Disintegration Makes TWO Best Fiction of 2015 Lists

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Well, I’m stoked to announce that Disintegration (Random House Alibi) has made two Best of the Year lists. The first is at Entropy Magazine, where it was selected as one of the Best Fiction Books of 2015. The second, is at Cultured Vultures, where it made their Top Ten Books of 2015 list. They added this, as well:

“Disintegration is a novel I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It holds back no punches and dives into a gritty world that we have come to expect from Thomas. Not only is this a stand out effort, but a promising sign that despite being one of the most hands on people in the lit community, he’s not just all talk. Disintegration is probably one of the darkest things on this list, but by no means should that make you run away—just dive right in.”

I’m honored to make both lists, and am in some excellent company. Thank you to Peter Tieryas at Entropy and Jay Slayton-Joslin at Cultured Vultures for the kind words and support.

For a Limited Time, Disintegration is On Sale for 99 cents.

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For a limited time, Random House Alibi has put Disintegration on sale for 99 cents. 92% of the reviews at Amazon and 84% of the reviews at Goodreads are 4 or 5 stars. Pick up a copy today, and I hope you enjoy it.

“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

Essay about Transylvania up at Suvudu

SuvuduArtSo when I went to Transylvania this summer to teach horror writing in the shadow of Bram Stoker’s castle, I knew I’d write a few essays about my experiences. This article touches on setting, and how it seeps into my work—how it played a big role in my second novel Disintegration (Alibi) and how it might work its way into future stories and novels after some times spend in Romania. ENJOY!

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

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

Cover reveal for Disintegration, my second novel (Random House Alibi) out in June of 2015

Disintegration_RTExcited to reveal the cover art for my second novel, Disintegration, out June 2, 2015 with Random House Alibi. It’s Dexter meets Falling Down, inspired by voices like Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger, and Stephen Graham Jones. Hope you dig the art, here’s the full description from RHA:

In a brilliantly stylish breakthrough thriller for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Will Christopher Baer’s Kiss Me, Judas, here is the compelling tale of a man who has lost it all—and is now navigating a crooked, harrowing path to redemption.

Once a suburban husband and father, now the man has lost all sense of time. He retains only a few keepsakes of his former life: a handmade dining room table, an armoire and dresser from the bedroom, and a tape of the last message his wife ever left on their answering machine. These are memories of a man who no longer exists. Booze and an affair with a beautiful woman provide little relief, with the only meaning left in his life comes from his assignments. An envelope slipped under the door of his apartment with the name and address of an unpunished evildoer. The unspoken directive to kill. And every time he does, he marks the occasion with a memento: a tattoo. He has a lot of tattoos.

But into this unchanging existence seep unsettling questions. How much of what he feels and sees can he trust? How much is a lie designed to control him? He will risk his own life—and the lives of everyone around him—to find out.

The Next Big Thing!

Today I am taking part in the networked blog interview, The Next Big Thing. I was nominated last week by Joe Mynhardt, a gifted editor at Crystal Lake Publishing. A preview of the novel that my agent (Paula Munier at Talcott Notch Literary Agency) and I are shopping, Disintegration, can be read below:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Disintegration

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

After writing my first book, Transubstantiate, I wanted to write something that was not nearly as complicated. So a first-person, linear story was what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to tap into some of my personal fears and the worst possible situation that I could imagine was losing my family, seeing them die in front of me. That was the inception for this story. It’s basically Dexter meets Falling Down.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

I call it a neo-noir, transgressive thriller.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve always been drawn to Viggo Mortenson as an actor, he’s intense. I’m also a big fan of Christian Bale, he’d be perfect, I think. This is for the unnamed protagonist, the man who falls apart.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When a man sees his family die in a horrible car accident he quickly falls apart, disintegrates, into a life of vengeful crime and dark deeds.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My agent is shopping it now. I think it’s only a matter of time.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote the first half over six months in my first semester at Murray State University, under Lynn Pruett, as part of my MFA. I later wrote the second half in one week on a massive purge between freelance art direction gigs the following year.

8)8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Well, obviously the Darkly Dreaming Dexter series, as well as work by Dennis Lehane, Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay. Maybe American Psycho.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The original push came from Christopher Dwyer, who wanted to see something neo-noir but simplified. And I wanted to honor my family, if that’s possible, by “killing them off” in this book.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a tragedy, for sure. There is a lot of misery in this book, but there’s also love, hope, sex, drugs, violence, redemption, and vengeance. I think it works on several levels—as a fun, fast read, as a layered, dense, immersive cautionary tale, and also as a literary work filled with metaphor and imagery. Hopefully you won’t see the ending coming. I didn’t.

FOR A ROUGH DRAFT OF THE FIRST CHAPTER GO HERE!

Up NOW, December 5th, is Nik Korpon, Caleb J. Ross, Simon West-Bulford, David James Keaton, and Monica Drake.