Slaughterhouse is now available as a new-look, matt-finish paperback or e-book at Amazon and Kobo. If you’re already brave enough to have the book on your Goodreads shelf, why not update to the new cover?
If you haven’t already been introduced to Slaughterhouse, here’s a little taste:
A dark, brooding, psychological thriller set in Fort Worth, Texas featuring cool, collected Kris Kartofski, a man who takes a risk any of us could take – meeting a quiet girl for a first date – with devastating consequences.
“The storm batters the roof. Unfazed, Dawn says a rambling prayer about appreciating all the food God gives us every day of our lives and Janis hands me a heavy carving knife for the pig. ‘You’re man of the house now,’ she says softly. I stand up, take the knife from her and nod: the ritual is about to begin.”
Slaughterhouse featured in Crime Fiction Lover’s ‘New Talent November’ series in 2012 and has been nominated for a major 2013 international thriller award.
Want to share your experience with others? Want to scare your friends? Join the discussion on Twitter @ellmanbooks or become a fan or friend of the author at Goodreads. Join a growing community of dark fiction lovers.
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Foods that are aromatic, fresh, flavourful and vibrant can help us access memories and bring past experiences closer to us. Good food also makes us more creative. That’s why we’ve added a distinctive, powerful recipe to our website, one that is perfect for people who want to experience food, rather than just eat it.
The delicious “Ellman Books Curry” is a unique, fiery Thai Green Curry with a Nepalese twist designed and eaten by the Ellman Books crew. You’ll be twisted, too, when you see how much chilli we’ve put in. The recipe is inspired by a two-week visit to Koh Kret, Thailand and a recent trip a bit closer to home – our busy, atmospheric, local Nepalese restaurant.
So why don’t you dive in?
Real gardening – soil under fingernails, spade over shoulder, handful of baby geraniums – is not my scene. I prefer sowing the seeds of a story and watching it grow into a book.
Nurture and nature battle against one another during the process of development; it’s a true tug-of-war. Often, I write what feels natural. Sometimes, I push my ideas in different directions depending on what I want to achieve or what I think my readers might enjoy. I usually want to make a statement, but not always.
Ideas form into chapters, chapters are edited or rewritten, shuffled about, split up, drawn together and checked for flow. A second edit; a third. I read through it all in one go, then I might edit again or even add fresh material. There’s no set order; surprising myself during the creative stage spices the writing up. When the basics are complete, I take a break – maybe a drive in the wilderness or a walk up the hill or even a big cry – then I start work again to make real sense of the story as a whole.
Day after day, week after week; it takes time, emotion, skill and effort.
“You’re into death and murder, aren’t you? You’ll definitely enjoy this,” said a friend, as they reached happily across the shared restaurant table and handed me a book detailing the life and crimes of grave-robber Ed Gein.
To set the record straight, I’m not that into death and murder . . . although the book did go down a treat.
Edward Theodore Gein set out as a bodysnatcher and ended life a convicted killer, but – dare I say this – he was even more than that. He was known as “The Plainfield Ghoul” in his native Wisconsin and not by much better names elsewhere. Not only did he dig up people’s remains, he also created ornaments out of the different body parts – and displayed them in his home. There’s no doubt that Gein’s bizarre, gruesome modus operandi sent shock waves across America and the world at the time. But, his crimes influenced the development of some of our favourite horror characters: Norman Bates (“Psycho”); Leatherface (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and Jame Gumb (“Silence of the Lambs”).
Well, it might not be up there with Psycho, I’ll readily admit, but one of the first short stories I ever created was also influenced by Gein and his murderous antics. “Folly Á Deux: Madness in Two People” was quickly voted runner-up in a competition I entered back in 2011. Here it it in all its dark glory.
Folly Á Deux: Madness in Two People
Kiel, Wisconsin was a quiet place with very long, straight roads petering into the distance. With equal significance in the states of Manitowoc and Calumet, it was surrounded by natural beauty: the river; parks; and plain but passable historic buildings. Kiel and its neighbouring townships were loved. As far back as I can remember the people there had a pride for the simplicity they’d nurtured, their plain, honest lives and their down-to-earth work. It came to be known affectionately among the locals as ‘the little city that does big things’ – even the slogan, which carried it through two World Wars, was ordinary and unadorned. In retrospect, Kiel, Wisconsin didn’t change the way many towns do, and this was perhaps owing to its unassuming size or its traditional, small-town values.
One day I’m well into chlamydia, the next I’m considering arson and joining the circus. The searches I conduct on Google probably look absolutely bonkers to the untrained eye. I’m glad. Good luck to any government-funded anti-cyber-attack analyst trying to tooth-comb my internet history.
Try it. Confuse the heck of those secret online spies. Type in weird searches now and then to keep the sniffer dogs off your truffles. You have to. It isn’t a laughing matter. It’s about protecting your identity as a basket-case. It’s about showing the cyber-trolls you’re real and you’ve got a brain. Our ability to think like maniacs is what makes us human and it’s what makes us unique – and we need to keep that uniqueness sacred. Even when the rest of the planet appears to be trending about Justin Bieber, I think we should try to maintain that fantastic ability we were born with: to think for ourselves.
The research that goes into my fiction is a reflection of my mind and what I want to say and, for my next trick – well, book – unleashing that creativity is steadily resulting in a sort of balanced madness; a controlled mayhem. My technique is to start with the expected and twist it into the unpredictable. It’s immense fun to write with that concept in mind. My next book combines the darkest elements of human psychology with the funniest moments imaginable; when murder reminds you of a restaurant you want to try.
Some people use music to escape silence. Some use it so much, it becomes an addiction. It can be scary to be left alone with our thoughts. That’s why I do it. That’s why I turn the music off. I seek out the blank canvas – as scary to a writer as a silent room to a music addict – not because I don’t fear being left alone with my thoughts, but because I want to experience the fear.
So, when I sat down to write today, I did an experiment: I decided not to write for a moment. Instead, I listened to the different sounds happening in and around my house. From my writing room – up in my tiny attic – I can hear the hum of the fridge two floors down; jackdaws on the pub roof across the road getting all territorial; the torrent of water pouring down the stream after recent heavy rains; the loud drone of my central heating boiler; the cat snoring on her blanket in the corner and the occasional rattle, whine or wheel-spin blast of a passing car. (The faster they leave, the more lost they were when they arrived.)
You might think, “why are you telling me this?”