Reblog: A review and discussion of ‘Revolver’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

Many thanks to Tommy Muncie for this insightful and gracious review of REVOLVER! Some choice snippets follow, but please give it a read in full over at the link below.

What makes it so brilliant is that it stirs emotions in the reader that mirror the way emotions are stirred by the media within the story itself: a strong reaction and a response are what’s desired.

‘Revolver’ is a brave, powerful piece of writing that says ‘let’s not dress things up or put thin veils on the idea, let’s just shout about it and make it read like it’s a gun pointed in the reader’s face.’ It’s unapologetic, visceral, and the kind of story that would probably have sent the Clean Reader app into cyber meltdown. Give it a read if you like your stories to take you to the edge of your seat.

Source: A review and discussion of ‘Revolver’ by Michael Patrick Hicks.

REVOLVER is available now for purchase on the Amazon Kindle, or free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners Lending Library. You can check it out by clicking here.

Reblog: A review and discussion of ‘Revolver’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

REVOLVER is Now Available! And CONSUMPTION Gets A New Look!

Revolver eBookAbout Revolver

The “stunning and harrowing” short story, originally published in the anthology No Way Home, is now available as a standalone release and features an all-new foreword written by award-winning science fiction author, Lucas Bale.

Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.

The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation’s moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.

There’s never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.

Earlier this year, I was a part of the No Way Home anthology curated by award-winning science fiction author, Lucas Bale. My contribution was this short story, Revolver. It’s gained a small bit of notoriety for being somewhat controversial, and it’s rattled a few cages here and there.

Now, for the first time, it’s available as a stand alone release.

Some reviewers have loved the heck out of this story, setting it as my personal best at the time of its publication, with another calling it “stunning and harrowing.” Author David Wailing called it “A classic example of social science fiction” that “takes the ‘shocking’ gold medal.” One reviewer wrote that it was “the most overtly political and also one of the most enjoyable” in the No Way Home anthology.

Revolver has also been called, by some readers, “Horrid leftwing drivel.” Another “found “Revolver” so nauseatingly Politically Correct that had this book been physical instead of electronic, I would have physically flung it across the room.”

This is a fairly political story, and it draws on a lot of issues affecting (some might even say infecting) current American politics. A number of readers on the right-side of the political spectrum have found little to enjoy here, so fair warning.

This story is not meant to comfort, nor is it meant to be an easy read. It is also not the least bit subtle, as more than a few readers have mentioned. Revolver was written mostly in a fit of anger. It’s not subtle and it is not meant to be subtle. It’s meant to be disruptive and challenging to the status quo. As such, depending on your political predilections or how well tempered you are toward heavy-handed narratives, it might not necessarily be the type of dystopian science fiction you are looking for.

But, in general, based of feedback I have received, this story may not be for you if you are the type of reader that believes Fox News is the best example of exemplary American journalism, or that Donald Trump is the ideal statesman and deserving of the presidency, or that the War on Women is non-existent. In which case, I encourage you to save your 99c, and maybe we’ll meet up later in a different work at a different time. No harm, no foul.

However, if you’re willing to brave what one reviewer called the “emotional rollercoaster” that follows, then welcome and happy reading to you.

You can find Revolver right now on Amazon.

For those that are interested, the cover was designed by Adam Hall, who runs Around The Pages. Go check out his work and those wonderful authors he’s been representing!

Adam also put a fresh coat of paint on the cover for my horror story Consumption. Check it out!


REVOLVER is Now Available! And CONSUMPTION Gets A New Look!

Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

zero_HR_2About Zer0es

An exhilarating thrill-ride through the underbelly of cyber espionage in the vein of David Ignatius’s The Director and the television series Leverage, CSI: Cyber, and Person of Interest, which follows five iconoclastic hackers who are coerced into serving the U.S. government.

An Anonymous-style rabble rouser, an Arab spring hactivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll are each offered a choice: go to prison or help protect the United States, putting their brains and skills to work for the government for one year.

But being a white-hat doesn’t always mean you work for the good guys. The would-be cyberspies discover that behind the scenes lurks a sinister NSA program, an artificial intelligence code-named Typhon, that has origins and an evolution both dangerous and disturbing. And if it’s not brought down, will soon be uncontrollable.

Can the hackers escape their federal watchers and confront Typhon and its mysterious creator? And what does the government really want them to do? If they decide to turn the tables, will their own secrets be exposed—and their lives erased like lines of bad code?

Combining the scientific-based, propulsive narrative style of Michael Crichton with the eerie atmosphere and conspiracy themes of The X-Files and the imaginative, speculative edge of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, Zer0es explores our deep-seated fears about government surveillance and hacking in an inventive fast-paced novel sure to earn Chuck Wendig the widespread acclaim he deserves.

About the Author

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog,, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

My Thoughts

In short, I don’t give a damn what NY Daily News says, Zer0es is a sheer f-ing blast and might very well be my favorite novel of the year. Although, I do reserve the right to change this opinion after I finish reading Chuck Wendig’s next novel, Star Wars: Aftermath, due out in about two weeks, in which Mr. Wendig gets to play around in the SW universe. And that, my friends, could very well be the book of the decade century. But, for now, let us discuss Zer0es.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of Mr. Wendig, and whenever his new titles release I make it a point to read/devour them immediately. I love his Miriam Black books, and The Harvest Trilogy, and am looking forward to meeting up with Mookie Pearl again one of these days, preferably with a plate of charcuterie between us. All of this is to say that I might be a bit biased, but I do honestly feel that Zer0es earns each of the five stars I’m giving it.

Also worth noting is that I have very little real-world knowledge of computers, programming, or hacking. Or really how much of anything technologically works beyond the knowledge required to start, shut off, or play video games or watch movies. I care little for the inner workings of these things, and most computer talk bores the hell out of me. I’m probably the last person you want to call for IT help, in other words.

So, is Zer0es technically sound and accurate? I don’t have a flipping clue. And I don’t care if it is or not. Because what it is is a rock-solid bit of entertainment filled with techno-thriller whizz-bang shenanigans, a terrific amount of wit, and a healthy dose of science-fiction. As far as Wendig’s skill in plumbing the dark shadow world of hackers goes, it’s good enough for me to escape into and provides enough plausible scary horrors to sink my teeth into. The more fantastical realms that these characters find themselves in as things progress are fun and makes for an action-packed, rapid-fire read — and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a great big cinematic summer blockbuster set to prose, and it freaking rocks, man.

To his credit, Wendig casts as our lead, Chance, a guy who is basically a phony. His hacking skills are nill, and he’s caught up in a scheme far larger than his limited abilities can cope with. A real underdog, this guy, and it gives me, as a reader, the chance to enjoy the experience alongside him. He’s not some uber computer god who can algo his way out of any awful situation. In fact, he gets his ass handed to him more often than not. The real hackers he’s surrounded by are the real deal – there’s the troll Reagan who gets off on internet shaming her victims and possess snark to spare, DeAndre the credit card scammer, Earthman, who’s basically an old-school BBS-version of Edward Snowden, and Aleena, a hacker intent on bringing true democracy to Syria. Each of them are recruited by an FBI agent named Hollis Copper, Mr. Government himself, to become white hat (good guy) hackers in exchange for not spending at least a decade-plus in prison for their various crimes.

Each of these characters have their own quirks, personalities, politics, and culture to bring to the table. Some are fighting for social justice, others for government accountability, and some just for laughs. There’s elements of the hacking group Anonymous, coupled with the Arab Spring, fighting back against rape culture and the grotesqueness of the Stubenville events. (Even a bit of obsession with Greek mythology when it comes to the central antagonist, which is just darn cool.) In short, this is a cast of well-defined characters with different skill sets, abilities, and goals. Together, they’re a total band of misfits with little in common and even less of a reason to become friends. They spend a lot of time sniping at each other and arguing, yet they somehow mesh well together as each are put through their paces and become a unified team, made stronger by their differences and disparities.

Ultimately, I have very, very few quibbles about Zer0es. I found it to be a complete thrill-ride from start to finish, with little in the way of lag. And kudos to Wendig for taking a topic as dry as coding and hacking and transforming into something that’s as equally exhilarating as the violence and mayhem surrounding these characters and their antagonists (which is pretty damn exhilarating, by the way). Now, bring on the 0nes!

Buy Zer0es At Amazon
Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

Review: The Dover Demon by Hunter Shea

dover-demon-large-coverAbout The Dover Demon

The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.

In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever.

Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?

About the Author

Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, and Evil Eternal. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at

My Thoughts

Over the handful of titles I’ve read from Hunter Shea, the man has proved to be an adept storyteller and is capable putting some clever twists in his ideas. He crafts fun little page turners, and over the last year several more of his titles have wound up on my electronic TBR list, with The Montauk Monster and his Jessica Backman books waiting on my Kindle.

When I saw The Dover Demon pop up on NetGalley, it shot up to the top of my reading queue. I knew nothing of the mythology surrounding the Dover demon, but when I saw the cover I was already sold. Here was Hunter Shea writing an alien book!

Thankfully, Shea delivers, as expected. There’s a nice bit of extraterrestrial mythology woven into the plot that takes alien conspiracy theories to the next level, and plenty of history on the allegedly real-life 1977 sighting of the titular creature. Even if, like me, you’d not heard of the Dover demon before, Shea brings the reader up to speed and turns this local legend into a strange and terrific pulpy adventure.

Here, Sam Brogna, his friend Tank, and their girlfriends, Kelly and Stephanie, were smoking dope and traveling down the Dover back-roads in 1977 when their car nearly hit a strange creature standing in the middle of the road.

Almost 40 years later, Brogna is now a comic book shop owner and most of his income is derived from selling Dover Demon paraphernalia. Kelly is a drunk and lives in a home outfitted with security cameras, her office study wallpapered in accounts of alien abductions, cryptid lore, and tales of missing people. Tank and Stephanie have married, with the former now an archeologist. During a massive winter snowstorm, each find mysterious tracks surrounding their homes but with no clear trail. They’ve simply appeared, as if out of nowhere.

The four are forced to reunite under the threat of the demon’s return, but their mission is given further urgency when Sam’s son, Nicky, goes missing.

I really liked the relationship between Sam and his son, and enjoyed the brief call-outs to current comic book pop culture. Their characterizations really helped solidify the human element, and I felt invested with the group as a whole and sympathetic with Kelly and the fashion in which her life has unraveled since their initial sighting of the cryptid.

I was also frequently surprised at the depth and sense of scope that Shea brought to the Dover demon mythology, and the way he connected it with ancient history using Tank’s archeologist viewpoint to great effect. There were a few times that I thought I’d figured out what was really happening here, only to hit another twist.

Fans of alien lore and The X-Files should find quite a lot to enjoy here, and I’d like to take a minute to implore Jonathan Maberry to include Mr. Shea in a future X-Files short story anthology, because the dude would fit right in.

[This review is based on an advanced copy received from the publisher via NetGalley.]

Buy The Dover Demon At Amazon
Review: The Dover Demon by Hunter Shea

In Which Author Anthony Vicino Interviews Me.

I promised the other day to be a little more timely in my self-promotion and stumbled across the posting of this interview conducted by author Anthony Vicino. I’ve gotten to know Anthony a bit thanks to Facebook and Twitter, and he was gracious enough to read and review Convergence, alongside Ted Cross’s cyberpunk title, Immortality Games. (Ahem: Ted’s book just so happens to be on sale for 99c right now!) So, when he approached me about doing an interview for his site I said yes, and we spent a couple days going back and forth over e-mail. Our conversation is now online and ready for consumption.

Anthony is the author of Time Heist, which has a terrific premise and is in my TBR pile (if you ever saw my TBR pile you’d understand, and perhaps even commiserate as to, why I have not yet read this one. Readers are digging it though, and I encourage you to pick up a copy ASAP!). Coming out soon is book 2, Mind Breach, the cover for which was recently unveiled and looks FREAKING AWESOME.

But rather than rest solely on his authorial laurels, Anthony has also become a writer for the Hugo Award winning website SF Signal. Definitely check out his first article for them, Where Are All The People of Color in Sci-Fi/Fantasy?, and if you’re brave enough to endure the comments you’ll find a mixture of rational discussion as well as posts that will make you weep for humanity.

So, onto our interview then. Just follow the link below!

Michael Patrick Hicks Interview.

In Which Author Anthony Vicino Interviews Me.

Author Stories Appearance

hicks-coverI’m dreadfully late in blogging about this, but I was lucky enough to appear on Hank Garner’s Author Stories Podcast a few weeks ago. Just skip past that Andy Weir guy on episode 50 and you’ll find me a few slots below, so go give it a listen.

Or, if you’d rather bypass the archives for now and go directly to me, that’s fine too. Follow this link here.

I’ve done a couple other (written) interviews in the meantime, and those should be going live relatively soonish. I will try to be more timely in sharing those links whenever they appear. I’m also hoping to unveil some snazzy cover art for a few upcoming releases, staggered of course, since the release dates are bit over the map. But, please do keep an eye out!

Author Stories Appearance

Review: Andersonville by Edward M. Erdelac

andersonvilleAbout Andersonville

Readers of Stephen King and Joe Hill will devour this bold, terrifying new novel from Edward M. Erdelac. A mysterious man posing as a Union soldier risks everything to enter the Civil War’s deadliest prison—only to find a horror beyond human reckoning.

Georgia, 1864. Camp Sumter, aka Andersonville, has earned a reputation as an open sewer of sadistic cruelty and terror where death may come at any minute. But as the Union prisoners of war pray for escape, cursing the fate that spared them a quicker end, one man makes his way into the camp purposefully.

Barclay Lourdes has a mission—and a secret. But right now his objective is merely to survive the hellish camp. The slightest misstep summons the full fury of the autocratic commander, Captain Wirz, and the brutal Sergeant Turner. Meanwhile, a band of shiftless thieves and criminals known as the “Raiders” preys upon their fellow prisoners. Barclay soon finds that Andersonville is even less welcoming to a black man—especially when that man is not who he claims to be. Little does he imagine that he’s about to encounter supernatural terrors beyond his wildest dreams . . . or nightmares.

About the Author

Edward M. Erdelac is the author of the acclaimed Judeocentic/Lovecraftian weird western series Merkabah Rider, Buff Tea, Coyote’s Trail, Andersonville, and the compiler of Abraham Van Helsing’s papers (in Terovolas).

In addition to short story appearances in dozens of anthologies and periodicals, he is an independent filmmaker, an award winning screenwriter, a game designer, and sometime Star Wars contributor.

Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he now lives in the Los Angeles area with his family.

My Thoughts

The Confederate-run Andersonville prison was a notorious display of horrors during the Civil War. Union soldiers that were captured and interred there were starved, beaten, subjected to harsh labor duties under the hot Georgia sun, and infected with lice and disease. A line of wooden rails ran across the prison, feet away from the stockade walls, and if the prisoners set so much as a hair over that dead line, they were shot by Confederate sentries manning the wall.  Trouble ran rampant within the Union ranks, as well, though, as the heavyweights formed a gang, the Raiders, and attacked, robbed, and killed their fellow inmates for food, clothing, housing, and tradeable goods. It was more concentration camp than prison, and Captain Henry Wirz ruled over the 20- to 40-thousand skeletal prisoners with an iron fist.

The harsh reality of Andersonville is enough to make most blanch and it is a very nasty bit of history in its own right, a grim reminder that oftentimes humans are the most frightening monsters of them all.

To take a subject like Andersonville prison and cast it through the prism of a horror novel, you have to be a very confident writer or else risk undermining that very real history as nothing more than tawdry spectacle.

Edward M. Erdelac, thankfully, is very much in the former category and treats the history respectfully, while also weaving in a solid dose of supernatural worries that prove captivating. He draws much of his story straight from time’s past, with Wirz the natural primary villain. Our hero is Barclay Lourdes, a freeman from New Orleans with a penchant for voodoo and a Union spy, who has snuck into the prison to suss out the evils that lie within.

And those evils? Well, they’re a doozy, but I don’t want to spoil much here. The horrors – both natural and supernatural – that are on display here are well drawn and convincing, at times bloodcurdling. Ederlac does not shy away from the atrocities that men inflicted upon one another in war, or the racist perspectives held by both sides of the Civil War. This is a dark and brutal read, but one that is very well executed and captivating throughout.

Those who have enjoyed Robert McCammon’s historical novels featuring Matthew Corbett should find quite a lot to enjoy here, particularly if they’re looking for a more straight-up horror-based historical read. There’s plenty of demons running amok in Andersonville, and not all of them are human.

[This review is based on an advanced copy received from the publisher via NetGalley.]

Buy Andersonville At Amazon
Review: Andersonville by Edward M. Erdelac