Archive for category Endorsement

Call for nominations for the SFFANZ Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

Nominations are now being accepted for the SFFANZ 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Awards (see below for link/details) and I have two books that are eligible for the ballot this year: Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales and Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry.

The nomination period will close at 8.00pm on 31st January 2015. The awards recognize excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents, and first published or released in the 2014 calendar year.

Anyone can make a nomination and it is free! To make a nomination please email sjv_awards@sffanz.org.nz.

Just copy and paste the following info (for one or both) into the body of your email:

WHAT to Put On the Nomination

For Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales

ESSENTIAL Information
This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Name / Title of work – Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator – William Cook
  3. What the work is i.e. – Collection (Short Fiction)
  4. Year of First Release – 2014
  5. What category you think the nomination belongs to – Professional Awards – Best Collected Work
  6. GENRE – Horror
  7. Contact details of the person making the nomination e.g. email or/and phone number

NOTE : If the only contact details you have are the publisher’s contact information on the book you are nominating, that should be sufficient.

HELPFUL Information But NOT Essential

  1. Publisher / Production company name – King Billy Publications
  2. How to contact the producer / author – williamcookauthor@gmail.com, 64 4 385 2456
  3. Other details about the work, that might be relevant – Print, Mobi, Epub
  4. Where to get a copy of the work – Amazon, Kobo, Author
  5. Any other comments you wish to add

****************************************************************

For Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry

ESSENTIAL Information
This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Name / Title of work – Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator – William Cook
  3. What the work is i.e. – Collection (Poetry)
  4. Year of First Release – 2014
  5. What category you think the nomination belongs to – Professional Awards – Best Collected Work
  6. GENRE – Horror
  7. Contact details of the person making the nomination e.g. email or/and phone number

NOTE : If the only contact details you have are the publisher’s contact information on the book you are nominating, that should be sufficient.

HELPFUL Information But NOT Essential

  1. Publisher / Production company name – James Ward Kirk Fiction (U.S.)
  2. How to contact the producer / author – williamcookauthor@gmail.com, 64 4 385 2456
  3. Other details about the work, that might be relevant – Print, Mobi, Epub
  4. Where to get a copy of the work – Amazon, Kobo, Author
  5. Any other comments you wish to add

********************************************************************************

HOW Many Times May You Nominate?

  1. You may nominate as many works as you feel is appropriate.
  2. You may nominate more than one eligible work in the same category. This would suit people who are major fans of one media in particular e.g. people who read a lot of books or short stories.
  3. You may nominate the same work in multiple categories if it fits the criteria of those categories.
  4. You MAY NOT nominate a work more than once in any given category.

The rules, criteria and categories for the awards can be found by clicking this link. Guidelines for nominations can be found by clicking this link.

*Remember – You don’t need to be a member of any group or organization to vote/nominate, so if you’ve read my eligible work, why not show your appreciation and support by taking a moment to cast a nomination? I’d really appreciate a nomination as it would be a massive boost to my career as a writer if I won an award like this, or even if my work reached the final ballot.

The categories are (my *books are eligible in the underlined categories):

Professional Categories:
Best Novel
Best Youth Novel
Best Novella or Novelette
Best Short Story  
*Best Collected Work
Best Artwork
Dramatic Presentation
Best Production/Publication
*Best New Talent
Fan Categories:
Best Fan Writing
Best Fan Artwork
Best Fan Production/Publication 
Special Awards:
Services to Fandom
Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror

Once again, the two books I have that are eligible this year are:
Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales and Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry.

Of course, these two titles are just a few of the works eligible for nominations, so have a read, take a look and cast away, me hearties.

Thanks for reading and voting (hopefully).

, , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

What people are saying about ‘Blood Related’ (Review, Thriller, Amazon, Goodreads, Bookworm’s Bookmark)

Blood Related by William Cook: 5 of 5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer, or killers, who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. Young female prostitutes had been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage.

Meet the Cunninghams… A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death, and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards. Ray Truman’s search for a killer leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted, as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508567-blood-related
Click to go to Goodreads Review

Blood Related by William Cook
My Review: 5 of 5 stars

Blood Related is a psychological roller-coaster. I couldn’t put it down. The nature or nurture theme comes across strongly. Reflective of Caleb and Charlie Cunningham’s disturbing family background and the outcome of what could be only described as twisted parenting. Parents (Ella and Vera’s) poison continues to bleed into the adult lives of two brothers. The madness of their crimes is chilling, and persistence of Ray Truman whose goal is to bring them to Justice – leads the story into an endless horror fest for the reader.

The Cunningham’s childhood home becomes a house of horrors. Spine chilling gore and the insight into the mind of a serial killer kept me hooked. In my mind’s eye I could imagine the carnage, sense the emotions, with that feeling of watching a horror movie at every twist and turn, I wanted to look away, but couldn’t.

Buy a Copy now from Amazon

William Cook has a talent of making the story come to life. And if this is your choice of genre, then you are in for a treat.
No Spoilers Intended

Debbie Allen (see all Debbie’s reviews)

http://debs-bookwormbookmark.blogspot.co.nz/p/who-is-debbie-allen.html
Check out Debbie’s cool blog – click on the image above

Reblogged from the fantastic Bookworm’s Bookmark

Review, Debbie Allen, William Cook, Blood Related, 5-star, Horror, Thriller, Bookworm’s Bookmark

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Blood Related featured in new Literary Analysis by Anthony Servante.

525211_509846882413609_1561071793_n

I have been lucky with my experiences online – meeting lots of fantastic readers and writers alike. Mr Servante is an author who has been an immeasurable support for my own writing and has provided some of the more insightful and poignant reviews of my work in the past. So when he asked if I’d be interested in getting involved with his latest project: Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red I jumped at the opportunity. Anthony, once again, proved his skill in critically analyzing a number of fantastic works by Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, and Christine Morgan, alongside Blood Related, in relation to the portrayal of fictional violence and the comparison of non-fictional descriptions of infamous serial crimes. Here is the blurb:

Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red by Anthony Servante is a critical look at the horror of real killers versus imagined killers as analyzed in four fiction novels and three nonfiction books, featuring works by Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, Christine Morgan, and William Cook in fiction, and discussing real-life murderers, including Ed Gein, the original “Psycho”, El Sicario, a Mexican hit-man, and Richard Kulinski, The Ice Man, a Mafia contract killer. He discusses specific murders, the reasons for these deaths, and the personal motives of the killers. He also addresses the role of the reader who chooses visceral books with anti-heroes. WARNING: EXTREME GRAPHIC KILLINGS DESCRIBED.

41RcpwE2KSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-69,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

The following is an excerpt from Killers and Horror (permission kindly granted by Mr Servante) pertaining to his analysis of Blood Related:

“Which brings us to Blood Related by William Cook . . .

Purchase link:

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Related-ebook/dp/B009WU5PNQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383209849&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+related

229284_414625045253843_883197746_n

Book summary:

“Meet the Cunninghams . . . A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled.

Meet Caleb Samael Cunningham, a diabolical serial-killer with an inherited psychopathology, passed down via a blood-soaked genealogy. Caleb is a disturbed young man whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his Father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is to be released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents.”

Analysis:

William Cook kills via a family of psychotic butchers. In his docu-crime drama, Cook employs a narrative style that floats between letters, newspaper accounts, third person perspectives from a law enforcer on the hunt for the killer(s), and the first person account of a set of sociopathetic twins whose mental ramblings veer between insane genius and sick sanity. The reader walks a thin line between fiction and nonfiction as Cook’s prose style shifts between demented frames of mind with seamless ease.

The reign of terror begins with Grandpa Cunningham, father Errol Cunningham, and the twins Charlie and Caleb. Grandpa and Errol are sadists who kill for sadistic pleasure. Errol and his crazed wife Vera teach their young boys to dispose of the bodies of their old man’s victims, just as likely Grandpa taught his son Errol. After Errol commits suicide as the law closes in on him, we learn that Charlie and Caleb have been killing victims on their own. Thus the police are confused and track two killers, the Portvale Serial Killer and the Dockside Ripper, little knowing that they are both members of the Cunningham clan. Cook uses his poetic style to blend the twins into one character, where the reader at times sees Charlie and Caleb clearly, but at other times, we cannot tell when we are seeing Charlie and/or Caleb. And to further confound the reader, Cook even blends elements of Errol into the mix. Caleb looks into the mirror and sees Errol, then Charlie. He no longer sees himself, though he knows (most of the time) that he is in fact Caleb. Furthermore, this mix takes on overtones of the supernatural (floating skulls and apparitions), but we know that the killer has gone completely insane. His only lucid moments come in dreams that have truths and frenzied fantasies interwoven. Reality and dream become the same images Caleb sees. And through it all, murder is the only means to separate the real from the hallucinations. This does not bode well for the Portvale population.

Ray Truman is the cop on the trail of the killer(s). He is the opposite of the Cunningham clan. He comes from a family of cops. He married a cop. His quest is for justice. But when he becomes a detective and tracks the Cunningham family, he faces the abyss once too often and does not hesitate to become a monster to stop these murderous fiends. It is he who suspects that the Cunninghams are responsible for the slew of deaths and missing persons, and it is he who first notices that the young twins are not so alike: Truman

“thought about Charlie Cunningham, realizing that when he thought of that psycho he couldn’t help but picture Cuntingham senior. He looked at the only mug-shot on the wall he had of a young Caleb and saw both Charlie and Errol in his dark eyes. He thought of how Caleb looked the last time he’d seen him, the scar that ran from his forehead to his chin had changed his face so he looked like his brother but not like his father, it was kind of hard to explain. Charlie was more like his old man than Caleb was. Caleb was a different beast altogether…”

He understands the danger that Caleb poses is far greater than his brother Charlie, but Caleb is the abyss that looks into the soul of the lawman. They both know only one of them will survive.

Caleb takes exception to the lawman’s fixation on him; he says, “The only reason Ray Truman suspected me of any of the unsolved murders in the Portvale region and surrounding city boroughs, was by way of association. Crime by association, that is my family legacy – tainted with the same lust to kill, the same burning urge, passed on down from generation to generation. And I am guilty. Guilty of the crime of being a Cunningham, and an exceptional killing machine.” He is offended by the accusation at the same time that he boasts of Truman being right about his guilt.

Because Cook portrays the Cunninghams so realistically, down to the newspaper accounts, it is easy to accept these killers as possible characters based on actual serial killers. I asked the author about this concern of mine. He answered, “I made the characters up – actually using an old friend of mine as the character study for Charlie Cunningham but they are both indeed composite characters of ‘types’ of Serial Offenders. There were aspects of some serial killers I used and I also used old case files from some vintage Detective magazines that I own (not verbatim of course). For example, the scene where Charlie places a pen in a shop-keeper’s ear and kicks it is actually a true rendition of a case where that actually happened. Nothing weirder or more horrifying than reality.

More info here about the process: https://bloodrelated.wordpress.com.

Cook holds up a mirror to art with his work, as a book about serial killers and as a work of art in its aesthetic theme. Blood Related is a work of art. It depicts killers. The killer kills for art to engage viewers and the media to his form of murder. The author and the main character blend in the poetic gray area of sophistry. Is it Cook or Caleb explaining the artistic aesthetic of death? As such, Cook is commenting on the real serial killers and their various reasons for killing (think Hannibal who kills to weed out the brutes of society, to make it a better place in essence); the Ice Man thinks the world is better off without the low-lifes and bullies that he kills. Cook has taken his “anti-hero” to a whole new level—as a comment on Art with a capital A. (I think of Buckets of Blood, the movie that depicted death as a comment on art via the Beat Era thinking of gaining immortality via art). Caleb confesses, “I wanted to see the world. Maybe become a better person one day. God knows I had tried, but my urge to create runs deep – killing’s in my blood.” He equates “creating” with killing. Hannibal Lecter equated cuisine with his murders. Is it the painter or the picture standing in the gallery?

We have seen how our fiction and nonfiction killers have been influenced by Pulp Crime Novels and lurid Detective Magazines. Cook takes this influence one step further with Caleb’s choice of reading: “Charlie liked the instinctual driven nature of Raskolnikov and felt that he learned a lot about avoiding capture, thanks to Dostoyevsky’s thorough analysis of the crime of murder committed by his protagonist. Charlie swore the author must have killed before to write with such intimate knowledge of the emotions befitting such a crime. The clarity of experience shone like light on the bloody hands of the killer.” Caleb also learns from the traditional trashy fare: “‘True Crime’ literature was my next step into the dark corners of the human mind – my own mind to be exact. I quivered with excitement and guilty pleasure as I thumbed through the volumes filled with the most horrible aspects of humanity. I recognized myself between the lines. I found kindred spirits on these pages; new heroes filled my world as I read voraciously, devouring the methods and the means to avoid detection and to make my mark on the world.” His master plan comes together as he takes refuge at his grandfather’s deserted farmhouse.

In this sense, Caleb’s killing of the German Shepherd, who resembled the dog from his grandfather’s ranch, symbolized the annihilation of his own psychosis, the putting down of a rabid dog, himself. Other images of himself appear as feral animals, including the wolf he destroys. Caleb is psychologically cleaning house; he even remarks his need for antibiotics and antipsychotics, the two drugs that would return him to a sane state where he could start over. We understand that he is still a killer, but repressed by medication, he can start over, re-imagine his art, and perhaps some day, stop taking the meds and resume his murderous work. This is Caleb’s way of thinking as he wraps up his catalog of deaths with the final killing we witness at his grandfather’s ranch. He has transcended the role of serial killer in much the same way that Hannibal Lecter took his killings to culinary heights: Two madmen who see no difference between fiction and nonfiction killings, between art and reality, between Hieronymus Bosch and Norman Rockwell.

Later we learn that the twins’ father, Errol, had a similar taste for the perverse: “Errol’s father trapped and killed stray cats and dogs in his backyard, enjoying their agonized death throes and often forcing his son to participate in the culling.” Caleb realizes that life had dealt him a losing hand from a stacked deck: “[I]f my parentage had been different – if the circumstance of my youth was not what it had been – then I may have been different. It wasn’t nature or nurture that dealt me the cards I played with now, more of a divine providence that gave me the tools I had at my disposal. These same tools allowed me to step into Pa’s mind’s eye through his words and see what he saw, feel what he felt.” Keep in mind that real serial killer Richard K surmised the same line of thinking, that he had become his brutal, angry father by trying to escape him.

The Portvale murders cease for a while but resume with slight variations, leading police to believe a “new” killer was on the scene or a copycat (as we’ve seen with Widow). But it was a case of father handing down the tradition of death to his sons, who, though at first reluctant to assume the mantel, learned to appreciate the pleasures of the hunt and kill. “Whoever made it out of the basement alive, was mine to play with in the tunnels below,” says Caleb with pride. The twins were picking up the crumbs left to them by their father. The reason for the confusion of the police: there are three killers at work, Errol, Charlie and Caleb. Cook in essence “recreates” killers who are traditional; Caleb seeks to emulate the real serial killers he has grown to idolize. He even lists his top ten, some of whom we’ve already discussed in the nonfiction section earlier: “Ted Bundy – Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway – The Ice Man Richard Kuklinski – H. H. Holmes – The Yorkshire Ripper Peter  Sutcliffe – The Zodiac Killer – The Dusseldorf Monster Peter Kurten – The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run – The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez – Jack The Ripper.” Caleb’s sleeping arrangements also reflect his new taste for the grotesque and the visceral. “My mattress sat on a bed-base I had constructed from old wooden packing cases and the walls were covered in posters and pictures ripped from library books and magazines. The various pictures juxtaposed with each other, the naked bodies of centerfold models set alongside the images of naked corpses of concentration camp victims.” He can no longer distinguish between arousal and blood-lust.

William Cook has created a crafty killer in Caleb whose roots in the Cunningham atrocities across two generations have been honed in the mad genius of the last member of the clan. As such, the reader may confuse fiction with nonfiction, for Caleb is so well drawn that one must blink twice now and then to check on the raison d’etre of the book. It is fiction. But there is no safety here, as there was in our other fiction books; the reader must plunge into the mind of the Cunninghams without the net, as we did with our nonfiction works. It is a perfect denouement to this look at killers and horror.

********

Conclusion:

Killers roam the streets of everyday life. We are at their mercy. But the odds are so small that we will become victims that we feel safe. In reading about our nonfiction killers, the odds increased, and our safety net was lowered, depending on how much we empathized with our killers and how much we cringed that more such killers are out there. In reading about our fiction killers, however, our safety net was raised. Our killers here were romanticized, distanced with humor, and portrayed in nonfiction variations. It is the fiction killer who seems real that fascinates us the most as we feel the danger at hand. It is a roller-coaster ride where we are safely locked in, but a ride that can go wrong with the shredding of one important bolt. With the nonfiction, it wasn’t about a fun ride; it was about facing our fears head-on, traveling into the heart of darkness where Kurtz and Horror await. If, like Marlowe, we can return from this darkness, then we appreciate our civilized lives all the more. But then, what if we don’t return? That’s always the risk we enjoy taking whether it’s in fiction or nonfiction, with real killers or imagined. Because sometimes we learn that there is safety in the darkness, for who of us hasn’t a bit of the killer in their heart? Certainly not us, right?”

###########################################################################################

Thankyou to Anthony again. Please make sure to buy a copy of Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red by Anthony Servante. While you’re there, check out Anthony’s other works – he has a real penchant for horror and you’ll see this aesthetic carried through most of his works. Also, pay a visit to Servante of Darkness: Horror, SF, and Noir. Words & Sounds for the Living where he elucidates the following commendable philosophy:

“In literature these are the eras agreed upon by academics: Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian, Naturalism/Realism, Existentialism, Beat, Modern and Post Modern. Did you know that the genre of Horror has no eras because academia does not consider it a legitimate field of study. I consider horror to begin with the Romantic (Frankenstein), Victorian (Dracula), Golden (Cthulhu), Silver (Manitou, The Keep, The Rats), and Cyber (which is today’s use of the internet by both e-authors and paper authors). Although academia has only begun to listen to me and my categorization of the cybernocturnal as a new form of literature, I storm ahead with my chronology of horror and hope that the academics will catch up. This is our field, what we read, what we write, what we discuss. We can’t wait for some anthropologist to decide what “horror” is 100 years from now. It’s our responsibility today. That’s what the Servante of Darkness is all about. I write reviews. I discuss literary trends. I interview people of note. I can be reached at eslprog@aol.com”

Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, Christine Morgan, Anthony Servante, Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red, Literature, Critique, Blood Related, William Cook, Amazon, Kindle,

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Latest Review for Blood Related

Blood Related

Image

Written by William Cook

Reviewed by Char Hardin

May I introduce the Cunningham Family: father who is a suspected serial killer who dies by his own hand who is married to an insane alcoholic combined they beget two sons who follow in their father’s footsteps Caleb and Charlie inherited more than dysfunctional family traits they inherited a blood soaked heritage that caused the boys to rain down a legacy of terror and death.

The beginning of the story is a preface by the psychiatrist Dr. Mary Brunswick who tells how she worked with Charlie during his trial and then after he was sentenced how his brother Caleb approached her with his own tales of murder. The trust between doctor and patient was built on the confidentiality clause that she could not break. He was free with his accounts and then disappeared. Just reading the preface was a strong indication of the content of the pages to come. I consumed this story in one sitting. One word to describe what William Cook has accomplished…TERRIFYING.

Blood Related kept me up all night on the edge of my recliner, chewing on my fingernails and constantly looking to my front door to note that it was indeed locked. Each murderous account drew me deeper into the psyche of the killers to marinate as I tried to fathom what created these modern day monsters. Fans of American Psycho will eat this book up. Throughout the text, I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that I was being watched and at one point rose long enough to turn on the light battle back the encroaching darkness.  When at last I turned to the final page, I drew in a deep breath and noticed my fingers were white and tightly gripping my laptop as I read the story.

Upon further reflection and glancing back at my notes, I was relieved that I text was well edited. I do detest reading a story and feeling like I am deprived of the enjoyment as a reader, when the text is so riddled with errors and misspellings that I become an editor instead of a reader…not so with this book.

One thing I would have liked on some of the murders, it felt like I was being overly told of the circumstance instead of being allowed to feel and be shown the events as they played out. It is something even I as a writer suffer with telling more and showing less. It does not reflect badly on the author and in no way takes away from the flow of the story. It is just a “feeling” I got at times and could be only “felt” by me.

This is a male dominated story with women playing a less than glamorous role and more of an object to be to thrust pain and degradation upon. This did not bother me, but to those out there it does, then you may just pass on Blood Related or in any case be warned this is not boy meets girl and falls in love and lives happily ever after. No, more like boy meets girl and thinks of ways to take her apart and then does so piece by bloody piece. Personally…I loved every blood soaked page!

I would recommend this story to my horror readers, especially to the ones who love serial killers. Blood Related will not disappoint. I would like to add also while reading the story at times, I had to pause and whisper. “This is fiction. This is only fiction and is not real.” After I went to bed, I left the light on and slept fitfully as I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. Awesome book 4 Out of 5!

 
Check out Char’s cool blog here.

, , ,

Leave a comment

William Cook (and contest winner announcement)

William Cook (and contest winner announcement).

william-cook-photo

Hi, William. How is 2013 going so far?

Hi, Lindsey. It’s going great, thanks. 2013 is going to be a big year and has already started with lots of positive things happening. Every story I’ve sent out this year has so far been accepted and I’m on track for lots of projects I have committed to this year.

Blood Related is your debut novel, originally published in 2011, then re-released by Black Bed Sheets Books in 2012. Did you write very much before starting Blood Related? You had a short story published in the Masters Of Horror anthology in 2010, but I don’t see anything before that. Have you been writing for very long, or is it a recent development in your life?

Yes, ‘Blood Related’ is my first novel and my short story, ‘Devil Inside,’ (recently published as a Kindle short) was my first proper Horror story accepted for a print anthology. I first started writing short stories when I was about twelve years old but never felt confident enough to send them to any publishers, and in retrospect that was probably a good thing. I cut my publishing teeth on poetry and wrote verse for many years with limited success. I had poetry published in a few New Zealand literary periodicals and a couple of UK and US independent publications but nothing of any note. I self-published a limited edition hard-copy collection of verse titled ‘Journey: the search for something’ in 1996. I sold all copies, but I had come to the conclusion that what I really wanted to do was write fiction. I felt that poetry was becoming redundant as a viable medium for what I wanted to express – which was essentially, stories. So I put away the poems and taught myself how to write short fiction which has led to where I am now.

What was the hardest part about writing a novel? Any advice to aspiring novel writers?

I don’t really feel in a position to spout advice to novel writers as I’m just a beginner myself. However, if there was one piece of advice I would offer, that would be to never give up. It took me five years of writing and research to produce Blood Related but as a result of my dedication I have learned a lot and have produced a reasonably coherent novel in the process. I am working on the sequel at the moment, and it is definitely easier with the knowledge and lessons I learnt first time around. The hardest part about writing the novel was finding the time to actually sit down and put the words on the page. I now have a writing plan that seems to work for me but I know that the next novel will bring its own set of circumstances and lessons to be learned.

I’d like to take a moment to tell you what I enjoyed most about Blood Related. Considering how the plot centers around an entire family of serial killers, you had the perfect opportunity to sell books based on shock value. Yet, you maintained a good balance of psychological horror and gore. I was prepared to encounter gratuitous rape and torture scenes which often run rampant in this genre, but you didn’t overdo it. Yes, there is rape and torture in Blood Related (what self-respecting serial killer book is without ‘em?!), but only to serve a purpose, and not an overwhelming amount. Did you make a conscious decision to write the book this way? Or did you just write it as it came to you?

Blood Related went through at least six full edits. I worked in publishing when I was younger and used my experience as a sub-editor/proof-reader to really work the story into shape. I was probably a bit ambitious with the structure that I chose as I wanted to give the story a ‘true crime’ feel with lots of ephemera and appendices to accentuate different aspects of the novel. I really enjoy reading ‘meta-fiction’ authors like John Barth and David Foster Wallace, but also love authors like James Ellroy, Chuck Palahniuk and Joyce Carol Oates. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I took a myriad of influences and ideas and attempted to construct a ‘literary’ Horror/Thriller novel. Ambitious, I know, but to some degree I think it works but unfortunately is mostly non-apparent on the first reading. I am a huge fan of Robert Bloch and Flannery O’Connor, both masters of psychological horror in their own ways, and their style influences my own with the way they subtly depict violence. Their stories run deep with the worst human violence, but the graphic nature of the stories is mostly implied and left to the reader’s imagination and this is what I was trying to replicate, as I personally find it more disturbing than literal over-stated violence. So, yes, it was a conscious decision not to be too graphic in descriptions of violence within the novel, although sometimes I did get a bit carried away.

Who is your favorite character from Blood Related? Why?

I quite like the character of Ray Truman, the clichéd alcoholic cop who has spent a lifetime hunting serial killers. ‘Blood Trail’, the sequel, is largely told from the perspective of this failed but likeable character and I hope that it will be an interesting accompaniment to the first book. I’ve spent most of my reading life immersed in Horror and Thriller literature and there is a definite conformity of ‘type’ to the characters of cops/investigators. It is the character of Ray Truman that will carry the ‘Blood’ trilogy (yes, it will be a trilogy) to its final conclusion and I’m looking forward to playing the role forward in as many interesting ways as possible. I don’t think I could do another first-person serial killer narrative – it really became quite moribund towards the end of writing Blood Related, as I waded through the perspective of a homicidal psychopath.

Blood Trail, your second novel (and sequel to the first) is slated for a 2013 release. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Approximate release date?

My publisher, Nicholas Grabowsky from Black Bed Sheet Books (http://tinyurl.com/aoyvyny), has expressed an interest in a sequel to Blood Related. I was always going to write a sequel with or without interest as the story is not complete and I want it told. Having seen enough interest, from my publisher and from my readers for a sequel, has given me a real push towards finishing the novel mid-2013. So far I’m on track and circumstances-permitting it should be ready for publication around July. ‘Blood Trail’ is the sequel to ‘Blood Related’ and finds Ray Truman struggling to cope with the injuries he received from Caleb Cunningham in the climax of the first novel. Cunningham has fled and is now an international fugitive who is embarking on a ‘murder tour’ – visiting the sites and hunting grounds of some of his favorite serial killers. Meanwhile, Ray Truman is on the mend with the help of Cunningham’s ex-therapist/psychologist who he inadvertently falls in love with. Together, they realize that Cunningham is still killing as they follow his trail of murder via international news stories. By the time that Truman is healthy enough to continue his mission, Cunningham has tired of his tour and is on his way back to Portvale (his fictitious home town/city). Without giving too much away that is the basic plot for the sequel and promises more of a tradition psychological thriller story.

Who are your heroes?

My heroes are primarily writers who have challenged established traditions to produce work that frightens as much as it makes people think. Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, Graham Masterton, Poppy Z Brite, James Ellroy, and other writers like Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Hemingway, etc. The list goes on. David lynch is probably the greatest artist that I admire for his film, art and aesthetic sensibility.

In addition to writing, you’re also an artist. Where can we view your work?

I have a number of websites where you can see my work. For book cover art try here: http://bloodsoakedgraphics.tumblr.com and for general art here: http://nzartist.blogspot.com

Is there anything else you’re working on you’d like my readers to know about?

I’m always working on short fiction and I am hoping to have a collection released shortly. Keep an eye out for ‘Blood Trail’ post mid-year.

Where can we find you on the web?

http://williamcookwriter.com and on Amazon here: http://tinyurl.com/a66s333

Thank you, William, for joining us.

, ,

Leave a comment

BLOOD RELATED GIVEAWAY

UPDATE: Jennifer Thomas and Andy Soar have each won a signed hard-copy for their respective collections. Thanks to all those who participated – special thanks to Emma and Danielle 🙂

Win a signed copy of Blood Related 🙂 All you have to do is share this post and click like on the Facebook Blood Related page here,  comment on this original thread that you have done so and I will pick one person at random to send a signed copy too 🙂 And a set of card art – great for bookmarks – (art featured here).
Also check out the rest of this blog [https://bloodrelated.wordpress.com/] if you have a few minutes.


P.S.
If you have read the book I thankyou and hope you enjoyed it, in a dark sort of way. I promise the next one will be 
in third person, I don't think I could be Caleb Cunningham for any length of given time again. 
Aside from Blood Related, I have been working with true crime author RJ Parker on a True Crime re-release, out by July 
all things going to plan. Have a few book covers to do which I'm looking forward to and an illustrated (not by me - 
will reveal more soon ;-) collection of dark short fiction and verse. And hopefully more short fiction and a sequel to 
a certain book! 
Anyway, have a great week and thanks again. 
- William Cook, 29:06:12
(also available on kindle here for those of you who prefer that).

, , ,

3 Comments

Excerpt preview – some interesting things coming up. Stay tuned.

Meet the Cunninghams . . .
A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death, and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards.

Ray Truman’s search for a killer leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted, as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met

Buy your copy!
Download at Smashwords (eBook)
Kindle Edition (eBook)
Nook Book (eBook)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble.com
Blood Related
Official Blood Related Website

 

“Dark and deeply disturbing.”
– Jonathan Nasaw, author of Fear Itself and The Girls He Adored.

“Blood Related is a nasty but nuanced take on the serial killer genre. Cook’s bruising tale of twin psychopaths who are as cold as mortuary slabs is not for the weak-kneed.”
– Laird Barron, author of Occultation and The Imago Sequence.

“A thought-provoking thriller.”
– Guy N Smith, author of Night of The Crabs and Deadbeat.

“Great – Riveting – Amazing – take your pick. I just read William Cook’s Blood Related for the second time. Both readings were followed with one thought, Wow. A horrific crime-filled tale of terror that makes us understand why we lock our doors at night, Blood Related is by far the best read I’ve experienced in years.”
– John Paul Allen, author of Monkey Love and Gifted Trust

“Blood Related is a terrifying psychological thriller. William Cook is an author to watch.”
– Mark Edward Hall, author of The Lost Village and The Holocaust Opera.

“William Cook makes serial killer fiction exciting again! Expert narrative, bursting with flare, originality, and enough passion and brutality that even a real-life serial killer will love this book . . . and it’s twisted and complex enough to make you question your own sanity after the first intense read.”
– Nicholas Grabowsky, best-selling author of Halloween IV and Everborn.

**********

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer, or killers, who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. Young female prostitutes had been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage.

Meet the Cunninghams . . .
A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death, and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards.

Ray Truman’s search for a killer leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted, as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.


Excerpt

Preface:

I met Charlie Cunningham while working as a court appointed psychiatrist, testifying to the defendant’s state of mind at a sentence review hearing. He was imprisoned for the homicide of a dispensary storeowner and was a prime suspect in the killings of at least two other people in the Portvale area. Cunningham was held as an inmate at a sanitarium after recently assaulting a group of fellow prisoners at Breakhouse Penitentiary. His behavior had deteriorated during his stay at the prison and had resulted in a severe psychotic breakdown, culminating with the assaults, hence the reason behind his transfer and my testimony. Dr Frederic Rimbaud, chief psychiatrist at Saint Michael Hospital for the Criminally Insane, passed on Charlie’s case notes to me with a warning that I should “take another case as this one [Cunningham] isn’t worth defending!”

At the time, Charlie had not gained notoriety as a suspected serial killer. However, his psychiatric assessments, coupled with his criminal background, confirmed his capacity for committing multiple murders. After numerous interviews, I concluded that he was a high-risk violent serial offender of the disorganized type, with full-blown antisocial personality disorder. It was my opinion that Charlie Cunningham was one of the most dangerous Antisocial Personality types I had encountered in all my twenty years of forensic psychiatry. That was, before I met his twin brother Caleb.

I first encountered Caleb while visiting his brother Charlie at the asylum. It was a typical ‘non-contact’ visiting room for maximum-security inmates, or ‘patients’ as the staff liked to call them. Bulletproof windows separated visitors from the prisoners in the small concrete booths. The unmistakable bright orange jumpsuits of the prisoners, contrasted sharply with the gloomy concrete and steel environment. A plain wooden seat was provided for the visitor and an intercom on the wall allowed communication. A thick reinforced glass window ran the length of the visiting room wall and separated the area from the waiting room, where the visitors patiently sat while waiting their turn to see family and friends on the other side.

As I gathered my things and said goodbye to Charlie, I saw Caleb enter the visiting room. I knew it was Caleb as I was immediately struck by his likeness to his twin brother, to the point that I thought it was Charlie for a moment. He was tall although not as muscular as Charlie, but his shaved head and cold dark eyes combined with his chiseled facial features, mirrored his brother’s image. It was as if Charlie had materialized from one side of the room to the other and I found myself involuntarily glancing back at the bulletproof window, to make sure Charlie was still sitting there. I hesitated for a brief moment as I contemplated speaking with Caleb before leaving, thinking he may be of some use in providing details regarding his brother’s background and current psychological state.

Caleb looked at me as he waited for the guard to show him to the seat in front of Charlie’s booth. His dark eyes bore deep into mine, his gaze unflinching as if he had read my mind and was daring me to approach him. Slightly unnerved, I decided I had all the information I needed and approached the exit once more, forcing myself to think about my next appointment as I left the gray walls of the asylum.

Charlie’s sentence-review hearing was eventually held with no change to the maximum sentence he had received. My testimony allowed no leniency for Charlie and once the sentence was passed, I thought it would be the last I would see of the Cunninghams. Over the next few months I worked on a number of high-profile cases, which resulted in more public exposure for my small clinic, to the point where I had to employ staff to help deal with a burgeoning client-list. Despite my hectic schedule I could not forget about the Cunningham case, the disturbing content and graphic details of my interviews with Charlie lingered in my consciousness. I found myself reviewing my case notes after-hours, fascinated and revolted by the litany of violence I had recorded. A growing sense of unease had me wondering if I had been privy to information best passed on to the appropriate authorities.

Reviewing the court documents, including notes from previous psychiatric assessments, witness statements and police records, I had pieced together a picture of a horrific family upbringing for the twin brothers. I used my professional experience and training to corroborate Charlie’s scattered retellings of his past. I remembered that he betrayed little emotion apart from when he relayed his family experiences – especially the abuse he suffered at the hands of his violent father and over-domineering mother. He had remained silent about his brother Caleb and it was in this omission that I realized my professional interest had been piqued.

Who was Caleb? Was Charlie afraid of his own sibling? Realizing the futility of my curiosity, I watched as the clock on the wall registered midnight’s approach. Sitting alone at my desk, overworked and tired, I decided I needed a holiday. And that, I thought, would be the last time I would have to think about Charlie Cunningham and his twisted kin as I booked myself an online holiday package.

A month later, I had returned from vacation and settled in to the backlog of work that awaited me. It was shaping up to be one of my busiest years what with an expansive client list and various projects that threatened to push my workload to breaking point. The Cunningham case was the farthest thing from my mind when Caleb himself approached me in my downtown office one bleak winter’s morning. When he first entered my office, I did not recognize him as a good year had passed since I had last seen him and his brother. His eyes however, remained unchanged and the memory of him and Charlie came flooding back to me, as I hesitantly ushered him into the office. Those dark eyes belied a malevolence that instantly made me think of Charles Manson’s psychotic gaze. Once again, Caleb had rattled me with his presence but my curiosity, tempered with my professional training, outweighed the uneasy feeling that enveloped me as he made himself comfortable in one of the chairs in front of my desk.

After advising Caleb that I was no longer working as a defense witness and that I hadn’t spoken to Charlie since his trial, I told him that I now had a private practice and worked primarily as a consultant to local and federal law enforcement authorities. Caleb explained that he knew all about my practice and involvement with a number of high profile cases. He had read my books on Abnormal Psychology and Forensic Pathology and stated that was why he wanted to talk to me. He felt I might be able to offer him some insight into his own psychological state of mind. I explained that I was very busy but somehow, he managed to convince me that what he had to say would be worth my while. I don’t usually work pro-bono but I found myself making an exception as I offered my services to Caleb.

I had unanswered questions about the Cunninghams and a professional interest in the genetic transition of psychosis, which was evident in my analysis of Charlie all those years ago. Despite agreeing to talk with Caleb, I had a nagging sense of unease as it occurred to me that he had obviously been following my career with some interest for a long time. Misgivings aside, my professional curiosity got the better of me and after a brief exchange of formalities, we began to talk.

Over the course of our meetings, it became apparent that Caleb had an agenda and after reassurance that I would keep what he told me confidential, he began to talk. It was obvious he had never talked to anyone with such apparent honesty. At times, it seemed he could not help himself, as the floodgates of his past opened, as he retold the horrors of his family life. During our first session, he unleashed a torrent of recantations of violent experiences. What had started out as an in-depth look into his and Charlie’s childhood, suddenly switched to a gruesome confessional.

After convincing him of my adherence to a strict confidentiality code, we delved deeper into his back-catalogue of violence. I became fascinated with the nature of his psychology and found him to be a psychiatric anomaly, beyond definitive analysis or diagnosis. Aspects of his personality would point to a symptom or criteria for a particular type of disorder, only to morph and combine to produce a unique psychological characteristic, near impossible to pigeonhole.

As the weekly sessions progressed, a picture began to emerge of a dichotomous personality: a severe dissociative identity disorder similar to the stereotypical ‘multiple-personality’ type but unique, in that Caleb was fully in control of all aspects of his behavior and thought processes. In this respect, he was nothing like his psychotic brother who displayed all the classic hallmark symptoms of a disorganized antisocial personality coupled with violent behavioral problems.

Despite his ability to control his behavior, I was left in no doubt as to the psychopathological nature of Caleb Cunningham. I had long held the conviction that the concept of ‘evil’ was an almost meaningless abstract term, coined for those things beyond human comprehension. With Caleb, the word ‘evil’ became synonymous with my assessment of his character. In fact, I felt quite disturbed as much by his words, as by his presence. After attending regular sessions for three months, he finally disappeared. It was with mixed regret and relief that I closed my considerable case file on Caleb. Despite our intensive sessions, I realized I was still miles away from fully understanding his twisted psyche and at a loss to understand why he had actually told me all that he had. He had put me in the uncomfortable position of providing me with information that was potentially incriminating and revealing. I felt much like I imagined a priest to feel, after hearing a confession too inhumanly terrible to keep secret.

As most people know, ‘doctor-patient confidentiality’ is a mainstay of psychiatric practice, but after the end of my sessions with Caleb Cunningham, I had sufficient cause to betray this ethical basis. I would later receive correspondence from Caleb, which in turn prompted me to investigate his claims further. The manuscript that I put before you is as factual an account as possible, of the Cunningham family’s reign of terror, and of the twisted psychology of a very dangerous human being.

With the passage of time and the confirmation of his crimes, Caleb Cunningham has proved to be an enigma amongst modern serial killers. A psychopath who alters his Modus Operandi (M.O.) at will and can adapt his pattern behavior to suit. He is essentially, an intelligent predator that refuses to conform to any of the rules applied to his notorious predecessors. In one of my interviews with him, Caleb brazenly admitted that he had “murdered over one hundred men and women”. Antisocial Personality Disorder types are notorious liars but something about his tone, combined with his family history, made me take him seriously. He was the prime suspect in two separate national serial killing investigations and is currently on Interpol’s Top 10 Most Wanted List as a fugitive. Apart from early convictions for petty larceny and burglary offences and a brief term of imprisonment, Caleb has managed to evade conviction for any of the serious offences he is suspected of.

What you are about to read is an account of the diabolical workings of a dangerous, psychopathic killer. Most of the text in this narrative is transcribed verbatim from taped accounts of Caleb’s and his brother’s experiences. More obscure aspects of their twisted lives have had to be pieced together from Caleb’s recollections, alongside the Portvale Serial Killer Task Force lead investigator Ray Truman’s copious notes and associated media reports. Gathered from Truman’s own police journals and case files, I have pieced together his story as accurately as possible thanks to his helpful colleagues at the Portvale Police Precinct.

Like any true story, there is an element of the ‘perceived truth’ used in the retelling of the tale. This arises from the personal accounts and biases of those who write and interpret the evidence laid out before them. I too interpret the facts to the best of my abilities but realize that integrity is sometimes not enough to reveal absolute truth. Hence, my apologies for any factual discrepancies that may come to light in the future as this story reaches its end, as presently it has no such ending.

Finally, at the risk of professional suicide, I have an admission to make. I betrayed my client’s trust as my conscience overwhelmed my code of practice with the weight of the horrific detail of Caleb Cunningham’s darkest confidences. After gaining official police verification of details of unsolved homicides in the Portvale region, compared with the transcribed information Caleb provided, it is my belief that Caleb Cunningham is quite possibly the most dangerous man alive.

For he is still alive – somewhere out there, surviving on his Machiavellian intelligence while he channels his seething rage and lust for death. My last communiqué from him; one of the countless cryptic letters I received, is included with this publication of his journal entries and case notes. His letters display his ability to communicate both his intellect and his capacity for unspeakable evil in the same breath, much like his ‘art’ – the aesthetic rendering of his many victims.

I hope that the publication of these personal writings and case notes will illuminate one of the most elusive, bizarre and enigmatic killers of this century and the family that spawned him. After informing him of my decision to share with the federal authorities information I had gathered from our conversations, he gave me his ‘permission’ to tell his story to the world. The implicit threat of his return to Portvale engendered fear in the wake of my decision. I have no doubt that he will read this and that my life will be in imminent danger because of this publication.

The corroboration of the federal authorities, that what he told me was pure fact, leave me with the hope that this account will turn over new stones perhaps otherwise best left unturned. I have sufficient doubt in the truth of his account, in that his ‘estimate’ of the victims he murdered is a lesser percentage of the true and actual total.

I read the papers and have access to the online law-enforcement log-files, both nationally and internationally, of unsolved homicides. I see his signature everywhere. It is in the names of the victims, their age and the ferocity of the crimes. They are his calling cards to me – his ‘art’ is alive and lives forever. This is his story.

Dr. Mary Brunswick, PHD

Prologue:

Charlie has big plans for me. He’s thinking crazy thoughts and talking crazy talk. He keeps telling me about his recurring visions and his ‘mission,’ apparently he has occasion to talk to God. During one of these conversations, God granted him absolution in hell, free from the tyranny of everyday pain and suffering, if Charlie did his bidding. This particular vision also revealed that God and Satan were the same, as was heaven and hell. For Charlie, he saw this as a sign that he would be sitting at Satan’s side on a throne made of human bones, once he was mortally dead.

He would be a god.

I could tell he was delusional.

He was gone.

I knew this because there was no God.

God was dead and so was Charlie.

I hear Charlie’s voice now, clear as a bell. My consciousness clears and my surroundings come into sharp focus. I see his face clearly in my mind. I shake my head, trying to rid myself of his image. I wrap my bleeding fist in a towel and step gingerly over the broken shards of mirror littering the wet tiles on the bathroom floor. I make my way to the kitchen and search the cupboards, for some tape or band-aids, to stem the flow of blood from the lacerations across my throbbing knuckles.

“God,” Charlie whispers to me, “has given me life – to do my deeds upon this earth before he takes me to the next level.”

“Another life,” he continues, “will not allow me the freedom of choice you have with your future Caleb. Some things we cannot change. Some lives are not led by natural laws, but by unnatural processes – events.”

“My life, your life . . .” Charlie says, “is a road map to hell.”

I remember the last time I looked in his eyes when he was alive. He was crazy then and the voice in my head shakes with equal insanity, as an image of him floats before my eyes. His face appears gaunt, skeletal. The vision ebbs in and out of focus as I start to tremble with a mixture of naked coldness and fear. I remember him as if he is with me now and he is, in his own twisted way. My mind reels with tangents and the bending of physical laws.

He used to seem very confused to me.

He now seems very logical to me.

He still seems very dangerous to me.

He is my twin brother and he has returned home.

I see him in my own eyes.

I feel that he is now part of me.

Blood related.

The missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle has been found. It is a moment of realization that we are two parts of the same equation; standing there alone in a stranger’s house, nude as a newborn, thoughts swirling through my adrenaline-charged brain.

I realize that with the puzzle complete – the revealed image is far more bloody than romanticized, like two halves of something that shouldn’t be together. More like a vision of apocalyptic proportions. Despite my realization, I feel like shit more than ever.

Back in the bathroom I look once again at my reflection in the broken shards of mirror on the floor – just before I smash myself in the face with my fist. I hear Charlie gasp as I do. The sum of our union is chaos. Death. Destruction. Violence. And loneliness.

We are hollow men.

Empty men.

The walking dead.

We are one.

With some ammonia-saturated cleaning spray, I spray the droplets of blood on the remains of the cabinet mirror, vainly attempting to clean my presence from the room. I look at the floor covered in bloody footprints, my bloody footprints. I look at the woman in the bathtub, her glazed lifeless eyes staring vacantly at me. Her bruised neck set at a strange angle. One bare arm dangles over the side of the porcelain tub, her alabaster fingers delicately lay palm up on the floor, in a glistening pool of dark blood. A bare breast exposed, floats whitely like an island of chalk amongst the maroon waters in the tub. At this point, I give up any attempts to conceal my indiscretions.

I look through the doorway at the clock on the mantle in the living room. It’s time to go and I’ve come ill prepared, this was after all a ‘crime of opportunity’ as they sometimes are. I complete my task and take my trophy from the body, arranging the remains in my careful way. I remove my clothes from my backpack and replace them with the head wrapped in a plastic bag. I wipe the remaining smears of congealing blood from my body, careful not to get the viscous liquid on anything else as I shed my unease and dress hurriedly in the hallway. All the while, my gaze is fixated on the broken work in the bathroom. She appears to move as her limbs stiffen a fraction with the onset of rigor mortis.

My heart starts beating again and I think of Lucille as I make my way to the gas hob in the kitchen. I check that all the windows are shut tight, light a candle in the living room and in the hallway, and turn all the gas rings to high. In my head, Charlie remains quiet as I gently close and lock the back door, before making my way across the yard and over the fence at the rear of the property.

I walk slowly down the poorly lit alley that runs behind the North-Shore Boulevard. It takes approximately six minutes of pacing my steps in the dark night, counting the seconds as I go, until I hear a muffled thump behind me as the house explodes in a ball of flame. Charlie starts to laugh, a frightening maniacal noise, which sounds like someone hacking at a tree-trunk with an axe. It only takes a brief minute to realize that the crazed laughter is not Charlie’s, but my own.

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Related-ebook/dp/B006QG1WA4/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Kindle Edition

Paperback

Professional Reviews

Twisted, Sick, and Fun, February 23, 2012, By William Malmborg
This review is from: Blood Related (Kindle Edition)
Nurture or nature? Anyone involved in such a debate would probably have a hard time pinning an answer to this question when concerning the Cunningham twins Charlie and Caleb. Brought up by abusive parents, one of whom is a savage serial killer that often encouraged his children to take part in his horrible crimes; one could easily argue that the two were nurtured into the monsters they eventually become. At the same time it’s hard to say nature didn’t play a part because how else could one explain the generational bloodlust the Cunningham family displays, bloodlust that seems to have begun with Charlie and Caleb’s grandfather? Whatever the cause, the result is a pair of psychotic serial killers who show no empathy for their fellow human beings; serial killers who actually view themselves as separated and on a higher plane of existence than mankind and thus entitled to do whatever they wish to them.

As noted above, it begins early on for the twins, usually with over the top physical punishments that would easily knock any sense of goodness from within the mind of a growing child. After that came the introduction to murder as their father brought female victims back to the basement and allowed his children to watch and sometimes take part in the torture and eventual slaying of the captive or captives. However, the act of murder was not limited to the basement or even the house. Lacking any control on his impulses, their father will also sometimes commit murder while the family is out and about, a situation that then calls for disposable of evidence and the cleaning up of the crime scene. Such moments are a `hands on’ learning experience for Caleb and Charlie, one that will prove invaluable later in life as each matures into individual serial killers. Of course this isn’t to say suspicion isn’t leveled on the father. The local police — and one man in particular — are pretty sure the father is responsible for the crimes, ones that eventually become attributed to a killer known as the Dockside Ripper. Being able to nail him down as the Dockside Ripper, however, isn’t easy, which in turn allows the body count, and the education of two budding serial killers, to grow.

Of the twins, Caleb seems the most level headed, which in turn makes him the scarier of the two when it comes to the two serial killers. That said, Caleb does have some impulse control issues just like his father, which sometimes causes close calls with the police. At one point it also puts him in conflict with his brother due to the slaying of a young woman that Charlie wanted to keep alive, his desire to cause chaos and the eventual breakdown of civilization leading to a different type of torture and murder than what Caleb usually takes part it. The question is will the two be able to work together to the end that Charlie wants, while also allowing for Caleb’s desires to be realized, or will the two come into such conflict that they destroy each other. Also, will the detective obsessed with their family and the savagery it displays be able to put an end to their reign of terror, or will he just become another victim?

Mostly told from the point of view of Caleb, but also occasionally from some of the other individuals within the story, Blood Related by William Cook is a wonderfully twisted tale of two serial killers who have no redeeming value whatsoever, yet are somehow fun to read about. In fact, not only are they fun to read about, but at times you find yourself actually rooting for them, which can be very unsettling. Equally unsettling is the disgust one starts to feel toward the father and Charlie, yet not toward Caleb despite his being just as ruthless as the other two. Adding to the story and its authentic feel were the newspaper accounts, books segments, and clinical observations layered throughout the story, all of which had the feel of being real documents one would find in such media forms. Having seen and used these types of documents in the real world when studying such subjects in school, I can honestly say the author nailed it when penning his own, and had I read them as part of a case-study I would have assumed them to be genuine. I also would have been horrified to know that two such killers had done the things they did for as long as they did, and that a family had had produced three generations of serial killers.

Needless to say, I found Blood Related to be an excellent read, one by an author who hopefully will be releasing more works in the near future. Until then readers will have to keep their bloodlust sated with the tale of Caleb Cunningham and his twin brother Charlie. I promise, if this type of story is your thing you will not be disappointed.

Sins of the Father, February 4, 2012, By Malina Roos
This review is from: Blood Related (Kindle Edition)
Be warned, this tale is not for anyone who dislikes gore and violence.

This is a brilliant tale of fathers and sons, serial killing at its finest and the legacy families create. Charlie and Caleb Cunningham are twins and serial killers, following in the footsteps of their father and grandfather.

The story is told through letters, news articles and from the points of view of the killers, the police and the doctors involved. All the pieces of the story are woven together beautifully through the the magical way William Cook has with syntax. Well worth the read….if you can stomach it.

The Family That Slays Together Becomes a Legend, January 25, 2012, By Bruce J. Blanchard “Darkenwulf”
It started off so simple. Dr. Mary Brunswick was the court appointed psychologist to define the state of mind of one Charlie Cunningham. During the course of her talks with Charlie, she meets his twin, Caleb. Caleb consults her later on and tells her a story she will not forget, a story of violence, murder, abuse, mutilation, insanity, abduction, and conspiracy. A story that covers a family background beginning with Grandfater Samael, father Errol, and his two sons Charlie and Caleb. What begins as a subplot and gaining an increasing importance is a family feud between the Cunninghams and the Trumans, a family of cops and those who don’t mind flying over the dictates of the law. What becomes more disturbing is this: as you read through the book, who are you rooting for – the long length of crimes commited by those in the death house on Artaud Avenue or the less than legal obsession by Ray Truman who will use any means to wipe out the family and their crimes.
The main character is Caleb. He and brother Charlie have been abused by both father Errol and mother Vera. They’ve been raised in an environment of murder, death, and torture. Throughout the story we identify with Caleb: his actions (mostly despicable), his feelings about his family relations, and a seemingly growing insanity fueled by drugs and alcohol. What remains is a story you can follow with Caleb’s entries and excerpts from newspapers and crime books. Blood Related is an awesome and ambitious project in the ways and means of the psychopathic mind. A lot of us are looking for answers as why people kill the others around them and do the inhumane. Blood Related may help you in your quest, though the answers aren’t easy ones. This book is one that should never be overlooked.

1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: