Hi, folks! Today I have a special treat for you — a guest blog post by friend and fellow SHU alum Lee Allen Howard. Lee’s on a book tour to let folks know about his latest supernatural crime novel, DEATH PERCEPTION, and I’m pleased to have him make a stop here.
Death Perception: Adding the Supernatural to Crime
I love horror; I write horror. But I also like crime. Along the spectrum of speculative fiction, most of my writing lies outside of science fiction and fantasy, but begins at dark fantasy, expands with horror, and then branches at crime:
* Dark crime: non-supernatural horror that covers aberrant sexual crime, sadistic homicide, serial killing and the like. My stories “Mama Said,” “Poor Old Soul,” and “Mixed Breed, Loves Kids” are dark crime.
* Supernatural crime: a crime story with elements of horror dealing with fantastical or supernatural situations and entities, including monsters, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, haunted structures, etc. The stories in DESPERATE SPIRITS and my novel DEATH PERCEPTION are supernatural crime.
I exit the spectrum at traditional crime such as police procedural and mystery.
In DEATH PERCEPTION, my latest supernatural thriller, I blend genres in a story that combines supernatural horror and crime:
Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care facility, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.
He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. But when his perception differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, Kennet must bring the killers to justice.
The plot of DEATH PERCEPTION is crime, with two antagonists bent on murder. The setting is gothic with a funeral home and crematorium, an old folk’s home, and a cemetery. The backstory and subject matter are horrific, Kennet’s abilities are paranormal, and the presence and influence of spirits are supernatural. With a smattering of grim humor and romance, it’s a genre mashup.
I rarely write stories in only one genre. I like to mix it up by including subplots from other genres, characters with abilities of another genre, settings from another genre. Then I work to make these elements compatible. Setting, for instance, often dictates what’s possible in a story and what’s not. Everything must work together toward a cohesive and compelling story. I think I achieved this in DEATH PERCEPTION, but you be the judge. Check it out and let me know what you think!
DEATH PERCEPTION is available in trade paperback, Kindle (.mobi) and Nook (.epub) at http://leeallenhoward.com/death-perception/.
Lee Allen Howard writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime. He’s been a professional writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction since 1985. His publications include The Sixth Seed, Desperate Spirits, Night Monsters, “Mama Said,” “Stray,” and DEATH PERCEPTION, available in various formats at http://leeallenhoward.com.
You can keep in touch with Lee on his Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lee-Allen-Howard-author/117844011639457. Follow him on Twitter @LeeAllenHoward.