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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2019 Review / 2020 Preview - Dom Watson



At first, I was greatly honoured to be asked to participate in FBC's Review/Preview, and then the inner monologue piped up! Ya know, that voice we have in our brain everyday warning us against right and wrong or tea or coffee. ‘You haven’t read anything this year,’ it said. It had a point. And for a moment, that voice from within was right. But then I remembered. I had. That bloody voice in my head had tried to fool me - again. I don’t trust it. Has it always been there, the voice? I don’t remember inviting it in . . . do you?

2019 Faves

1) Priest of Bones by Peter McLean. Bloody hell, I was losing faith in fantasy for a bit. This bridged the gap in fiction/fantasy. Violent, without a care. We are dropped into a city on the edge. The troops are coming home from war and some of these rapscallions aren’t the most delightful of people. I like it. I like it a lot. Tomas Piety has come home to Ellinburg and some fiends have took over the family business. Peaky Blinders with swords someone said. Fitting. It works brilliantly. And the horror of PTSD is superbly displayed in Piety’s brother Jochan. The magic subtly chimes in the background like morning birdsong but becomes more prevalent as the story continues, never overshadowing the thrilling narrative.

2) The Outsider by Stephen King. Paperbacks can be totems of gold dust. I think it is a lovely touch! People leaving portable stories on public transport, immediately offering us a way out of the banality. I picked this up on a train from London after attending a book signing. My Mum did the same once, leaving a copy of my book, The Boy Who Walked Too Far, on a flight from New York to Chicago. Whether that was on purpose is another matter, but you get the gist. Love King or loathe him, he is still a master of his craft. Brutal, gut wrenching, and as a father myself I can sympathise with some of the characters. But that’s the point isn’t it? I devoured it within a few days. Boy still has it.

3) Crowfall by Ed Macdonald. There aren’t many books I mark a date in my diary for. This is one. In the last two years I have been totally smitten with Ryhalt Galharrow and his journey into the Misery. I’m telling you now HBO, if you have a massive GoT space in your listings then look no further. Dark, sometimes brooding, but not to the point where you give up. Far from it, it’s the gruff narrative that leads you on. Classic fantasy, shining in a post-millennial light. A perfect end to a trilogy. Gillings, Darlings, Deep Kings, oh my . . .

4) Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James. This man’s skill of language is something else. As a writer, you need to constantly push yourself. Part fantasy, part poetry, all inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, don’t read it if you are struggling after a days work. You need your faculties intact, Tracker’s journey isn’t one you should miss, and the world-building is pure mescaline-infused static. But it should be given credence and read with an appreciation of culture and creation.

5) I’ve picked up a fascination this year with Valencourt Books. They have re-released a load of pulp horrors from the late seventies and early eighties. Sometimes to move forward you must occasionally take a peak back. There’s nothing wrong with mutated cockroaches and Wendigos if they are done right. I’ve just started reading The Entity by Frank De Felitta. It feels like I’m reading it through a Halloween mask – it makes me sweaty - and have my hands tied behind my back. I know what’s coming of course, I remember seeing the movie in the eighties. It gives off an almost voyeuristic quality which is quite unnerving. Makes me want to wash myself. Or perhaps I just need a good bath. I don’t know if it’s the writing or the subject matter. It’s power of language transmutes the flesh.

Looking Ahead to 2020

I’m looking forward to Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna. I’m a sucker for leviathans – ha, sucker, see what I did there? Afterland by Lauren Beaukes - damn she can write. The Winds of Winter maybe, or is that too presumptuous?

On the Horizon for Dom Watson

I’m re-releasing The Boy Who Walked Too Far next year. It has a brand-new cover and a sharper narrative. SPFBO 2018 really helped me shape it into something special. Smoker on the Porch is going through a second draft and I can’t wait to release this into the world. It’s set in 1989 at the end of Thatcher’s Britain. Its about that old codger over the street. You know, all the kids know, that horrible nosferatu type with nicotine fingers who won’t give you your ball back. A coming of age tale set in the countryside with cosmic horror and soda stream.

FBC's REVIEW OF THE BOY WHO WALKED TOO FAR

About the Author

Dom can’t really talk about himself too much. The cats forbid it, and if he did, he would have to answer to the alligator under the stairs. But what shreds you can know is that he intends to write lots of stories and spread the gospel of the great serpent Orm throughout your lovely brains culminating in one glorious gestalt entity where reading books is mandatory to the continued existence of coffee.

He also likes pizza.

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