OF GODS AND MADNESS: THE FAITHFUL
by Justin D. Herd
The right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he's done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge.
Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine's mob organization. It's only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process.
As the pantheon returns to the city they'd abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality - even gods can die.
Turrell planted his hand on the table as he leaned in, allowing Raine to fully inspect every flaw in his wretched face. His features had been rearranged multiple times and looked all the better for it. His ragged beard helped hide this from a distance. He smiled, a grin of shattered teeth, and let out a deep breath, wafting over Raine like broth bubbling from a cauldron. “Take a big whiff.”
Raine made a big production of inhaling deeply. Not bad actually, a familiar mixture of hard liquor and tobacco. His breath probably smelled similar at this point in the night. “You should really go see a doctor, Turrell.”
Raine drove the glass into Turrell's hand, twisted.
The room fell silent as his scream hit the air.
Raine pivoted back, planting his foot on Turrell's chest and shoving with all his might. Turrell's hand shredded as the glass ripped through the flesh. He hit the floor.
Jaiden swung with his left; Raine raised his arm, deflected the blow. He pressed forward as Jaiden attacked again. Raine ducked under, throwing his whole weight into Jaiden's body. Jaiden slipped past as Raine toppled over Turrell. A whimper accompanied the contact as Turrell cradled his hand.
Raine hit the ground, scrambled to his feet, rebounded off a table. He spun on his heel, avoided Jaiden's fist, returned with one of his own. It connected with his jaw. Jaiden crumpled.
~Buy OF GODS AND MADNESS:
AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I wish I had something a little more inspiring, but honestly I cannot remember. It’s just been something I’ve been doing for years, something I even did as a child once I discovered my love of reading horror. I can tell you my first stories were published on KidPub.org, though they’ve lost anything from the six years I was on there. I also regularly spent time on KidMUD and FoxFire, if I remember correctly, and spent hours describing rooms, everything from the way the door creaked when someone entered the room to hidden passages. I think from that moment on is when I knew I’d be a fantasy writer.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
That’s a tough one. Sandhyanen is not a very hospitable place – but I think I’d go traipsing around the old temples of the gods. Most had either been abandoned or repurposed, so it’d be like going along Route 66 or something like that. It might be a bit hard to infiltrate Na Creidmhigh, the local mob family, but at least I’d die trying.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
I used 1800s and older maps of Boston to help give me a working map for my city. It doesn’t follow it topographically, but more as a construct to adapt. But I found out that Boston was originally more of an island that got filled out with landfills as time went on. What that allowed for me, in using those maps, is to plot out a course for the future stories in Sandhyanen where the effects of the last half of Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful help forever alter the landscape.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
That’s a tough one. I think Raine would give me a good view of the town, though he tends to prefer dive bars. He’d be able to trade on his reputation alone, even if he hated himself the entire time. Theon, on the other hand, would be fun to go out with in a group, to see who he messed with and took advantage of, but I wouldn’t want to be out with him alone because I would be his obvious target.
-If you could go back in time and give your pre-published self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Trust your gut. Don’t slice and dice in an effort to be more PC. Instead, write what fits the story, what fits the characters. That would’ve saved me possibly three years off the development of the book.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Honestly, I think it’d be slice-of-life literary. For some reason, cars and general every day life doesn’t sit well with me. I feel uncomfortable putting it on the page, as if I’m going to miss some small facet that will make everyone realize I’m really faking it all.
Justin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author, who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by three eccentric cats, one of which is obsessed with all things digital. He is married with two children.
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