As seen in the October issue of Uncaged Book Reviews
Uncaged: Your book Gilchrist really gives me the feeling of Stephen King books, especially his early works. Was he an inspiration for you?
Absolutely. I’d even say that Gilchrist is an homage to King’s earlier works, with the occasional Easter egg nod. I grew up reading him from a young age, and I remember getting my hands on a copy of Gerald’s Game when I was probably ten years old. I think I “borrowed” it from my friend’s mother after reading the first chapter at their house and being blown away by how different it was than anything else I had ever read. Up to that point, I had only been introduced to books that were age appropriate. But after that first taste of King’s writing, I was hooked, and I’ve been reading him since. I have to be honest, though—I don’t get the same vibe from his newer books that I did when I first read something like It or The Shining. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve gotten older or maybe King has grown beyond his earlier writing self, but I missed his early style of storytelling, and whenever I set out to write a book, the plan is always to write something that I’d want to read. So that’s what I tried to do. Some of it was intentional—mainly the layout of the chapters and the time period—but the writing style and the story itself was just me. If there is a similarity to King’s own writing there, that’s just a result of writing the only way I know how to. When you’ve read forty or so of an author’s books, some influence is bound to show, especially when you’re a young writer still finding your own voice.
Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about Gilchrist?
It’s amazing. You should read it. Just kidding. I’d say Gilchrist is a novel for fans of horror that grounds itself in the fears of everyday life and doesn’t veer into campy territory with its supernatural aspects. That’s what I was going for, anyway.
Uncaged: On your website, your next book coming in 2019 is called Big Bad. What can you tell us about this book?
I can tell you I’m having a good time writing it. I don’t want to say too much because the story is still at a stage where it might change and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can give a little bit of a vague overview. Here’s the gist of what it’s about: a bizarre murder on a small New England island at the height of a blizzard; the bond shared by sisters; dark underbellies; the lies we tell others and ourselves; the secret histories we bury and how they shape who we become, whether we want them to or not.
Wait… isn’t that the same description from my website? Why yes it is, but it’s the best I have at the moment. It’s a tough book to discuss without giving anything away. I can already tell the back blurb for this one is going to be a real pain to write.
Uncaged: What are some of your favorite genres to read?
I’ll read anything, really. Any book I pick up, no matter who wrote it or what it’s about, I’ll give fifty pages or so to pull me in, either with its characters or its story, ideally both. If it does, then I’ll read it. But I’d be lying to say that I don’t drift toward dark thrillers. Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs are two of my favorites. Thomas Harris might have been a serial killer in a past life, but I’m okay with that.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you feel you can take away from them?
I used to read them all… obsessively. But not so much anymore. Maybe for the first month or so after a new book is released, just to see how it’s being received. Besides that, I’ll occasionally check in on the negative reviews. Usually it’s the two-stars that have the most valuable info, and I look for trends in the criticism that might help me improve my writing on the next book. One-star reviews, however, I largely ignore—or read with a huge grin on my face. They tend to be full of anger over something someone simply HATED! about the book. I can’t tell you how many angry emails I got after my first novel. People called me a psycho because of a certain scene that doesn’t go so well for a cat. I love cats, by the way.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
That’s a tough one. I can’t say that one thing in particular sticks out. But I’m always happy to hear from a reader who tells me they thoroughly enjoyed one of my stories. It’s kind of surreal. They see me as an author—maybe, I think—and I really don’t. To me, I’m just a thirty-four-year-old man-child who sits in a dark room, making up stories.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
I try to get out of the house and be active—take a walk, go to the gym etc. I have a day job at a desk, and then I come home and write at a desk, so I spend a lot of time sitting, which needs to be offset somehow. Other than that, I enjoy cooking, which my wife seems to appreciate, and I built a little woodworking shop for myself last year, so sometimes I’m tinkering with a project in there. As for my favorite place on Earth? That would be standing in front of a woodstove (not a fireplace, a woodstove) while a snowstorm howls outside. Any woodstove will do.
Uncaged: What can you tell us that is very unique about you?
So far as I know, I am the only Christian Galacar in the world. My last name is oddly unique. Oh, and in college I spent six months working as a private investigator for insurance fraud.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
You keep reading and I’ll keep writing. Readers are the final step in the writing process and perhaps the most important. Follow me by signing up for my newsletter on my website. I have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but I’m not terribly active on those platforms. In fact, my Facebook account is currently inactive because I find that it makes me a little cynical these days. If you had to choose one, I’d go with Instagram.
He is always working on his next book.
Two years after losing their infant son to a tragic accident, Peter Martell, a novelist with a peculiar knack for finding lost things, and his wife, Sylvia, are devastated to learn they may no longer be able to have children. In need of a fresh start, and compelled by strange dreams, the couple decide to rent a lake house in the idyllic town of Gilchrist, Massachusetts, a place where bad things might just happen for a reason. As bizarre events begin to unfold around them—a chance encounter with a gifted six-year-old boy, a series of violent deaths, and repeated sightings of a strange creature with a terrifying nature—Peter and Sylvia find themselves drawn into the chaos and soon discover that coming to Gilchrist may not have been their decision at all.
Set against a small New England town in the summer of 1966, Gilchrist is a sinister tale about the haunting origins of violence, evil, and the undying power of memory.
Peter was having a dream. He was kneeling, bent down, and looking at an elderly reflection of himself in a river. When he focused on the constant burbling of moving water, the sound seemed to wax and wane, becoming a rhythm, as if the water itself were breathing. He broke away from his reflection and looked around the sad landscape. An ominous red sky cast a sick light over everything. In the distance, a dilapidated church stood in the middle of an empty field that looked scorched. He went to it. The doors were open, and he could see inside. The pews were covered in blood.
Something moved behind him. Many somethings. He turned around. They were pouring out of the ground like black ropes of oil. But the ropes had eyes. And the ropes slithered. And the ropes had teeth. They were all whispering, and it was one word hissed over and over again: Gilllchrissst… Gilllchrissst… Gilllchrissst…
One snaked across the back of Peter’s calf, latched on to him, and bit. He looked down and the ground was covered with them. He tried to scream, but no sound would come.
Sylvia was snoring when Peter opened his eyes. He caught his breath and picked his watch up off the nightstand: 3:27 a.m. He sat up, drenched in sweat, and searched around the floor with his toes until he found his slippers. A twinge of fear needled his mind as he thought of his foot touching something slick and slithery below, but he wasn’t sure what that something was exactly. The dream was already disintegrating and taking on a lost and distant feeling like a fading echo. It left behind only its disquiet, not its details.
He went to the bathroom. He needed water. His mouth tasted like a New York drain gutter. He hadn’t intended to get drunk when they had returned home, but after Sylvia had popped a few extra Equanil and followed through on her promise to go to bed early, he had decided to have a drink or two while he did a little writing on his new book. But as was often the case, one or two drinks became the whole bottle. Then after the bottle was gone, it became whatever else was in the house.
He bent over the sink and drank directly from the faucet, lapping the cold water like a greedy dog, each sip feeling somehow purgative. He straightened and looked at himself in the mirror. To spare his eyes, he hadn’t turned on the light, but he could still see his reflection. He looked worn out. A hint of something familiar touched him, but it was too faint, and he was too tired to grasp the connection to his dream.
Peter went back to the bedroom and stood at the foot of their bed. He watched Sylvia sleep. She snorted, cleared her throat, and rolled over on her back, kicking her leg out from under the covers. She threw her arm over her head, her hair somehow remaining perfectly neat. She really was a beautiful woman.
Five minutes passed. Maybe ten. The house was so silent, so still. Memories of their happier past seemed to have real volume when he replayed them in his mind at this hour, as if he could reach out and touch them. But behind it all, looming overhead like a storm cloud, was a very real thought. All he could think about was how easy it would be to pack a bag, leave, and never come back. Walk away from it all. That might be the only way either of them could ever have any sort of good life again. Death had hardened the soil of their hearts, and now no new love could grow.
The thought sickened him, and a surge of guilt rose up in him for even having it. He would never leave her. He loved her, and they would make it through this together. They would ride it out, no matter what.
That’s right, he thought. No matter what.
Peter got back into bed, but he didn’t sleep.
A small town escape for Peter and his wife Sylvia after the loss of their son, trying to scrape their lives back together – and the small town vacation sounds like it might be what the couple needs. Oh but be very leery of small lake towns…
Set in 1966, in the small lake town of Gilchrist, Massachusetts – author Peter and his wife rent a house on the lake, intending to relax and unwind. But there is a strange presence in this town, and it’s not all it seems. I can’t get into the story without giving spoilers, but the author really nails this one and slowly ramps up the tension so by the middle of the book you are glued to the pages. Reminiscent of King and Koontz, the author does a brilliant job setting the stage and the characters feel real and believable.
I think this book is a hidden gem in the world of horror, my only advice is you might not want to read it before bedtime. Reviewed by Cyrene