Wow, I just heard that I’m a finalist for the 2017 Thriller Awards. Breaker is up for Best E-Book Original Novel. Totally unexpected. Any time I can share an announcement like this with Megan Abbott, Jonathan Maberry, Laura Benedict, and Joyce Carol Oates it’s an honor. Wish me luck!
So, I had quite a few things come out this year, and they are all eligible for award consideration. Cat Rambo was encouraging authors to do this, so here I go! (HWA for sure, as well as SFWA, etc.) The short stories were for pro pay, so those markets are definitely eligible. If you are a member of HWA, SFWA or any other organization that nominates for awards and you would like a PDF of any of this work, let me know, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOVEL: Breaker (Random House Alibi)
Description: Living alone in the dusty apartment where he grew up, Ray Nelson is a mystery to his neighbors and an unbeatable foe to the brutal men he fights in the ring for money. But a life defined by sinister secrets doesn’t stop Ray from trying to do the right thing for his dangerously high-flying sister. Or for Natalie, the young girl living next door. As a sadistic murderer’s ominous white van trolls for young victims throughout the Windy City, Ray is determined to protect Natalie from both predators and a bleak future. When she sees a bruised and beaten Ray return from late-night fights, Natalie spots a kindred spirit. Still, she cannot imagine the darkness just beneath, or what’s hidden in the rooms he calls home. Now, as the horrors of his own past creep back to life with a twisted vengeance, Ray may not even be able to save himself.
Blurbs: “Richard Thomas’s Breaker is a modern noir fever dream: brutal, lyrical, evocative. But it also exhibits surprising tenderness—its shattered characters find strength in one another, and beauty in the pattern of the cracks.”—Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind / “Gritty, raw, powerful, visceral—that’s all you need to know about Richard Thomas’s novel Breaker. It’s a ‘gotta read this’ book.”—Les Edgerton, author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping / “One of the most terrifying, harrowing stories you’ll read all year . . . With a solid mix of heartbreak and action, along with some plot-defying acrobatics not seen on the page too often, Breaker delivers the goods on all fronts.”—This Is Horror
SHORT STORY COLLECTION: Tribulations (Cemetery Dance / Crystal Lake)
Description: In the third short story collection by Richard Thomas, Tribulations, the stories cover a wide range of dark fiction—from fantasy, science fiction and horror, to magical realism, neo-noir, and transgressive fiction. The common thread that weaves these tragic tales together is suffering and sorrow, and the ways we emerge from such heartbreak stronger, more appreciative of what we have left—a spark of hope enough to guide us though the valley of death. Fireflies and wolves, ghosts and golems, tentacled beasts and demonic spirits–these psychological thrillers will hypnotize you as they slide the blade between your ribs, up close and personal, whispering in your ear as you gasp and pull them closer. Tribulations includes 25 short stories–including two that were long-listed for Best Horror of the Year. There are also five original full-page illustrations by Luke Spooner.
Reviews: “Tribulations shows that Richard Thomas not only knows his craft, but excels in it. Readers owe Richard Thomas a letter to thank him for sharing his brilliant work, and Richard Thomas owes readers a letter to apologize for giving them more reasons to never turn off the light”—Cultured Vultures. / “At his best Thomas writes like his life depends on it, while his restraint and careful use of language ensure that these stories hit in all the right places. Whether it’s with a dash of stream-of-consciousness here, a bit of prose poem there, or a starkly minimalist passage, these stories speak to the things that haunt the darkest corners of the mind.”—Hellnotes / “Richard Thomas is on the cutting edge of neo-noir fiction and I dare anyone to say different. Tribulations is his best yet: elegantly twisted, superbly creepy, and dripping darkness. This is required reading for anyone into the shadow side of literature.”—Dread Central
ANTHOLOGY / NOVELLA: The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books) / Golden Geese
Description: Across four different districts of a city that has torn itself to shreds, four different interweaving tales (each written by a different author) play out. In “Four Corners,” a morally dubious banker must keep his employer happy at any cost. The next story, “Punhos Sagrados,” concerns a boxer who finds himself torn between honor and the woman he loves. “Golden Geese” follows a hardened criminal with a terrifying condition who must come to terms with the life he’s led. Finally, “Jamais Vu” provides a stunning denouement as a man searches endlessly for his missing daughter, a task which is complicated by a peculiar condition: his inability to recognize faces. Told in rugged, bare-knuckled prose, The Soul Standard is a nonstop thrill-ride down the darkened avenues and through the shadowed alleys of a nightmare town. MY NOVELLA “Golden Geese” is about a man living in the outskirts, trying to forget the dark deeds he has done, as the consequences of his actions close in around him, one final act of redemption his only way to survive.
SHORT FICTION: “Repent” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake) / “The Offering on the Hill” in Chiral Mad 3 (Dark Regions Press)
Gutted Description: From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories–a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents: Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia. Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward. MY STORY “Repent” is about a father, a bad man, and what he is willing to do in order to redeem himself and save his son.
Chiral Mad 3 Description: The third act in the critically-acclaimed series by Written Backwards, is a symmetrically-structured anthology of psychological horror by Bram Stoker Award nominated editor Michael Bailey, whose previous anthologies include The Library of the Dead, Qualia Nous and Pellucid Lunacy. The anthology contains 45 illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, over 20 stories by the likes of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Gary A. Braunbeck, Mort Castle, Josh Malerman, Scott Edelman, Richard Thomas, Richard Chizmar and Gene O’Neill, and with 20 intertwined poems by the likes of Elizabeth Massie, Marge Simon, Bruce Boston, Erik T. Johnson, Stephanie M. Wytovich, and also includes an introduction by the extraordinary Chuck Palahniuk. MY STORY “The Offering on the Hill” is a bit of a Dark Tower homage, about a man wandering in a post-apocalyptic setting trying to find his wife and daughter.
I’m giving away ONE signed, bound copy of Breaker, my third novel, and the second book in the Windy City Mystery Series from Random House Alibi. These printed copies are usually sent out to get blurbs, so most people, myself included, never even see them. My editor, Dana Isaacson, had a few extra, and was kind enough to send me a few copies. So if you hate reading eBooks, but enjoy my writing, here is an opportunity to get this in print.
Here is all you need to do:
Go to Breaker at Goodreads.com, and add it to your “to-read” shelf. I will pick one person at random from that list on Sunday, November 29th at midnight. So, head on over, and good luck! (USA only, sorry.)
Living alone in the dusty apartment where he grew up, Ray Nelson is a mystery to his neighbors and an unbeatable foe to the brutal men he fights in the ring for money. But a life defined by sinister secrets doesn’t stop Ray from trying to do the right thing for his dangerously high-flying sister. Or for Natalie, the young girl living next door. As a sadistic murderer’s ominous white van trolls for young victims throughout the Windy City, Ray is determined to protect Natalie from both predators and a bleak future.
When she sees a bruised and beaten Ray return from late-night fights, Natalie spots a kindred spirit. Still, she cannot imagine the darkness just beneath, or what’s hidden in the rooms he calls home. Now, as the horrors of his own past creep back to life with a twisted vengeance, Ray may not even be able to save himself.
PRAISE FOR DISINTEGRATION (the first book in the series):
“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 and Red Moon
“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
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.