Peter asked me to do something for Friday, and since he’s been such a proponent of my work, I thought it might be cool to slide an exclusive, first look, never-seen-anywhere-outside-of-my-Dropbox excerpt from the forthcoming Serial Killers Uncut (SKU), which my writing partner, Joe Konrath, and I are releasing later this month.
We’ve been building toward this book for two years, and it’s an amalgamation of several prior releases (Truck Stop, Killers, Serial, Bad Girl) and a mountain of new stuff, in a meta-fiction style timeline, all clocking in at 120,000 words, which is basically a double-novel.
In comics, shared universes are common, and Joe and I thought, why not do that with our work. His Jack Daniels and my Andy Thomas series spans a period of time from 1991 to 2011, and with SKU, we’ve essentially brought every major villain we’ve ever written into the same book (there’s TWENTY of them), with the intention of filling in the gaps between our novels, while also letting our bad guys share a ton of scenes together (because let’s face it—there’s nothing more fun to read than a great villain...they ALWAYS steal the show).
Our dream is to one day, when Joe and I have gotten the rights back to all of our work, cobble together his Jack Daniels series, Desert Places, Locked Doors, Snowbound, and all the components of SKU, and release it as a single 1.75 million word mega-novel.
But in the meantime, there’s Serial Killers Uncut, which fits like a glove between the timelines of our other work.
The following scene is the opening to SKU, and it features a couple of my characters you may know.
Thanks again to everyone for stopping by, and to Peter for making it all possible. I hope you enjoy the excerpt, and I hope you’ll check out Serial Killers Uncut when it’s released later this month.
All the best,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1969
"Get in here, boys!" Jeanette shouted. "It's happening, and you're missing it! Andrew! Orson! Come on!"
Eight years old, and the twins raced each other down the hall and into the living room, where they skidded to a stop on the green shag carpet.
"You have to see this," their mother said, pointing at the television screen.
"What's wrong with Dad?" Orson asked.
Andy looked over at their father who sat on the edge of an ottoman, leaning toward the television with his forearms on his knees and tears running down his face.
"Nothing, son," he said, dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief. "Nothing. Just never thought I'd be alive when something like this happened."
"Can we go outside?" Andy said.
"It's too late," Jeannette said. "Ya'll need to get ready for bed."
"Aw, come on, Mom. Just for ten minutes," Orson begged.
"Five minutes," their mother said. "And don't make me come out there looking for you."
The boys rushed out the front door into the night, the screen door banging shut after them.
July and warm and lightning bugs floating everywhere like airborne embers, sparking and fading, sparking and fading.
"Look at me!" Andy screamed, running out into the long, cool grass of the front yard. "I'm floating!"
When the boy stopped, he glanced back toward the driveway, saw his brother lying on his back, staring up at the sky.
Andy moved back toward him in exaggerated hops, pretending to bounce along through reduced gravity.
He lay down on the warm concrete beside his brother, their shoulders barely touching, and stared up into the sky.
The gibbous moon shone with a subdued brilliance through the humid southern night.
"I can see them up there," Andy said.
Orson glanced at him, brow furrowed. "Really?"
Andy smiled. "Of course no, I'm just kidding."
"I knew that."
They were quiet for a bit, and then Orson said, "I think there's something wrong with me," Orson said.
"I know, my stomach always hurts after Mom's meatloaf, too."
"No, it's not that."
"You ever feel different?" Orson said.
"Different? Like how?"
"Like from other people, stupid."
"I don't know. I don't guess so."
"Yeah, that's because you're normal."
"So are you."
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are, you're my brother."
"That doesn't make me normal, Andy."
"I know you and there's nothing wrong—"
"But you only know my outside. You don't know what's inside. The thoughts I have."
"I don't think so."
"Like what?" Andy asked.
"I don't want to. They're mine."
Orson looked over at Andy. Now there were tears in his eyes. Glassy in the moonlight.
"You'll tell Mom and Dad."
"No, I won't."
Orson looked back into the sky.
"Everyone's real excited about what's happening."
"But do you know what I'm thinking?"
"How could I?"
Orson hesitated. Then: "No, I don't want to say."
"Orson." Andy reached over and took hold of his brother's hand. "You can trust me. Always."
Orson blinked twice, and then said, "I wish Neil Armstrong would die up there."
Orson shrugged. "I don't know. But I wish his friend would leave him on the moon or the Eagle would blow up or a space monster that no one had ever heard of before would crawl out of a hole and eat him. Everyone would be sad, and I'd be....so happy."
Andy stared at his brother, an airy fluttering in his stomach now, and it wasn't his mother's meatloaf.
"You can let go of my hand if you want," Orson said, that look on his face would never leave Andy—fear and defiance and rage and a deep, deep sadness.
The screen door banged open.
Their mother's voice echoing into the woods across the street, calling for them to come inside and get ready for bed.
Andy squeezed his brother's hand tighter.