The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2015 by C. J. Edwards

the-thicket-by-joe-r-lansdaleI started reading The Thicket in mid-December of 2014 and finished it this morning before work. It was one of the best reads of last year and 2015 will be hard pressed to deliver a better one as well.

Joe R. Lansdale has been one of those authors that I keep hearing about and keep planning to read. (There are a lot of you out there.) I finally dropped the hammer on a short story of his included in Rogues.

rogues coverRogues is a short story collection edited by one of my favorite Fantasy authors George R.R. Martin. It is a fantastic read and includes an interesting collection of authors of various genres and some really great stories. His story in this collection featured his characters Hap and Leonard. From Dead_Aim_by_Joe_R_Lansdale_Trade_Coverthere I found his novella Dead Aim also featuring this memorable duo.

While searching for something else to read by Lansdale I heard about Cold In July but wasn’t able to find a copy. It was then that I stumbled upon The Thicket. I am not really big on reading westerns, but when I saw the back description, I knew I had to give it a try.

A tale of love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom from award-winning novelist Joe Lansdale

Jack Parker thought he’d already seen his fair share of tragedy. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident when he was barely five years old. His parents have just succumbed to the smallpox epidemic sweeping turn-of-the-century East Texas—orphaning him and his younger sister, Lula.

Then catastrophe strikes on the way to their uncle’s farm, when a traveling group of bank-robbing bandits murder Jack’s grandfather and kidnap his sister. With no elders left for miles, Jack must grow up fast and enlist a band of heroes the likes of which has never been seen if his sister has any chance of surviving. But the best he can come up with is a charismatic, bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, his constant companion a 600-pound feral hog, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue who’s come into some very intimate knowledge about the bandits (and a few members of Jack’s extended family to boot).

In the throes of being civilized, East Texas is still a wild, feral place where oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. And Jack will soon find out that blood and redemption rule supreme. In The Thicket, Joe R. Lansdale lets loose like never before, in a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Grit and Stand by Me—the perfect introduction to an acclaimed writer whose work has been called “as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm—or Mark Twain” (New York Times Book Review).

One review called it “Hellish and hilarious.” I would have to agree, not to mention anything with a bounty hunting dwarf, a whore, and a giant hog as main characters is something I want to read. Also, the half-black-half-white-half-Comanche Eustace steals many of the scenes in this dark and funny novel.

By the end, you will realize that the story is less about the narrator Jack and the trouble he finds himself in and more about the characters around him and what makes them who they are. As Jack learns their stories, he learns about himself and the how he will mark his own way in a hard and often bloody world where doing the right thing isn’t necessarily the best thing.

For me the best scene is where the unlikely posse comes to a trading post to confront Fatty, one of kidnappers. Eustace, Hog, and Shorty produce one of the most comical confrontations I have ever read.

With The Thicket has produced a story that is wickedly funny as well as being a very dark and violent thriller. It is the story that all big Hollywood Westerns are trying to make and ultimately fall short of. In fact, I learned today after posting that exact comment on Facebook that The Thicket is slated to be made into a movie with Peter Dinklage signed on in the role of Shorty.Peter Dinklage Hopefully the film will stay true to Lansdale’s original vision. If they do, I can’t wait to see it.

A Man Alone by David Siddall

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2014 by C. J. Edwards

Alone PhotoToday Full Dark City Press has released a book we are very excited about. David Siddall’s A Man Alone is a fast paced crime novella from the UK. The story takes place in Liverpool and deals with some hard choices a man must make when defending his family. This book is fantastic, but don’t just take my word for it. Here are some of the things people you might all recognize are saying.

“Just when you despair of the mystery novel along comes A Man Alone which has the three essentials of great writing, a keep you on the edge of your seat narrative, and a burning intensity to the style…Highly entertaining.”- Ken Bruen, author of Purgatory

“David Siddall’s brilliantly hard-boiled novella A Man Alone is a gripping urban western worthy of a Walter Hill film.” – Paul D Brazill, author of Guns of Brixton, Roman Dalton – Werewolf PI

“A compact, paunchy thriller that takes a classic situation – what happens when one Competent Man won’t back down? – and adds some clever twists. Siddall writes with great skill and verve, wasting no words as he coolly maps out the route taken by his maybe-hero.” – David Longhorn, editor of Supernatural Tales

We are very proud to release David Siddall’s book and are confident that you will rip through it and come to the same conclusions as the very talented men above. When you do, we hope you leave some honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Kindle users can buy immediately. The print version will be available soon. 

Happy Reading!


Life: The Real Writer’s Block

Posted in Uncategorized on December 3, 2013 by C. J. Edwards

WritersblockRecently I was given some new motivation to start a novel based on a couple of short stories of mine published in Needle: A Magazine of Noir. Things rocketed off to a great start, and I was packing words onto the page at the tune of 2000-3000 words a day. If I could have continued at that breakneck pace, I could have finished two novels by now. Then the inevitable happened…LIFE.

In my limited experience so far, life is the biggest form of writer’s block that there is. Work, kids, a second job, school, illness, holidays, and whatever else you can think of all conspire to take you away from your great masterpiece in the making. Life is so much deadlier than mere writer’s block. It seems to happen at an exponentially greater rate as well.

So there I am banging the shit out of this novel and one of my old root canals decides it’s time to go on strike and give me an infection. As the fog of pain builds, my word count dwindled till not only was I getting ZERO words per day, I had to call off the day job for an entire week. The whole debacle went on for about a month and included two visits to the endodontist before I was back to normal. Yes! Word count going back up.

Just as I was getting up past 1000 words per day again my body decided to take a dump on me and get sick. A common cold mutated into a sinus infection which dropped into my lungs like a skydiver with a faulty chute. This inspired my asthma to wake up and say hello. I am now into the third week of this life sucking ailment, and I am barley making 1000 words every other day if I’m lucky.

To really put this in perspective, the first three weeks I was working on this particular novel I wrote close to 20,000 words. Rock on, right? In the weeks since with all this lovely LIFE happening, I am now sitting at 26,000. I really hope I can get back to normal and start rolling again. 

I hope people don’t think I’m bragging about being able to really crank out the words when I’m health and not too busy. I know the amount doesn’t matter at all. For some a couple hundred a day is a lot while I have heard about people that could push into the multi-thousands per day consistently. What is important is that LIFE happens to us all and no matter what roadblocks are thrown in our way, we have to keep at it. Get yourself in front of that keyboard EVERY day, even it it’s only for five minutes to tap out a few sentences or edit some previous paragraphs. Finish those pages no matter how long it takes. If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

Look at me. I’m giving advice like I know what the hell I’m talking about. Well I have wasted enough words on this blog. It’s time to get back to the novel and hope my sickness induced asthma will leave me alone for a while.

Good luck to all of you in your own writing.