|Welcome to October, which is a great time if you’re into all things creepy, spooky, or otherwise tinged in darkness. And fortunately I am. You see, apparently it’s my thing. We all have a thing, I suppose. Like your aunt in Florida who, for whatever reason, likes turtles. Always liked them, thought they were cute, with their little pre-historic squinty old-man faces and such. So over the years her friends and family started buying her little turtle things, key chains, Christmas ornaments, antique spoons, what have you. So now when you walk into your aunt’s house, there’s turtle merch fucking EVERYWHERE. And maybe she doesn’t even like turtles that much, but everyone else decided it was her thing, so there’s no backing out of it for her. Probably going to be a turtle on her gravestone because everyone figured she would have wanted it, God rest her soul.|
My thing is apparently anything creepy or horrible that can be sent to me digitally or in the mail. Especially this time of year when the internet is full of Halloween memes. Someone posts a picture of their outdoor string lights made from squirrel skulls and instantly I get tagged in that post. Carter, thought of you!
|Now, don’t get me wrong–I do love all these creepy things. And lord knows I’ve earned enough a reputation through my dark thrillers and love of Halloween to be deserving of this. I’m just saying that I will never know the point when people go from thinking I like to dabble in the oeuvre of the macabre to wholeheartedly believing I drink the blood of babies in a quest for immortality. Hell, maybe that point has already passed.|
All this to say you have to be both a real friend and committed believer in my thing to take the time and expense of sending me the package I received on my doorstep last week.
|Yes, folks, that’s a life-sized baby-resuscitation practice doll (gently used), which arrived in its own custom hard-shell travel case. Thank you, Jasmine. This is definitely my thing.|
|Making It Up|
Newly added episodes of my interview series Making It Up are out! This month I chatted with Roman historian and novelist Adrian Goldsworthy (The Fort), brilliant mystery writer Stuart Turton (The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle), New York Times bestselling thriller novelist S.A. Cosby (Blacktop Wasteland), and sustainable-living expert Barb Webb (Getting Laid). In addition to the personal, in-depth conversations, each episode features an impromptu short-story each guest and I craft together.
All episodes are available on my YouTube channel and wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Check them out now here!
|What I’m Reading|
Billy Summers by Stephen King (Scribner, 2021) Man, this is a hell of a book. Now I know you all think I’m just a Stephen King fanboy (and I am), but that doesn’t mean I like everything he’s written. Every author writes some books that are just plain better than their others, and Billy Summers is King’s best work since 11/22/63. I gravitate to the stories of his that are grounded in reality without even a touch of the supernatural, and Billy Summers is just a good, old-fashioned piece of noir fiction. The title character is an assassin-for-hire who only knocks off “bad guys,” and he’s hired for a job that forces him to imbed in a community for months while waiting to take out his target. King crafts an engaging depiction of a man with many identities trying to blend into a small town while fighting off his own loneliness and need for human connection. The pace quickens after the job is done, when Billy finds himself the one being hunted. A book to lose yourself in…strongly recommended.
|What I’m Watching|
Nine Perfect Strangers (2021, Hulu). Jessica and I have a couple more episodes to go on this, and I’ll be curious to see how the final arc presents itself, but so far this has been a solid–if not outstanding–show. With elements of both LOST and Fantasy Island (not unlike White Lotus), Nine Perfect Strangers brings a small group to an exclusive wellness center for a multi-day retreat. The center is run by a mystical woman with a violent past and dubious intentions (played–sometimes overplayed–by Nicole Kidman), and each guest must experience some degree of suffering in order to reach the nirvana they seek. Not riveting in the way, say, Succession is, but well performed and creepy enough to keep me watching. Oh, and if you loved Boardwalk Empire, there are two cast members (Bobby Cannavale and Michael Shannon) in this ensemble who are fantastic.
|Photo of the Month|
I present you this rotting old house about 5 miles from mine. Kinda beautiful, no?
|Update from My Kids|
This is an update from July, when my little girl was still at home. Both my kids have really taken to exercise and would go to the gym together all the time. So when Ili’s birthday came rolling around, Sawyer decided to get her a t-shirt that proclaimed her status as a bad-ass musclehead.
|My kids are all class.|
|Update from My Cat|
Behold the demon Pumpkin King sitting amongst this year’s crop.
|Internet Find of the Month, Sent to Me by a Friend|
|In-good-company Instagram Post of the Month|
|That’s it for now! See you next month.|