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Opus questions with Duncan P. Bradshaw

When horror author Latashia Figueroa asked me to write a guest post for her blog with my three favorite horror movies and why, it got the old noggin cooking. Guest posts are a great way to introduce other writers to more broad audience. And besides, guest posts are fun. If your lucky enough to have an awesome reader base, it gives your readers a chance to hear from someone new, or even someone they’ve read before and enjoy their work just as much as your own. If you remember my New Year’s post a few months back, one of the projects for early this year was a submission of a short story to be included in an anthology with several other talented writers called The Black Room Manuscripts. Proceeds for the collection are going to an animal/pet rescue center over in the Jolly UK. I couldn’t be more honored to help with something that will bring about something positive in this crazy world we live. And with that being said, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to contact several of those writers who are contributing to The Black Room Manuscripts and do a little guest blogging with them. Share the love, right? Except, I wanted to be a little more dubious with my colleagues. When it comes to writing, one rule stands above all others: you have to read. No, seriously. To showcase a range of talent, you have to be a proliferate reader. And when it comes to horror writers, we are often found to have a wide assortment of favorite books we keep on our shelves. So to keep things interesting and to be a bit villainess, I’ve asked my guests to tell us what their two favorite books are and why. That’s right. You heard me. Only two!!! (laughs manically). So, without further ado, here is our first victim: Duncan P. Bradshaw!

Duncan P. Bradshaw:

The rather fabulous Mr Flowers asked me to send him a little post with my two favorite horror books. One is probably a little contentious, but hey, it’s my post, so slip into something comfy, put on some Jackie Wilson, kick off your shoes, and continue reading. Yes, using your eyes just like mama used to show you how.

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis.

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis.

My first choice is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Let’s get this clear right off the bat, this book hates you, it hates me, it even hates the nicest person in the entire world. Think of that person right now. Aw, the way they help people across the street, or replace the toilet roll when they use the last sheets, clean up their mess in the kitchen. Yep, American Psycho HATES them. Why? You’re not dressed in a sharp Armani suit, Bateman glares at you through his non-prescription glasses and can see that your business card is woefully inadequate, you’re so unimportant that he and his chums won’t even remember your name. It is one of the hardest books I’ve ever read, in that it is just so difficult to get into, the world seems closed to you, alien and bizarre. Through his eyes, you’re taken on a dizzying voyage through parties and work, I had to check the front cover sometimes as it said ‘Psycho’ on the front, but the first killing takes an age to arrive. There are entire chapters devoted to album reviews. And then, it starts, almost accidentally at first, no fanfare, no Machiavellian plan, BOOM, done. Then Patrick’s spiral of murder and debauchery starts, and it is becomes a blood soaked tornado. The door to this forbidden club is grudgingly opened, and you’re given admittance into this fractured unreal life, where things reside only in diseased minds. Reading it reminded me of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, in both the truly awful ways of killing people, but also the random-ness of it. Sometimes things just happen almost from nothing, and I for one found it extremely unsettling in places. The ending is one of those where people always ask the same question, “Do you think he actually did it?” Honestly? If you don’t mind the fact that you aren’t welcome at this party, but are willing to fight for your place in it, read it and see what you reckon. My second. Okay, brace yourself, it’s World War Z. WOAH, steady on, I know what you’re thinking, or shouting out loud, it’s not a horror book. Well, let me explain why I think it is, and then we can just agree to disagree.

World War Z, Max Brooks

World War Z, Max Brooks

Zombies are my bag, since an eight year old Duncan (that’s me) sat down and watched Dawn of the Dead, I was hooked. Vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein, meh, I care for them not one jot, but the undead? Well, I love them, for me it’s the fact that they are slow and stupid, hell-bent on one thing only, to eat you. One on one, you stand a chance, but en masse is where the true terror lies, and this is what WWZ encapsulates so very well. For one, I love the way that the interviews ARE the story, from the first case through to the clean-up, Max Brooks takes you through the entire near extinction event. Some stories paint a broad picture, like the televised battle at Yonkers, New York, which was staged to show the zombies being defeated, which only resulted in the army being routed. Others though are more personal homages, the Indian General who single-handedly holds off the undead in a mountain pass so people can escape, fully aware that the pass is wired and will be collapsed as soon as they are through. It just builds this wonderful book of very different people, in far flung parts of the world, and creates a fantastic narrative. It covers many areas most zombie fiction would never think to cover, like companies creating vaccines for the infection which don’t work, yet still profit from the situation. Lamented countries like South Africa devising the Redeker Plan, which, while brutal, is an effective way of dealing with the growing grey horde. Cuba becomes a post-WWZ super power, so much so, that it’s currency is the dominant economic force. Just so many brilliant stories, of survival, desperation and hope. It doesn’t shy away from the events, of people being caught up in the mayhem and being ripped apart, but WWZ creates such a wide tableau of events and characters, that it deserves to be read. If you like zombies, you’d have read this already, and Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide. Even if the undead are not your thing, I would strongly suggest you read this, or listen to the audiobook, which is surprisingly good. Please though, do not, for one moment connect the Brad Pitt film to this book, they are completely separate. One is a work of art, the other is the latest in a line of modern zombie films which lack everything which made zombies scare the eight year old me.

I want to thank Duncan for taking the time and giving us his two favorite books, as difficult as it probably was, learning what these new faces on the horrors scene enjoy reading is, if anything else ,fascinating. duncanPbradshaw Duncan P. Bradshaw is a horror author. His debut book, Class Three, is available for both paperback and eBook on Amazon. You can also find Duncan meandering about on his blog.

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