Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

a hunter is stalking his prey - Elysium Dreams (Dreams and Reality #2) by Hadena James

He skins his victims alive, taking pleasure from their pain.
In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.


He skins his victims alive, taking pleasure from their pain. 

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Tracking Unit have just finished up another case when they get the call. Now they are packing their bags and heading for Alaska in March. The team must overcome the hostile locals and harsh climate to catch a killer before he strikes again.

Couldn’t Make It Up If I Tried 

The world is a strange place. Like millions of other people, I have a morbid fascination with serial killers and have for more than half my life. I’ve spent a lot of time studying the available literature on them and what it has taught me is that most of this stuff couldn’t be made up, even if a writer tried. 

For instance, Zodiac should have been captured in 1969. A twist of fate kept it from happening. In October 1969, Zodiac shot and killed a taxi driver named Paul Stine. It was witnessed and immediately reported. Two responding officers stopped a white male who fit the description of Zodiac as he walked away from the area, however, he wasn’t detained. They didn’t even bother to get his name. They were unaware that the taxi driver was a Zodiac victim at the time and somehow, the description of the shooter said the assailant was a black male. So, they let the man walk away and into the night. Only after it became positive that Stine was a Zodiac victim (he was nice enough to send the taxi’s identification plaque to the newspaper), did they even remember the encounter. It was the closest the police ever got to capturing him. Instead, Zodiac continued to kill into the 1970s and was never identified. Even the good suspects failed to turn anything up and the case is as cold today as it was the night Paul Stine was killed in his taxi. 

It's a great plot twist. As a writer, it would be amazing, but my readers probably wouldn’t buy the physical description could be so wrong on a murder who had three witnesses. Yet, it did happen. 

I had trouble getting readers to suspend their disbelief that a misguided priest could be a serial killer and Dennis Radar isn’t that far in the past (captured in 2005). Radar wasn’t a priest; he was an alderman at his church, but he was also the infamous BTK that stalked Wichita, KS starting in the 1970s. He killed entire families, my serial killing priest was just offering up sacrifices for the greater good. Radar was a family man, respectable, likable, very involved in his church, and just wow… for those that don’t know, BTK stood for Bind, Torture, Kill. My priest was at least a little shady, Dennis Radar wasn’t raising any red flags. If a man like Dennis Radar can be a brutal serial killer, then a shady priest offering up sacrifices should be easy to believe. Yet, it wasn’t. 

David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam, said he killed his victims because his neighbor’s dog was really a demonic entity that told him to. Psychiatrists and behaviorists spent years relying on the help of Ted Bundy, who turned out to be a pathological liar, which was kind of a given since he was a psychopath, yet he was their favorite study subject for the mind of a serial killer. Only recent studies have started proving that most of what Bundy offered was nonsense. Charles Manson took a bunch of lost youths and attempted to create a race war. He also influenced some of the Beach Boys work in 1969, when he and the family were actually living with Denis Wilson (the session tapes will never be released, if they still exist, however, one song co-written with Manson by Denis Wilson was released as a single and Wilson is credited as the sole creator of the song for good reason). Even stranger though, Ed Gein, has been the inspiration for more fictional serial killers than the number of victims he actually had. Gein was convicted of only 2 murders, with a 3rd suspected. Technically, this doesn’t even make him a serial killer (a serial killer must be tied to the deaths of at least 3 people), but the characters Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and most bizarrely, Vincent from Motel Hell is very loosely based on Gein. Even the show American Horror Story got in on the action and based a character on him. 

For the record, I’m not sure which is stranger; that I know all this and can write about it or that it really happens.

About the author:
Hadena James began writing at the age of eight. By the time she graduated high school, she had published a couple of short stories in literary magazines. She completed writing her first novel at seventeen. Hadena began college as an English major, but quickly changed to a history major. However, she continued to write and took several extra classes in creative writing. 

College showed her that while she could write short stories, novel writing was truly where her heart lay. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in European History with minors in German and Russian Studies. During this time, she received a couple of contract offers from publishing houses, but ultimately turned them all down.

In August 2012, she self-published her first novel. In retrospect, she is appreciative of the contracts offers she received when she was younger, but believes she made the right decision with self-publishing.

When she isn’t busy writing, Hadena enjoys playing in a steel-tip dart league. She loves to travel throughout North America and Europe. Her favorite cities to visit are Chicago, Illinois and Berlin, Germany. She is an avid reader, with her favorites being classic literature; Edgar Allen Poe, HP Lovecraft, Gaston LeRoux, and Jane Austen; modern favorites include Clive Barker, James Patterson, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Her favorite book is “Good Omens” by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett. She writes all of her books while listening to music and the bands tend to get “honorable mentions” within the pages. Some of her favorite bands are Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Rammstein, U2, Marilyn Manson, Oomph!, and Rob Zombie. 


Hadena James said...

Thanks for hosting me today!

CCAM said...

You're very welcome! I liked your article :)