So, I take pride in being a guy who writes thrillers. If you have been to this site and visited my work before, you know I have an obsession with murderers, ghosts and alternate realities with shadow people and black-eyed children. I like scary stuff. I always have. So, you may wonder, where does the Deklan Falls hard-boiled detective series fit in and why the hell do I write them if they don't sell as well as, say, The Man From Taured or Vicious?
Well, the answer is - I just do. I know, that is hardly profound, but it's true. Yes, I love writing horror and suspense. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock (truly the undisputed master of suspense. Really) and I love being scared. If it's horrific and keeps me looking over my shoulder when I walk through my house at night, I am going to love it and recommend it to others. I love writing that stuff, too, but I am also a fan of a good detective novel.
It stared in high school when a friend of mine (hi, Carl) got me into the Sherlock Holmes stories. Doyle is really still one of the best storytellers out there. That progressed as I got older. I began reading other detective novels and procedurals. I loved cops and reporters and just the average Joe prying and poking into a mystery and all of the danger that involved.
I am now a huge, huge, huge Dashiell Hammett fan. I love that kind of prose. This is the stuff that you probably think of when you think of hard-boiled detectives. Tough guys with fedoras and dirty offices above shady businesses on the first floor. The kind of guy who would use the word "dames" and talk about their "gams" while threatening to "plug" a guy with his gun - see.
The entire vibe and way of writing those stories is different than horror. In horror, you have to write long sentences and really set the scene so that the scary thing jumps out at you and, well, scares you. In a hard-boiled novel, it's short sentences that create a machine gun, staccato style that some love and some do not. I love it. It is a total shift in my way of thinking and my way of writing. Deklan Falls is, in some ways, a kind of superhero. He is not Sherlock Holmes, but cast more in the mold of Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. He finds the answers and has skills, but probably could not look at you and instantly know what you did for the past week.
I love to challenge myself. Sometimes, after writing several thrillers about killers, alternate dimensions, huge demonic monsters, ghosts or supernatural phone texts, I need that break. Although most of my horror and suspense novels include elements of mystery (I'm sure you've noticed there is almost always someone who has to find an answer and finds more horror), a break and writing a straight up detective novel.
I write Deklan's world because I really love it. I based his city, Oldtowne, on the real-life city of Youngstown, Ohio (my wife grew up around there). I have expanded that and totally fictionalized it, but that is where it started. I love that he is in a medium-sized city struggling to get back to some kind of prosperity. I love that Youngstown has been infamous for being a mob hangout.
I really enjoy the villains, the good-guys, his friends, his enemies and the world he inhabits. I love that he is flawed and am trying hard to write a character who is a recovering alcoholic, too. I write the Deklan Falls books because Deklan's world calls to me and I find it like sinking into a hot bath. It envelopes me and, geez, it is just so much damn fun to write.
So, my hope is that you have read and liked my horror thrillers, that you'll give Deklan's world a try. Even if you don't feel that hard-boiled detective novels are your thing, I promise there is a lot of action, some really bad people in it who do really horrible things, death, murder and mayhem. It's just - different.
As for me, I plan on taking Deklan in new directions with the next novel. At some point, the right story will hit me and I look forward to checking in on Deklan, Karen, their dog, Thomas Mahone and the rest of the cast to see what they're up to and where they head next.
I hope you'll come along with me.
The latest Deklan Falls novel, Radiowaves, is not out and available in print and ebook formats.