Thursday, 10 January 2013

Feasts of blood on the best days of the year

Much sooner than I expected, I'm here able to showcase the new cover for SACRIFICE, the second book in the Mark Heckenburg series, my new trio of cop novels out from Avon Books (HarperCollins imprint) later this year.

This image is possibly a work in progress rather than the finished article, but Avon always seem very happy to get the news out at the earliest possible opportunity, so who am I to disappoint?

It's a lurid image, for sure ... but it nicely captures the horrific circumstances within the book. In a nutshell, SACRIFICE, which is the second adventure to date of Detective Sergant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg, tells the tale of a truly bizarre and complex homicide investigation, which results when an unknown maniac (or maybe a group of maniacs!) commence a series of truly atrocious ritual murders.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Check the blurb accompanying the book:

One man blocked into a chimney alive at Christmas. Two lovers shot through the heart on Valentine’s Day. Three victims crucified at Easter.

A twisted and vicious serial killer is holding the country to ransom, publicly – and gruesomely – murdering his victims. The pattern is clear: a ‘calendar killer’ is on the loose.

On the case is Detective Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenberg, and he knows one thing for certain: when the killer will strike next. But he doesn’t know where and he doesn’t know how.

With the country’s eyes on him, Heck must find the killer before he executes more victims ... but is is the killer who is watching him most closely of all.

A heart-stopping and bloody thriller that will enthral fans of Stuart MacBride and Katia Lief.

As I say, this book is only out July 4th this year, so make that a date in your diaries (though be wary of those special dates ... at least as long as certain unknown menace is still prowling the streets, looking to celebrate them in graphic, gruesome fashion).

As I say, it's available for pre-order much sooner than I expected, but I can't say I'm not delighted about that. When I look at it online, it sits rather nicely alongside STALKERS, the first in the Mark Heckenburg series, the ebook version of which is available for 99p from January 17th this year - that's right, folks, next week! - and which was described by THE BOOKSELLER as: "Really terrific, compulsive stuff."

Those who prefer a bedroom filled with groaning bookshelves will need to wait just a little longer; the paperback version of STALKERS is due for publication on February 14th.

In slightly different news, I've this week been green-lit to write the script for my first ever graphic novel. It's called WAR-WOLF, and it's an adaptation of my novella, HELL-HAMMER, a dramatised account of a 9th century Viking invasion of eastern England, which degenerates into a near apocalypse as the natives resist with everything they've got. The original tale contains lots and lots of violence, plus lots of Norse demonology - this is war between gods as well as men - and thus far everyone seems pretty certain it will transpose neatly into comic book form (though some of the sex scenes may need to be toned down a bit, LOL).

Those who've followed my output over the years will know that I'm no stranger to writing Viking age sagas. Back in 2004, Sarob Press published two novellas of mine - THE BLOOD MONTH and TWILIGHT IN THE ORM-GARTH, in the aptly titled collection, DARKER AGES (you don't get any cheerful fiction on here). Sadly, that book is long out of print, but the two stories, which, if memory serves, are a good 25,000 to 30,000 words each, can be found in MEDI-EVIL 1 and MEDI-EVIL 2 respectively, both still available as ebooks.

THE BLOOD MONTH, set in 1030 AD, tells the tale of two Viking brothers, both newly Christianised and fleeing the vengeance of their pagan brethren. They hole up in their uncle's remote homestead on the frozen northwest coast of Greenland, only to find the local community under attack by an unknown entity, which seems to thrive in the permanent bitter darkness of the Arctic midwinter.

TWILIGHT IN THE ORM-GARTH is set 40 years later, in 1070, and concerns a Norman warlord's quarrelsome family, who hold a grand reunion in a their recently built castle, Wulfbury, in northeast England - when their constant bickering is interrupted by news that a Viking fleet is scouring the coast, seeking ingress, and that their new king, William the Conqueror, who doesn't trust them not to make a deal with the Danes, is sending a monstrous guardian - a malevolent horror from the mists of time, called the Korred - to both guard and terrorise them during this period of crisis.

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