Cover reveal for BREAKER (Random House Alibi).

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I’m thrilled to share with you the cover for Breaker, the second book in the Windy City Dark Mystery Series (Random House Alibi). This series is not like most traditional mystery series, in that we don’t have the same protagonist. What we do have is the same city (Chicago) with the first book set in the Wicker Park / Bucktown area, the second in Logan Square, just up the road. I lived in both areas for about twelve years in all, and the backdrop, the atmosphere, the tone and mood, that’s all similar. It’s really more like what Stephen King did for small town Maine, instead of Agatha Christie or F. Paul Wilson.

So, what’s Breaker all about? Our protagonist is Raymond, or Ray to his friends. He lives alone, haunted by secrets in his past, various abuses that his parents and sister lay on him, trying to survive, while repressing these memories. He works as a fighter, underground warehouses and private events, in order to pay his rent. Next door, is a young girl, Natalie, just in high school, who see him for the innocent boy he used to be. She’s not afraid of him. But maybe she should be. The struggle throughout this book is for Ray to break the cycle of abuse, to not be the monster that he is destined to be. Can he do it? You’ll have to read it to see.

Right now we’re looking at late 2015 or early 2016 for a release date. If you liked Disintegration, which Irvine Welsh called, “A stunning and vital piece of work,” and Chuck Wendig said was “A twisted masterpiece,” then hopefully you’ll like this book too.

Thanks for the continued support, faithful readers. Can’t wait for this to come out. Thanks to my agent, Paula Munier, and my editor at RHA, Dana Isaacson, for all of their hard work on this.

Exigencies, which I edited for Dark House Press, is out NOW!

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Edited by Richard Thomas, Foreword by Chuck Wendig, cover art by Daniele Serra, and interior illustrations by Luke Spooner. Includes “Wilderness” by Letitia Trent, “Monster Season” by Joshua Blair,“Cat Calls” by Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Ceremony of the White Dog” by Kevin Catalano, “The Armadillo” by Heather Foster, “The Last Manuscript” by Usman T. Malik, “Single Lens Reflection” by Jason Metz, “The Mother” by Nathan Beauchamp, “Everything in Its Place” by Adam Peterson, “When We Taste of Death” by Damien Angelica Walters, “Figure Eight” by Brendan Detzner, “My Mother’s Condition” by Faith Gardner, “Fragile Magic” by Alex Kane, “The Eye Liars” by Sarah Read, “Searching for Gloria” by W. P. Johnson, “And All Night Long We Have Not Stirred” by Barbara Duffey, “A Dull Boy” by David James Keaton, “Brujeria for Beginners” by Marytza Rubio, “Heirloom” by Kenneth Cain, “The Owl and the Cigarette” by Amanda Gowin, “Desert Ghosts” by Mark Jaskowski and “Blood Price” by Axel Taiari.

Exigencies has been a real pleasure to put together. When we opened the door for submissions, I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say that 800 stories later, these are the best neo-noir submissions that I got, and each of these authors is amazing, unique, and going to blow up soon (if they haven’t already, like Usman winning the Bram Stoker Award for his short story recently, and other authors getting book deals, like Letitia at ChiZine, etc.). These stories cover a wide range of neo-noir—leaning toward the horrific, the fantastic, and everything in-between. Pick up your copy today. Here’s a snippet from Chuck Wendig’s brilliant foreword:

“Certainly the world we live in is a dank, fucked-up circus. Watching the news for 45 seconds will crush the spirit of even the most stalwart viewer in ways the stories you’ll find in this anthology never would or could. (Because at least the stories in this anthology possess beauty, too. They are told with great care, the narrative given shape and grace, the darkness given form and face and motive. The news is just noise; the stories here are all signal.) Maybe reading these stories helps us give context to the news we see during the 24-hour cycle. Not just a litany of horrific events, but characters and stories—a sense not only of what, but of who and why.”

BLURBS:

“From the shadows that dwell in some of the most creative, and gifted minds around, emerges a collection of short stories that will skulk across the footplate of literature for many years to come. Exigencies is the cloak thrown over the world, to show us that in darkness we can still find beauty, and will forever serve as a keepsake to great writing.”
—CRAIG WALLWORK, author of The Sound of Loneliness

“Ah, do you feel it? That’s the spectrum of neo-noir passing over you. It’s wide, wider than you are It’s tall, taller than you are. And it’s got colors we haven’t exactly named yet. Its source is a book, the book you hold in your hands. Exigencies has it all. Some of it’s cold, some of it’s funny. Some of it’s strange, a lot of it’s possible. We’ve all heard of the type of man who ‘can get you things.’ Richard Thomas can get you things. And his specialty is short, scary stories. Just like the addict in the alley searches for voices he can trust, I listen when Richard Thomas says it’s a good story. ‘Here,’ he says, ‘you’re going to like this one…’ And I listen.”
—JOSH MALERMAN, author of the Bram Stoker-nominated Bird Box

“These pages house some of the most exciting writers you’ve never heard of—yet. They make the mundane terrifying, the poignant macabre, the violent touching. The only thing you won’t find is the expected, because these stories will move the ground beneath your feet. Brace yourself.”
—NIK KORPON, author of Stay God

 

Hanging with Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh

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Had such a great time at the Chuck Palahniuk reading last night in Naperville. Got to hang out with Chuck and Irvine Welsh, two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, so very generous and supportive. The lit up balls really show you what a crazy night it was, Chuck giving away so many cool prizes to his fans. Admission got me the signed book and comic, but I was lucky enough to finally catch the severed arm. I edited Burnt Tongues with Chuck (and Dennis Widmyer) which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award, and Irvine Welsh was kind enough to blurb my novel, Disintegration, calling it, “A stunning and vital piece of work.” I’m working on Irvine and I sharing a stage in the near future, since he’s in Chicago now. So much fun. Grateful to both of these guys. Also got to hang out with Jason M. Fylan who has an excellent story in Burnt Tongues, and Kirk Clawes, who helps run ChuckPalahniuk.net and LitReactor.com.

It’s Release Day for DISINTEGRATION!

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I can’t even believe Disintegration is finally here, six years in the making. I started this in my MFA program back in 2009, writing the first half with my professor Lynn Pruett, who knew nothing about neo-noir. After I gave her copies of work by Will Christopher Baer and Craig Clevenger, she got what I was going for, and was extremely supportive. When I got to Dale Ray Phillips, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he said it might not be thesis material, which means—not good enough. I put it aside to work on literary short stories with him, and it was worth the wait. A year and a half later, I had a week between gigs and wrote the second half, 40,000-words in five days, my fingers bruised, my arms aching, practically in tears when I stopped, feeling like I might throw up. That began the year search for a small press, where it was rejected 20, 30, 40 times. Running out of options, I decided to try and get an agent, and over 100 rejections later, Paula Munier at Talctott Notch called me, only 100 pages in, to say she loved it and wanted to sign me. I said finish the book, it’s kind of dark. She did, and she signed me, and we went after the big six and their imprints. So many close calls, coming down to board votes in some cases, and then we got the offer from Random House Alibi. I knew we were taking a chance on this eBook only imprint, but it has been a fantastic experience, my editor there, Dana Isaacson, so supportive, helping to make this book so much better. A team of three copy editors, and four marketing/PR associates, gave me more support than I’ve ever gotten. Now, the day is here.

I hope you enjoy the book, this neo-noir, transgressive thriller that is the first book in the Windy City Dark Mystery Series. It’s kind of Dexter meets Falling Down. The second book, The Breaker, is also set in Chicago, with a different protagonist (out in late 2015, or early 2016). It’s more like what Stephen King did with small town Maine novels than the F. Paul Wilson series, and his Repairman Jack.

ENJOY!

Here are some early reviews:

THIS IS HORROR

THE HORROR BOOKSHELF 5/5

ENTROPY MAGAZINE

CRIME FICTION LOVER 4/5

MATT PUCCI BLOG

SPLATTERHOUSE FIVE 5/5

QUIET FURY BOOKS BLOG 5/5

SJ2B HOUSE OF BOOKS 5/5

PAUL READ OR DEAD

PANTHEON MAGAZINE

HELLNOTES

Here are some excerpts:

ZOUCH

PUNCHNEL’S

ENTROPY

Glenn Chadbourne Illustration for “The Offering on the Hill” in Chiral Mad 3

Check out this amazing illustration by Glenn Chadbourne that will accompany my story, “The Offering on the Hill” which will be appearing in Chiral Mad 3, edited by Michael Bailey, at Written Backwards. Who else is in this anthology so far? Some pretty amazing authors—Stephen King, Gene O’Neill, Ramsey Campbell, Jessica May Lin, Paul Michael Anderson, Jason V. Brock, and Mercedes M. Yardley. More news to come.

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Blurbs are in for DISINTEGRATION—Out May 26, 2015

All of the BLURBS are in for Disintegration. Pre-order it at Amazon and/or add it to your “to-read” shelf at Goodreads. To say that I’m blown away by these amazing authors and their generous blurbs would be an understatement. I hope you enjoy the book. I think it’s some of my best work to date. And, it’s the first book of the Windy City Dark Mystery Series at Random House Alibi. The second book, The Breaker, was turned in last December. If this goes well there could be a whole series set in Chicago.

“A dark existential thriller of unexpected twists, featuring a drowning man determined to pull the rest of the world under with him. A stunning and vital piece of work.”
—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting and Filth

“Sweet hot hell, Richard Thomas writes like a man possessed, a man on fire, a guy with a gun to his head. And you’ll read Disintegration like there’s a gun to yours, too. A twisted masterpiece.”
—Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds and Double Dead

“This novel is so hard-hitting it should come with its own ice-pack. Richard Thomas is the wild child of Raymond Chandler and Chuck Palahniuk, a neo-noirist who brings to life a gritty, shadow-soaked, bullet-pocked Chicago as the stage for this compulsively readable crime drama.”
—Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding

“Thomas builds his universe and its population with terse prose and dynamic, often horrifyingly visceral imagery that unspools with grand weirdness and intensity. Then he rips that universe apart, brick by bloody brick. Disintegration is provocative. It’s also damned fine noir.”
—Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and The Croning

“A sodden, stumbling anti-hero in a noir so dark it makes much of the rest of the genre seem like Disney movies by comparison. Gritty, obsessive, and compulsively readable.”
—Brian Evenson, author of Immobility and Windeye

Disintegration is gritty neo-noir; a psycho-sexual descent into an unhinged psyche and an underworld Chicago that could very well stand in for one of the rings of Dante’s Hell. Richard Thomas’ depraved-doomed-philosopher hitman is your guide. I suggest you do as he says and follow him, if you know what’s good for you.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep

“In sharp, icy prose that cuts like a glacial wind, Richard Thomas’ dark Chicago tale keeps us absolutely riveted to the very end.”
—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff

“Chasing Ghosts” out now in Cemetery Dance #72 – with Stephen King!

CD#72Okay, not only did my story, “Chasing Ghosts” come out in Cemetery Dance #72 today,
but guess who is in there with me? STEPHEN KING! This will be the THIRD time I’ve
published alongside him. What a thrill. Honored to be in here with SK, as well as
the rest of the authors.This has been a LONG time coming, a white whale I’ve been
chasing for years. I’m honored to be in here. And, my name on the cover, too!

Here’s the full table of contents:

Issue #72

Publication Date: January 2015
Cover Artist: Stacey Drum
Interior Artists: Chris Bankston, Mark Edwar Geyer, Stephen C. Gilberts,
Chris Odgers, Shane Smith, Luke Spooner
Page Count: 80

Fiction
“Summer Thunder” by Stephen King
“Incarnadine” by Norman Partridge
“The Cambion” by Stephen Bacon
“Barn Dance” by Tim Davis
“Chasing Ghosts” by Richard Thomas
“Anti-Theft” by Victorya Chase

Features
“The Zebra Interviews: Rick Hautala, Ronald Kelly,
and C. Dean Andersson” by Christopher Fulbright
“Feature Review: Revival by Stephen King” by Bev Vincent

The Usual Suspects
“Words from the Editor” by Richard Chizmar
“Stephen King News: From the Dead Zone” by Bev Vincent
“The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association” by Thomas F. Monteleone
“MediaDrome” by Michael Marano
“The Last 10 Books I’ve Read” by Ellen Datlow
“Fine Points” by Ed Gorman
“Spotlight on Publishing” by Robert Morrish
“Horror Drive-In” by Mark Sieber
“Cemetery Dance Reviews”