Tuesday, July 10, 2018

J. D. Horn

J. D. Horn was raised in rural Tennessee, and has since carried a bit of its red clay in him while traveling the world, from Hollywood, to Paris, to Tokyo. He studied comparative literature as an undergrad, focusing on French and Russian in particular. He also holds an MBA in international business and worked as a financial analyst before becoming a novelist. He has race bibs from two full marathons and about thirty half marathons. Though knocked out by an injury, he’s working on making a comeback.

Horn’s books have now been translated into Russian, Romanian, Polish, German, Spanish, Italian, and French, with a Turkish version of The Line in the works. He is a long-time animal rights advocate, animal lover, and non-proselytizing vegetarian. He, his spouse, Rich, and their rescue Chihuahua, Kirby Seamus, split their time between Central Oregon, San Francisco, and Palm Springs.

Horn's new novel is The Book of the Unwinding.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann

The unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor lies at the center of this epic recounting of the early days of Hollywood. I have a couple of ideas for stories involving the early and golden ages of Hollywood knocking around in my head, so for me this complex well-researched, and perfectly paced book lies between leisure reading and research. If you’re interested in true crime, this one is a winner.

The Boy They Tried to Hide by Shane Dunphy

I came across this book through Glynn Washington’s “Spooked” podcast. (Washington produces a few different podcasts, all of them brilliant.) The Boy They Tried to Hide is an intriguing (and purportedly true) story of a former social worker who is pulled into the mystery of what happened to a boy named Thomas, and whether Thomas ever really existed or was a figment of another young boy’s imagination. The Thomas portion of the tale is a disappointingly short percentage of the entire book. Dunphy weaves this strand together with two others, an account of his efforts to learn what happened to a young man with learning disabilities who died in prison under suspicious circumstances, and encounters with a predatory abuser of women who has an ax to grind with Dunphy. Despite the three different elements, the narrative—right down to inclusion of transcripts of therapy sessions—ends up being about Dunphy himself. Could have been, maybe should have been, three different books. Still, it’s written well enough that I’m still reading.

Raven Black: Book One of the Shetland Island Quartet by Ann Cleeves

This book combines a mystery with a fairytale-like opening, well-drawn characters, a secluded edge-of-the-world setting, and a plot twist I did not see coming (and that’s pretty darned rare). I will definitely continue with this series. I’m considering making a genre leap from horror to mystery for my next project and have begun reading well-reviewed mysteries in the hope of learning how it’s done.

The Demons of King Solomon, Aaron J. French editor

A somewhat self-serving selection as I have a story in this anthology, but I’ve been reading it as I was curious what the other contributors had written. The collection, based on the seventy-two demons mentioned in the grimoire known as the “Lesser Key of Solomon,” also includes stories by Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry, Richard Chizmar, and others.
Visit J.D. Horn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: J.D. Horn & Kirby.

--Marshal Zeringue