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Potential Vengeance

Mike Mallow
Mike Mallow Author Interview

In The Country Dark follows a journalist and a childhood friend as they become targets of a reclusive rural crime lord. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

My wife was working as a Human Resource Manager at a nursing home. She aways had tons of framed pictures of our family on the walls. It made me uneasy since this was a room where she regularly terminated people. This sometimes generates bad blood, and our pictures were all there to select for potential vengeance.

Cabel and Troy are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

I had two childhood friends who passed away in their 20s. Both had somewhat of a reckless streak, which inspired the main flaw behind Troy’s personality. Cabel became somewhat of a surrogate to have the conversations with his old friend that I no longer could. As their development progressed, I was able to really drill down on the nostalgia the fuels reunions later in life.

The novel explores the darker side of rural West Virginia communities. What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?

The main thing I wanted to focus on are the more realistic aspects of rural life. Lack of opportunities in employment, a community that turns their back to young struggling residents, and the fatalism engrained in family legacy. Those things together breed the resentment and desperation that gives birth to the drugs and crime that are rampant across Appalachia today.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

“Burning Without Knowing” – another Appalachian Crime Novel. This one is about copper thieves exposed in southern West Virginia. It’s still in the outline stages, but is promising enough to start composing this winter. Hopefully it will be ready for an early 2022 release.

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Darkness is everywhere. It lurks just below the surface, waiting to rear its ugliness, even in small serene West Virginia communities. The darkness of murder and drugs puts a disenchanted journalist and recently reunited childhood friend in the crosshairs of a reclusive rural crime lord. The unlikely pair, navigating a trail of past traumas, broken dreams, and small victories, try to find a way to shine a light on the dark underbelly of their community before the darkness becomes their own.
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