Brian Keene Names DUST DEVILS the Fifth-Best Book of 2014

A confession: I love lists.

When I was an adolescent, one of the few books I would actually read (and read and read and read) was THE BOOK OF LISTS. I eventually branched out to THE BOOK OF LISTS TWO, which only fed the list-crazy beast inside of me. I never checked out THE BOOK OF LISTS THREE because by that time I’d discovered Stephen King, and reading about the seventeen worst air disasters in Bolivian history couldn’t quite compare to Carrie White, Jack Torrance, and Randall Flagg.

You Had Me at "Here's"

You Had Me at “Here’s”

But I still love lists and often make them myself. So when folks make lists of horror novels and stories, I tend to perk up doubly. And when one of my favorite horror authors creates a best books of the year list, I sit up rigidly and hungrily examine my laptop screen.

If you’ve frequented this blog at all, you know how much I love the books of Brian Keene. He’s an influence on my work, a friend, and someone whose opinion I value a great deal. Which all leads me to Thursday night’s episode of his new podcast THE HORROR SHOW. If you’re not listening to it yet, you need to jump on board. Brian Keene and Dave Thomas have begun something very special, and the show is already clicking despite being so new.


On Thursday night’s show (Episode 005, available here), Brian unveiled his Top Ten Books of 2014. On the list were many notable and awesome names, and clocking in at number five (right before Stephen King’s MR. MERCEDES snagged the number four slot) was my vampire western DUST DEVILS. Which pleased me greatly. And if you haven’t checked out DUST DEVILS yet, you can right now for only 99 cents.

mr. mercedes

Not only did Brian say very positive things about DUST DEVILS, but he was also kind enough to mention my wife and kids as well. And they in turn smiled from ear-to-ear. If you want to listen to that portion of the show, it happens at around the 12:30 mark.

That’s all for tonight. A big thanks to Brian for reading and saying such positive things about my novel, and thanks to Brian and Dave for producing such an excellent show.

A Wild Vampire Western

A Wild Vampire Western

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to editing WOLF LAND, about which you’ll be hearing quite a bit soon.

Adam Cesare Shares an EXPONENTIAL Playlist

Hi there. I’m Adam Cesare and I’m here because Jonathan invited me.

Instead of trying to soullessly shill our books on each other’s blog, we figured we’d come up with quick musical playlists to pair with our recent releases from Samhain Publishing.


My newest book, Exponential, is a cross-country giant monster story, a celebration of the kind of horror I love reading. I wrote it as kind of a treat for myself, a vacation. It’s a complete one-eighty in terms of tone from my last novel, The Summer Job, which was a densely-plotted thriller that stuck closely to its single protagonist and didn’t contain any explicit supernatural elements.

This playlist is part-soundtrack, part-sizzle reel. Go through, listen to the songs, read why the hell I think they fit my book, and, if you’re properly intrigued, please buy the book and see if you agree with me.

Attitude” by The Misfits (this song’s probably not great for listening to at work, unless you have something you’d like to tell your boss)

Out of my three full-length novels, I like to think of Exponential as the punk song of the bunch. And I don’t just mean that a sneaky way of saying that it’s the shortest of the three. There’s more to it than that.

In Exponential we’ve got no central protagonist (unless you count Felix, the monster, which I kinda do), so add all the creature action and the effect is this fast, in-your-face, fuzzed out feeling. And that tone is the same feeling that this song has, as Muppet-baby-Danzig belts out the lyrics during its under 2-minute runtime.

Used to be a Cop” by Drive-By Truckers

There’s no main character in Exponential, it’s more of an ensemble piece. Like Ocean’s Eleven with way more blood and broken bones.

The cast of characters includes professional gamblers, junkies, mysterious corporate hitmen, and, as this song would indicate, an ex-cop.

David Nez, the cop in the book, is a nicer guy than the one we’re presented with in this song but still: it fits.

Since this is my favorite band, here’s an alternate DBT song that would fit for a couple of the other characters: “Margo and Harold

Every Which Way But Loose” by Eddie Rabbitt

eddie rabbitt

Jonathan and I agreed that we were going to try to stay close to five songs each, so I really had to deliberate about whether I wanted to include this track or C.W. McCall and Chip Davis’s “Convoy”.

But I guess if I was going to choose one theme song from a 1978 film prominently featuring truckers, car chases, and chest hair: it was going to be this one. And yes, I know that Convoy is actually based on the song, but when I think Convoy, I think Kristofferson and McGraw, not the song.

The song’s connection to Exponential? That’s tenuous. I just like the tone of these films, the way that they present the American West (and its highways and truck stops). I imagine that both of these songs are somewhere on the jukebox of the bar that features prominently in the book.

Man. I’m only just realizing that an orangutan sidekick would have made Exponential ten times better.

Beware of the Blob” by The Five Blobs.

Yeah. This is an obvious one. Samhain’s cover art for the book even ended up being a riff on the poster for the 1989 remake of The Blob.

I don’t want to draw too straight a comparison, though, as I feel like my monster, Felix, has a different enough physiology. Something about him (telling you what would be a spoiler) makes him a lot more mobile than The Blob, better acclimated to the road-trip structure of Exponential.

Blood Like Cream” by Red Fang

If the monster was going to have a theme song, how could you go wrong with that on-the-nose title?

This Portland-based metal act has put out three albums, all of them pretty great. The video for “Blood Like Cream” (like all of their videos) has a flippant “I hope this goes viral” feel to it that may undercut the song for some, but then again: how many metal acts can you unreservedly recommend to fans of Portlandia?

adam c

Thanks to Jonathan for having me. Please join me over at my blog to watch Mr. Janz do the same thing for The Nightmare Girl and see if he has decent musical taste to go with his abundant talent.

And thank you, Adam, for rocking this blog post so wonderfully. If you’d like to see my playlist, you can hop over to Adam’s blog to check it out.

Tons of Post-Halloween News!

Let’s get something straight. I’m not a big exclamation mark guy. But in several of my recent blog posts, I’ve been using exclamations. I’m not proud of this. Nor do I condone the overuse of this type of punctuation. Please believe me when I say I’m aware of the problem. And working on it. But these things take time.

Now, onto the good news!

1. SAVAGE SPECIES is now available on This one is narrated by Randy Hames, who has narrated some of Richard Laymon’s novels. Randy is unbelievably good at what he does, and I think you’ll really enjoy his version of my book.

Listen to the terror...

Listen to the terror…

2. I was interviewed at the awesome Gal in the Blue Mask blog on Halloween. You can read it right here.

3. BLOODSHOT: KINGDOM OF SHADOWS is still only $1.99 on Amazon. Download it to your Kindle here.

Ready to explode onto your Kindle

Ready to explode onto your Kindle

4. EXORCIST ROAD continues to draw rave reviews. Here’s one of them.

 Windy City Horror

Windy City Horror

5. THE NIGHTMARE GIRL and EXORCIST ROAD are both available on NetGalley, which makes it easier for many of you reviewers out there to check them out. THE NIGHTMARE GIRL, by the way, releases in January and continues to receive extremely positive advance notices.

Coming in January

Coming in January

6. I received an incredibly cool fan gift the other day. It’s pictured below.

Book Covers in Bracelet Form

Book Covers in Bracelet Form

7. Check this blog next week for more cool things, including an interview with Kristopher Rufty, a good friend and a great writer.

Have a great weekend, friends!


These are obvious lessons, but they’re ones I find myself continually learning as I continue on my writerly walk:

Haunted Mind

Haunted Mind

There is no finish line.

There is no such thing as “making it.”

There will always be challenges.

For me, there will always be fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown. Fear of trying something new (and failing). Fear of rejection.

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet

I will always need to face my fears and overcome them.

I will always be a perfectionist.

I will always be more sensitive than most people and care more than I should.

I will always need to remind myself to relax, to smile, to laugh, to breathe.



The above statements are facts. I sometimes have trouble admitting or accepting them, but facts they remain.

It’s how I’m wired.

Carry on.

What Do Hunter Shea and Kristopher Rufty Have in Common?

So other than the fact that both Hunter Shea and Kristopher Rufty are my friends, what do they have in common?

They’re both fantastic writers?

Yep, that’s true.

They were part of the big Samhain Horror launch back in the fall of 2011 and have become two of the imprint’s most popular authors?

Okay, that’s also true.

They’re both fine Americans, fans of Neo-Dada art, and have never been in my kitchen?

*heaves sigh* Okay, those things are all true, too. At least I’m pretty sure they’ve never been in my kitchen. But I know for a FACT that Hunter and Kristopher are such fanatics for Neo-Dada that they made a pilgrimage to the Genpei Akasegawa exhibit in Brussels last spring.

Where Horror and Neo-Dada Collide

Where Horror and Neo-Dada Collide

But the OTHER thing they have in common—the thing I’m absolutely delighted about—is that they’re both big fans of my latest novella, the supernatural thriller EXORCIST ROAD. Hunter calls it “the best fiction book on possession since THE EXORCIST.” Kristopher said it was “the first book in years to give me genuine gooseflesh.”

A Demon and a Serial Killer

A Demon and a Serial Killer

And if that wasn’t cool enough, Kristopher was kind enough to interview me on his blog. You can find the whole gory affair right here. And Hunter included EXORCIST ROAD in his Horrortober reading list. He talks about my novella here.

That’s all for tonight. Talk to you soon, friends in art.



I Survived the Monster Men!

I’ve met a great many people since I started this writing gig, and Hunter Shea and Jack Campisi are two of the coolest ones. Hunter is an outstanding author you should already be reading, and Jack is a writer you’ll be reading in a few years. They host the show MONSTER MEN and were kind enough to invite me as a guest. The results, though terrifying, can be viewed right here.

monster men

In our interview we discuss my works, my struggles, my hopes and dreams. They got things out of me that have never been revealed before. So check it out, friends. You’ll never be same. Chances are, you’ll be emotionally scarred and irrevocably diminished in several fundamental ways. But you will be affected. That I guarantee.

And after you watch the carnage, why not check out my new novella EXORCIST ROAD? I’ve got a feeling you’ll enjoy it.

Or be scarred by it too.

A Demon and a Serial Killer

A Demon and a Serial Killer


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!


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


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.


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…



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.


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?”