Dan Wells - Tor/Forge Blog

$2.99 eBook Sale: July 2022

Wow! How is it July already!! We all know it’d be a Cruel Summer without hot eBook deals, so don’t sweat that Summertime Sadness because we’ve got the digital book downpricing you need to keep Cool for the Summer 😎

Check it out!

The Devil You Know by Kit RochaThe Devil You Know by Kit Rocha

Maya has had a price on her head from the day she escaped the TechCorps. Genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution, there’s only one thing she can’t do—forget. Gray has finally broken free of the Protectorate, but he can’t escape the time bomb in his head. His body is rejecting his modifications, and his months are numbered. When Maya’s team uncovers an operation trading in genetically enhanced children, she’ll do anything to stop them. Even risk falling back into the hands of the TechCorps. And Gray has found a purpose for his final days: keeping Maya safe.

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The Freedom Race by Lucinda RoyThe Freedom Race by Lucinda Roy

In the aftermath of a cataclysmic civil war known as the Sequel, ideological divisions among the states have hardened. In the Homestead Territories, an alliance of plantation-inspired holdings, Black labor is imported from the Cradle, and Biracial “Muleseeds” are bred. Raised in captivity on Planting 437, kitchen-seed Jellybean “Ji-ji” Lottermule knows there is only one way to escape. She must enter the annual Freedom Race as a runner. Ji-ji and her friends must exhume a survival story rooted in the collective memory of a kidnapped people and conjure the voices of the dead to light their way home.

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The Wandering Earth by Cixin LiuThe Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu

From New York Times bestselling author Cixin Liu, The Wandering Earth is a science fiction short story collection featuring the title tale—the basis for the blockbuster international film, now streaming on Netflix.

These ten stories, including five Chinese Galaxy Award-winners, are a blazingly original ode to planet Earth, its pasts, and its futures. Liu’s fiction takes the reader to the edge of the universe and the end of time, to meet stranger fates than we could have ever imagined.

With a melancholic and keen understanding of human nature, Liu’s stories show humanity’s attempts to reason, navigate, and above all, survive in a desolate cosmos.

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Dark Harvest by Norman PartridgeDark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror—and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy.

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I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan WellsI Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation. Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means.

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Necroscope by Brian LumleyNecroscope by Brian Lumley

Harry Keogh is the man who can talk to the dead, the man for whom every grave willingly gives up its secrets, the one man who knows how to travel effortlessly through time and space to destroy the vampires that threaten all humanity. In Necroscope, Harry is startled to discover that he is not the only person with unusual mental powers—Britain and the Soviet Union both maintain super-secret, psychically-powered espionage organizations. But Harry is the only person who knows about Thibor Ferenczy, a vampire long buried in the mountains of Romania—still horribly alive, in undeath—and Thibor’s insane “offspring,” Boris Dragosani, who rips information from the souls of the dead in a terrible, ever-lasting form of torture.

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Nightflyers & Other Stories by George R. R. MartinNightflyers & Other Stories by George R. R. Martin

On a voyage toward the boundaries of the known universe, nine misfit academics seek out first contact with a shadowy alien race. But another enigma is the Nightflyer itself, a cybernetic wonder with an elusive captain no one has ever seen in the flesh. Soon, however, the crew discovers that their greatest mystery – and most dangerous threat – is an unexpected force wielding a thirst for blood and terror…. Also included are five additional classic George R. R. Martin tales of science fiction that explore the breadth of technology and the dark corners of the human mind.

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Sisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. AndersonSisterhood of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

It is eighty-three years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new Imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind. The war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus. The descendants of Abulurd Harkonnen Griffen and Valya have sworn vengeance against Vor, blaming him for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built Venport Holdings, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly precursors of Heighliners. Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, is teaching humans to become Mentats…and hiding an unbelievable secret.

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The Mothman Prophecies by John A. KeelThe Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare culminating in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes known as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community. Mysterious lights are seen moving across the sky. Domestic animals are found slaughtered and mutilated. And journalist John Keel, arriving to investigate the freakish events, soon finds himself an integral part of an eerie and unfathomable mystery.

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$2.99 eBook Sale: October 2020

There’s a hint of fall in the air and we are SO excited for all the thrilling reads we have to offer this month with our down-priced ebooks! Check out which ones you can snag for only $2.99 throughout the entire month of October below.

Poster Placeholder of - 17Alone with the Horrors by Ramsey Campbell

Three decades into his career, Ramsey Campbell paused to review his body of short fiction and selected the stories that were, to his mind, the very best of his works. Alone With the Horrors collects nearly forty tales from the first thirty years of Campbell’s writing. Included here are “In the Bag,” which won the British Fantasy Award, and two World Fantasy Award-winning stories, “The Chimney” and the classic “Mackintosh Willy.”

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Place holder  of - 8The Toll by Cherie Priest

Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon and have reservations in the Okefenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car. Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell him there is no such bridge on Route 177 . . .

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Image Placeholder of - 75Hell House by Richard Matheson

Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death. Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.

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Placeholder of  -6HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations but, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

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Image Place holder  of - 84The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare culminating in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes known as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community. Mysterious lights are seen moving across the sky. Domestic animals are found slaughtered and mutilated. And journalist John Keel, arriving to investigate the freakish events, soon finds himself an integral part of an eerie and unfathomable mystery.

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The Keep by F. Paul Wilson

“Something is murdering my men.” Thus reads the message received from a Nazi commander stationed in a small castle high in the remote Transylvanian Alps. Invisible and silent, the enemy selects one victim per night, leaving the bloodless and mutilated corpses behind to terrify its future victims. When an elite SS extermination squad is dispatched to solve the problem, the men find something that’s both powerful and terrifying.

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Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.

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Legion by William Peter Blatty

A young boy is found horribly murdered in a mock crucifixion. Is the murderer the elderly woman who witnessed the crime? A neurologist who can no longer bear the pain life inflicts on its victims? A psychiatrist with a macabre sense of humor and a guilty secret? A mysterious mental patient, locked in silent isolation? Lieutenant Kinderman follows a bewildering trail that links all these people, confronting a new enigma at every turn even as more murders surface.

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I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t demand or expect the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there’s something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat—and to appreciate what that difference means. Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can’t control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

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Queen by Timothy Zahn

Nicole Hammond is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with a strange alien ship called the Fyrantha. However, Nicole and all other sentient creatures are caught up in a war for control between two competing factions. Now, the street-kid turned rebel leader has a plan that would restore freedom to all who have been shanghaied by the strange ship.

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The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

From Cherie Priest, author of the enormously successful BoneshakerThe Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages—atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility that’s every bit as fresh as it is frightening.

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The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni’s stepson, Jason, from an infected campground.

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Nightflyers & Other Stories by George R. R. Martin

On a voyage toward the boundaries of the known universe, nine misfit academics seek out first contact with a shadowy alien race. But another enigma is the Nightflyer itself, a cybernetic wonder with an elusive captain no one has ever seen in the flesh. Soon, however, the crew discovers that their greatest mystery – and most dangerous threat – is an unexpected force wielding a thirst for blood and terror….

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Stranded by Bracken MacLeod

Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves.

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The House of Cthulhu by Brian Lumley

The fabled riches of the House of Cthulhu draw thieves and warriors from throughout the civilized-and uncivilized lands, but none escape with so much as a single gemstone, for they discover that Cthulhu’s House is not a temple but a dwelling-place. Surely the Elder God lives there still, waiting for an unwary person to open the portal between his world and ours . . . .

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The Five by Robert McCammon

As they move through the American Southwest on what might be their final tour together, the band members come to the attention of a damaged Iraq war veteran, and their lives are changed forever. This is a riveting account of violence, terror, and pursuit set against a credible, immensely detailed rock and roll backdrop. It is also a moving meditation on loyalty and friendship.

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Villains You’ll Love to Root For

Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to read about the farm boy turned chosen one. Sometimes the idea of a Hero’s Journey bores you to tears. Thankfully, not all genre fiction is quite so black and white, with good triumphing over evil. If you’re in the mood for a book with more shades of gray, we have a list of villains you’ll absolutely love to root for:

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Image Place holder  of - 8 Everybody loves a good supervillain, and Victor Vale certainly seems to fit the bill. Ten years after a terrible accident tore Victor and his best friend Eli apart, Victor is out of prison and out for revenge. But while the world sees Eli as a virtuous hero and Victor as his dangerous nemesis, the truth is that things might not be so clear cut. If you’re a fan of moral ambiguity and villains who just might be a little right, you’ll love Victor.

Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

Image Placeholder of - 79 Bells Broussard always assumed he was going to be a hero…until he discovered a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, and suddenly he and his friends are being framed as villains. Sometimes doing the right thing is just plain stupid, and Bells is the perfect example of that. He wants to save the world, but in the second book in C. B. Lee’s Sidekick Squad series, Bells realizes that the only way to do that might be to do some evil first. Can you do right by doing wrong? Bells and his friends will find out!

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Poster Placeholder of - 57 Was the Wicked Witch of the West really wicked, or was she just misunderstood? We all know Dorothy’s side of the story from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but now we know Elphaba’s story too. Maguire’s novel portrays the famous Wicked Witch of the West as a smart and prickly girl whose life is one of tragedy and horror. Every story has two sides, and now that we’ve read Elphaba’s, we kind of agree with the sentiment behind “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

Placeholder of  -69 There are no men in all of Westeros who are as revered and reviled as Jaime Lannister. If history is told by the winners, you’d think the Lannisters’ publicity team would do a better job spinning Jaime’s much-maligned murder of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen as an act of heroism to protect King’s Landing from a wildfire explosion. But, alas, Jaime is forever known as The Kingslayer and few trust his vows, even when he tries to be good. The fact that readers still root for Jaime after he pushed an eight-year-old out of a window is a testament to Martin’s skill at creating complex, compelling characters. If Brienne believes in Jaime, then so do we.

Trouble on Triton by Samuel R. Delany

Place holder  of - 95 Okay, so Bron Helstrom isn’t exactly a villain. But in Delany’s 1976 meditation on utopia, Bron’s definitely not a good guy, either. In fact, he’s incredibly self-absorbed, with little care for the feelings or experiences of those around him. He’s constantly dissatisfied, even though he lives on a world where everything he wants is available to him. As Bron becomes involved in a disastrous relationship with the brilliant Spike, you can’t help rooting for things to turn out alright—even though you know there’s no way that’s going to happen.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Much like Dexter Morgan before him, teenage sociopath John Cleaver finds a different outlet for his disturbing homicidal urges: demon hunting. Is John delusional, or is he evil? Or is his neighbor really a supernatural creature of the worst kind? It’s a battle between inner demons and actual demons in this series from Dan Wells, and readers are forced to side with a character who would be a villain in any other book.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

If it’s at all possible to love a demon, we love Crowley. Originally Crawly, the serpent who tempted Eve with the apple, the evolved Crowley knows how to mix and mingle with humanity—and how to tempt them to do evil. He’s an agent of evil, with one exception: he doesn’t actually want the world to end. As heaven and hell gear up for the end times in Pratchett and Gaiman’s masterful team-up Good Omens, Crowley proves that even villains can have depth. He and his counterpart, the angel Aziraphale, will do their damndest to keep the world running smoothly.


New eBook Bundles: 11/14/17

Here’s the new ebook bundles that went on sale today!

The Complete Texas Rangers Series by Elmer Kelton

Image Placeholder of - 58 Elmer Kelton’s award-winning series tells the story of the Texas Rangers, who fought to defend the edges of settlement from Indians and outlaws. This is the story of Rusty Shannon, who joins the Rangers in the wake of tragedy, and Andy Pickard, rescued by Rusty from a Comanche war party.

This discounted ebundle includes: The Buckskin Line, Badger Boy, The Way of the Coyote, Ranger’s Trail, Texas Vendetta, Jericho’s Road, Hard Trail To Follow, Other Men’s Horses, and Texas Standoff.

The The Complete Article 5 Trilogy by Kristen Simmons

Placeholder of  -47 The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police-instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior-instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back. When seventeen-year-old Ember Miller finds herself on the government’s most-wanted list, she faces a choice: Go into hiding… or fight back?

This discounted ebundle includes: Article 5, Breaking Point, and Three.

The John Cleaver Series by Dan Wells

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John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

Having grown up helping his mom at the family mortuary, dead bodies are no big deal to John. He likes them. They don’t ask for the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the clarity to recognize that something is frighteningly different about the freshest body on the slab.

For the first time, John must confront a danger outside his own mind, a threat he cannot control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

This discounted ebundle includes: I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, I Don’t Want to Kill You, Devil’s Only Friend, Over Your Dead Body, and Nothing Left to Lose.

The Complete Book of the New Sun Series by Gene Wolfe

Place holder  of - 28 Young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, has been exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession—showing mercy toward his victim.

This discounted ebundle includes: The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, The Citadel of the Autarch, and The Urth of the New Sun.


New Releases: 6/6/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason

And Into the Fire by Robert Gleason After allying itself with Pakistan’s intelligence services and notorious terrorist group, the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), ISIS is ready to achieve its ultimate dream: Forcing the US into a clash of civilizations in the Mideast. The best way to accomplish this mission is to acquire three Pakistani nukes—then set them off in three US cities.

The head of the CIA’s Pakistan desk, Elena Moreno, and an intrepid journalist, Jules Meredith, are on their trail. Unfortunately, a powerful Saudi ambassador is blackmailing a corrupt American president, and now both men will do anything to stop these two women—to the point of having them killed.

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson

Not So Good a Gay Man by Frank M. Robinson Not So Good a Gay Man is the compelling memoir of author, screenwriter, and activist Frank M. Robinson. This deeply personal autobiography, addressed to a friend in the gay community, explains the life of one gay man over eight decades in America. By turns witty, charming, and poignant, this memoir grants insights into Robinson’s work not just as a journalist and writer, but as a gay man navigating the often perilous social landscape of 20th century life in the United States.


Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Hi. My name is John Cleaver, and I hunt monsters. I used to do it alone, and then for a while I did it with a team of government specialists, and then the monsters found us and killed almost everyone, and now I hunt them alone again.

In this thrilling installment in the John Wayne Cleaver series, Dan Wells brings his beloved antihero into a final confrontation with the Withered in a conclusion that is both completely compelling and completely unexpected.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley

Image Place holder  of - 37 Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives and works as a steeplejack in Bar-Selehm, a sprawling city known for its great towers, spires, and smokestacks – and even greater social disparities across race and class.

Ang’s world is turned upside-down when her new apprentice Berrit is murdered the same night that the city’s landmark jewel is stolen. Her search for answers behind his death exposes unrest in the streets and powerful enemies.

Takedown: A Small-Town Cop’s Battle Against the Hells Angels and the Nation’s Biggest Drug Gang by Jeff Buck, Jon Land, and Lindsay Preston

Placeholder of  -56 Takedown is the story of heroic undercover cop Jeff Buck’s battle with Hells Angels and drug-smugglers on the American border with help from Jon Land and Lindsay Preston.

Twenty years working undercover in the netherworld of drugs had left Jeff Buck burned out and grateful to assume the quiet job of police chief in the small town of Reminderville, Ohio. That is, until a simple domestic assault case turns out to have links to the murder of a drug runner in upstate New York and a syndicate smuggling billions of dollars in drugs across the U.S.-Canada border.


Captive Hearts of Oz Vol. 2 Story and art by Mamenosuke Fujimaru; Story development by Ryo Maruya

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness Story and art by Kabi Nagata

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan Vol. 3 Story and art by Kenya Suzuki


On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in June

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in June! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Cora Carmack, Roar

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Saturday, June 24
Book People
Austin, TX
6:00 PM

Cory Doctorow, Walkaway

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Sunday, June 11
Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest
Jones College Prep
Chicago, IL
11:30 AM
 Cory Doctorow in conversation with Mary Robinette Kowal

A.J. Hartley, Firebrand

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Wednesday, June 7
Park Road Books
Charlotte, NC
7:00 PM

Thursday, June 8
Asheville, NC
7:00 PM

Michael Johnston, Soleri

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Tuesday, June 13
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA

Wednesday, June 14
Barnes & Noble
Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, June 18
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
2:00 PM
In conversation with Melissa de la Cruz.

Sheryl Scarborough, To Catch a Killer

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Friday, June 16
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM
Also with Kelly Garrett.

Dan Wells, Nothing Left to Lose

Friday, June 9
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Sunday, June 11
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
5:00 PM

Tuesday, June 20
The King’s English Bookshop
Salt Lake City, UT
7:00 PM


New Releases: 11/15/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells

Extreme Makeover by Dan WellsLyle Fontanelle is the chief scientist for NewYew, a health and beauty company experimenting with a new, anti-aging hand lotion. As more and more anomalies crop up in testing, Lyle realizes that the lotion’s formula has somehow gone horribly wrong. Dan Well’s Extreme Makeover is a satirical new suspense about a health and beauty company that accidentally develops a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA.

The Galahad Archives Book Three by Dom Testa

The Galahad Archives Book Three: A New LifeThe Galahad Archives Book Three: A New Life is the third of three thrilling two-book omnibus editions in the Galahad Archives series for young adults by Dom Testa. The edition includes the novels Cosmic Storm and The Galahad Legacy. When the tail of the comet Bhaktul flicks through the Earth’s atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake. Suddenly, mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. Only those under the age of eighteen seem to be immune.

The Gates of Hell by Michael Livingston

The Gates of Hell by Michael LivingstonAlexandria has fallen, and with it the great kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra is dead. Her children are paraded through the streets in chains wrought of their mother’s golden treasures, and within a year all but one of them will be dead. Only her young daughter, Cleopatra Selene, survives to continue her quest for vengeance against Rome and its emperor, Augustus Caesar.


On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events for November

Say No More by Hank Phillippa Ryan Alien Morning by Rick Wilber Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in November! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Shannon Baker, Stripped Bare

Tuesday, November 15
New Life Presbyterian Church
Alburquerque, NM
7:00 PM

Tina Connolly, Seriously Shifted

Monday, November 7
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Monday, November 14
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Tuesday, November 15
Corvallis-Benton County Library
Corvallis, OR
4:00 PM

Wednesday, November 16
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Todd Fahnestock, The Wishing World

Saturday, November 12
Second Star to the Right Bookstore
Denver, CO
2:00 PM

Leanna Renee Hieber, Eterna and Omega

Monday, November 14
Little City Books
Hoboken, NJ 07030
7:00 PM
Also with Nisi Shawl

Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers

Tuesday, November 8
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, November 9
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

Thursday, November 10
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Sunday, November 13
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Michael Livingston, The Gates of Hell

Sunday, November 20
M. Judson Booksellers
Greenville, SC
4:00 PM

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

Monday, November 21
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM
Also with Dan Wells

Malka Older, Infomocracy

Saturday, November 12
The Harvard Coop
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Say No More

Tuesday, November 1
Brookline Booksmith
Brookline, MA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, November 2
Murder on the Beach
Delray Beach, FL
7:00 PM

Thursday, November 3
Vero Beach Book Center
Vero Beach, FL
6:00 PM

Friday, November 4
Concord Festival of Authors
Concord, MA
7:30 PM
Also with Peter Swanson, Thomas O’Malley, and Douglas Graham Purdy, moderated by Kate Flora

Sunday, November 6
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
2:00 PM

Monday, November 7
Tattered Cover
Littleton, CO
7:00 PM
Also with Laura DiSilverio

Wednesday, November 9
Mystery to Me Bookstore
Madison, WI
7:00 PM

Thursday, November 10
Mystery Lovers Bookshop
Oakmont, PA
7:00 PM

Thursday, November 17
New Bedford Art Museum
New Bedford, MA
6:00 PM
Also with Peter Abrahams and Hallie Ephron
Hosted by the New Bedford Free Public Library

Friday, November 18
Jabberwocky Bookshop
Newburyport, MA
7:00 PM

Monday, November 28
Winchester, MA
6:00 PM
Also with Jerry Thornton

Nisi Shawl, Everfair

Saturday, November 12
Book Riot Live
New York, NY
2:30 PM

Monday, November 14
Little City Books
Hoboken, NJ
7:00 PM

Dan Wells, Extreme Makeover

Tuesday, November 15
Little Professor Book Center
Homewood, AL
5:30 PM

Wednesday, November 16
Volumes Bookcafe
Chicago, IL
Also with Mary Robinette Kowal and Wesley Chu

Thursday, November 17
Jean Cocteau Cinema
Santa Fe, NM
7:00 PM
Also with Bracken MacLeod and Robert Brockway

Friday, November 18
The King’s English Bookshop
Salt Lake City, UT
7:00 PM

Saturday, November 19
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
5:00 PM

Sunday, November 20
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
2:00 PM

Monday, November 21
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM
Also with Seanan McGuire

Rick Wilber, Alien Morning

Friday, November 4
Books at Park Place
St. Petersburg, FL
5:00 PM

Friday, November 12
University of South Florida – St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, FL
6:00 PM
Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Sunday, November 13
American Bookbinders Museum
San Francisco, CA
6:30 PM
SF in SF – also with Nick Mamatas

Monday, November 14
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Wednesday, November 16
Old Firehouse Books
Fort Collins, CO
6:00 PM
Also with Kevin Anderson

Thursday, November 17
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM
Also with Gerald Brandt


Sneak Peek: Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells

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Extreme Makeover by Dan WellsDan Well’s Extreme Makeover—available November 15th—is a satirical new suspense about a health and beauty company that accidentally develops a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA.

Lyle Fontanelle is the chief scientist for NewYew, a health and beauty company experimenting with a new, anti-aging hand lotion. As more and more anomalies crop up in testing, Lyle realizes that the lotion’s formula has somehow gone horribly wrong. It is actively overwriting the DNA of anyone who uses it, turning them into physical clones of someone else. Lyle wants to destroy the formula, but NewYew thinks it might be the greatest beauty product ever designed—and the world’s governments think it’s the greatest weapon. Please enjoy this excerpt.


Thursday, March 22
9:01 A.M.
NewYew headquarters, Manhattan


“The yew,” said Carl Montgomery, “is a majestic tree.” He wheezed with the effort of speaking, and paused to take a slow, deep breath from his oxygen tank. “Yggdrasil was a yew,” he said, “the tree that holds up the world.”

They were gathered in an opulent conference room: Carl, the CEO of NewYew, Inc., and all of his executive staff. Lyle Fontanelle, the chief scientist, was always surprised at the sheer ostentatious luxury in this part of the building: the offices had been constructed and furnished in the early days of the company when business was booming, orders were rolling in, and Carl used to say that “people are dying to give us their money!” This was technically true: their sole product at the time had been paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug, and their customers were all cancer patients. That had been before Lyle was hired, but Carl had often confided to him that the secret to his success had been the ability to treat cancer without curing it: “Sell a cure for something,” he would say, “and you’ve destroyed your own market; sell a treatment, and you’ve gained a customer for life.” Given that his customers’ lives depended quite literally on the treatment he sold them, Carl’s philosophy had been remarkably accurate.

Lyle liked to tell himself that he would not have worked for NewYew during those days—that he would not, when confronted with fabulous wealth, compromise his principles. He was not a mercenary. He was a scientist.

NewYew’s fortunes had changed in the 1990s, when scientists developed a way to synthesize paclitaxel without the need to harvest its namesake tree, the Pacific yew. A simple, unrestricted process meant that more companies could manufacture it; more manufacturers meant wider availability and lower prices; good access and low prices meant that more patients could use it. The patients were happy, the doctors were happy, even the environmentalists were happy because the Pacific yew was no longer in danger.

Carl Montgomery had not been happy.

Without a monopoly to sustain it, NewYew suffered a huge financial hit and was forced to rebuild itself; they had the equipment and the infrastructure to manufacture consumer chemicals, so they simply repurposed them from chemotherapy to cosmetics. They recruited Lyle, an up-and-coming chemist from Avon, and got to work. The only real difference, as far as Carl was concerned, was that now his lobby portraits were supermodels instead of little bald children—so if anything, the offices looked even nicer than before.

As with most evolutions, this one had produced a number of vestigial appendages—holdovers from the old company that didn’t really apply anymore, such as the name of the company and the tagline “The Healing Power of Yew™.” Carl even went so far as to insist that the Pacific yew be included in their cosmetics formulas, though his executives fought him on it every time. On the morning of March 22, Lyle Fontanelle rolled his eyes and prepared to have the argument again.

“Yggdrasil was an ash,” said Lyle. “I looked it up.”

“And we can’t use yew in a hand lotion,” said the lawyer, a man named Sunny Frye. His real name was Sun-He, and he was Korean; Lyle had been working in makeup for so long, he could pinpoint a face’s origin with uncanny accuracy. Sunny continued patiently: “The yew tree has no moisturizing or antiaging properties whatsoever. We’ve gone over this before. It adds nothing to the product.”

“So don’t use very much,” said Carl, virtually motionless in his chair. It was an overstuffed office chair of soft black leather, blending deliciously with the rich brown mahogany of the conference table, and Carl rarely ever moved from it—or, truth be told, in it. He was seventy-nine years old, long past retirement age, and in Lyle’s opinion he had no business trying to run the company. On the other hand, Lyle had to admit that the alternative was probably worse: the next in line of succession for the position of CEO was the company president, Jeffrey Montgomery. He was Carl’s son, and almost willfully useless.

Carl sat unmoving in his chair. “We don’t need to use very much yew, just enough to put it on the label.”

The room full of executives sighed as politely as they could. There were four of them (not counting Jeffrey, who was playing games on his phone in the corner): the vice president of Finance, the vice president of Marketing, the chief legal counsel and, of course, the chief scientist. Lyle had long harbored the secret dream of changing his business cards to say “chief science officer,” but for nearly ten years and counting he’d been too afraid to actually do it. He wasn’t sure which was scarier—being mocked for the Star Trek reference, or realizing that nobody cared what it said on his business cards.

Carl plunged onward, feebly waving a wrinkled hand for emphasis. “The yew is a glorious tree, and our customers associate it with health! We treated cancer for thirty-five years with the yew tree, can’t we leverage that somehow?”

“It would be a brilliant marketing move,” said Kerry White, leaning forward eagerly. He had been hired as vice president of Marketing only a few months previously, so this conversation was relatively new to him. “Think of the commercials: ‘The company that saved your life is going to save your skin.’”

“We ran that campaign four years ago,” said the VP of Finance, a skeletal woman named Cynthia Mummer. “It didn’t play.”

“It didn’t play,” said Carl, “because we didn’t have yew in the products!”

“Okay,” said Lyle, “can we…” He wanted to show off his newest idea, and struggled to find a good segue. “Can we make it a pun?”

“A pun?” asked Kerry. “That’s your contribution?”

“Our whole company name is already a pun,” said Cynthia.

“But I mean a pun on what Carl just said,” said Lyle. “That we have yew in the products. ‘You’ in the products.”

“We know what a pun is,” said Cynthia.

“Just let him explain it,” said Sunny. Lyle was grateful and indignant at the same time: he needed Sunny’s support every time in these meetings, but he didn’t want to need it. Why couldn’t they let him stand up for himself?

“I’ve been researching some biomimetic technologies,” said Lyle, “and I have something I want to—”

“What’s biomimetics?” asked Kerry.

“Bio-mimicry,” said Lyle. “It’s like a smart product, that can adapt itself to match your body.”

Cynthia nodded. “We have biomimetic lipids in our teen skin care line. It’s one of our best sellers.”

“Oh yeah,” said Kerry, “my wife loves that lotion.”

“Your wife uses teen lotion?” asked Cynthia.

“If you’ve been researching biomimetics,” Carl growled, “what have you got? We don’t pay you to sit on your butt all day—that’s why we have Jeffrey. You we pay for research and development. So: have you developed anything?”

“Actually I do have something I’d like to show you,” said Lyle, lifting up his briefcase to set it on the table. “It’s the burn cream we’ve talked about before—it’s, ah, showing some interesting promise as an antiaging lotion. It’s not ready for the public yet, by any means, but the early results are promising and I want to dedicate a bigger piece of the budget to following it up.”

“Why do we need a burn cream?” asked Cynthia icily. As CFO, she would have the strongest say in whether or not he got any more funding. Lyle swallowed nervously and opened his briefcase.

“It’s not really a burn cream,” said Lyle, pulling out a folder and a stack of glossy photos. “The technology comes from a burn cream, from some medical research published a few years ago, but like I said I think we have some pretty neat options for using it in cosmetics, in antiaging especially. The key component is plasmids.”

“Oh,” shouted Jeffrey, “like in that game!”

“No,” said Lyle, “like in the bacteria.”

“You’re putting bacteria in a hand lotion?” asked Kerry. “I know there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that’s pushing the limit.”

“It’s not actual bacteria,” said Lyle, flipping through the folder. “Bacteria is where plasmids come from, but then they take them out and sell them separately.” He found a photocopied page in the folder and held it up, displaying two grainy, black-and-white images of what may or may not have been skin. “This is from a test at Boston University, using plasmids to rebuild burned skin—they go into the cells and accelerate collagen production, so the skin heals faster and more fully.”

“Wait,” said Kerry, excited, “this is like a collagen injection in a lotion? That we can market the hell out of.”

“Then why are you working on a lotion?” asked Carl, “and not a lipstick? Can we do it in a lipstick?”

“Most lipsticks just make your lips look fuller,” said Kerry, “this one would actually make them be fuller. I can see it now—”

“Wait,” said Lyle, “it’s not … it wouldn’t work like that. I mean, we’re not talking magical plastic surgery lips or anything.”

“What are we talking?” asked Sunny.

“It doesn’t enlarge anything,” said Lyle, “but it has the potential to be a pretty amazing wrinkle reducer.”

“Antiaging is huge,” said Cynthia. “The baby boomers are so old they’re children are getting old; we could do a lot with a new wrinkle reducer.”

“It’s a very clever system,” said Lyle, pleased to have their positive attention. “Your skin is primarily composed of collagen, and other proteins, and as you get old your skin stops producing quite so much of it, and that’s what makes it sag and shrivel. The plasmids help you heal from a burn by producing more collagen—or more accurately, by tricking your cells into overproducing it. When you apply it to healthy skin, it creates extra collagen and fills out the sags and wrinkles. Here, I think I have some of our test photos here.…” He riffled through his folder. “Every other antiaging product on the market, from Botox to make-up to everything else, is all just covering the problem, or stretching the problem, or doing something to hide it. But a lotion that directly stimulates your skin cells to build more collagen is actually solving the problem—not just hiding the wrinkles, but reversing them.”

“Rejuvagen!” shouted Kerry. “The first skin care product that actually reverses the aging process, exclusively from NewYew!”

“That’s not bad,” said Carl, pointing an unsteady finger at Kerry.

“Thanks,” said Lyle uncertainly. He found the photo he wanted and placed it on the table. “This is one of our early test subjects. We were testing the healing properties on a small abrasion here, on her cheek, but you can see her whole face pretty well.”

“Wait,” said Sunny cautiously. “You said it goes into the cells? What do you mean by that, exactly?”

“Well, it’s a plasmid,” said Lyle, “so it—”

Carl cut him off. “I don’t care how it works, I care if we can protect it, economically and legally. You say this came from a university study—is the research public domain?”

“The university study was an academic proof of concept,” said Lyle. “The technology is fully public, and the plasmids themselves are pretty common. I ordered these off the shelf from a chemical supply place.”

“But how invasive is it?” asked Sunny. “If it messes with the cells directly we’ll probably have to run it past the FDA, and that could take years. If you think we can really use this, a portion of the budget will have to go toward that.”

“The FDA will never pass it,” said Cynthia sternly, picking up the photocopied page and pointing to the blurry text. “Lyle forgot to mention that this is gene therapy.”

“Gene therapy?” asked Carl.

Sunny laughed. “The FDA has never approved gene therapy in a consumer product, Lyle, why didn’t you tell us up front this was a gene thing?”

“I said it was plasmids,” said Lyle, looking around the room. “What else would I be talking about?”

“Nobody knows what plasmids are,” said Kerry.

“I told you,” said Jeffrey, “they were in that game.”

“A plasmid is a circle of DNA,” said Lyle, ignoring him. “They’re a very small, very efficient way of transcribing genetic information. The one I’m using attaches itself to your DNA to prompt the creation of HSP47, which is a heat-shock protein—”

“This is genetic engineering,” said Sunny, shaking his head. “There’s no way the FDA would even get near it.”

“It’s not exactly a weird technology,” said Lyle defensively. “I told you, I bought these by the case from a lab supplier. They’re everywhere.”

“They’re everywhere in labs,” said Sunny, “not in consumer products. That’s a pretty huge difference.”

“Let me see your test results,” said Cynthia, looking at the photos. Lyle slid his folder across the table, but Sunny shook his head.

“The tests don’t matter,” said Sunny. “It could be the most effective antiaging product in the world and we still wouldn’t be able to sell it.”

“But it is,” said Cynthia, looking up from the file. She was smiling, but Lyle thought it looked surprisingly predatory.“The most effective antiaging product in the world. Look at his notes in the margin: ‘A seventy-six percent reduction in deep wrinkles. Complete reversal of fine lines. Full results in two weeks, visible results in a matter of days.’” She looked at Carl. “This is a gold mine.”

“It’s a gold mine we can’t touch,” Sunny insisted. “At least not without another ten years of FDA testing. Seriously, Lyle, we shouldn’t even have been testing this without good legal coverage.”

“The subjects all signed the release forms,” said Lyle, “and I passed them all on to you.”

“But you didn’t tell me they were for genetic engineering!” said Sunny. “What if something goes wrong?”

“Now ease up a bit,” said Carl, leaning forward. The others in the room stopped and looked at him—Carl never leaned forward unless he had something very important to say. “If this lotion is as good as Cynthia says, what are our options?”

“With gene therapy?” asked Sunny. “Nothing. Wait ten years for FDA approval, or scrap it and reformulate.”

“How closely did you look at this photo?” said Cynthia, placing it back in the center of the table. Everyone leaned in to examine it.

“Cute,” said Kerry. “Is this a teen product?”

“That’s a forty-three-year-old woman,” said Cynthia, “after just three weeks of treatment. With a face like that she could get picked up by a pedophile.”

The room was silent. Carl stared at the photo. “Lyle,” he said slowly, “are these results typical?”

Lyle couldn’t help but smile. “The woman in that photo had a fairly youthful face to begin with—there’s more going on there than just our lotion—but yes, in general, that level of wrinkle reduction is typical of our test cases. I’ve had several of them call back to ask if they could get more. This product has the potential to be a best seller like we haven’t seen since … paclitaxel, really. Everyone’s going to want this.”

Carl stared at the table in front of him frowning in thought. At last he spoke, without looking up. “Sunny, you’re going to find a way for us to sell this.”


“If you do,” said Carl, “I will personally buy you a Caribbean island, and I will do it with the loose change this product puts under my couch cushions.”

Sunny paused. “It could be huge … but only if there’s a way to make it work legally.”

“Find a way.” Carl looked at Kerry. “I want a name, I want commercials, I want bottle designs, I want everything.”

“Absolutely,” said Kerry.

“And you,” said Carl, pointing a yellowed finger at Lyle. “I want this in production by next week.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Not a full run,” said Carl, “we don’t even have a bottle yet. But I want sample runs and stability tests. Call Jerry at the plant and set it up.”

Lyle grimaced. “I have one more test scheduled for next week, but … yeah, I can probably get it done. Two weeks would be better.”

Cynthia raised an eyebrow. “You’ve tested everything from litmus to rats to human skin. What else do you need?”

“I’m still refining the formula,” said Lyle. “The woman in the photo is from batch 14E, and the newest is 14G. The tweaks were minor, though, and one test ought to do it. It’s already scheduled through HR: adult males, eighteen to forty-five.”

“Skin care for men is the next big thing,” said Kerry.

“None as big as this,” said Carl. “Run your test, Lyle—I want this product guaranteed for every gender, every age, every race, every everything. If you’ve got skin, you’re a customer.” He folded his frail hands and stared at the executives sternly. “A lotion that literally makes your skin younger—and does so this effectively—has the potential to be the biggest cosmetic breakthrough since breast implants, and with a wider appeal. I want a bottle of this lotion in the hands of every man, woman, and child in the country—I want women to bathe in it, and I want schoolgirls to feel old if they don’t use it. Am I clear?”

The executives nodded.

“Good,” said Carl. “Let’s go change the world.”

Copyright © 2016 by Dan Wells

Buy Extreme Makeover here:

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I Am Not a Serial Killer

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The I Am Not a Serial Killer movie releases in theaters and on video on demand tomorrow! Watching the trailer reminded us how much we love Dan Wells’ novel, so we decided to dive into our archives and share an article he wrote for our newsletter in 2010.

I Am Not a Serial Killer
Written by Dan Wells

I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers. I would explain why, but seriously: isn’t everyone fascinated by serial killers? In a world where zombies are funny and werewolves are sexy and vampires play baseball, serial killers are the only boogey men we have left—plus they’re real, which is a nice bonus. Real is scary. Real is also, ironically, incredibly mysterious: everyone knows how a person becomes a vampire, but nobody really knows how an otherwise normal person becomes a psychopathic killer. And not knowing things is…scary.

Thinking about serial killers (as I often do), and specifically about their psychological development, I started creating the character of John Cleaver: a teenage sociopath, fascinated with death and obsessed with serial killers as a sort of pop culture mythology. He knows their names, their methods, and their stories down to the grittiest detail—he knows them so well, in fact, that he recognizes all of the warning signs in himself: he could become a killer at any moment, and he would be good at it. And that would have been an interesting story, but it’s not really what I wanted to write. In that story, John is the villain or, at best, the ‘protagonist.’ I wanted to go for broke and make him the hero, fighting bad guys and saving people and being as sympathetic as possible. I wanted to take this dangerous, screwed-up, terrifying character and make you love him. I Am Not a Serial Killer is the result.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan WellsThe basic premise of the book is common enough: a brave young man discovers a sinister underbelly to the world he thought he knew, full of danger and secrets and things unexplainable, and finds himself caught up in a quest to save his hometown from an evil menace. We’ve all read that story. But what if the menace is a demonic serial killer, collecting body parts for a dark and mysterious purpose? And what if the hero is a budding psychopath, treading the thin line between self control and bloodthirsty chaos?

And what if, as these two characters hunt each other through the shadows of a small, terrified town, you found yourself rooting for both of them?

Buy the novel for I Am Not a Serial Killer here:

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