HATER, and I chose THE SILENCE.
I’d long known that a film adaptation of Tim’s book was in development, and we talked quite a bit about it over the weekend. Fast-forward a few weeks and I was on holiday. I devoured THE SILENCE (and thoroughly enjoyed it) in the space of a few short hours at the poolside. I was really interested to see how the film adaptation stacked up. Jump forward in time again until April this year, and THE SILENCE appeared on NETFLIX accompanied by a huge wave of publicity.
I’ve been stung by having one of my books adapted into a less-than-satisfactory movie, and I’m always nervous for fellow writers I know when films of their works are in the pipeline. So how did THE SILENCE stack up?
When the world is under attack from terrifying creatures who hunt their human prey by sound, 16-year old Ally Andrews (Kiernan Shipka), who lost her hearing at 13, and her family seek refuge in a remote haven.
It’s always a thrill to hold the first print copies of a book, and this one is especially cool. CHOKEHOLD is the absolute final HATER novel. It’s a sequel to both DOG BLOOD and ALL ROADS END HERE, and a prequel to THEM OR US. Oh, and it’s a bloody, violent, brutal (and surprisingly uplifting) story. Copies will be on their way to reviewers shortly. You can pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Book Depository and all the other usual sources now. The book is published by St Martin’s Press and it hits the shelves on 19 November.
A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of catching up with my friend WAYNE SIMMONS. Wayne’s good, by the way, as a lot of you have been asking. Slightly more tattooed and bearded than you might remember, but he’s as chilled out and positive as ever. He fell out of love with the horror genre several years ago, and we’ve barely talked about it since. So imagine my surprise when he came up with a few zombie movie recommendations out of the blue. Today’s recommendation is one of those films, and it’s a movie I hadn’t heard of until Wayne told me about it. HERE ALONE is a minimalist, slow-burn horror which is well worth a couple of hours of your time.
A young woman struggles to survive on her own in the wake of a mysterious epidemic that has killed much of society, and forced her deep into the unforgiving wilderness.
As you may know, I’ve been working hard over the last few months with some very talented narrators to make my Infected Books back catalogue available as audiobooks. I have a load of free download codes available which I’d like to give away. Want one? Fill in the form below.
All I ask in return is that you listen to the books and help me spread the word, ideally by sharing on social media or writing a review. There are three titles available – STRANGERS, THE COST OF LIVING and STRAIGHT TO YOU. Enjoy!
UPDATE – 7 JUNE 06:00 – DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND I’VE HAD TO SUSPEND THIS OFFER. ALL CODES HAVE BEEN TAKEN. THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST!
Joseph D’Lacey is a pal who writes great books that have never really had the success they deserved. I’ve told you about a couple of them before. Joseph is now releasing some of his earlier titles through his own imprint – Phasmid. He recently asked me to write an introduction for the re-release of GARBAGE MAN – a book I enjoyed first time around, and which I loved when I re-read it recently. The new edition has been launched this week, and for the next 24 hours it’s free to download from Amazon. Please do that straight away!