Archive for March, 2012

Reading List

Paint this town Red has received an excellent, four-starred review on The Reading List website. Full details of the review are below. Thanks to Megan Rattliff for this.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lions and Tigers and… Panthers… oh my.

There is something strikingly beautiful and majestic about predator animals. I’m not sure if it’s their poise, their intense, often oddly colored eyes, or their uncanny ability to remain absolutely still and silent until it’s too late and a helpless baby gazelle becomes lunch.
Poor gazelle. :(My point is that they’re pretty amazing. At least on TV… in nature shows. Getting chummy with an animal that has the ability to rip you apart with one crack of its powerful jaws, or squeeze the life out of you in seconds is not so awesome.

Just like Jaws, A.J. Kirby’s Paint This Town Red will make you rethink whether or not it’s “safe to go back into the water”… er, woods. This suspense thriller really plays up the “rabid/crazy/evil animal as the bad guy” angle and does it well.

Limm Island has always been an island unto itself. Quite literally. Every evening just before high tide, the residents of Limm race to get to their homes. It becomes apparent that anything is better than the alternative – being stranded when the tide comes in.Outsiders on the “mainland” think there’s something not quite right about Limm’s inhabitants. So when Yogurt “Ely” Rhodes first calls police on the mainland about a body he finds while biking that looks like it has been ripped apart by an animal, they only question his sanity.

Things only begin to get weirder from there. No on can explain the bodies found mauled to death.. Different people in town begin seeing a strange black panther roaming the woods near the town. But where did this creature come from and what does its presence mean?

Even stranger, why are some of Limm’s residents going down to the water but not coming back? A mysterious old man named Solomon may have the answer.

The panther is just the beginning of their worries as the residents of Limm Island fight to stay alive.

I am in love with this cover! There’s a dark foreboding to it that really sets the tone for the story.  The cover art is amazing. Great summary, interesting premise. The blood thirsty creatures come complete with small town superstitions and prophecies. Everything is set up for this novel to be a page turner.Kirby has a very unique style of writing that allows the reader to really connect with his characters. He leaves nothing out as he explores their backstory and their lives on the small island of Limm. The words almost create a type of cinematic imagery and the dialogue is very natural and conversational. The characters feel like real people with real problems, trying to get by until the unthinkable happens and the end begins; and the “end” is nothing like any of the island’s inhabitants imagined. It’s Kirby’s portrayal of his characters that makes me think that this apocalyptic novel would play out just as well as a screenplay.

This is not your typical supernatural horror and I was a little curious to see how it would all pan out by the end.  Sometimes horror novels and movies involving animals don’t work so well, but there was enough explanation and focus on the characters to not only make this novel work but make it believable.

I just wish that maybe it was broken up into two books or maybe even a book on each character. It seemed to take a while for the characters to discover why the events unfolded the way they did. To be fair, the novel is nearly 50 chapters so it makes sense that it wouldn’t be until about halfway though the novel before they start piecing together what is going on.

There were quite a number of characters, and I had to really pay attention since most chapters would vary from character to character. This made the novel interesting to read, and each character played an important part in the plot, but it was also a little hard to remember what had happened previously by the time you got back to a character.

However, none of this deterred me from reading the book and becoming engrossed in the story.

If you love any horror novels (and movies) involving rabid, possibly evil, man-eating animals (Cujo, Jaws, Jurassic Park, et. al.) give this novel a read. You’ll be glad you did.


The EdgerMarilyn Baron, author of the excellent The Edger, has today reviewedPaint this town Red.Thank you Marilyn! Here’s the damage:

Jurassic Park Meets Jaws: Look What The Tide Dragged In 
Paint This Town Red, by A. J. Kirby, is a descent into Darkness and devilry. Limm Island is cut off from the rest of the world, delivering its “own version of justice.” The multi-talented Kirby has created an outrageous cast of connected characters peppered with comic foibles. When a prehistoric panther, a winged beast and a Biblical invasion of flies “pick off the townspeople as prey,” the curse that plagues the town threatens to destroy it. Oh, and there’s also a great, white beached shark that makes Jaws seem like a minnow. Who will survive? Or will Limm Islanders become a terminal tidal island town? Kirby draws us in from the beginning with his strong narrative voice and keen sense of humor and drama and keeps us on the edge of our seats until the very end. A highly recommended, unforgettable read.
Remember, the book’s available as an ebook now, with the paperback due in a couple of weeks. Go here to get your copy.

MicMy two stories, ‘Desire’ and ‘The Birthday Cake’, take a bow on the Morgen Bailey podcast this week. So if you like your fiction audiofied, this is the link you need to follow. This one right here. It’s available for a listen on all the usual sites, including iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

DesireRight. I’m back from Africa today to all sorts of disasters (email hacked etc). So before I get around to telling y’all about what happened out there, I’d better get some email security systems back up and running. So for now, here’s a link to two flash fictions by yours truly, which have been published on the Morgen Bailey Flash Fiction Friday blog.

Bad un of meI was at the launch of two new titles from EIBONVALE PRESS, the anthology Where Are We Going? edited by Allen Ashley and the collection A Glimpse of the Numinous by Jeff Gardiner. Both books were launched as part of a British Fantasy Society Open Night at The Mug House in London Bridge and the venue was absolutely packed. “Breathing room only,” according to Allen Ashley. It was a great event all round – a lively and packed evening in a wonderful venue – and our stock of Where Are We Going? sold out completely. Lots of “Where Are We Going?” contributors turned up on the night – Allen Ashley, David Rix, Joel Lane, Douglas Thompson, Jet McDonald, Marion Pitman, Terry Grimwood, Andy Kirby and Gary Budgen.

You can read more about the event on the Eibonvale Press blog here.

Ginger Nuts of HorrorI am today’s guest blogger on the excellent Ginger Nuts of Horror website, talking about strange animals in strange locations (a la the black panther in Paint this town Red) and about writing and publicity and about how to diet as a writer. Basically, I just chunter on quite a lot really, but if you want to know some of the background story to Paint this town Red then it’s certainly worth a read.

You can read the Guest Blog here.

Paint this town Red features prominently on the New York Journal of Books Fiction homepage today.  Which is obviously good news. Also, watch this space for new interview, review and event slots for yours truly…