Robert McCammon’s THE WOLF’S HOUR

I’ve only read two McCammon books so far (SWAN SONG and THE  WOLF’S HOUR), but I’ve come to a conclusion.

Robert McCammon doesn’t write novels. He writes masterpieces.

I expected that of SWAN SONG, since many folks place it up there with (and, in some minds, above) one of my favorite novels, Stephen King’s THE STAND. After reading SWAN SONG, I felt the praise was warranted. It’s a towering classic of our genre.

What I didn’t expect was for THE WOLF’S HOUR to rival the majesty of SWAN SONG.

A Horror Classic

A Horror Classic

THE WOLF’S HOUR is a completely different type of novel than SWAN SONG (and I would argue that SWAN SONG is very different from THE STAND), but it’s no less impressive. In fact, I found Michael Gallatin (the protagonist of THE WOLF’S HOUR) more interesting than any character in SWAN SONG (which was crammed with awesome characters, especially Josh, the ex-pro wrestler).

I’ll leave the synopsis of THE WOLF’S HOUR to other reviewers—it’s not like this is a new release anyway—and instead limit my observations to a few brief reactions:

1. The aforementioned Michael Gallatin is one of those larger-than-life characters that nevertheless feels grounded in reality. More importantly, McCammon manages to make Michael vulnerable without making him weak. The result is a crackling species of suspense whenever Michael is in danger, which then transforms into a plausible relief whenever Michael triumphs. We believe he can be killed, but we also believe he can overcome. The difficulty of achieving this balance cannot be understated, but McCammon makes it all seem effortless.

A Master

A Master

2. The novel contains set pieces that beg for a big screen treatment. One involves the Paris Opera House. Another takes place on a specially-rigged “death train,” which is one of the coolest settings I’ve read in a good while. These set pieces alone vault THE WOLF’S HOUR into high adventure territory, and they begin to speak to my next point…

3. The story is a true epic. It contains horror, action, romance, adventure, humor, heartbreak, eroticism, and historical flavor. Despite the fact that we know how WWII ended, we feel genuine terror when the Nazi plot is revealed and teeth-chattering suspense when Michael attempts to bring down (literally and figuratively) Hitler’s diabolical plan.

From the above comments it might seem I’m bashing SWAN SONG. I’m not. It’s an incredible work of fiction. And if I had to choose between THE WOLF’S HOUR and SWAN SONG, I’d choose the latter as the better of the two books. But THE WOLF’S HOUR certainly deserves to be mentioned alongside SWAN SONG when folks discuss horror’s best novels.

Masterpiece

Masterpiece

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention McCammon’s writing, which is absolutely superb. The man has a poet’s ear and a carpenter’s exactitude, but he also possesses the sheer brawn to create such a robust tale. McCammon is a masterful writer who has already taught me a great deal. He’s also a riveting storyteller who entertains the heck out of me.

And before you say anything, let me answer you: I know I need to read BOY’S LIFE and plan to do so by year’s end. For now, though, I’m going to savor THE WOLF’S HOUR. It was everything a great book should be.

It’s Time for…HORRORHOUND WEEKEND!!!

Where will Mads Mikkelson (HANNIBAL), Jon Bernthal and Scott Wilson (THE WALKING DEAD), and Linda Blair (THE EXORCIST) all be this weekend?

Hanging out with me!

Mads with His Game Face On

Mads with His Game Face On

If you’re within driving distance of Indianapolis, I’d love to see you at HorrorHound Indy this weekend. I’ll be signing books with some awesome Samhain Horror authors (like John Everson, Tim Waggoner, Mick Ridgewell, Adam Cesare, and David Searls), and I’d love to meet you (or see you again).

Talk to you soon, friends!

HHW-3-14-MAIN

EXORCIST ROAD Chosen as The Mortuary’s Book of the Month

botm-sept-2014

Howdy, friends! The excellent folks over at Dreadful Tales and The Mortuary have selected my brand-new novella EXORCIST ROAD as their September Book of the Month. Here’s the article/review about it on the Dreadful Tales website, and here’s the link to the forum thread in which the story will be examined/discussed/vivisected over the next several weeks. Here’s one of my favorite parts from the Dreadful Tales article:

“With Exorcist Road, Janz ushers in a new era of thrills and violence, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the old school paperback days. I would gladly stand this novella alongside lurid horror gems like Ketchum’s Off Season for its shock factor; the unbridled aggression of Laymon’s One Rainy Night; and the sexually charged nastiness of Tessier’s Rapture.”

One of My Very Favorite Writers

One of My Very Favorite Writers

So a big thank you to Colum McKnight for writing the above words (words that are especially humbling and exciting because of the three authors referenced), and thank you to the rest of the folks at Dreadful Tales and The Mortuary for honoring my story by making it their September read.

And if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of EXORCIST ROAD, here’s one place where you can get it. It’s also available everywhere else ebooks are sold.

Another Humbling (and Exciting) Comparison

Another Humbling (and Exciting) Comparison

Second Review for EXORCIST ROAD: “A novella that will propel him to the top of the horror field”

Howdy, friends! My new Samhain Horror release EXORCIST ROAD is receiving an extremely positive welcome. There will be more news about this novella soon, but for now, let’s focus on its second review, this one from the “Not Too Terrible” review blog. Here is my favorite part:

“Riffing on the exorcism theme, newcomer Jonathan Janz delivers a novella that will propel him to the top of the horror field. What makes Exorcist Road stand out from your random run-of-the-mill horror novella is not just the quality of writing (which is superb) but also the creativity and addition of foreign elements to this story to take its intensity to the next level. This isn’t just a straight forward, priest-is-here-demon-is-exorcised story. Janz adds the “locked room” element and masterfully places Red Herrings throughout the entire book. Those will keep you guessing until the end.”

A Demon...and a Serial Killer

A Demon…and a Serial Killer

Before I forget, did I mention I’ll be doing a book signing this weekend at a major convention? More on that tomorrow…

The First EXORCIST ROAD Review: “You’ll be flying through the words and pages”

Hey, friends! My novella EXORCIST ROAD came out yesterday, and the first review is already here. Joe Hempel of Top of the Heap Reviews had this to say in his five-out-of-five star rave:

“Jonathan Janz works his magic once again by creating characters and situations you can relate to even within the realm of exorcism.”

And…

“It’s one of those books that you’ll have to stop and catch your breath while reading. The shots from the demon are so rapid fire, and so evil, that you’ll be flying through the words and pages.”

A Demon...and a Serial Killer

A Demon…and a Serial Killer

Gotta run now, but I’ll be posting tomorrow about another five-star review that was just posted at another review site. And if you haven’t taken the plunge yet, I urge you to do so. You can purchase EXORCIST ROAD here.

Have a safe night, friends.

Lock Your Doors. EXORCIST ROAD Drops at Midnight…

A Demon...and a Serial Killer

A Demon…and a Serial Killer

We’re a few short hours away, folks. I can’t wait for you to check this one out. Like my other three novellas (OLD ORDER, THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, and WITCHING HOUR THEATRE), EXORCIST ROAD is told from a single point-of-view. Like those stories, this novella takes place over a very short period of time. But unlike them, this one very quickly crosses over into the realm of the supernatural.

The realm of demonic possession.

exorcist 04

But like all my stories, I think you’re going to find some interesting characters in EXORCIST ROAD. They’ll have to face not just one, but two inexorable forces of evil: a uniquely monstrous demon and an unspeakably sadistic serial killer.

Jason Miller The Exorcist

The story was inspired by my three favorite “possession” stories: William Peter Blatty’s THE EXORCIST and LEGION, as well as John Farris’s SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT. You can buy EXORCIST ROAD anywhere ebooks are sold, and at the moment it’s only $3.15 at the Samhain Horror online store.

The-Exorcist-the-demon-approaches

Have a good night, friends. I’ll leave you with the below image…

the_exorcist_2_by_theunforgiven14-d3bolmf

 

The Exorcism Begins in Three Days…

EXORCIST ROAD is coming. If you haven’t heard about this brand-new plus-sized novella, here’s the description:

Possessed by a demon…or by the urge to kill?

Chicago is gripped by terror. “The Sweet Sixteen Killer” is brutally murdering sixteen-year-old girls, and the authorities are baffled.

A seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his entire family and had to be chained to his bed. His uncle, police officer Danny Hartman, is convinced his nephew is possessed by a demon. Danny has sent his partner, Jack, to fetch the only priest in Chicago who has ever performed an exorcism.

But Jack has other plans tonight. He believes the boy isn’t possessed by a demon, but instead by an insatiable homicidal urge. Jack believes the boy is the Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he aims to end the reign of terror before another girl dies.

A Demon...and a Serial Killer

A Demon…and a Serial Killer

This story combines the ferocity of the demonic possession sub-genre with the mysteriousness of a classic whodunit. I think you’re really going to enjoy this one, folks.

Get it here for only $3.15.

Sweet dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

On the Eve of EXORCIST ROAD’s Release, Pope Francis Approves Exorcisms

THE EXORCIST. LEGION. SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT.

Some of the best horror novels of the past half-century have examined demonic possession and the rites of exorcism. The topic itself is extremely complicated and even more controversial. Clearly, however, the concept of exorcism is a fascinating one that continues to enthrall readers and moviegoers everywhere.

demonic1

As the title of this post mentions, Pope Francis has just reinstituted exorcism, calling it “a form of charity that benefits the sufferer.” Whether demonic possession is real or not, and whether or not exorcism is “a form of charity” are fiercely debated questions.

In my very-soon-to-be-released novella EXORCIST ROAD, two priests attempt to exorcise a fearsome demon inhabiting a fourteen-year-old boy. If you enjoy a spine-tingling tale and have ever enjoyed a story about demonic possession or exorcism, I hope you check out EXORCIST ROAD. And even if you haven’t read or seen an exorcism story, now is a great time to pick one up.

A Demon...and a Serial Killer

A Demon…and a Serial Killer

I have to go now. I’m editing one novel and writing another. I’ll be telling you about both of them soon…

Classic

Classic

EXORCIST ROAD: The Serial Killer and the Possession

Have you heard about my new novella? Even though I’m primarily a novelist, there are readers who actually prefer my novellas to my novels. They’re crazy, of course, because I’m awesome in either length. But yeah, some folks dig the novellas more.

But seriously.

Wait a minute...There aren't any butter churns in this one?

Wait a minute…There aren’t any butter churns in this one?

There have been three novellas thus far: WITCHING HOUR THEATRE (which I’ll post some news about soonish), OLD ORDER (which you’ll enjoy unless you’re looking for an Amish romance, in which case you’ll leave me a one-star review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and chastise me for not writing a wholesome story that features the Plain People doing, well, plain things, I guess), and THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE (which has an ending that once caused a co-worker to look at me like I was the lovechild of Ted Bundy and the Devil himself).

And now there’s a fourth. EXORCIST ROAD is the longest novella I’ve written, clocking in at well over a hundred pages. It’s also the first story I’ve written entirely from the first-person point-of-view. It’s also the first time I’ve dealt with demonic possession (in my fiction, not real life, though I sometimes wonder about my wife when she’s sleep-deprived—KIDDING, LOVEY! Don’t throw anything at me! You’re always sweet and loving and—*flees into another room*). Lastly, it’s my first Chicago story, which is sort of exciting. I love that place.

The Possessed Novella

The Possessed Novella

Here’s what it’s about:

Possessed by a demon…or by the urge to kill?

Chicago is gripped by terror. “The Sweet Sixteen Killer” is brutally murdering sixteen-year-old girls, and the authorities are baffled.

A seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his entire family and had to be chained to his bed. His uncle, police officer Danny Hartman, is convinced his nephew is possessed by a demon. Danny has sent his partner, Jack, to fetch the only priest in Chicago who has ever performed an exorcism.

But Jack has other plans tonight. He believes the boy isn’t possessed by a demon, but instead by an insatiable homicidal urge. Jack believes the boy is the Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he aims to end the reign of terror before another girl dies.

Cut!

That’s all for now. I really think you’ll enjoy this one. So check it out. And read about the Sweet Sixteen Killer, the Chicago cops, the conflicted priests, the pretty mother on whom one of the priests has a crush, and the boy who just might be possessed.

Peace, friends. And stay off those Ouija boards.

"And you're SURE you don't cut people into small pieces before eating them?"

“And you’re SURE you don’t cut people into small pieces before eating them?”

 

EXORCIST ROAD Available for Pre-Order

Howdy, all! Great news. My upcoming Samhain Horror release EXORCIST ROAD is now available for pre-order!

I guess I said that in the title, huh?

But that doesn’t make it any less true, people. Because it is. Available. Now. For pre-order, that is.

And it’s discounted! For only $3.15, you get over a hundred pages of supernatural (and serial killer) horror. But I’ll let the cover and the synopsis do the convincing…

Terror Comes to Chicago

Terror Comes to Chicago

Possessed by a demon…or by the urge to kill?

Chicago is gripped by terror. “The Sweet Sixteen Killer” is brutally murdering sixteen-year-old girls, and the authorities are baffled.

A seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his entire family and had to be chained to his bed. His uncle, police officer Danny Hartman, is convinced his nephew is possessed by a demon. Danny has sent his partner, Jack, to fetch the only priest in Chicago who has ever performed an exorcism.

But Jack has other plans tonight. He believes the boy isn’t possessed by a demon, but instead by an insatiable homicidal urge. Jack believes the boy is the Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he aims to end the reign of terror before another girl dies.

And…cut! You ready to take the plunge yet? Don’t make me send the crazy thing on the cover over to your house!