Posted by Literary Titan
Pigs is a thrilling crime drama following an ex-con on a bloody mission to get revenge for his slain family. What was the inspiration for the setup to this suspenseful novel?
The original conception was vastly different, starting out as a supernatural horror where the deeply traumatised cardiologist Dr Jensen lures Isaac, Roach, Wyndorf and the rest of their heist gang to “test” a new security system in a private warehouse, with the promise of a substantial cash award upon completion. Shock horror, it’s all a trap, and since recovering, Jensen’s been employing a small, private firm of scientists to experiment with technology which can bring his deep-seated psychological trauma to life, using it send a bunch of unstoppable, violent, homicidal pig men to chase down Isaac and his crew within the private complex. So yeah…a few things changed, but the core ideas remained, primarily the heavy burden of guilt around Isaac’s neck for what happened with Jensen, and the hostilities between Isaac and Wyndorf. After boiling it all down to these primary constituents, I reimagined it as a much more down to Earth crime-suspense novel.
Isaac is a deeply developed and layered character. What were some ideas you wanted to capture with his character?
I hate to sound like a spiteful and vindictive individual, but I love revenge stories. And who doesn’t? That was the primary motivation behind this story, Isaac’s burning need to exact revenge and how far he is willing to go in order to achieve it. But at the same time I wanted him to be struggling internally with his hatred and his moral compass, the needle of which is being guided by his recently lost family whom he had been hoping to become a better man for.
Isaac is a man who has made some bad choices in his past, but he always had a code, and therefore, in my eyes, he isn’t beyond redemption.
I enjoyed how the criminal underworld in this book is well defined and felt natural. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Thank you. One of the major niches of the criminal underworld is that of the meth dealing doomsday preppers…and they just felt like a natural fit for Wyndorf. That guy is a complete psychopath, disowned from his more stable criminal associates and family, but he can be useful in a way so why not stick him with a network of drug-running heavily armed militants?
In terms of themes, I’d say the predominant one is definitely the internecine nature of vengeance and how it tends to destroy all involved, at least to varying extents. We see this in the characters of Isaac, Wyndorf and Jensen, all of who are primarily motivated by their need to settle the score. Cue bloodshed.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My agent Ethan Ellenberg — along with his great team — are currently shopping my fantasy horror novel, Fable, around the publishers. It’s about a high school senior and his few outsider friends who get on the wrong side of the school’s (and the town’s) drug dealers. It’s also about a synthetic hallucinogenic drug, the eponymous Fable. As the animosity builds between our hero and the bullies and their criminal connections, he realises to his dismay that his unstable, drug-induced childhood friend has returned, and could be the only thing capable of protecting him and his friends from the violent reprisals.
I also have a first draft manuscript called Night Collar, about a female NY cab driver who is mixed up in the local black market organ harvesting business, who must try to survive the night in an Odyssean chase across the city with a young Chinese triad member — the son of the organisation’s leader — as they attempt to deliver empire-toppling evidence to an FBI handler, and all the while staying one step ahead of some colourful psychopaths.
And I’m currently tidying up the first draft of an action/fantasy manuscript called Hourglass. Ghosts, guns, secret agents, talking hoodoos, demons, the 9 kingdoms of the dead, and probably a healthy dose of existential dread.
Isaac Reid, a former professional thief, has just finished a ten-year stint in prison for a botched job turned bloodbath. Now all he wants is to go straight and make amends with his wife and young son. On his first night of freedom his loved ones are brutally slain by a bitter enemy. Surviving the encounter, Isaac struggles with his choices: do right by his late family’s wishes and abide by the law, or seek vengeance. But he’ll need to decide quickly, as another mysterious force from his past is now in play: a cold killer wearing a wolf mask, leading a band of pig-masked assassins. To Isaac, these men are strangers, but they’re prepared to kill any who get between them and him.
Posted by Literary Titan
Pigs by Daniel James follows an ex-convict’s journey for vengeance. On the same night that he is released from prison, his wife and child are brutally murdered. Isaac Reid has to struggle with the guilt and desolation of losing his family. At the same time, he is confronted with an even more daunting challenge: a cold-blooded nemesis, the wearer of the wolf mask. We follow Isaac on his bloodthirsty path for revenge and root for him as he struggles against his internal demons.
This novel does not hold back on the bloody punches. The murders could be straight out of a Tarantino film, that’s how gruesome and well-portrayed they are. Violence and crime are treated in a matter-of-fact manner, which only serves to highlight their shock factor.
Although I am admittedly not an expert in matters regarding the criminal underworld, Daniel James manages to create a very real and believable world. Drug-abuse, petty crime, battery, theft, violence, all the terrifying aspects of a criminal life are explored here.
I think one of the reasons why this is possible is because the author is not afraid to dive deep into the characters’ psyches. The characters do not exist only in the dimension of their backstories and connections. Instead, their minds are explored and their motivations examined. Everyone from the protagonist and antagonist to the secondary characters receive this treatment. These examinations of their emotional and psychological beings made this a much more appealing read to me. I’ve always enjoyed deeply unsettling portrayals of psychosis and rage-consumed characters.
There were a few hitches in the form of clichéd and overdone violence scenes. Although they were well-written, they seemed to serve no purpose other than adding unnecessary thrill in an already action-filled book. However, it is a crime novel and I suppose that such depictions are an inbuilt evil of the same.
The book ends on a gloomy but hopeful note. Isaac commits just as many terrible and gruesome acts as his enemy, but somehow, via masterful navigation, Daniel James still had me rooting for him till the end. Pigs is an intense and gripping read. It will take you through a dark wormhole, at the end of which there is a sense of stability, but very little light.
Pages: 204 | ASIN: B07TTVMNCQ