Welcome to the Sh!t Show!
The Highwayman series isn’t my first flirtation with serial murder. In my first novel, THE EQUINOX, an evil spirit known as a skinwalker forms an unholy alliance with a pedophile child killer. The marrying of the supernatural and the real wasn’t all that hard because both creatures personify real evil to me. Except, the human incarnation is much more repulsive and terrifying. I even flirted with psychopathic behavior in my Irish Hamilton gangster, Gordon Shamus. In ACADIA EVENT, he turns a man into a stew mud, blood, and bone with the bucket of an ecscavator, after shooting him both legs. I’m not a psychologist, but Gordon could have been a serial killer. He enjoyed inflicting pain, muses about raping protagonist, Marty Croft’s wife, as retribution for being disrespectful. I’ve said this before These people who operate by their own set of rules, who either lack or reject empathy, who derive a pseudo-sexual release from the acts of torture and murder. These are the most terrifying monsters of all. They’re unpredictable, they move among the societal norms of work, play, and even duty. You can never be sure if that guy issuing you a ticket, or flying the Queen of England, or landscaping your yard, might not be harboring some darker deeper need as they watch you with predatory eyes concealed by a a disarming smile.
Do I sound paranoid? Well easy there, I’m not suggesting you should be afraid to go out for fear that the policeman who patrols your neighborhood is akin to the Golden State Killer. Or that you should check your flowerpots as the dumping ground of a sadist serial killer. Honestly, the statistics of active serial murder within most societies are low, but when we hear about them, they both repell and draw our attention. As with my last blog, the discover of such a creature, makes us reflect, on the predators that do exist and do live within every facet of modern society.
Which brings me to the Highwayman Series and why I decided to tackle such a big project. The answer is that I’ve always been a voracious reader of thrillers, mysteries and by extension, true-crime. It’s how I became friends with author, Kevin M. Sullivan, likely the most versed on author alive on everything Ted Bundy. I wrote Sullivan an email to commend him on his book The Bundy Murders, and told him a bit about the project I was working on. Now we share a publisher but even more, a friendship. Here’s the thing about Sullivan, he’s a research hound, and he did his homework. He conveys the surreal when Ted Bundy’s murder bag ends up on his dining room table, containing an ice pick, right handed gloves, ski mask, rope, belt, laces as ligatures, and a package of Glad garbage bags. I hadn’t expected to end up at the same publisher, but life doesn’t have a roadmap. He’s a cool guy, and a hell of a true-crime writer.
When I decided to write the Highwayman story I had no idea that it would become a two-novel romp, but there you are. The strange thing about writing fiction is the mystery, but sometimes writing a story can lead you on all sorts of misadventures including meeting folks in the writing community. It also opens you up to this make believe world from which characters characters crawl out of the gray matter and become real not only to the author, but those who crack the pages of your work. Lance Belanger, aka Highwayman, is the personification of evil. He doesn’t care if you plead. CHOP! He doesn’t care if you have children. CHOP! He only cares about the presentation of his masterpiece and the driving need to remove the tether on the monster inside him. So, that it may feed. Along this trail of murder and mayhem, law enforcement is on the hunt. The first Highwayman FBI investigators, Lewis Ash, Michelle Leigh, are forever etched into my gray matter. Friends, really, whom I wish to revisit. Special Agent Dave Maxwell, aka Max, is a character who will stay with me in one form or another. He is middle aged, but dogged, he’s not your typical agent in that he is more personable even when newly promoted. But he’s tough. Not afraid to throw down.
In writing the Highwayman series, I have always been vague as to what Maxwell looks like. This is intentional, so that the reader draws their own conclusions. I won’t describe him here either, for those of you who have followed or preparing to ride with Maxwell’s posse, that’s for you to decide. But if you want to see what part of him looks like, at least to me, he’s peeking out from the new Highwayman series ad at the top and bottom of this blog.
One difficulty this writer faces in an over-saturated market of great and yes, bad fiction, is convincing the readership out there to read my stuff. It’s a constant struggle, but I keep going because that’s what my genetic fate is. I have used the word most of my life. To tell stories, to champion injustices, to express love, hate, humor, and the voyeuristic muses that come tumbling out of that blinking cursor and onto the screen. I will always be a writer, at least while there’s breath in my body. Judging by the feedback on my writing this far, I think I’m doing something right.
So, come on and check me out! Check out the Highwayman series. People are digging it. I think you’ll dig it too. Once you step into my world, you’ll want to hang around and see what happens next. If you do, you’ll make some friends along the way, like chain smoking Louisville PD homicide detective, Lonnie Perkins, whose vocabulary includes the phrases, “This just became a smoking aircraft.” and “Welcome to the shit show!”
I’m M.J. Preston.
Come and find me!