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March 14, 2018

And so at last we come to the The Dark Tower, the final book in Stephen King’s series of the same name (the long tale he’s said is his Lord of the Rings).
 

The first act is fast-paced—more so than anything else in this saga of Roland the gunslinger and his “ka-tet” of misfit warriors. After the birth of Mordred, his horrifying son by a demon mother, Roland and his companions are reunited and set about trying to save the remaining Beams that support the multiverse. Doing so involves def...

November 6, 2017

Song of Susannah is my favorite of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books so far.
 

There are several reasons. For one thing, King picks up right where the last book, Wolves of the Calla, left off, with Roland’s companion Susannah partially possessed by Mia, a former demon determined to have her baby in Susannah’s body. And unlike some of the earlier subplots in the series, this one ties directly to the main story: Mia’s child will be no ordinary boy—he’s foretold to be Roland’s doom and the B...

September 8, 2017

At first, the protagonist in Dan Wells’ I Am Not a Serial Killer feels like a young-adult version of Dexter (Jeff Lindsay’s surprisingly likable vigilante psychopath). John Wayne Cleaver is a teenager with murderous impulses. But he doesn’t want to act on them, so he walls off his inner monster with an ironclad set of rules: if you’re thinking about hurting someone, compliment them instead; if you’re starting to obsess over someone, avoid them for at least a week; etc. Basically, don’t...

July 28, 2017

At this point, I have a good idea what I’m getting into when I pick up one of Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels. The story will wander. It will take longer than it needs to. But it will also be chock full of originality. And in places, it will be nearly impossible to put down.
 

Wolves of the Calla, the fifth book in the series, lives up to all these expectations—and then some.
 

The opening chapter sets up a confrontation with the Wolves referenced in the book’s title, fearsome raiders w...

November 6, 2016

Wizard and Glass, the fourth installment in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, might have the strangest structure of any novel I’ve read.
 

The story begins by resolving the cliffhanger ending of The Wastelands, which saw Roland and his ka-tet of gunslingers about to engage in a riddling contest with Blaine, an insane, self-aware monorail. After surviving that encounter, the heroes resume their journey to the Dark Tower, but go astray when they cross from Roland’s world into the version...

October 24, 2016

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan (Credit: Gene Page/AMC)
 

The Walking Dead used to be thrilling.
 

It wasn’t “good” TV, but the show generated a tension unlike anything I’d watched before—the walkers (a.k.a. zombies) were legitimately scary, and the characters had to be genuinely brave to survive the horror their world had become. I still remember the scene when Rick and Glenn disguised their scent by smearing themselves with walker goo, boldly stepped into a shuffling horde… and rain start...

August 25, 2016

The Dark Tower series, as Stephen King explained in his introduction to its first book, The Gunslinger, is essentially his Lord of the Rings—an epic fantasy tale stretching over several volumes to decide the fate of the world (or, in this case, worlds).
 

There are differences, of course: New Yorkers instead of hobbits; lobstrosities instead of orcs; western/horror/science fiction instead of medieval fantasy; the Dark Tower instead of the One Ring.
 

But there are also plenty of parallel...

July 31, 2016

Looking for something to read over lunch? The eBook versions of my short stories are all $0.99. Personal favorites: “Branded Faith” (the inspiration for my new novel The Red Wraith) and “Love and World Eaters” (which draws on my time as an intern at the Chicago Field Museum).


Enjoy:)

June 20, 2016

Most authors wouldn’t start the second installment in a seven-book series by maiming the protagonist. But The Drawing of the Three was written by Stephen King, so hey, let’s chop off a few of the gunslinger’s fingers—he doesn’t need the dexterity to, I don’t know, operate a pistol, right?
 

This early crippling directs much of the ensuing story: the gunslinger’s wounds become infected, and he (Roland) spends most of the book on the edge of death, searching for medicine. But he never los...

January 27, 2015

Oldie but goodie: the trailer for Outcasts, my short story collection. It's available on my Short Stories page, along with a standalone version of each story.

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I write mostly speculative fiction. Usually fantasy, with historical elements mixed in. Sometimes there's a bit of mystery too, or (shhh!) even a little romance.

 

But it's weird—it's always weird. Consider yourself warned.

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