Book three and book two


First, a link: We’ve already had Jane Austen meets Dracula. Then we had Jane Austen and Zombies.

Now, finally, to complete the trifecta, we have Pride and Predator, courtesy of, yes, Elton John. (Seen via Bookslut.)

Would you really rather live in a different world than this one?

And now to more/less serious things. This morning I really dug into Man Bites World and did a lot of good work. I finished well, well over my daily quota–far enough over, in fact, that I was thinking I might manage my weekly quota by Friday and could (gasp!) sleep in on Saturday morning.

Then I came home and found my editorial notes on Everyone Love Blue Dog waiting in my inbox.

Which means it’s time to put book three aside and get back to book two, momentum or no. And the notes are very good, too, just what you’d expect. (Side note: I’m told book two will be coming out in May 2010, tentatively)

And unfortunately, they’re just what I was afraid of, too. The biggest note is on the ending. It’s meant to be a tragedy–violent, thrilling, and terrible, in which the protagonist is backed into a situation where he has to fight people he doesn’t want to fight.

Should I change it so he doesn’t fight them? So they don’t die, but instead wake up later with amnesia? Let his partner live to come back in another book? And that minor character? And that one and that one, too?

Too many corpses is the verdict. I don’t know what to think about that. That final fight scene was the scene the whole book was aiming toward. It’s why the protagonist is wrestling with PTSD in book three and is desperate for some kind of redemption.

And these are books about a basically decent guy who’s been drafted into an organization of ruthless killers. Should we expect him to get a little murderer on him sometimes?

At the same time, I understand the concern. The ending is very dark. Very dark. Maybe it’s “I’ll never read anything by this asshole again” dark. I don’t read many books like that, so why did I write one?

Seriously, I read books that are harrowing but basically fun, so why am I talking to my wife about comparisons between the basic brutality of incredibly powerful utterly alien supernatural beings and the sociopaths on third world death squads?

This is something I need to figure out. What makes you pick up a book you would consider “dark.” A book that is harsh and unforgiving to its characters, where they face deadly situations and actually die. When, if ever, do you go looking for that?