As seen in the August issue of Uncaged Book Reviews
Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about your Dylan Hart series? What inspired this series for you?
Dylan Hart is a series that I started writing back in 2005 on a bet. A drunken bet to be more accurate. I was on a drunken tangent about Twilight and a friend dared me to write something better. I’m still uncertain if I’ve won.
Dylan was born from angst and alcohol, which if you’ve read the series you can probably tell. The intention of the series was to take the reader on a ride, exploring the mind of a woman and her descent into the occult. A death defying thrill ride. I call it, the Dylan coaster. Book one is the line, the anticipation of what’s to come, setting up the ambience, getting the blood pumping. Book two is the climb. The rhythmic ticking of the chain as it carries the reader to the precipice. Three, well, you can probably guess is the fall. You’ll understand that soon enough. 4 and 5? You’ll have to read to find out. But book 6… the track has shifted and things take a deadly turn.
Dylan Hart is everyone. She’s the best friend, and the person inside of most women. She’s irreverent, and witty, and self-deprecating, and in all that, she’s fighting for her life. Horror and humor are what drives me, and as such, they are what fuels this series.
Uncaged: What do you have coming up next that you can tell us about?
The Dylan Hart series came to a climactic end in 2017, leaving a gaping hole in my head and in the hands of faithful readers. Thankfully, Prudence Penderhaus and the town of Flintlock had already been introduced in 17 Marigold Lane back in 2015. It has been a long road, with many twists and hair raising switchbacks on rocky cliffs, but it’s looking like book 2 in the 4 book series will be out later this year. Follow along on my Instagram for updates, and be sure to follow Prudence’s IG account for an inside look at her life in Flintlock.
Uncaged: What are the benefits of joining your Street Team?
Dealing with my nonsense. And free stuff.
Uncaged: Are you nervous, scared or excited (or all three) when you release a new book?
I drink a lot.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
I used to, but I’ve grown up a lot in the almost 10 years in the business. When I do—and thankfully I’ve not handled any horrid reviews—I take the criticism, work with it, and leave everything else for the buzzards.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
Someone said in a review that they hated me, wanted me dead… I liked that a lot. Meant I did something right.
Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?
Writing. And writing. I’d never considered writing in my youth, though story telling had always been a means for my creativity to escape. I’d spent most of my younger years attempting to funnel that through other media, drawing and painting. Sculpting and the like made its way in too before I finally put pen to paper. Knowing I can, when the moon is in the southern house and Mercury is in retrograde, lay down words and create worlds without picking up a paintbrush soothes a fire in my gut. But then, sometimes, the burden of having all these thoughts trapped in my head can be unnerving. Others, the times when nothing comes out no matter how you beg, feels like someone is maliciously withholding the Colace.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
Chew gum. I have stacks of it on my desk waiting for me. Sometimes I get so into my gum chewing a bite a hole in my tongue.
With that said, one could assume the emergency room is my favorite place in the world, they’d be wrong. Dead wrong. I don’t go to hospitals.
I also don’t necessarily have a favorite place. I suppose my place is wherever my people are. If that place also has beer, wine, and cheese, then I’d say it’s a favorite.
Uncaged: What can you tell us that is very unique about you?
I host a YouTube show, or shows really, on the KG & Me channel. My personal show is called, This Drunk Bitch and is mostly me day drinking and talking about stuff I like. Which is really an unlimited subject seeing as though I like most everything.
I am also the owner and designer for RMGraphX. From book covers to banners and branding, I do it.
I like to wear a lot of hats.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Sorry I’ve been a major corn flake as of late. I’ve recently quit my day job and moved 700 miles away from home to live a town that so closely resembles Flintlock I’m not sure I live in the real world anymore.
Instagram is my bottom bitch, so anyone who really wants the updates that’s where to go. However, it’s linked to Facebook (which, I mean, sucks the big one these days) and Twitter. Sometimes I’ll go on Twitter tirades which I’d recommend not missing out on. Or skipping all together because who wants that negativity in their lives? Subscribe to my newsletter, that’s where the free stuff and major announcements hit first. No spam.
Thanks for letting me ramble on about nothing. It’s my favorite past time. If you feel so inclined, dear reader, pick up a book and leave a review.
“STAR-CROSSED LOVE AND DEAD THINGS. IT’S WHAT I DO.” – R.M. GILMORE
Irreverent, twenty-something journalist, Dylan Hart, is not your average heroine. With a big butt and an even bigger mouth, she has her work cut out for her when she decides to cash-in on the blood-drained bodies of seven prostitutes scattered throughout southern California.
In an attempt to write her first bestselling novel and pay off her ever-growing student debt, Dylan begins the search for the culprit of the media-dubbed Vampire Massacres, diving head first into L.A.’s sanguinary ‘vampire’ subculture. Before long, Dylan finds herself tits deep in plastic fangs, velvet capes, and hooker corpses. Plastic or not, those fangs are razor sharp and out for blood, nosy journalist blood.
With her best friend in tow, and two contrasting boy-babes at her heels, the crew is pulled into an all too real sanguinarian lifestyle and dragged through a bloody good mystery.
Horrible pun intended.
I flipped through the other photos, skimming the really gory ones, accidentally skipping over the M.E. report for the Bonita Terrace girl. I reached the end of the stack and started again from the beginning; slower. Finally, sandwiched between a stack of photos and a thin police report, lay the three-page Medical Examiner’s report. The first page contained a basic synopsis of the findings along with a drawn diagram of a generic human body. The diagram indicated where any cuts or lacerations were located on the body. According to the document, there were two cuts high on the inner thigh and numerous cuts along the left forearm, from elbow to wrist. Lastly, there was a small puncture wound at the right wrist. Scanning the report, I discovered that the puncture wound had likely been created by a needle, and according to the ME, it was likely that it had been caused by an intravenous catheter. The report went on to state that perhaps the I.V. had been intended for removing blood and not for an injectable substance.
Like a sadistic blood bank? F**king lovely.
Finally, in big bold type, I found exactly what I was looking for. The words read:
POSSIBLE SALIVA IN AND AROUND INCISION ON LEFT/RIGHT THIGH.
Why Mike hadn’t mentioned it before, I had no clue, but it was right there in black and white. It would be at least three days, if not longer, before they got any DNA results back on the saliva swab. And Lord knows how long before they could match it to anyone. But, it was a start at least.
I began reading the police report, which was surprisingly short seeing as though it was a murder scene. In the small boxes provided at the bottom, HOMICIDE was checked off, as was TRANSIENT. It seemed as though they’d made a mistake because that was crossed out and initialed by someone other than the reporting officer. The initials M.P. were scrawled next to the slash. Mike. I smiled at the thought that dear old Mike had the sense to check before turning that in. The poor girl’s mausoleum had been behind a dumpster in an alley. She was left bloodless and dishonored, and then was assumed to be just some homeless prostitute. Poor girl. At least she was dead before that humiliation. It was obvious that the original thought was that this was a random killing of a street-person, no biggie. The report was short and fact filled. Sort of.
There has to be more.
“They had to have investigated more than this. This girl was murdered by vampires and this is all she gets!” I stood up from the couch in a huff, angrily tossing the stack of papers on the table. “Vampires, Dylan? And you are talking to yourself. You are the epitome of sanity,” I said aloud, smirking.
I stood there for a moment allowing the blood to flow to my feet once again, still studying the faceless naked bodies sprawled on my coffee table. Other than the fact that they were, basically, drained of blood, and mainly blonde, there was nothing about the crime scenes that was exactly the same. Someone had cut deep into the arteries; someone slashed over and over into the flesh on the arms, and then someone jabbed a needle into their vein.
I didn’t have the M.E. report for the other girls, just ours, so I didn’t know more than what the pictures and basic police reports told me. Mike had thrown some of his notes in, one Post-it read:
Bakersfield in by Friday-no Fresno
I was guessing he was waiting for more information from Bakersfield. Fresno was still a mystery. Out of the four girls I had, all appeared to have had the needle. Only two had the slashes into her arm, and three had the deep cuts into the thigh. I definitely was not qualified to come to any conclusions based solely on photographs and police reports, but I wasn’t an idiot. What I was looking at was either a complete crazy who had no plan and was simply wildly killing for some crazed need for the blood of hookers or there was more than one of those f**kers.
With a full photo of each girl in front of me, I examined them one at a time. Comparing them to each other, trying to get a picture of what happened to them. Jotting down notes on little yellow Post-its, I stuck each to the adjoining document. I marked each with an idea or question I needed to ask Mike later. Also, utilizing simple red sticky-tabs, I marked each photo I intended on secretly copying. I was writing my first novel. I kind of had to be cutthroat or I would never make it in the publishing game.
I began thinking about the book. I was never going to write it if they didn’t solve that bullshit. I thought that perhaps just the general idea of the story would make a good fiction novel. I thought further about how it could pan out. Who would die in the end? Who would be the hero? Who would be the villain? I suddenly thought about Cyrus and shuddered at the thought that he could possibly be involved. I doubted he was, but you could never rule anyone out in a murder mystery.
That’s all this is. A whodunit. Come on Dylan; solve the mystery, by writing it in. Truth is stranger than fiction and it makes for a killer story line.
I stared intently at the full color, bloodless, prostitutes I held in my hands. If this were a book, the killer would be the least suspected. Which would mean me, or Mike even. Just as in real life, Cyrus would become a suspect because he is the possible love interest of the main character, which in my book was me. But suspicion of him wouldn’t come to fruition.
I thought hard for a moment, picturing every character in the story. I couldn’t imagine anyone really doing it, offing those girls. No one I knew, anyway. There had to be a variable, a third gunman on the grassy knoll. Perhaps our killer had yet to be introduced in the story. Perhaps we were only in the beginning. The thought that it was only the beginning actually terrified me more than anything. Eight dead girls and he was only getting started.
“At some point, everyone will become a suspect.”
This book is marketed as a fantasy/paranormal/horror, and it doesn’t really belong there, and although it is an occult suspense thriller, that’s not all it is. It’s hard to push this book into a specific genre slot.
Our heroine is not the average character we read so much about. She’s a bit chubby, with fuzzy hair and my one complaint about Dylan, is she is constantly putting herself down throughout the book. Most of the time, it’s in a funny way – but no one treats her as bad as she treats herself. Personally, she can be my BFF any time.
As a pair of journalists, Dylan and her BFF, Tatum are investigating a string of murders that all evidence points to it being vampires. Dylan’s ex-boyfriend, Mike is a cop and trying (not very successfully) to keep Dylan out of harm’s way. So are vampires really killing women and leaving their naked bodies behind dumpsters, or is this the work of a sick serial killer?
I’m not giving anything away. The first few chapters were entertaining in the dialog and writing, but I really had no idea where the author was going, but when it got going, it was almost impossible to put down. The book does have a few slower spots that hang a bit, but overall, this book shoots out of the cannon at full speed and its great fun on the ride. You will laugh out loud in places, and be on the edge of your seat the next. This is a 6 book series, and all books are out now, which is a good thing as readers will want to burn through them after the first one.
Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars