Posts Tagged William Cook

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

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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

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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).

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New Horror Anthology Release – Terror Train


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TERROR TRAIN ANTHOLOGY

EDITED BY A. HENRY KEENE & KRISTA CLARK GRABOWSKI

 

Proud to say I have a story in this anthology (‘One Way Ticket’) – in fact, one of the more complex stories I’ve written and one that I hope operates on a few different levels. The Terror Train Anthology, published by the good folk at James Ward Kirk Fiction, includes both stories and poetry about murder, madness, mayhem, monsters, and the macabre on the rails! The stories take us on a train ride that begins in New York and ends in California, with a little time in Europe, and includes over forty stops in between. Included in this magnificent collection is one by the legendary William F. Nolan titled “Lonely Train A Comin’.” The old west, a character that travels back in time, a tale from the future – they are all there. We have stories full of evil, revenge, love, lust, and mystery. We even have a little noir and, of course, a whole lot of Horror! Trust me, it’s a ride you won’t soon forget.

All aboard theTerror Train

From NYC to New Orleans, through winding paths and cityscapes, it grinds the rails and shatters the dead of night. It comes, stopping at stations along the way, to steal the screaming souls of the living and the dead and transport them to hell…  The Terror Train rides, from city to city, from village to village, through states, across rivers and mountains. If only it could tell its tales of grisly murder, of demonic pacts, black holes into different dimensions and portals to other realms where the ghosts of train robbers hunt in perpetuity for that elusive bullion filled carriage that cost them their immortal souls. Behold the terrors the train has witnessed, see firsthand the horrors it has lived through and when you get on board, pray, pray you’ve entered the right one, on the right track, the one that does not lead to oblivion… 

Terror Train contains stories by new and established authors, with a special guest story by William F. Nolan.

All aboard!

Grab your copy now!

US LINK http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=la_B00HXO3FRG_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402746042&sr=1-3

UK LINK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748251&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

AUSTRALIA LINK http://www.amazon.com.au/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748328&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

 

Cover art by Stephen Cooney

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Full author list:
Roger Cowin
Charie D. La Marr
Michael Thomas-Knight
Mark Rigney
Stephen Alexander
Mike Jansen
Justin Hunter
Mary Genevieve Fortier
Jeremy Mays
Murphy Edwards
Dennis Banning
Brigitte Kephart
Brian Barnett
Mathias Jansson
Abdul-Qaadir Taariq Bakari-Muhammad
Aaron Besson
Stephen Alexander
Jim Goforth
Dona Fox
Tony Bowman
Rie Sheridan Rose
Dale Hollin 
David S. Pointer

Stuart Keane
William Cook
Shenoa Carroll-Bradd
Stephen Alexander & Roger Cowin
A. P. Gilbert
Shane Koch
William F. Nolan
Teri Skultety
E.S. Wynn
Lori R. Lopez
Thomas M. Malafarina
Leigh M. Lane 
Alex S. Johnson

Plus Dedications and Appreciations by Keene and Grabowski

 

TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoFmgrXBQYQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Message from the Editors – A. Henry Keene and Krista Clark Grabowski

A. Henry Keene

In the days before bank-breaking tuition rates, I studied at the University of Louisville where I matriculated degrees in Communication, English, and Art History. I made significant progress in post-baccalaureate work in Humanities before my wings melted, and I returned to Earth to study Culinary Arts at Sullivan University. I now support himself and his family through his work as a chef.

A life-long fan of horror, I recall with delight the campy onscreen shenanigans of “Kingdom of Spiders,” the realistic horrors of “The Exorcist,” and the gruesome gore of “Demons” that scarred my youth and warped my mind. My favorite horror films are “Alien,” “Burnt Offerings,” and “Hellraiser.”

Essentially a surrealist, I stumbled into the field of horror with my first publications in James Ward Kirk anthologies. Since then, J.W.K. has published a collection of my early prose pieces entitled “The Crooked Closet” and a novella called “Meridiana.”

As a writer, I have striven to meld genre specific elements with broader cultural concerns, especially violence against women and man’s struggle with his sexual drives.

As an anthologist, I, in partnership with Krista Clark Grabowski, have compiled and edited “Terror Train.” This collection takes the reader on a journey to explore not only the place of the train in popular imagination but also the genre of horror as it plays out by region.

As a surrealist, I proudly proclaim that the inspiration for “Terror Train” came from a dream. Once the notion took shape and the partnership with Krista was formed, the project came to life and quality work from excellent artists came rolling in. It was just waiting to be done. It was in the air, the zeitgeist.

The highlight of submissions was receiving a message from Mr. William F. Nolan to offer his classic tale “Lonely Train A Comin’.” Having the Nolan piece in the Table of Contents has provided such a thrill to our contributors. We are so pleased to have been able to do it for them.

Working on this project has been pure joy from beginning to end. I am thankful to everyone involved, especially the writers and poets, who have responded so enthusiastically.

 

Krista Clark Grabowski

I too attended the University of Louisville, where I earned a degree in Finance that I have never used. I started working for a major health insurance company before I graduated and have been in the industry ever since, over 20 years now.

I loved reading from the time I was a child. In high school and college I devoured anything I could get my hands on that was written by Stephen King. My taste in books, like my taste in music, covers a wide range. I enjoy classics like Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I enjoy Maeve Binchy, John Irving, and Neil Gaiman along with other bestselling modern-day authors. In recent years I have had the pleasure of reading the work of some very talented independent authors and it has become a passion.

I have one published story – “Daddy’s Girl”, which was published in an anthology published by JWK Fiction in 2013. It was following the publication of that anthology that I had an opportunity to assist Mr. Kirk with some editing needs and discovered that I really enjoyed it. I have since done some additional editing work for him and when A. Henry came to me with his Terror Train idea I was thrilled to be part of the project.

I loved every second of putting together this anthology. Mr. Keene’s idea caught on and very soon people were jumping onboard, eager to be part of it. We had fun with the authors involved in this project and we met some wonderful new people. It has truly been a collaborative effort every step of the way. I would do it all again in a second.

I am on the editing team for another JWK Fiction anthology and am also working on finishing up the first in a series of dark fiction/crime short stories. I am so lucky to have found a place where I can do what I love.

Terror Train is a wonderful collection full of great stories and poetry. You’ll be happily frightened as you ride the rails. As one of the author’s recently said “It’s a ride that’s to die for”.

ALTERNATE VERSION OF BOOK DESCRIPTION (NOT THE ONE ON AMAZON)

 

Terror Train is the creative brainchild of A. Henry Keene. The train leaves the station noir-style in New York and travels across the country until it stops in a California of the future. In between it stops in several states including Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana. At every stop there is a different tale of murder, ghosts, demons, and other horrors. There are tales of love gone wrong, twisted demon-possessed trains, a vampire story that is nothing like any vampire story you’ve ever read, and many other fun terrors. And the legendary William F. Nolan has humbled us with his gracious contribution. Along with the stories there are wonderful poems spread throughout this collection by some truly talented poets. Trust me, this is a ride you won’t soon forget.

 

LINKS

US LINK http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=la_B00HXO3FRG_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402746042&sr=1-3

UK LINK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748251&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

AUSTRALIA LINK http://www.amazon.com.au/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748328&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22457461-terror-train?from_search=true

 

CONTACT

terrortrain7975@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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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

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FREE [for Kindle] – DEATH QUARTET


FREE – DEATH QUARTET (A Selection of Short Horror Fiction & Verse) is an eclectic miscellany of stories, poems, and ephemera, wherein the subject matter relates to the study of homicide and the aesthetic portrayal of such an act. In other words, themes of death and murder abound in this horrific collection brought to you by William Cook, author the novel ‘Blood Related.’

Amazon Review:
“5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Can Be Fun January 11, 2014
By Marianne – Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
 
This collection of creepy stories, disturbing poetry, and other scary stuff is just what the doctor ordered. That is, if your doctor wants you to have nightmares!! William Cook never fails to please, and he is right on target with this one. It’s a unique mix of different items; stories, musings, poetry, and quotes, all combined to raise the horror bar waaay up there. However, I must admit: basements and cellars are now completely and totally off limits for me. Thanks a lot, William Cook!!”

ImageAmazon Review:

“5 Star Review – Poetry and Fiction: Tastes of Horror January 7, 2014
By Diane J – Format:Kindle Edition

I had to give this book a five because every piece in it was excellent, although I did have my personal favorites. There are quotes from authors, psychiatrists, psychopaths, and others that generally lead us into one of the four stories. But first, the poetry is, as you would expect, dark, disturbing and dangerous. I found it very unsettling, which for my chosen genre, is a good thing. The stories are all well written and cover a wide variety of the underbelly of humanity. Don’t get me wrong, while I found them all gut wrenching and disturbing, the two that stood out for me were Blinded by the Light and Dead Aesthetics. The protagonist in the first story I listed is Patrick, a young horribly abused child who knows too many secrets and is punished severely for that knowledge. His world is so bleak and horrific, you will be completely drawn into it and won’t put the book down until the story is finished. The second story is obviously from the very twisted mind of an incredible author. My God, what can I even say? The subject matter is NOT for the squeamish and if you do read it knowing that fact, have a pail at the ready. The graphic imagery is grotesque beyond belief. But if you love your horror as nasty as it gets, this is a 100% winner by a brilliant writer.”

U.K. – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Quartet-Short-Horror-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00FPT3MZQ/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1389477861&sr=8-8&keywords=death+quartet

U.S. – http://www.amazon.com/Death-Quartet-Short-Horror-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00FPT3MZQ/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389477686&sr=1-18

 

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Short Fiction Stories in Print (Anthologized)


Just doing a tally on short fiction of mine that others have chosen to publish. Here is the complete list (including links) of anthologies in which my stories have appeared, in reverse chronological order.

Ugly Babies (Vol II) – ‘Conceived By Death’

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Bizarro, Bizarro: An Anthology – ‘The Colony’

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Songs For The Raven – ‘Til Death Do Us Part’, ‘Aspects of Infinity’

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Four Ghosts – Dead and Buried (Novella)

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Splatterpunk Saints Anthology – ‘King of Terrors’, ”Til Death Do Us Part’

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Read Us Or Die – ‘Burnt Offerings’,’The Reader’

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Serial Killers tres tria – ‘Blinded By The Light’

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I’ll Never Go Away Vol II – ‘Dead Memories’

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Serial Killers iterum – ‘Return of the Creep’

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Writings on the Wall – ‘Playing the Game’

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Dark Light – ‘Beach House’

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Putrid Poetry & Sickening Sketches -‘In The Dead of night’ (poem)

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Masters of Horror: The Anthology – ‘Devil Inside’

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DEVIL INSIDE by William Cook – FREE for Kindle


FREE NOW FOR KINDLE –

“Devil Inside is a short story, but it draws so many threads together, explores so many dark emotions, that the reader is left satisfied, yet wanting more. It’s a great story of evil and horror. It’s also a great lesson about how we are raising children today and why some of them take a dark path. They have seen so little light, they know it is safer to walk in the dark, no matter what monsters may lurk there.”

Horror, Violence, Supernatural, M15+

Short Story + 4 x Poems + Excerpt from Blood Related (novel).

FOR U.S. READERS – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3OCVMC/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dpd_IJnSsb0MGRMME
FOR U.K. READERS – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Inside-William-Cook-ebook/dp/B00B3OCVMC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1387498686&sr=8-5&keywords=devil+inside

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#FREE #KINDLE #HORROR #MERRYXMAS

 

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Blood Related featured in new Literary Analysis by Anthony Servante.


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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.

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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

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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.

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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?”

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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,

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