Sunday, February 8, 2015

New Release!!!

The origin of The Darkest Place is a strange one.  

Sometimes I write a supporting character, and I think his or her story is compelling enough to warrant its own novel. Caleb Hicks is just such a character. He appeared in two of my previous novels, The Passenger and Fire in Winter, in the latter of which he played a major role.  

Now, this is going to seem non sequitur, but stick with me. During my tenure on a VBSS team (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) in the Navy, I had occasion to do a couple of training exercises with the Navy SEALS. The first thing that struck me about them was how young they were. Most of them did not even look old enough to buy a drink legally. The second thing that struck me was how well trained they were. And unless I miss my guess, the initial training a SEAL undergoes after BUDS is somewhere around a year and a half to two years. (I could be wrong about the timeframe there, and if I am, I apologize.)  

But think about that for a moment. In roughly two years, the Navy can take an ordinary civilian, and if that civilian is properly motivated, turn them into one of the world’s elite warriors. I remember the question occurring to me, What if these guys started training when they were very young, like, five years old? What would they be capable of? 

In Caleb Hicks’ character, I get to explore that possibility. And that is about all I can say about him without giving away any spoilers.  

As for the novel itself, let me be clear on an important point: This is not Surviving the Dead Volume Five. The Darkest Place is a standalone novel set in the Surviving the Dead universe, much like The Passenger, although I wrote this one on my own. 

Eric Riordan, however, does feature in the novel, and his actions are important to the next volume in the series: Savages.  

So I guess it would be fair to call The Darkest Place Surviving the Dead 4.5. Or you could call it a companion novel to Savages. Either way, I hope you all enjoy it. The Darkest Place was supposed to be a short novel, no more than 60,000 words (about 200 pages), but it took on a life of its own, and even if it is not well received, I am proud of it. I think it is a good book. At 165,000 words (over 500 pages) it is a long read. It was written during the most difficult time in my life, and I think that will be plainly obvious to anyone who reads it.  

I wish you all the best, my friends, and as always, thank you.  





  1. Can't wait to read it. You are an excellent author.

  2. Bravo, can't wait to get my hands on it.

  3. Bravo, can't wait to get my hands on it.

  4. Can't wait for it to be available on Amazon Kindle.

  5. You'be written one heck of great book while going through a very difficult time. Good luck to you.

  6. Just finished The Darkest Place. It was, not surprisingly, excellent! I really enjoyed getting Caleb's story and can't wait for Savages. Keep 'em coming!!

  7. Just finished The Darkest Place. It was, not surprisingly, excellent! I really enjoyed getting Caleb's story and can't wait for Savages. Keep 'em coming!!

  8. Just finished reading Darkest Place! Awesome book! I know you've mentioned your preference of third person writing but you definitely have first person down! I really loved this book and really loved reading the inner workings of Caleb's (and your) mind. Again, awesome job! I have read every single one of your books and cannot wait for Savages! After all you've been through recently, I appreciate your dedication to the art your words create. Keep your head on the swivel James! :)

  9. Jim,

    I've been an avid reader since I was six (over 58 years ago :-) I read even more now than before, because I stopped watching TV in 1987.

    I've just finished re-reading your first three books, and will move on tomorrow (it's 2320 hours now as I just finished Warrior Within) to re-read The Passenger, Fire In Winter, and The Darkest Place.

    I know you've heard it before, but you are an incredible author. In so many other books, I find a lot to take issue with, especially the authors who write about weapons and tactics while possessing scant knowledge of either. Authors such as James Rollins (it's so painfully obvious he is almost totally ignorant about firearms that I can't read him anymore), Lee Child (who was pretty ignorant at first, but is improving somewhat as he goes along, still missing the mark at times), for two examples.

    I have yet to read a word in your novels that would leave a long-time shooter/former military/former cop like myself anything less than completely comfortable. Kudos, buddy. I even added a PMR-30 to my arsenal just because of how you worked it into Eric's kit (not because I'm afraid of walkers ;-) Thank you for that - I love it, along with my KSG and many other "toys".

    You write characters that have tremendous depth to them, believable and incredibly enjoyable. Your stories are so rich with descriptive power, complex and commanding plots, and exceptional dialogue. You really know how to draw the reader in. Once I get started, I have to fight to get myself to put the book down and get some sleep, sometimes finishing them in a single day (I'm retired now and can do that if I want).

    I didn't find out you are an alcoholic until I hit your web site for the first time tonight, looking to see if you had a new book out (I'm now looking forward to Savages when it is finished). For you to write the way that you do in spite of that handicap just blows me away. My last career was as an RN in the Mental Health department of a VA hospital, and I've dealt with veterans with addictions (Librium was once the drug of choice for easing a vet through alcohol detox. Although many hospitals use Ativan [lorazepam] now instead, a lot of us old timers believe Librium worked better.)

    I have a list of authors I have read and continue to re-read because they write so well: Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Tom Clancy (before he went down the ghost-writing black hole along with Clive Cussler and others), Carsten Stroud, W.E.B. Griffin's Presidential Agent series, John Conroe's Demon Accords series, and most of what Francis Porretto has written. You have joined that list for me, Jim, as I so thoroughly enjoy your writing.

    Thank you so much for bringing me so many hours of reading pleasure. I was going to wish you good luck with staying sober, but you and I both know luck has nothing to do with it, just your determination. I quit smoking thirty-one years ago, after smoking for almost 20 years. It wasn't as big an accomplishment as staying sober is for an alcoholic, but it gave me some appreciation for what is involved.

    Take care, Jim. Keep writing. There are too many of us that are now hooked on your books, and that is an addiction that I don't _want_ to cure.