Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Frightening Free Fiction and a Free Book Giveaway!

So, it’s pretty common knowledge that I spend a lot of time with writers. I have many, many novelist friends—despite the fact that I believe having stories floating around inside your head is a sure sign of mental illness. If ever there were an example of this, it would probably be Joe Konrath.

You may know Joe as J.A. Konrath, the androgynously-named author of the Jack Daniels mysteries. Or, you may know him as Jack Kilborn, the pseudonymously-named author of the recent horror-thriller Afraid. I know him as Joe, the loud guy I met through my buddy Jimbo. Joe and I aren’t close friends, but we’ve spent a fair amount of time together and it’s always entertaining. Joe is a fun guy and like many fungi, he grows on you. (I’ll pause now for groans.)

I can’t tell you what’s wrong with Joe, all I know is that he is one sick puppy. When I sent him a copy of my review of Afraid, I told him that I wasn’t getting in a car alone with him again. Hmmm, now that I think of it, maybe that was the impetus…

Joe, writing as Jack Kilborne, has teamed up with the equally talented and sick Blake Crouch to write Serial. On his own blog (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/05/serial-by-blake-crouch-and-jack-kilborn.html), Joe describes it like this:

Remember the twin golden rules of hitchhiking?

# 1: Don’t go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy.

# 2: Don’t pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be a raving nutcase.

So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Nutcase #2?

When Blake Crouch (DESERT PLACES, ABANDONED) and Jack Kilborn (AFRAID, TRAPPED), face off, the result is SERIAL, a terrifying tale of hitchhiking gone terribly wrong. Like a deeply twisted version of an “After School Special,” SERIAL is the single most persuasive public service announcement on the hazards of free car rides.

Beyond a thrilling piece of horrifying suspense, SERIAL is also a groundbreaking experiment in literary collaboration. Kilborn wrote the first part. Crouch wrote the second. And they wrote the third together over email in 100-word exchanges, not aware of each other’s opening section. All bets were off, and may the best psychopath win.

I haven’t had a chance to read Serial yet—and I have mixed feelings about doing so, because Joe’s really creepy stuff tends to freak me out—but I will surely do so soon. Happily, he and Blake are offering Serial as a free e-book. It’s only about 40 pages long, so you can easily read it in the office while pretending to work. Here's a link to the free e-book:


(On that page, Serial is located under "Book Extras" in the bottom right-hand corner.)

Here’s one more thing that’s really cool. Joe’s publisher Hachette has kindly offered me five copies of his debut Jack Kilborn novel Afraid to give away in a contest. It’s open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada, and the books will be sent directly from the publisher. As you may have gathered from my review (which is the very first on his Amazon page) Afraid isn’t for all readers, but it’s getting mostly rave reviews. (And, yes, I really did send my mom a copy for Mother's Day.) If you’re a fan of thrills and chills, it’s well worth checking out—especially for the bargain price of FREE! To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post expressing your interest and make sure I can email you if you win. I’ll leave this open until Monday, May 18th, and will then draw five random winners from all entries. Good luck!


  1. Hello Susan,
    Followed your link here from your LT posting :)
    I don't have all my books cataloged yet but looking at your library it looks like we have a lot in common reading wise. I like being thrilled and chilled! Would love a copy of Afraid :) You can contact me on LT if you pick me - http://www.librarything.com/profile/WilowRaven

  2. Please enter me. mybookviews[at]gmail[dot]com

  3. Hey, I am from PBT and I want to enter to win a book and how do I get the free book? sandyb358@gmail.com

  4. sue - you know that i am always interested in free books!

    ed homa

  5. Hi Susan
    Afraid seems to be a book which I look forward to reading, If you can facilitate my reading experience by getting the book to me , I wouldn't mind it at all.


  6. Posted on behalf of Ellen R.:

    Pick Me! Pick Me! (that sounds inappropriate with a daisy as an avatar). Konrath is one of my favorite authors! I'm not so patiently awaiting the next Jack Daniels book to see who it was that died on the last page. I can handle the gore, so I'd love a copy of the book!

  7. Posted for Sleekfeline:

    Thanks for posting this Susan! I've yet to read a Konrath novel, but I'm very intrigued by your review. And, I always love to discover new authors!

  8. Hi! Please enter me into the free drawing. I would LOVE to read Afraid (and blab all about it to my big book group ;), Play Book Tag). I hope I win **fingers so crossed**

  9. Sounds a little creepy and a little fun!

    I'm up for a free book too.

  10. My dad would LOVE this book! Thanks for entering me!

  11. I missed out on this one through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers but I would love to win a copy here. I can be contacted through comments on my LT profile page (user: elbakerone) if I'm lucky enough to win! Thanks!

  12. Sounds really interesting, please enter me =)

  13. Sounds like a book for me. Please enter me in the contest. I found this link over at LT. You can reach me at either: nutz4harrypotter6[at]hotmail[dot]com

  14. Hiya Susan, I followed you here from PBT on Shelfari. So glad you have joined our little group and am truly loving your reviews. And of course, I would LOVE a free book! I'm the gory one in the family. Anytime a commercial comes on for a new horror flick, the family points to me & says "There's another one for Mama!" Thanks for doing this!!

  15. Downloaded the free ebook Serial and love the first line...as always Joe hooks his reader in the beginning, and it takes one sick puppy (LOL) to come up with a line like, "The hardest thing about killing a hitchhiker is finding one to pickup." Look forward to being scared out of my wits.
    Also, I would love a free copy of his book Afraid.

  16. I'm definitely interested in the 'Afraid' novel contest. I'm on LibraryThing user ID is cweller or charles.weller@gmail.com

  17. Please enter me for the "Afraid" giveaway. Thank you!

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

  18. Posted on behalf of LibraryCin:

    Hi Susan. LibraryCin (Cindy) from PBT here! Thanks for including Canadians as eligible to win the book (or thanks to the publishers)! Please let me know via shelfari if I win. Thanks again! :-)

  19. Hi Susan! I saw your post on Library Thing and I really wanted this one myself! Sounds like my kind of book! I hope you'll enter me! Thanks and have a wonderful weekend!
    xo Amy

  20. Hi Susan! It's kairilily from PBT and you've definitely piqued my interest. I've never read one of his books before, but it sounds right up my alley! Please sign me up. Thanks!

    kairilily at yahoo dot com

  21. A quick update: Winner's names have been drawn, and all have been contacted. Thanks to Grand Central for supplying the books, and thanks to all for playing along! This has been so much fun, I promise there will be more giveaways to come. :-)

  22. ok even though i know its too late, this sounds like the perfect book for me, for a few reasons.
    1. used to hitchike
    2. my mum always picked up hitchikers (i dont drive)
    3. LOVE LOVE LOVE horror!
    but alas, i missede the deadline, and i cant actually afford to buy it, so i will, as is my habit, ask for it at my local library!

    ps youre so cool , suetu, for doing stuff like this. :o)