Publisher: Hollow Square Press/CreateSpace, 2013
Paperback: 127 pages
ISBN 10: 1492242454 ISBN 13: 978-1492242451
(Available free on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program)
(Paperback available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores and through your local bookstore.)
Jake loves his friends and his community. Eric kills. Eric secretly watches Jake and those he loves. No one near to Jake is safe, and the tension and the body count rise. Set in rural Alabama, A Howling in the Night is a psychological thriller with nods to classics of horror, the bastard child of Eudora Welty and Stephen King.
Sure, I could have thrown in a few more chapters of horrific slaughter, a few more chapters of sex with the ladies (and maybe a gentleman or so), and maybe even some more poetic/philosophical musings about this and that, but once I had a momentum going (and I think I did), I thought the mad dash to the end would be best. Going through it again for the recent publication under its new title, I was convinced that I had made the right choice. The thing just called out to be the length that it is, 127 pages.
I’ve got nothing against long novels. People have complained about the length of works by Stephen King. My opinion is that they tend to be just the right length, as is his older son’s latest. Joyce Carol Oates’ The Accursed (I almost wrote “Oates’ latest” but decided that wasn’t safe) clocks in at over 680, every one vital to the total effect. Gravity’s Rainbow, anyone? It's got heft. All sorts! And one of my favorite reads of the last couple of decades is Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, over 2,700 pages, 8 “novels” in 3 sections. (In spite of the way it was published, I consider it a single novel, not 3 or 8. Just as The Lord of the Rings is one novel and later one movie.) All of these works are just the right length.
As is, for me, A Howling in the Night. As is one of its major predecessors in the genre (which I won't name because of the spoiler effect of doing so). "Sit down and shut up" is often good advice, and any author must figure out when best to do so. I hope I did.
In my "note to the reader" prefacing this new version, I have this to say:
When Rumors of Wolves was published in 2006, I was pleased enough with it at the time. This new version is in most ways the same novel with the same characters and events, but throughout I have managed to make small changes in wording that, at least for me, as they accumulate have improved the work. In addition I was able to correct a number of typographical errors in that earlier edition (and, knowing my own fallibility, I suspect I may well have injected others).
Loyal readers (assuming I have any out there) will no doubt have noticed that this novel as well as my more recent one, Siren Song, features the Black Warrior River that runs through western Alabama, originating somewhere north of Birmingham and ending where it feeds into the Tombigbee River at Demopolis. This is a river that I have loved all my life, and no doubt it will run through any future novels that I may write. Am I accurate about the river and the lands about it? Not really, for I am writing about the version of the river that flows through my mind and my imagination. There may be the occasional overlap with the real river, but that is neither my goal nor my intention.
Although published first, Rumors of Wolves was actually written a year or so later than Siren Song. After the complications of that novel I wished to try something simpler and more straightforward. I managed to learn a lot in struggling with Siren Song over the years, and I think that those lessons have made this new version into the improvement that I hope it is.