The old ‘Men of Action’ books are all but extinct now – of course you can find them in second hand shops, but possibly younger generations have replaced them with video games, which provide them with more immediately thrills. I for one, kind of miss them. But it seems that I am not alone. Thankfully, a group of talented authors are coming together in a project aimed at reviving the spirit of the ‘Men of Action’ books in a new e-book series. The series is called The Dead Man, and the first book is Face of Evil written by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin. But this new series isn’t just retreading old ground, or presenting more of the same. The story tellers have added a paranormal, horror element into the mix. SoFace of Evil presents a story in a style that you may be familiar with, but mixed with some other elements to bring the reader something new.
The enjoyment, most evident in the in-jokes, is palpable when reading the story. […]Face of Evil is only a novella, around 80 pages, which creates its own little duel edged sword. In many ways, I was happy that it was short, as the twists had me eager to know whats happens next. Therefore, I could finish the book in one sitting, rather than pressing on into the wee small hours and turning up to work bleary eyed the next morning. On the flip slide, I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t want it to end so abruptly. I guess I have to wait for the next installment in The Dead Man series
They were so enthusiastic about the book, they even did their own retro take on the cover, making it look like a well-worn "men's action adventure" paperback from the 1980s (pictured above). We hope we live up to their high expectations for the series.
We've just launched a new DEAD MAN blog, which will feature contributions from all nine of the terrific writers who are working on this original book series. We'll be talking about the creative process behind the series, revealing details about current and upcoming titles, and sharing some of the reviews we've been getting.
The blog is a little thin now, since we are just getting started, but it should get a lot more interesting and full of content once we've got a few more books out.
But here's a taste of what's to come…the kick-ass cover designed by the amazing Carl Graves for THE DEAD MAN #2: HELL IN HEAVEN, which will be published in a few weeks.
The early response to THE DEAD MAN has been enthusiastic and extremely positive. Here's a sampling from the blogosphere.
Mix one part lurid crime thriller, one part Stephen King-esque weird supernatural horror, add in a dash of colorful sex and a few sprinkles of gratuitous violence, then shake well over ice and pour into a tall frosty mug of icy death. You've just mixed up Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin's new short novel series, THE DEAD MAN.
THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL is a tight, well written, supernatural thriller. Right from the first page I was hooked, drawn into an intriguing story that kept me turning the pages until I was finished.[…]FACE OF EVIL satisfies all on it's own, while being a terrific opener that promises a epic tale to come. I'm excited for the next book
Right What You Know blog says:
This was another book that I read during my lunch break. Please don't tell my boss, as I read more of this on the first day than my lunch break technically allowed. Needless to say this book is far too engrossing for its own good. I highly recommend reading it when you have more than a half hour lunch break. Face of Evil can be regarded as a stand-alone novella, but it does set things up nicely for more to come. This is primarily a thriller with aspects of horror, with a generous smattering of the paranormal. I'm not really a horror fan, I don't really need those details, but here it isn't overriding and the paranormal/horror aspects add nicely to the tension. […]I can't wait for the rest of this series.
And Jaime Anastasiow blogs:
This was a hold your breath, fly by the seat of your pants, page-turner. And every time I turned the page there was a new surprise. Very much in the style of Stephen King: the natural and supernatural exist in the same realm.
Thanks to all of those bloggers, and to the many others I didn't mention here, for your great reviews!
The Derby City Film Festival in Louisville was a lot of fun. We didn't win any awards, but Sebrina Siegel, one of our stars, was a finalist for Best Actress, and I was thrilled just to see her recognized for her great work.
REMAINDERED cast members Todd Reynolds and Lisa Stewart showed up (that's me with them in the photo), as did our assistant director Rachel Nunn and our graphic artist Brian Bolin (Sebrina was sent on a business trip at the last minute). It was great that they had the opportunity to finally see the film with an audience of about 100 people…and I was really glad we had the chance to get together again.
The audience seemed to really enjoy the screening of our movie. But I didn't. All I saw were the projection and sound problems. Up until that moment, I thought most of the short films that we were up against had terrible sound and strange color composition…but then I discovered it wasn't the films that were at fault, it was the lousy projection and sound system in the theatre.
That said, I saw some really terrific short films…my favorites included the Polish short documentary CHARCOAL BURNERS, Nate Morguelan's nasty little thriller K, Max Rosen's very "Monk"-ish MARBLE RYE, Matthew Maney's incredibly slick METH (which deservedly swept all the short film awards), Pardis Parker's hilarious TWO MEN, TWO COWS, TWO GUNS, and KNIFE, a remarkably accomplished five-minute film written and directed by 14-year-old Matthew Rivera. There were a lot of directors, DPs, and editors at the festival who could learn a lot from Matthew…and you can count me among them.
I only saw one of the feature length movies, and even though the lighting was horrendous (the DP had no clue what he was doing), the camera work was inept, the editing was clumsy, and the sound was awful (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one), the movie worked despite it all thanks to a clever script and surprisingly good actors…proving that production value, cool camera work and slick editing mean nothing if your script sucks and your actors can't act. But if you have a strong script, and good actors, all the rest doesn't really matter, you'll get caught up in characters anyway.
REMAINDERED was also in competition at the Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina this weekend…and although we didn't in any awards there, either, I heard from our contingent there that the film was a big crowd pleaser.
"Had a wildly successful screening of REMAINDERED at the Beaufort Int. Film Fest. Very well received, lots of laughs," tweeted PJ Starks, our DP. "Congrats to Lee, the cast & crew for making such a fun & funny short. REMAINDERED was neck & neck w/ some amazing nominees at the awards ceremony. We may not have walked away with an award, but instead with overwhelming praise and support for the film. Listening to all the kind words validates our hard work. If we can entertain at least one person we've done our job. We definitely left BIFF with a job well done."
Next up for us: The Beverly Hills Shorts Film Festival.
I'm pleased to announce the publication of THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL, the first in an original ebook series of short novels that blends the horror of Stephen King's THE GUNSLINGER with the action/adventure of Don Pendleton's THE EXECUTIONER…
Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life…until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does…
For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about…a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become…and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.
The second book in the series will be out next month…to be followed by more all-new adventures in THE DEAD MAN saga by some of the most talented and successful mystery, western, horror and sci-fi authors out there today… including Bill Crider, James Reasoner, Matt Witten, Joel Goldman, James Daniels, Burl Barer and David McAfee.
As you read this, I'm on my way to Louisville, Kentucky today to attend the Derby City Film Festival, where my film REMAINDERED is screening this Sunday and where our leading lady, Sebrina Siegel, is up for Best Actress Honors.
As fate would have it, REMAINDERED is an official selection of the Beaufort International Film Festival, which is also being held this weekend, way out in South Carolina. Since I can't be in two places at once, our film will be represented there by PJ Starks, our DP, and Rodney Newton, one of our producers.
I chose to go to the Kentucky festival because our movie was shot in Owensboro and it's a chance to finally have the cast-and-crew screening we never had. And it's a rare opportunity to be addressed as Colonel Goldberg everywhere I go (yes, I am an official Kentucky Colonel).
By the way, REMAINDERED has just been picked as an official selection of the Beverly Hills Shorts Film Festival, which is being held in Beverly Hills in March. At least I won't have to catch a plane for this one…but with LA traffic, it will probably take as long for me to get from my house to Beverly Hills as it does to fly to Louisville.
I will report back and let you know how we fare in Louisville and Beaufort.
Matt Passmore, the Australian lead of A&E's hit detective series THE GLADES, may soon have some company from down under. The network has cast Aussie Robert Taylor, best known here for his role as Agent Jones in The Matrix, as the lead in LONGMIRE, the pilot based on my buddy Craig Johnson's terrific series of books about Walt Longmire, the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming (not to be confused with Jim Longworth, the Florida detective in THE GLADES).
Pictured: Taylor starring in the Aussie version of BALLYKISSANGEL.
Emma Span at Baseball Prospectus has discovered the world of Real Person Baseball Slash Fanfic, which Jack Dickey at Deadspin calls "Penthouse Forum, as edited by Jayson Stark." Span's article is absolutely hilarious… and a little frightening.
I thought that over the years I’d seen most of the dark corners of sports fandom, but as it turns out, I still was not fully prepared for baseball fan fiction. […]You just do not ever expect to encounter the phrase, to quote one story, “Doug Mirabelli’s huge, unlubed…”
Well—Doug Mirabelli’s huge, unlubed anything, really. Let’s leave it at that.
[…]I came across a story about Kyle Farnsworth and Vance Wilson, but it was labeled with a warning: “people who are squeamish about bloodplay, knives, severely disturbed mental states and semi-non-con (but only semi!) should not touch this with a 20 foot stick.” As that would include me—not to mention that, as a Yankees fan, I’m just squeamish about Kyle Farnsworth in general—I didn’t, and am grateful for the heads-up. Even in the name of scientific research for a column to advance baseball knowledge, I have my limits.
Jack Dickey at Deadspin offers a few more very funny examples, like this cringe-inducing tale by Candle Beck, describing a 1997 tryst between an insecure Mark Mulder and a slick Barry Zito:
You think that telling someone what your name is, in a situation like this, is actually a pretty good thing to lie about, but you don't tell him that. You shrug. You just got a handjob from a boy named Barry. Crazy world.
"I just never met anybody named that before."
He nods, and shifts a little bit so that his outstretched leg nudges against your knee. "And you're Mark."
He knew your name the whole time. You almost smile, but bite it back at the last second. He knows your name, big fucking deal, quit acting like a fourteen year old girl. But you're blushing with pleasure, you can feel the burn in your ears, washing down your neck.
Uh-huh. All that's missing from these stories are Justin Bieber, Mr. Spock, and the kids from TWILIGHT.
(Thanks to Scott for the heads-up!)