Cover reveal for BREAKER (Random House Alibi).

BREAKER_hires

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.

It’s Release Day for DISINTEGRATION!

DisintegrationALL

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

My story “Seeing Red” is now live in Crime Factory #7

Crime Factory #7 is LIVE! New Fiction and Features by Todd Robinson, Sean Doolittle, Matthew C Funk, Nik Korpon, Jordan Harper, Frank Wheeler Jr., F. Paul Wilson, Chad Eagleton, Richard Thomas (with my story “Seeing Red” that I wrote in the Jack Ketchum intensive), Joelle Charbonneau, Edward Grainger, Peter Risley, Andrew Nette, David Whish-Wilson, Don Lafferty, James Peak, and many, many, many more!