Thursday, February 26, 2009


'"Are you him?" the stranger asked.
Tim said, "Who else would I be?"
"You look so...ordinary."
"I work at it," Tim assured him.
The stranger finally picked up his drink. Getting it to his lips, he slopped beer on the bar, then chugged half the contents of the glass.
Sliding the manila envelope across the bar, the guy said, "Half of it's there. Ten thousand. The rest when she's gone."
As he finished speaking, the stranger turned on his stool, got to his feet, and headed toward the door.
As Tim was about to call the man back, the terrible meaning of those eleven words clarified for him: Half of it's there. Ten thousand. The rest when she's gone.'

The Good Guy is the story of Tim Carrier, a lumbering mason who wants nothing more than to quietly go about his day, and to enjoy a cold beer with friends. In a twist straight out of the Hitchcock playbook, Tim, sitting in his usual spot at the dive bar owned by his friend, is mistaken for a contract killer. He is given a folder containing info on the intended victim, and a ten thousand dollar advance. Befuddled, Tim watches the man exit, and is still in shock when, moments later, the actual killer arrives. Tim calls him off, pays him to not complete his mission, and follows him outside to discover the killer may very well be a cop!

Shrugging off his passive nature, Tim does what any good guy would: he searches out the victim, informs her that she’s in danger, and helps her escape. The added bonus? Tim has as many layers as an onion, and as they stay one step ahead of the killer, he slowly reveals that there’s more to him than just a way with bricks. Oh, and he’s also smitten with the stunning novelist he’s protecting.

The Good Guy
is one of those crackling page-turning pot boilers, perfect for reading on a plane or the beach. Indeed, that’s exactly where I read the book, on a recent excursion to Naples. It isn’t heady; it’s not meant to be. Koontz has a knack with peppy dialogue, though it can get a little over the top. And as far as psychopaths go, the villain, known mainly as ‘Krait’ has the usual, yawn-inducing quirks of a killer. Sure, killing someone isn’t quirky enough. He’s gotta be over the top. But he can also display charm, too, as evidenced in a creepy scene with an innocent older woman who thinks the killer is merely her daughter’s houseguest. With an omniscient government-like facility watching and facilitating his every move, Koontz gives the notion that there is something much larger at stake than the life of one woman.

Koontz’s older novels (Watchers, Twilight Eyes, The Vision, Lightning, even Phantoms - which Affleck was the bomb in, for the record) have more gravitas than many of his newer books. In fact, with similar titles, and similar characters, it’s hard to distinguish one story from the next. And though I used to read his books feverishly (much to the chagrin of some of my friends…you know who you are!) I was getting a bit tired of his work. There are few authors whose books I collect in hardcover, and while Dean was once atop that list, I’ve scaled back a bit, and so I haven’t picked his newest book, Your Heart Belongs to Me, another book with an Alfred twist.

Literary god Stephen King labeled The Good Guy one of his Top Ten Books of 2008, so I knew going in that I was going to get some of the old Koontz back. I like the Hitchcock vibe he’s going with now (surprise!), and though the book’s ending doesn’t shock and amaze, getting there is awful damn fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Good Lord, has it really been over a month? Man, I am one lame fella. Sorry about that. I wish I had a better excuse than 'By the time I think about writing on my blog, my eyes feel like dead weights and I want to faceplant into a pillow.' But that's all I've got. I'll try to do better. The three of you deserve my A-game.

If you're keenly observant, you may have noticed that today should be the third day of principal photography on The Psychosis of Ghosts. Well, as is sometimes the case in the movie biz, the film has been postponed indefinitely. Which is a bummer. We had been corralling some very talented folks to help us out on both the cast and the crew, and I was looking forward to working with them. Alas, that will no longer be the case. If there's a silver lining, it's that I've had time to focus on my own writing. I have a couple of things brewing, stuff that I can't quite discuss, but will post on here as soon as I can. I swear.

A couple of new sites to check out. First, my good friend and pulp aficionado Martin Powell has joined the blogging world. Martin was gracious enough to write a pretty swell introduction to the Horrorwood graphic novel last year. He's tackled such literary giants as Sherlock Holmes, The Spider, Kolchak the Night Stalker, and will soon be able to add Batman and Superman to that list. Martin introduced me to pulp heroes, and while I feel like I'm only dipping a pinky toe into the pool of pulp knowledge, Martin cannonballed in years ago.

You can check out his blog HERE.

Secondly, one of the hush-hush top secret projects I can't discuss (but have in previous posts...) is the book I'm co-authoring with fellow writer and friend Ryan Jacobson. Ryan has been writing children's books for over five years now, and his most recent project was a picture book illustrated by my longtime friend (and talented artist) Liz Hurley. The book is titled Joe Lee and the Boo: Who's Afraid of Monsters?. Check out Ryan's site HERE.

One final note: I was checking out Hard Case Crime's website earlier today, when I excitedly discovered that their November release is going to be another Max Allan Collins 'Quarry' novel. This one, titled Quarry in the Middle looks like another knockout. I read The First Quarry earlier this year, and couldn't put it down. Kick ass.

All right, that's all for tonight. I swear it won't be another month before you hear from me again. We're still friends, right?

All the best,