Guest Post : Jonathan Janz Lives in a House of Skin!
First of all, I want to thank Hunter for hosting me today. His Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal are an amazing one-two punch, and if you haven’t picked them both up yet, you ought to. Here’s what I had to say about Evil Eternal:
Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant, Evil Eternal is a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.”
Yep, I guess you can tell I’m a fan.
And speaking of books you should buy…
My new novel (my first book was titled THE SORROWS and can be found right here) is called HOUSE OF SKIN. Here’s the stunning cover art and a short description of my novel:
“Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.
Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?”
So the character not mentioned in that description is the one I’m going to tell you about today.
Pretty logical, huh?
Sheriff Sam Barlow is one of a long line of well-intentioned lawmen in horror fiction. One of my personal favorites is Stephen King’s Alan Pangborn, but there are plenty of them to choose from.
Michael Rooker and Ed Harris both played Alan Pangborn. I figured Rooker deserved the extra publicity.
So what makes my sheriff different?
Well, the structure of my novel, for one thing. Like my debut THE SORROWS, HOUSE OF SKIN has the Gothic structure that I love—where a story in the past affects and ultimately merges with the story in the present. Books like Peter Straub‘s Ghost Story and George R.R. Martin‘s Fevre Dream take on an extra resonance because of their use of the frame story and the manner in which those authors use their back-stories to advance their present stories.
HOUSE OF SKIN does that. And Sam Barlow is a central figure in both the past and the present.
In the present he’s a grizzled veteran cop who lives alone and does his best not to hate my protagonist Paul Carver, who has the bad luck to look just like the man who ruined Sam Barlow’s life. Sam also has a special bond with my “co-protagonist” Julia Merrow, which is explained in the “past” story.
Many of the book’s surprises involve Sam and his entanglement with the novel’s two main villains, particularly a woman named Annabel. I’ll write about Annabel at a later date, but I’ll just say now that she’s fearsome and beautiful and absolutely evil. Sam is the man who understands this the most, and he’s determined to prevent her resurrection.
But Annabel has other plans.
The last thing I’ll say about this character before I close is that if HOUSE OF SKIN ever becomes a movie, I’ve got some thoughts about who should play my sheriff. Josh Brolin would be great if he were older. Assuming the movie gets made in the next five years (I’m pretty certain it will—hah!), Brolin would be too young. But he does have that world-weary look that would work well for Sam. Guys like John C. McGinley (one of the Office Space Bobs) and David Morse (Brutal from The Green Mile) would also be great, but my first choice is the man pictured below…
Ash, Elvis, and…Sam Barlow?
Bruce Campbell would kill this role. Then again, Bruce would probably kill any role, but I think he’d do a particularly wonderful job as my sheriff.
So, Mr. Campbell, if you’re reading…my people will call your people soon.
And please don’t threaten my people with your prosthetic chainsaw.