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!