Archive for the 'Craig’s Novels' Category

August 24, 2015

THE INFECTION WARMy zombie novels THE INFECTION and its sequel THE KILLING FLOOR, two of Permuted Press’s most successful titles, are back in Permuted Platinum and slated for release as INFECTION WAR: BOOKS I & II through bookstores everywhere January 19, 2016.

Permuted Platinum is a program delivering select Permuted titles to distribution through retail stores like Barnes & Noble. The titles were originally slated for release this year but were dropped. After some conversations with the company’s ownership, they’re back in.

I’m really excited about this release. The books went through a thorough edit and polish for the new edition, and with distribution through Permuted’s partner Simon & Schuster, they’ll be available to many new readers.

As for a third book, I’ve got a stack of projects in front of it, but I’m hoping to revisit the brutal world of THE INFECTION in the future. Stay tuned.

Thanks, Permuted Press!
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August 7, 2015

I was happy to see SUFFER THE CHILDREN be read as Book #8 in the NIAFABO blog’s 100-book reading challenge:

“An interesting take on the zombie/vampire apocalypse story. DiLouie’s story had a clear voice, and even though you knew where the story was headed, you found yourself hoping that somehow things would turn around. The way that the parents and society seemed to deteriorate along with the innocence and humanity of the children was chilling and compelling. The book asked the question of just how far parents would be willing to go for their children and their families, and it did not disappoint … Ultimately satisfying.”

Thanks for that review! Click here to read it.

July 29, 2015

Coming soon! My first foray into historical fantasy. Tons of fun to write and, I hope, to read.

July 17, 2015

Kwips & Kritiques recently reviewed SUFFER THE CHILDREN, writing, “Craig DiLouie has put a new spin on the vampire legend, crafting a tale that exemplifies horror at its finest … If you are looking for a creepy thriller sure to provoke nightmares, then SUFFER THE CHILDREN is right up your alley! Highly recommended!”

Thank you for your kind review!

Click here to read the complete review.

July 3, 2015

Dee’s Book Blog recently reviewed the audiobook edition of SUFFER THE CHILDREN (narrated by the great RC Bray), writing, “It is very rare that I need to pause listening to a book mid-way through for a mental break, but Craig DiLouie’ SUFFER THE CHILDREN made me do just that … I was so invested in what happened to the different characters that hearing what happened to them made me sit in my car in shock for a good 20 minutes one day.”

It’s the first book review I’ve gotten that included a public health warning that the novel will induce nightmares. As a horror author, I’ll take that as a badge of honor.

Check out the complete review here.
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May 13, 2015

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE
RABAUL

Fortress Rabaul. The lion’s den. A hub of merchant shipping that was the lifeblood of an empire that controlled one-tenth of the world. Home of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Eighth Fleet.

Located on the northeastern tip of New Britain, the town had been built in a sunken caldera along the natural anchorage of Simpson Harbor. Forested mountains loomed beyond the town. Vulcan Volcano smoked in the western jungle.

Before the Japanese came, the island had been an Australian territory. Australian units had been sent to fight in North Africa, leaving the garrison depleted. The Japanese landed in January 1942, swept aside the defenders, and hunted them down in the jungle. Then they turned the town into an impregnable land, air, and naval base ringed by artillery and anti-aircraft guns.

The captain studied the harbor defenses through the periscope and whistled at the view. His officers eyed him anxiously.

“All ahead one-third,” he said. “Steady as she goes.”

The S-55 crept as close to the mouth of Simpson Harbor as Kane dared take her.

“I see a lot of ships tied up,” he observed. “What do you think, Reynolds? They’re all lined up in a row, like sitting ducks. Maybe we should go in there and take them out.”

“I was thinking, we could skirt around—”

“I was joking, Reynolds.”

Entering the harbor would be suicide. Assuming the S-55 could navigate the minefields without being blown out of the water, she’d have to stay out of contact of roaming patrol boats. Then she’d be in shallow waters—clearly visible and with nowhere to dive deep to escape.

They’d just have to wait until some ships came out.

The problem was they only had enough fuel and provisions for four days before they had to turn back for Brisbane. They had no idea when a ship might emerge from the harbor mouth. It might be hours, it might be days, maybe even weeks.

“It’s too bad,” Kane said. “I can see the meatballs on their sides.” Japanese naval insignia, a blood-red sun on a white field. “Makes a nice target.”

Sound waves thudded against the hull. Distant booms.

The men glanced at each other.

“MacArthur’s bombers,” the captain said. “It’s raining hell up there. The B-17s are stirring up the hornets’ nest. I see Zeros flying everywhere. Down scope. Helm, right full rudder.”

“Right full rudder,” answered the helmsman. He turned the wheel.

“I wonder how they like having bombs dropped on their heads,” Rusty said.

“Come to east,” Kane ordered. “Maintain speed. All compartments, stand by to dive.”

He was turning the boat around. The S-55 was visible from the air, and although the Zeros were preoccupied with the bombers overhead, Kane was wisely avoiding any risk of detection. He didn’t want the Japanese to know he was there until his first torpedo hit.

More than that, he wanted to get as far away from the bombing as possible. The B-17 “flying fortresses” weren’t precision weapons; they dropped big sledgehammers from eighteen thousand feet. It would be in keeping with Frankie’s luck to have come all this way to the lion’s den only to be sunk by an errant five-hundred-pound bomb made in the U.S.A.

“Dive. Eighty feet. Battery, how much juice do we have in the can?”

The hull vibrated with booms thudding in rapid succession.

The telephone talker relayed the battery room’s answer. The captain nodded, satisfied.

“All ahead flank.”

The submarine glided across Blanche Bay to safer waters.

The captain clapped Charlie on the shoulder. “Wait and hurry up, Harrison.”

“Yes, sir,” Charlie said with a smile.

He felt the same excitement that infected the rest of the crew, who imagined returning to base with a broom tied to the shears and several meatballs painted on the hull.

The broom signified a “clean sweep,” a patrol in which all torpedoes were fired. The meatball insignia were brags of ships sunk.

He didn’t think they’d have to wait much longer. The bombing was likely to get the Japanese thinking about accelerating departure schedules. Ships might be on the move soon.

The S-55 would reach Duke of York Island by nightfall. There, her engines would recharge the battery. Then the old sea wolf would become a hunter. And return to Simpson Harbor …

Want to read more? Get CRASH DIVE for Kindle here.
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May 10, 2015

What a great con! The World Horror Convention is my favorite event of the year. I loved reconnecting with friends and making new ones. So fun. I roomed with John Dixon (author of PHOENIX ISLAND), which was hilarious and included many late night chess games.

Last night, I was in stitches as the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards were announced. I had the honor of seeing SUFFER THE CHILDREN nominated in a very strong field. (Thanks to you all for your best wishes!) Congrats to Steve Rasnic Tem for winning Superior Achievement in a Novel! And congrats to all the other winners!

Here’s the list:

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL
Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem (Solaris Books)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL
Mr. Wicker by Maria Alexander (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Phoenix Island by John Dixon (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)

Superior Achievement in a GRAPHIC NOVEL
Bad Blood by Jonathan Maberry (Dark Horse Books)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION
“Fishing for Dinosaurs” by Joe R. Lansdale (Limbus, Inc., Book II, JournalStone)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION (tie)
“The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous, Written Backwards)
“Ruminations” by Rena Mason (Qualia Nous, Written Backwards)

Superior Achievement in a SCREENPLAY
The Babadook by Jennifer Kent (Causeway Films)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY
Fearful Symmetries edited by Ellen Datlow (ChiZine Publications)

Superior Achievement in a FICTION COLLECTION
Soft Apocalypses by Lucy A. Snyder (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in NON-FICTION
Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide by Lucy A. Snyder (Post Mortem Press)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY COLLECTION
Forgiving Judas by Tom Piccirilli (Crossroad Press)

April 30, 2015

The Horror Writers Association has published a series of interviews of this year’s Bram Stoker Award nominees on its website. I’m proud to have participated, as my novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN, was nominated for Best Novel.

Click here to read my interview, where I talk about the book, its influences, and how I put it together. Also be sure to click here to see similar interviews with the other nominees.

April 28, 2015

CHAPTER ONE
TO WAR

Brisbane, Australia.

October, 1942.

Charlie Harrison was going to war.

He walked onto the busy New Farm Wharf, sea bag over his shoulder and a spring in his step. He fidgeted, six feet of coiled energy. Then he shook it off, determined to appear cool in case anybody was watching.

He’d worked hard to get here. Naval Academy, class of ’39. He’d served as a lieutenant, junior-grade on a destroyer, steaming up and down the Atlantic for nearly three years. After the Japanese surprise attack against Pearl electrified America, he’d gotten caught up in the war fever and put in for a transfer. He didn’t want to spend the war playing cat and mouse with German U-boats. He didn’t want to play defense; he wanted to take the fight to the enemy. The Navy approved his transfer, and he attended the Submarine School in New London, Connecticut.

Now he stood on the eastern coast of Australia, ready to report to his new command.

He found the S-55 and another submarine, the S-37, tied to a tender—a big repair and support ship. Men labored among an assortment of hoses, welding lines and other gear to ready the submarines for sea. Sparks sprayed from the welding.

God, but she was ugly. Nothing like the USS Kennedy, his old destroyer with her clean lines, smokestacks, and guns. The S-55 was just a long black cylinder with a short conning tower jutting over her and a single four-inch gun on her deck. Built by the Electric Boat Company in 1922, she was one of the last boats of the Great War era.

He’d hoped for love at first sight, but she inspired neither affection nor admiration.

Two hundred twenty feet long and twenty feet wide at the beam. A complement of a dozen torpedoes, which she launched from four tubes in the bow. Forty officers and crew.

She’d seen some heavy fighting. The conning tower wore a patchwork of welded gray plates—scars of some past action.

In that submarine, he’d live ass to elbow in a cramped, dingy, smelly metal machine under the water for weeks at a time. Cramped, hot, and smelly, the S-class submarines were called “pigboats” by the sailors who fought in them. Charlie had trained on an even-older R-class submarine in New London and had gotten a taste of it.

He’d heard a depth charge attack was like being in an earthquake—a quake that could break the hull and send the boat straight to the bottom.

It was a hell of a way to fight a war. The S-55, his new home, could end up being his coffin. Living in a submarine took a special kind of man. Those who didn’t cut it were put ashore and left there. He wondered if he was as able as he was willing. If he had the right stuff.

Looking at his new home, his romantic ideas about taking the fight to the enemy became real. For the first time, he wondered if he’d made a mistake.

Too late to back out now. He steeled himself to report to the deck watch, who stood on the gangway with a .45 on his hip. Then an apparition in oilskins, gas mask, and thick rubber gloves emerged from the conning tower and descended to the deck. Carrying a metal tank and coiled Flit gun, he stomped down the gangway onto the pier.

He spotted Charlie and lowered his gas mask, revealing the grinning face of a man about his own age. He said, “You wouldn’t believe it.”

“Believe what?”

“How many cockroaches I just put out of my misery. We’re talking millions.”

“Did you get Hitler?”

The sailor laughed. “No such luck, brother. You our new junior officer?”

“That’s right.” Charlie looked up at the scarred conning tower. “When’s she going back out on patrol?”

“When she’s ready, I suppose. This geriatric tub needs a lot of love.”

“I’d like you to take me to see the captain then, if you’re able.”

The man grinned again. “I’ll be happy to do that. You got a name, sailor?”

“Lieutenant, j-g Charles Harrison.”

“Welcome to the 55, Charlie. I’m Lieutenant Russell Grady, but you can call me Rusty.”

Charlie started at that. Rusty was his senior. Charlie should have saluted. Instead, he’d ordered the man to take him to the captain.

Rusty held out his hand. Charlie shook it, grateful for the warm welcome.

He hadn’t expected to see an officer doing an enlisted man’s duties. It was his first lesson in submarines. Everybody, officers and crew alike, did their share of the dirty work. On the S-55, as the saying went, they were all in the same boat.

Charlie realized that, despite all of his schooling, he still had a lot to learn. He also thought, if even half of the crew was like Rusty, he’d feel right at home on the old S-55.

Want to read more? Get CRASH DIVE for Kindle here.
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April 24, 2015

My new WWII novel CRASH DIVE includes an appendix describing the Battle of Guadalcanal, one of the most savage conflicts in history and a turning point in the Pacific War. Here it is:

THE BATTLE OF GUADALCANAL

Today, the word, “Guadalcanal” tends to conjure old movie images of jungle warfare between Marine and Japanese soldiers. The truth is that, due to its strategic importance, the island was not only the site of a bloody four-month ground war but also a virtually continuous air and naval war in which numerous planes and ships participated and were destroyed on both sides.

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a devastating air assault against the United States Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Days later, bombers hit the Asiatic Fleet at Cavite Naval Yard in the Philippines.

Japan’s strategic goals were to eliminate the U.S. Navy as a threat, capture resource-rich territory, and create a strong defensive perimeter around its empire. Following the attacks against the U.S. Navy, Japan rapidly captured the Philippines, Hong Kong, French Indochina, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, and various islands under the control of Australia and the U.S.A.

The conquests were followed by offensives aimed at establishing a broad defensive perimeter that would place Japan in a position to threaten Hawaii, the western coast of the United States, and Australia. These thrusts were thwarted at the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, leaving Japan with fewer strategic offensive options.

The Allies now had the initiative and targeted the Solomon Islands, specifically Guadalcanal and surrounding islands. Japanese troops had occupied Tulagi in May 1942 and had built a seaplane base. In July 1942, they began constructing an airbase on Guadalcanal from which bombers could threaten sea lanes between the United States and Australia, isolating Australia. The small island suddenly took on critical strategic importance.

In August 1942, 11,000 soldiers of the 1st Marine Division, commanded by the able Major General Alexander Vandegrift, landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Florida, and other islands. On Guadalcanal, resistance was light. Taken by surprise, the garrison melted into the jungle, and the Marines captured the airfield.

The IJN reacted quickly. During the night of August 8, warships surprised an Allied battle group and inflicted heavy losses while only suffering damage to one cruiser. On the way back to Rabaul, the S-44 sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako, a major victory for the submarines, which had sunk few ships during the long fighting retreat from the Philippines to bases in Perth and Brisbane.

The Allied task force withdrew. The Marines were now on their own. They dug in around the airfield, suffering from tropical diseases and repeated shellings from Japanese ships. Japanese planes bombed the airfield, but the Marines repaired it, renaming it Henderson Field after Lofton R. Henderson, a Marine pilot who was killed at the Battle of Midway. By August 20, American fighter and bomber planes arrived at the airfield. These and other planes would become involved in almost daily dogfights over Guadalcanal as the Japanese repeatedly bombed it.

Radio Tokyo announced that the “insects” on Guadalcanal would be crushed. A detachment of Japanese troops of the 17th Army had landed on August 18. Nine hundred strong, they marched through nine miles of jungle and, on August 21, attacked the Marine positions around Henderson Field in what became known as the Battle of the Tenaru. The Japanese charged with bayonets but were slaughtered by American machine guns. The Marines then counterattacked and killed most of the survivors.

But more reinforcements were en route. The IJN dispatched two groups of warships. One aimed to eliminate the Allied naval presence in the Eastern Solomons, while the other intended to deliver two thousand troops to Guadalcanal. In the resulting Battle of the Eastern Solomons on August 24-25, both fleets suffered damage, but the IJN caught the worst of it, losing a light aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, the troop convoy suffered major losses during an aerial assault from Henderson Field, which in turn was bombed with much destruction.

The battle changed the strategic balance, and prospects for Allied victory improved. By the end of August, more than 60 planes were stationed at Henderson Field, which waged a daily air war with Japanese planes, a war of attrition that saw Japan take losses it could not readily replace. Allied ships reinforced the Marines on Guadalcanal during daylight hours while the IJN, due to Allied air power, was forced to transport troops and materiel down the Slot (St. George Channel) only at night on fast-moving warships. These runs, known as “rat transportation” among the Japanese, became known to the Allies as the “Tokyo Express.”

Between August 29 and September 4, Japanese ships landed 5,000 troops on the island, which assaulted the reinforced Marine positions in three bodies. The main body, some 3,000 strong, pushed back a force of 800 Marines until it was stopped cold. For the rest of the night, the Marines faced repeated human wave attacks, but they held the line. Suffering 30 percent casualties, the Japanese expeditionary force withdrew in defeat.

Both sides licked their wounds in September, which saw the Allied fleet lose the aircraft carrier Wasp. Meanwhile, the IJN still controlled the seas at night.

By early October, both sides had landed additional reinforcements for the next fight for Henderson Field and control of the island. During an Allied reinforcement operation on October 11, American and Japanese warships engaged in the Battle of Cape Esperance (Savo Island). The IJN lost a cruiser and a destroyer and heavily damaged another destroyer, while the Americans lost a cruiser, and another cruiser and a destroyer were heavily damaged. It was a tactical victory for the Allies, as the IJN was forced to cancel its bombardment of Henderson Field and withdraw.

The IJN tried again two days later, dispatching two battle groups, one consisting of two battleships and supporting warships, and the other consisting of a convoy of troopships. On October 14, the battleships blasted Henderson Field with nearly one thousand 14-inch shells. In a single hour, the Allies lost more than half their aircraft and suffered major damage to the airfield runways and fuel supplies.

Within hours, the Americans repaired one of the runways, which shortly received fresh air units and aviation gasoline. Planes sortied to strafe the troop convoy as it was unloading. Nonetheless, by October 17, the IJN had added 15,000 troops to the 5,000 already deployed. These forces launched a major assault against Marine positions on October 26 but were repulsed with heavy losses—some 3,000—while the Marines suffered few casualties. During this attack, IJN forces engaged Allied forces in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, in which the Americans lost a carrier, Hornet, and another, Enterprise, suffered heavy damage. The Japanese withdrew, however, due to damage to their two carriers and heavy aircraft losses. While a tactical victory for Japan, the empire continued to suffer significant losses it could not replace. After this battle, the role of IJN aircraft carriers in the campaign virtually ceased.

In November, the Marines counterattacked Japanese positions on Guadalcanal and inflicted heavy losses, but additional reinforcements stopped their advance. For the next six weeks, the two armies faced each other from their respective lines without major action. More Japanese troops were needed, which were to be delivered by an IJN task force of 11 transports carrying 7,000 troops from the 38th Infantry Division along with a great deal of materiel. Two battleships were also dispatched to bombard Henderson to prevent Allied planes from hitting the transports.

Upon learning of Japanese plans, the Americans dispatched more reinforcements protected by two task forces deployed by the South Pacific Fleet. On November 13, the IJN battle group met the task forces in a close-quarters nighttime battle in which the American forces were nearly destroyed. Having suffered some losses, the Japanese nonetheless withdrew. The next day, another force was deployed, and it succeeded in shelling Henderson Field at 2:00 in the morning. Believing the airfield to be out of action, the troop transports made way for Guadalcanal. Planes launched from Henderson and Enterprise bombed and sank a heavy cruiser and seven of the transports. The remaining four troopships withdrew. At midnight, the IJN tried again and sank three American destroyers but lost a battleship and destroyer. The remaining four troopships began unloading troops and supplies on the island but were strafed and destroyed by planes. Only 2,000 Japanese troops made it ashore, and they lacked supplies and equipment.

Meanwhile, Japanese troops on Guadalcanal had reached a dire supply situation. To deliver food to troops on the island, the IJN made a supply run in which it lost a destroyer but fired torpedoes that sank one American cruiser and damaged three others. The IJN attempted further deliveries, but it wasn’t enough. The Japanese were losing 50 men a day to disease and constant pressure from the Marines and Allied planes. The situation quickly went from dire to crisis.

In December, Emperor Hirohito ordered all Imperial Japanese Army troops to be withdrawn from Guadalcanal. In January and February 1943, the Tokyo Express evacuated 11,000 soldiers. With the battle over, the Allies began developing major bases on Guadalcanal and Tulagi to support new offensives. From then on, the Allies had the initiative, and the Japanese were on defense. Overall, the empire had lost at least 25,000 men during the four-month contest for control of the island, leading Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi, commander of the 35th Infantry Brigade at Guadalcanal, to proclaim, “Guadalcanal is no longer merely a name of an island in Japanese military history. It is the name of the graveyard of the Japanese army.”

Want to read more? Get CRASH DIVE for Kindle here.
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