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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

31 Days of Horror: Day 7-- Brian Kirk on The Monster in the Mirror

This is part 2 of 4 where I asked debut authors whose novels I included in my Library Journal column to share their inspiration-- the books or authors which are their favorite scariest reads.

Next up is Brian Kirk, author of We Were Monsters

The Monster in the Mirror
by Brian Kirk

I’m not scared of vampires or werewolves. Zombies don’t frighten me. If I came across a demon in a back alley, I’d offer to buy the heaven’s reject a drink.

What frightens me, perhaps, is more mundane than ghoulish monsters. I’m afraid of the friendly neighbor with the padlocked basement. I’m afraid of unmarked graves. I fear my mind and what could happen if it turned against me. I’m terrified by betrayal and love becoming hate. 

When it comes to monsters in horror fiction, I prefer the human kind. Those cunning predators that lack empathy and either kill for pleasure or power or both. But these villainous characters can’t be cardboard cutout. No, no. They cannot be caricature. They must be crafted so believably you fear they may come and find you to silence a witness to their crimes. 

It takes a deft hand to create characters this hauntingly real. It takes an intelligent mind. Which leads me to one of my favorite authors and a master at crafting these menacing characters: Jonathan Moore.

Take Jonathan’s debut novel, Redheads, as an example. The heroes of this tale are motivated by one thing: revenge. I personally wouldn’t consider that a noble pursuit, but it makes for a thrilling read. In Redheads, select family members of murder victims have banded together to track down the serial killer responsible for their loved ones’ deaths. They are not out for justice. They want blood, and won’t stop until they’re drenched in it. Little do they know what they’re really up against, however. And by the time they find out it will be too late. 

Redheads was a Bram Stoker Award® finalist for superior achievement in a first novel, and caught the attention of such luminary horror authors as Jack Ketchum who had this to say about it, “This is accomplished and exciting work, which at times seems to channel the best of Michael Crichton in its attention to believable, telling detail. Moore’s a major new talent, I promise you.”

Jonathan followed up his breakout release with, in my opinion, an even better tale, Close Reach.  If
this book doesn’t frighten you, you may want to check your pulse. Close Reach is a tight, terse, cat-and-mouse style novel about a band of remorseless pirates who are abducting hapless sailors for ransom. This book is nearly impossible to put down. In fact, the only thing that may stop you from compulsively turning the pages is the need to catch your breath.  

Mr. Moore’s talent earned him representation from an esteemed literary agent who has sold his next three dark thrillers; the first of which, The Poison Artist, has garnered praise from the master of terror himself, Stephen King. Due out in January 2016, this is what Mr. King had to say about Moore’s pending release: “The Poison Artist is an electrifying read, building from shock to shock. I haven’t read anything so terrifying since Red Dragon.” 

Jonathan Moore is on the verge of becoming a household name for fans of thrillers and suspense. If I were in charge of stocking libraries, I’d definitely want his books on my shelf. It won’t be long before your readers demand it. 

Not only is Moore a talented writer, he’s a supportive one as well. Upon reading my debut novel, We Are Monsters, he provided the following praise: "Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut We Are Monsters is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher's Flatliners on split screens."

To my knowledge, I am the only author Jonathan Moore has chosen to endorse. It seems as though we have similar tastes, and share a penchant for the horrors manifested by the human mind. 

In my debut novel, We Are Monsters, a troubled, yet brilliant psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

We Are Monsters has been recognized as one of the top ten horror novels of 2015. It’s a book that caters to readers who prefer a more cerebral brand of horror, evidenced by the following glowing remarks. 

"Brian Kirk's debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that's a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I've read this year." (Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.)

"A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before." (Ginger Nuts of Horror)

"Brian Kirk's debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up... and what happens when they're freed. Highly recommended!" (John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.)

"Cleverly told. Psychologically complex." (Scarlet's Web)

I certainly hope you’ll give We Are Monsters a read and add it to your shelves. To learn more about my novel or me, feel free to connect through one of the following channels. Don’t worry. I only kill my characters. 

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