My Big, Messy Election Year Novel: Devils in Dark Houses


There is not one among us in whom a devil does not dwell; at some time, on some point, that devil masters each of us… It is not having been in the Dark House, but having left it, that counts.
―Theodore Roosevelt

2015 to 2016…

What a stretch. And with the November U.S. presidential election less than four months away, things are set to get even stranger. Immigration, terrorism, vigilante justice, police/community violence, the Internet, identity politics, gun control/rights, racial tension, free speech, men and women and kids and family and everything in between.

Life. Right now it’s getting messy, and interesting, and exciting, and frightening.

I took this brewing pot and added in a pinch of fear, a pound of hope, lots of thinking and reading, and pure blind terror-fueled gut instinct…

And out came Devils In Dark Houses, my novella collection from Darkfuse Publishing.

The collection was difficult to write, and difficult to get published. But here it finally is.

The above quote is from one of America’s most iconic, iconoclastic figures–a rebel, a madman, a leader, a shaker–up of things. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th and youngest President in our nation’s history (1901-1909).

So in the paraphrased words of another timeless icon:

“Welcome to my Dark Houses! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness–and Devils–you bring.”

Devils in Dark Houses

The new millennium is getting downright bizarre. From high tech games of sabotage to vigilante murder and ghosts who may or may not have their own dark agendas, Detectives Shirdon and Martinez must put their 20th century street smarts to work on four 21st century cases in which nothing is what it seems, and every answer reveals more questions.

Case 1: The Eye That Blinds

When three college friends graduate with plans to conquer the world, they find out that the world has its own plans. As their supposed “real” lives spiral further out of control, they retreat into the one place they still reign—the online kingdom of fantasy and masquerade. After a seemingly random accident puts Shirdon and Martinez on their trail, the trio’s tangled web of lies threatens to unravel into consequences more real than any of them could have imagined.

Case 2: Each Castle Its King

When Cal and Rachel Goodman flee their high-volume life in Los Angeles for the peace and quiet of rural Oregon, they sink both their savings and their hopes in a fixer-upper the locals call “Blood House.” But their dream turns into a nightmare as they discover that their marriage is as cracked and crumbling as Blood House—and hiding just as many sinister secrets. Just when they think things can’t get any worse, they meet their next-door-neighbor…

Case 3: Nostri

For sixteen-year-old Emma Kaster, summer vacation is turning out to be as boring and lonely as the school year—until she meets a charismatic street kid named Senz with an obsession for the Roman philosopher Seneca and an itch to put his theories to the test in modern times. What starts out as a series of pranks soon turns deadly as Emma and Senz confront the ultimate revolutionary question—are you willing to die for your beliefs? And just as important, are you willing to kill for them?

Case 4: Devils in Dark Houses

Shirdon and Martinez are on the case of a charismatic, controversial homicide detective whose mysterious disappearance eleven years ago comes back to life in the form of a mentally ill man calling himself the Hound. Not only does the Hound know astonishing secrets, he learned some of them from the long-dead figures of Oregon’s colorful frontier past. As the two detectives try to unravel fact from fantasy and truth from lies, the past and present collide in an explosive show-down that will test the detectives’ deepest beliefs not just about the world in which they live, but about themselves, as well.

Available now from the publisher:


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