The Hungry Monster Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
“Books give me the freedom to step outside of myself. That words alone can transport the reader to a reality as believable as the one he or she actually lives in, should not logically be possible. It’s a kind of real life magic.” – Alex C. Vick, author of Stealing Magic
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The Inlooker follows Thomas as his life changes when his daughter’s cat dies and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul inhabits the body of another cat in the house. This is one of the most unique story setups I’ve read in a long time. How did this idea develop into a story for you?
It is an event that actually happened. We had three cats at the time, each of which died in quick succession and had a unique personality, unlike those of the others. It was a wonder to behold, as each of our pets transmogrified into another way of behaving, which only lasted a couple of days before reverting to the original personality. That was over 30 years ago, but it led me to believe that animals possess spirits like we do.
Thomas works to enhance his powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people. What was the biggest challenge you faced in developing the character along with his powers?
Dispassionate research was needed into reincarnation, spiritualism, poltergeist activity and the possibilities of bodily possession by others. I could not even begin to start this monumental task until retirement. The most profound findings were actually in reincarnation, where much evidence exists and has been documented, especially involving children.
I enjoyed the narrators voice, it’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. Was this an intentional part of the story or just a facet of your natural writing style?
It was deliberate and based on the style of an old-time English actor called George Saunders. I can’t honestly say if it reflects my style in general. There’s a touch of Terry Pratchett in there too, plus the zaniness of P.G.Wodehouse.
What is the next story you are working on and when will that book be available?
I’ve recently issued The Sightseers Agency and am working on another in the Sci-Fi vein that will be ready by June 2017. All my books are near-future speculative and most of the contents are based on what is possible in key areas of science.
The magical World of Science Fiction is dominated by stories about individuals with outlandish costumes, fantastical skills and superior strength. They compete energetically for attention, and capture our imagination in the most unbelievable of ways.
But what if in real life, there were to exist a force that could take on any of these mythical beings, without needing to possess similar or opposing strengths?
Thomas Beckon wields that force, in much the same way that a contagion can wipe out most of humanity, from within. For Thomas is an Inlooker, perhaps the only one as far as he is aware, and is truly capable of invading any person’s soul that he chooses.
Luckily for those around him, Thomas is a benign individual who chooses a path through life that barely creates a ripple in his wake. At least, what he does is so undetectable that any malevolence in his actions is hardly ever recognized, even superficially.
Pity those who cross swords (or should I say souls?) with the Inlooker, for he can take anyone down, or initiate a chain-reaction of catastrophes, regardless of a person’s super abilities, or position in life.
Then he becomes less benign, and begins to focus on changing the society in which we live. Thereafter, he focuses on the world.
Posted in Interviews
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It all starts with a dead cat. Thomas Beckon is a father of two daughters, a husband to a kind, happy woman named Pat, an IT Manager, and a seemingly nice man who many fondly refer to as “Tommy.” His life changes when his daughter’s cat dies, and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul temporarily inhabits the body of another cat in the house. It’s always been his belief that even the smallest creatures have souls, so this discovery intrigues him more than it surprises him. His curiosity leads him to attempt a soul transfer of his own, taking over the body of the remaining cat. After much struggle, he’s successful.
This early success gives him the confidence to move on to humans. He comes to believe that he’s trained his entire life, through his interactions with his co-workers and his ability to understand them, to take on the role of Inlooker. An Inlooker is an immortal supernatural being which has the power to take over the souls of others. Beckon works to enhance these powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people, body and soul.
He starts out using this power for what he believes is “good,” but even his idea of good is twisted around his own self-interests. He moves from doing “good” to purposely doing evil. As Beckon explores his abilities and learns the extent of his power, he will face many enemies, the strongest one of all, himself and his baser instincts. When the future of the world and humanity hangs in the balance, the question for him becomes: can he overcome his greed and hunger for power and chose to utilize his superpowers for the greater good?
Set mostly in England and written by a British author, The Inlooker has a distinctly English voice with a dry sense of humor readers often find in British mystery novels. I enjoyed the voice most of all. It’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. At first, I didn’t like the narrator’s intrusions into the story, but I soon grew used to them and enjoyed the quirky voice very much.
The author, Terry Tumbler, is able to move around in time without confusing the reader and without making unnatural or abrupt scene changes. I like the way he reveals Thomas’ true nature slowly, first showing us how he became the Inlooker, and then backtracking to illustrate how he was kind of always an Inlooker, or at least an Inlooker-in-training. His skills didn’t just appear in an act of God type of moment; rather, they were always evolving, always building until the moment when he took over the cat.
This idea of latent powers is further explored when Thomas uses his powers selfishly and heartlessly. Early in the book, I was reminded of the quote by Sir John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I at first believed that ultimate power corrupted Thomas, but as the story went on, I realized that self-centeredness and the lack of conscience he displayed always existed within him. Societal norms, familial pressures, and office etiquette had served to control his baser instincts, but once Thomas achieved absolute power, he no longer needed to work within those parameters, so he didn’t. In an ever-evolving world that grows more complicated with an alien invasion, Thomas must decide if dominating the world or saving the world is his ultimate destiny.
I like the format of the book, specifically the short chapters and the descriptive chapter titles. Both kept the story moving at a steady pace. My own personal preference would be for the book to end with Chapter 25 and to not include the Addendum and the five Reference chapters. Beckon does a splendid job in Chapter 25 of wrapping up all the major themes and storylines of the book in a satisfying, yet unexpected way. Readers who like to dive in deeper and learn all the ins and outs will likely enjoy the evolution of the story in the remaining sections.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B00VVCVEZ6
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