Sunday, July 13, 2014

LISA'S REVIEW: Midnight Riders (Pete Clark)


Book Info:
Title: Midnight Riders
Author: Pete Clark
“Gather ‘round people and you shall hear
about a bunch of bullshit that is clear.
Of riders and horses and monsters too;
your parents lied - they can still get you.
Hardly anyone who was there is alive
to dispel the rumor, uncover the lies,
but there was more than one man who rode that day
and more than just Redcoats who got in their way.”
Along the way, Longfellow lost something in his translation it seems.
Everyone has heard of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. However, they have not heard about them this way! The American founding fathers had a lot more to deal with at the end of the 18th century than tariffs and tea; avoiding hurled trees from Wendigos and gargoyles falling from the sky took a lot of patience. How is Samuel Prescott supposed to hunt the leader of the Rippers when the British keep infringing upon the colonists’ rights?

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Boone was sure he heard Revere scream as the zombie Forbes charged at them. On his way, Forbes took a nice hearty bite out of an off duty soldier who happened to be nearby. “Grullarrk,” the soldier said clearly before falling to the ground.

Forbes Zombie was fast. A hell of a lot faster than Forbes was in real life. How the heck did that work out, Boone wondered. Oh well. He unslung his double-barreled reverse musket, an invention of Revere; the guy was good for something, thought Boone as he fired and turned his former commanding officer’s head into a floating cloud of red mist. He then flipped the release on his musket, spun the barrels so that the fired barrel faced back and the loaded faced forward, and he vaporized the downed soldier’s head as well just to be sure. He wasn’t about to let any zombies rise on his watch.

“Everybody to the wall,” Fraser ordered. It seemed that Boone’s gunfire and the shrieking had alerted the remaining werewolves, who were apparently done feasting on the French and wanted to upgrade to a little English breakfast.

“Zombies and werewolves,” whined Revere. “I sure hope no vampires show up.”

“Vampires?” Boone countered. “What are you, a child? Vampires aren’t real.”

“They’re not?” asked Revere.

“No - vampires are just a myth. But dragons, dragons will fuck your shit up,” said George Washington.

Playlist for Midnight Riders

“Loved by the Sun”: Tangerine Dream  

This is a cheeseball eighties song and I love me some cheeseball eighties music. This one has a sort of epic and mystical sound to it. So it’s good for when I’m trying to get into more of the supernatural elements of the story.

“You Don’t have to be a Prostitute”: Flight of the Conchords

This is a strange and enjoyable tune with a bit of steel drum. Who doesn’t love a bit of steel drum? If you know the band, then you already know what kind of song this is. I like this song and others like it because it is somewhat inspiring to see the utter chaos. Utter chaos is crucial to many of my stories.

“Community Property:” Steel Panther 

See the first two selections and you know that I love strange lyrics and eighties music. Well this song is the best of both worlds. Written to sound like a traditional 80s rock ballad but the lyrics are amazingly offensive and bizarre. It was love at first listen to me. This is also a nice barometer. Because if you are offended by this song, then chances are the language in my books is a bit harsh for you as well.

“Jack Sparrow”: The Lonely Island (featuring Michael Bolton)

I like this song both for its oddly energetic chorus and also for the style of comedy it uses. I like confusion and manipulation of audience expectation to create comic situations. This song certainly plays with that. Good times.

“Werewolves of London”: Warren Zevon

First off this song is awesome so it should be on every playlist. And as an added bonus, it features stylish werewolves. My book also has werewolves. But mine are bastards. His have perfect hair and a fondness for Chinese takeout. Seriously this song belongs everywhere.

“Anders”: Trust. 

I like this song because of its poppy cheesiness. I also have a tendency, when it comes to music, to relate more to the sound than the words and although the lyrics are certainly interesting if you speak Flemish or whatever, it is the music alone that provides all of the inspirational boost I need. The video in the link is just a picture with the music because the actual videos are pretty poor quality.

“Bangers and Mash:” Infant Sorrow

Another song that is actually a really excellent tune but has the added bonus of being rather bizarre. A fictional band designed for a movie but regardless, a lot of their music is good. This song is a good example of how you can have a good song with childish humor and still make it work. Again I love strange comedy.

“Before the Lobotomy”: Green Day. 

This song is both beautiful and thunderous. One of my favorite Green Day songs. This song I find to be a very powerful tool for inspiration for scenes that involve intense emotion and beauty. There are a few of them in my books and the sound of this song makes for a good example of the balance I look for in those scenes.

Well I must say that this was definitely a twist on history. I enjoyed it though. At times I even found myself laughing out loud. I don't usually read this kind of thing, but I am glad I read this. A really nice change from my usual and a great way to spend a few hours! It was just to unrealistic for me though. I wish it could have been more believable because this could have been an amazing story. Not that it was not good, just not a wow book. I really did like it though and that shocked me. I can't really say why but it did. This is a book with the kind of humor my family loves. So that really drew me in. I definitely say you should give it a try. This isn't a book all would enjoy but, it is a good laugh and a new view on history. I can say I would have much rather history been this interesting while I was in school. Then it would have been my favorite subject.  I do wish that everyone could love this kind of book but they do not. I did enjoy it and I look forward to reading more of Pete Clark's work. It was new to me and I will be reading more like it for sure. If you enjoy history with a twist then this is the perfect book. 



Pete Clark likes writing, animals, potato chips, and cheese. Midnight Riders is his first published novel, although he can also proudly say he finally finished Helix Crashing, the fantasy novel he has been working on for over a decade. Someday, it will be out. In addition, he has written Across the Barren Landscape, a collection of linked Western short stories, and Tales from Midnight's Graveyard, a collection of unconnected horror, science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural stories. He cowrote Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story with author Sarah Daltry. He also writes plays, both dramatic and comedic. When he is not writing, Pete tends to ignore everyone around him and obsess over sports.
Author Social Media Links:

Top 10 Urban Legends
Here are some Urban Legends I like in no particular order.

Three Men and a Baby Ghost
This is a bad movie from the ‘80s. But in one scene, you can see a ghostly figure in the background that is not meant to be in the movie. Booga booga. It is in fact the dead ghost of a boy who killed himself in the same house that the scene was filmed. This legend ran wild for a bit after the movie and I know people who rented it just to show other people the ghost scene.
Creepy? Well no. It was just a cardboard person-shaped standee that no one had remembered to move. But at least this crap movie got a few more rentals out of the legend.

Killswitch Invisible Demon
Killswitch is a video game. At the beginning, you had to choose between playing as a female or as an invisible demon. As playing with an invisible character is rather troubling, people choose the female. In addition, it was rumored that if you defeated the game with the demon, all your data of the game would be immediately erased. So there was no evidence of anyone having ever beaten it as the demon. One day, some guy got the game and said he was going to record his entire playthrough as the demon. The posted video featured only the gamer looking as his screen and weeping. The explanation for this is unclear.

Bloody Mary
A classic that everyone knows but sometimes, in the right environment, it can still make mirrors scary. Go ahead and say Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror. I dare you.

“Aren’t You Glad You Didn’t Turn on the Light?”
A college student comes back to her dorm room and does not want to disturb her roommate. Variations of the story is that her roommate is either sleeping in order to rest for a big exam or possibly banging her boyfriend with the lights off. So, to be nice, the arriving roommate does not turn on the light and ignores whatever sounds come from the other side of the room. Of course, what is happening is her roommate is being murdered in the dark and when she wakes the phrase, Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light, is painted on the wall in blood. Kind of creepy to think that someone is only a few feet away and killing someone. And also nice to know that some killers are thoughtful enough to leave without disturbing their victim’s roommate.

Another alleged video game. You remember arcades? Great. Me, too. Well, this game supposedly arrived in random arcades with no information as to how the game appeared. It had only the name of the game and a single joystick. The game was fun and people played it; however, the rumor is it drove people mad. Some had seizures and a few committed suicide. It was also told that men in black clothes came and worked on the game from time to time. Sketchy as hell. I’m sticking with Rolling Thunder.

Wizard of Oz and the hanging Munchkin
There is a scene where, if you look closely as Dorothy heads down the yellow brick road, you can see a dead munchkin hanging from a tree. He was sick of being a damn munchkin and hung himself. Nobody noticed until after. So his dead munchiness is in the movie now.
Or actually no. Apparently it was some kind of rare bird from a zoo or something. That is actually pretty good too.
New Urban legend: In the Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy is going down the yellow brick road you can see a mysterious demon bird from Hell’s zoo. It is on a tree and waiting to eat her soul.

The Midnight Rider
This is one of the most likely to be true. Legend says that if you purchase two copies of Pete Clark’s Midnight Riders in paperback and hold them against it other, cover to cover, while you chant ”Ich liebe dieses buch” three times, then the ghost of Benedict Arnold will come out of the joining of the spines and tell you the true story of his betrayal. If you’re nice, he may also mow your lawn. Booga booga.

Daddy Long Legs
When I was little, we had many daddy long legs spiders in our yard. And frequently I was told that they are the most deadly and poisonous spiders in the world. While I was running away, the person would then shout at me, “but it can’t hurt you.” This was confusing. The rumor here was that its mouth was so small it could not bite a human and so its mighty poison was worthless. Ha ha almost scary spider, squish you. This is not true. The spider’s mouth is actually plenty big enough to poison the hell out of you! That or it isn’t poisonous.

Chaos in Cars
There are a few of these and I sort of like them all. The people on a date hear scratching so, in terror, they drive off and a hook is stuck to the door. Ouch for the creepy guy. Or somebody is flashing their lights behind a kid driving at night; he or she is terrified and drives home only to discover that a killer was in the back seat and whenever the pursuer flashed their lights, the killer would lay back down. A killer scared of high beams apparently. Or the one where the kind person gets out of the grocery store to find a tired old woman wrapped in blankets in her back seat. “Oh but I’m cold and tired,” she would say. Then the cops come and discover it is some dude with an axe dressed as an old lady. Ah cars, they’ll get ya.

Top ten lists
People who read top ten lists and mentally mock the items listed or think, this one is stupid; what about this other one that I like? They are destined for a well heated corner of Hell. This legend has been passed on for centuries but the tale has grown with the internet’s obsession with lists. So mock lists at your own risk as the list reaper will, uh, reap you? I guess. Yeah that works. Booga booga again.

 Top Ten:

For this list I have put together ten of my favorite supernatural creatures in no particular order. Some liberties are taken with some of the lore but hey, it’s just a fun list. I may change my mind about what should be on it by tomorrow or the next day, but they are all awesome and that is what counts.
Wendigo: A violent incarnation of insanity and rage. The wendigo is often portrayed as a simple cannibal, but when you really turn these guys loose and let them blossom into the terrain obliterating fuzzy mass of unstoppable rage that they can be, then they are tough not to love.
Zombies: Ah the zombie; so simple, so stupid, and yet oddly creepy. The mindless solitary desire to feed at all costs, even at the cost of its own destruction, combined with a grotesque yet formally dressed appearance makes the zombie a frightening entity. Although only in groups; one zombie is nothing. But don’t get cocky. Chances are there’s more than one; you just don’t know where it is.
Phoenix: I am a fan of birds. Birds that burst into a searing torrent of flame and are then reborn? Well, that makes for an awesome bird.
Werebear: I love me a quality lycan. But those damn werewolves are getting overdone. So why not go with the Werebear. Bears are cooler than wolves anyway. How many times have you seen a wolf beat up a bear? I’ll tell you how many times- no times. Because it never happens. Bears will kill the hell out of you; Were Bears are capable of some major carnage.
Manticore: I love hybrid creatures. Monsters that are a mix of other things and smashed together. Well hello Mr. Manticore. Lion, cool wings, poison darts. What - poison darts come out of you? Ok that gets you on the list.
Chimera: Hey look another hybrid creature. But the chimera is the best hybrid of them all. A simply amazing and unpredictable mixture of a lion, a dragon, and a goat. That’s right. They got a goat mixed in there. Dragons are amazing, but when you mix it with the excitement of a goat monster, it makes a big pile of awesome.
Old School Vampires: Now I am pretty wary about putting vampires on this list as vampires have become a big sparkly bucket of teen angsty love and overall suckiness. But I say no. Those are not vampires; those are just well dressed men with sharp teeth. The real vampires burst in the sun, kill you for your blood, sort of smell like the grave, and enjoy a good fight. Those vampires are still awesome. It is just so hard to find a good vampire nowadays. Poor vampires. They have been ruined by junior high girls.
Succubus: Succubae are basically really hot girls that will kill you by having sex with you. I think that pretty much makes the case.
Doppelganger: The awesome name, best enjoyed while being said in a borderline offensive German accent, does half the work. Also it can become anything. Even you. In fact, you just might be a double walker right now and don’t know. Ich Liebe Doppelgangers.  I also Liebe flammenwerfers but that is another list.
Kappa: Small creepy little water sprits that just want to invite you in for a swim. Sure, it’s to drown you, but that’s no reason to be rude. They also have little bowls on their head. So if you get attacked by one, shove its ass over and dump the water out of its head. That will mess it up. Also Japanese mythology is packed with cool creepy things. I had to have at least one on the list.
Dragon: The dragon? Yes. Maybe it’s predictable, maybe they are overused according to some. But the dragon is the ultra-expression of sheer supernatural creature power. Flight, size, claws, armored skin and a variety of awesome breath weapons, often fire. What else does a dragon need? Perhaps a large mountain to make its home and a pile of riches from its mangled foes? Oh wait - they have that too. Dragons are the best and if you don’t think so then we probably can’t be friends.
Honorable mention: Minotaur, Centaur, Sphinx. And about fifty others. J

Character interview: The Wendigo

Tell us your latest news.
Wendigo rise from slumber to destroy.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Message of destruction important. Humans need know I will mash them up. Maybe eat.

What books have most influenced your life most?
A history of you. 100 American forests. Botany.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Sasquatch and Yeti. But Yeti’s prose lacks polish.

What are your current projects?
Obliteration of humanity time consuming. Also general carnage is hobby. And Pinochle.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Lately I destroy lots. A fort, some trees. Also I turn one person into the consistency of soup. But flavor not good.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Flee. Destruction is upon you. Wendigo will yell “wendigo” and then you get eaten. Keep ears open.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
After finish each chapter I throw tree through man’s chest.
What paranormal creature would you be and why?
Wendigo would like to be Wendigo. Dream realized. Wendigo happy.

What would you do if you didn’t have to work?
Spawn more rippers. Also maybe piano lessons. But need big piano.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? 
Wendigo always love explore. Want to be archeologist. Now happy to eat Archeologists.

What makes you laugh?
The pitiful screams of my prey. Is funny.

If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
Wendiczar. Not sure what would be but like title.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
Respect King Kong. He knows how to bring the pain.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Ian McKellan.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Wendigo like fly. Save time on commute important to Wendigo.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
T-    And that’s it. They only have time to write one letter before I squish them.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be, and why?
Daniel Boone. Ask him what is always with the gunpowder.

If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
Polar Bear. Cute like me.

If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Eat it.

If you were a Star Wars character, which one would you be?
Answer too obvious. Wampa.

What kind of people do you dislike?
I dislike people. All.

What makes you angry?
Wendigo always angry. This question makes Wendigo angry. Now I feed you this tree.


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