Thursday, 19 December 2013

A few silly questions and Whispers review with Heath Stallcup

 Heath Stallcup describes himself as born in California and raised in Oklahoma, he joined the Navy shortly after junior college and after his second tour he attended East Central University and obtained BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry.

If that wasn’t enough service to his country and fellow man he went on to serve ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with the local Sheriff's Office.

He continues to live in the small town of Tupelo, Oklahoma with his (long suffering) wife and three of his seven kids (although the older ones move in and out like we have a revolving door!). Professional grandfather to five and cheerleader for his, beloved, girls.

Oh yeah, and he is an avid lover of English Bulldogs, but every time they try to add one to their family some evil SOB dognaps him. 

You can find him on FB or hanging around on Twitter or annoy the socks off of him by commenting on all his blogs HS blog.

Author of the Monster Squad series he has also written Whispers a beautful, yet scary ghost story set partly in the Old West and in modern day.

But before we get to my review here are some silly questions I made him answer, and it only took a few thumb twists!

What is your favourite sandwich? Drink? Chocolate/candy bar? (you can just pick one if you like!)
Oh, you want to get personal, eh?  LOL, okay.  Favorite sammich is anything with pastrami.  A Rueben, a Pastrami & Swiss on Rye.  Pastrami with spicy brown mustard on a hard roll.  Wow, now I’m hungry.

Favorite drink is COFFEE.  Favorite cold drink would be sweet iced tea.
Candy bar?  I’m not really a sweet eater, but…I’d have to pick a Payday.

Do you have a favourite place to write?
I have this dream of eventually getting my den back and putting my brand new desk in there and making the whole room into a sort of pseudo man-cave.  I have to share it with my wife though.  She’s a music teacher and has collected a TON of instruments over the years.  And I have to put a futon in there for my son to crash on when he’s home from college.  But, eventually, hopefully, it will be my quiet place to write.  Before that, it was the dining room table.  Since we moved, the dining room is open to the living room and with seven kids and five grandkids, the TV is always going and turned WAY too loud.  Writing has suffered.  Miserably.

Who or What is your personal favourite character/novel?
My favorite has been Whispers.  I can’t put my finger on exactly ‘why’.  Maybe because fans and friends volunteered to be characters in the book.  Maybe because it wasn’t part of a series.  Maybe because it started in the Old West.  I don’t know, but it was my fave.  My wife will tell you that Caldera is her favorite.  You’ll have to wait until March to find out who is right.

If you had a theme track, what would it be?
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.  Either that or ‘Kiss the Girl’ from The Little Mermaid…

If you were to write  your “memoirs”  who would play you and key members of your life in the televised series?
If John Candy hadn’t passed in 1994, I’d have chosen him.  I guess now I’d have to choose another big, sweet, funny blonde(ish) guy…wait.  This is Hollywood and they always screw stuff up.  Let’s go with Chris Hemsworth.  Yeah.  Chris Hemsworth.  He’s me.

And back to silly, if you could have any supernatural power what would it be?
Just one?  Wow.  Way to be stingy.  Can I be Superman?  That way, I’m fast, strong, have x-ray vision and can fly.  We can just do away with the whole ‘kryptonite’ thing…

I always enjoy the forward and dedication but this one was funny and heart felt; it explains that all the characters are real names are of fans, friends or family, hopefully nowhere near their real personalities but it does give some bite to the reading.

The opening chapter has to be one of the most heart rending ever.

Set in the Old Wild West, the local Sheriff and his sweetheart are caught up in a gang issue; the final paragraph sets the scene as you are thrust into modern day Texas.

The basic premise of love lost and a vengeful ghost is not something I would normally have picked up, but this author is so brilliant in his other books I had to give it ago and oh boy am I glad I did.

HS characters have such a depth to them that they feel like real people, they have flaws, they show feelings and you can believe in them.

There are several groups that HS sets out very well from the beginning and then slowly brings them altogether for the final by then each have their own dynamics and focus on the goings on.

Roger and Casper are the local drug addicts, grave robbers, criminal dimwits and comedy act! If Burke and Hare were to do a comedy show, this would be them!

Jerrod Miller is an arsehole and HS gets his “snob” element so perfectly.

The local law enforcement team draws you into their comradely and HS excels in giving you some lingo without confusing or boring you.

Late into the story come the Scooby Doo club and they were my favourite group in how they all interacted, the sexual tension was fabulous and the love scenes were great, notice I say love scenes and not sex, there are some of those but the love is definitely foremost.

The odd random, stand-alone character is there to just round out the edges.

The opening chapter sets the scene for the book, from there you are brought forward to some horrific murders and HS does not shy away from describing them in awesome, gory detail. 

As a reader I was able to see the whole picture but not have all the reasons why, so it was intense reading to see how all the characters reacted to the bits they could see or control.

As the information is given to you piece by piece the tension mounts as to what will happen next, who is next on the kill list.

The little side issues were great add ins and I really enjoy when the local Dr rips and rants at the elected nobody about 2/3 in!

My only grrr moment was lifting the tomb stone off, it took five big, strong policemen the second time but only two skinny drug addicts the first?  But for a book that took me over 6hrs to read (in two sittings) to only have one gripe is rather amazing.

I was enraptured throughout, HS has a way of making you lose yourself and time into another world.

The ending was expected but with a few last minute twists and great follow up chapters.  I shut the book with a feeling of relief for all my favourite characters but sadness that it was all over.

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