Thursday, 13 August 2015

Justin D. Herd - Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful - Virtual Book Tour

Fantasy Noir
Date Published: 7/21/2015

A mobster learns he's becoming a god, only to discover they die too. 
The right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he's done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge. 

Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine's mob organization. It's only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process. 

As the pantheon returns to the city they'd abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality - even gods can die.

Justin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author, who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by three eccentric cats, one of which is obsessed with all things digital. He is married with two children.

Top 10 Favorite Books & Why
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
This is a near perfect novel for me. With the exception of one scene, it’s amazing. The way Gaiman mixes the gods into the society and shows how they affect the world around them. It also does a great job of blending the mythology into the area and hiding them in plain sight. It was a huge influence for Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful.
Stephen King’s IT
Stephen King’s longest book, but I’ve read it at least three times and listened to the 40+ hour audiobook. What I love about it is the way he plays with the timeline and revealing what happened to them throughout, as well as each cycle of IT. It also doesn’t hurt that I hear Tim Curry’s voice in my head anytime Pennywise is on the page.
Justin Cronin’s The Passage
This was one of the most surprising books I had read at the time. I love it’s slow, methodical take on the rise of Vampires that spread like a Zombie plague. There’s also a huge shift in the direction of the piece, which I think also might’ve affected Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful. The sequel was good, although it relied too heavily on repeating the same trick.
Patrick Rothfuss’s Wise Man’s Fear
Another great novel. While it’s a behemoth, it more than makes up for it with multiple societies and spin-offs of its epic tale. Not only do you get more time at the University for Kvothe, but you get introduced to two completely different society where you learn their customs, plus time spent with the Fae.
Alan Campbell’s Scar Night
This is the novel that introduced me to Fantasy Noir. It’s set in Deepgate, a city that’s suspended over a chasm by giant chains. I do have to admit, it took me four attempts to get into the novel, but by the time it did, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down! It also has one of the most creative uses of Carnival and the way everyone references but leaves it up to you to discover what it means.
China Mieville’s The City & The City
This one is a weird one. While it’s a straight forward detective story, the twist on it is that it’s set in two cities that exist in the same spot, but people “unsee” the other and learn to not hear what’s going on in the other city. What makes it stand out is that it is treated completely seriously, without explaining what is going on. Even still, years after reading it, I’m still not sure if the cities were just a social experiment, an actual fantasy city with parallel cities, or something else.
Peter Straub’s Shadowland
This combines two of my passions: horror and magic. In fact, this may have been the story that sealed my love for the dark side of magic. Part of it takes place in a boys’ preparatory school, the rest in a mysterious
estate where the boy’s time in the school is mirrored. It also spends time during the World Wars to show you how everything got to where it was.
Jeremy Robert Johnson’s Angel Dust Apocalypse
This is the only short story collection on this list, but Jeremy Robert Johnson is a master storyteller, even if his genre happens to be Bizarro. Most would not have heard about this, might still not have! But, this has everything from a person getting a body mod that removes his brain from his body to a person making a cockroach suit in an effort to survive the apocalypse to a retelling of Dante’s Inferno in a nightclub while tripping. While there is definitely an element of horror to these stories, there’s also the absolutely heartbreaking story where a deaf boy wakes up after the nukes have dropped and can’t find his family, but he doesn’t understand what’s going on. Amazing.
Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show
I’m a huge Clive Barker fan. Hellraiser is my all-time favorite horror movie series. And his Lord of Illusions is one of the horror-noir greats. But reading Clive Barker is a different beast in and of itself. Luckily, my first true novel of his was The Great and Secret Show. It’s an epic set in America, dealing with the dead letters from the post office, secret societies, and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet amidst a backdrop of monsters torn from nightmares and beasts pulled from dreams. Add to that a mysterious town that seems stuck in time and you’ve got a classic.
Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves
This is one of my favorite books. It’s not an easy one to explain, but this is my general pitch: the main story is about a man’s descent into insanity. There are three storylines: one is written like a dissertation about a movie about a house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside (written by a man that has been blind for forty years), the next is written in the footnotes about the man who found the original manuscript after the blind man died and how his life falls apart, and the last is about the mother of the second story and her time in a mental institution.
I’ve owned multiple copies of it (which is no small task since each one costs $20 a pop. But I’ve gone through and translated foreign phrases, decoded hidden messages, and generally marked up the book to all get out (honestly, the only book I’ve ever written in). The other thing that makes this book interesting is that there are multiple versions (black & white, two color, and full color) that all have different aspects that make them worth owning. It has a gimmick where the insanity starts and passages start flipping upside down and are being printed backwards, etc. Lastly, and this is more of a supplement to it, but Danielewski’s sister is the artist Poe and her album Haunted directly references all three storylines in each of the songs. It’s an awesome listen.

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