Sunday 11 October 2015

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #13 - Jason Parent

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Jason Parent

The Past

The book that floored me, that gave me my love not only for reading horror but for reading in general—the book that I will argue to this day should be an American Classic, required reading over that shite that happened at Walden Pond, or at some goddamn West Egg or East Egg or Egg Nog (mmm… I actually do like egg nog)… and by the way I’ve never once seen a Grape get angry, Holden is a reason for blue balls, not the name of a main character, and did anyone seriously know that Tom Sawyer went abroad? Personally, I always thought he had a thing for Huckleberry, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Who gives a damn how many gables a house has and what shade of red your letter denoting your alleged “whore” status is? If you say you’re going to kill a mockingbird, then get ’er done (I’d settle for a mocking jay) and fuck you, I will not call you “Ishmail” no matter how many damn times you tell me to. Isn’t bad enough your friend had to go through life named “Queequeg”?

Ah, Nev, you have no idea how good you had it growing up in a country that actually cares about “football”. Now that I’ve offended, oh, well, everyone… the book! That’s easy: The Stand, by Stephen King. Granted, I’ve read the book three times: original once, extended/unabridged/whatever-you-call-it twice. All three times happened many years ago. But I am not alone in this opinion of the book. I wonder, if I go back and read it now, knowing now what I did not know then… I would be a time traveller who would immediately begin betting on famous sports events. But with respect to the book, I wonder if I would pick it apart.

I do not want to do that. I remember reading The Stand and thinking it was absolutely mind-blowing storytelling. I read it as a reader with one goal only: to enjoy the experience. No biases, no great love for King yet burning in me. For me, there has never been and will likely never be a more archetypical tale of good versus evil, black and white yet layered with so many greys through plot points and character conflicts. The Stand, strictly from the perspective of one who loves to escape into a story, is the most perfect book I have ever read.

Strangely, the story by King that may stick with me the most for reasons that baffle the hell out of me is, The Road Virus Heads North. Equally strangely, I often think this story is titled, The Road Head Heads North. Just a little something you didn’t know about me. There, you see that? I shared.

The Present

I love modern horror. What worked for me in the eighties and nineties had to evolve. I’ve seen everything, read everything, and though I love blood, guts, violence, gore, and situations as shocking as a Dick Cheney dick pic (I have to imagine there might be a lot of wrinkles. Think Margaret Thatcher naked if you live in Great Britain… what?... Thatcher wasn’t a dude?), they have to be at least loosely related to a damn fine plot. If I could mish mash some of my favorite reads of the last couple of years (when I read them, not necessarily when they were published), I would take the atmospheric flavor of Tim Curran’s Dead Sea with a touch of noir a la William Meikle’s Broken Sigil, the thoughtful originality of Evans Light’s ArborEATum, the absolutely savage pacing of Johnathan Janz’ Savage Species, and the artful, dark fantasy braininess of Laird Barron’s The Croning, and mash them all together to be, oh look at that – my next work, Such and Such, do out when I, um, write the perfect novel (or bribe these authors to collaborate and do it for me).

Other than Evans Light, with whom I have collaborated, I have no ties to the above authors, though I’d jump at a chance to work with any one of them. They and others like them are the honest answers to what I read now, and, competitors or not, I wouldn’t trade them for all the personal book sales in the world (well, maybe all in the world…). Many of the small press guys are pumping out better than large press quality work, at least when it comes to horror. But the masters are still the masters, the greats are still great, King is still king. Barker, Masterson, Little, Koontz, Ketchum, Connolly, Keene etc. – I would never turn down a book by any one of them. Consequently, I may also change my last name to something that starts with “K”. Psychological thriller authors, like Gillian Flynn, are also must reads for me these days.

The Future

I am convinced I will be dead long before 2045, but I will play along with your hypothetical. My tastes in both reading and writing are always running in this sort of circle that includes action/thriller/horror like that of Preston & Child and James Rollins, to sci-fi like that of Orson Scott Card and Kurt Vonnegut (editorial note from author: yes, those two are nothing alike, but I like them both, so blehh), to psychological thrillers like that of Gillian Flynn, Tess Gerritsen, and Thomas Harris, and mixed between each of those stages, modern horror from the quiet to the extreme and even bizarro.

Dark fantasy horror has lit a small flame inside me, and I have even tried my hand at it in novelette form recently. We’ll see what the public thinks of my go at this sooner or later, I’m sure. Laird Barron’s work has caught my eye, and I will probably be gobbling up what he has to offer (STORIES people!) in the future. I might be turning into a child of Old Leech, a comment that might make little sense if you haven’t read his work.

As for writing, I am always dabbling in various forms of speculative fiction and will continue to try new things. I hope for a time where I will have time to be prolific enough to appease fans of my work in each form. I know, writers are supposed to specialize, and I have limited myself some: horror, sci-fi, thrillers, mystery, dark humor (sorry, English gentleman’s blog – humour) and any combination thereof.

I do have one story, however, that I have thought about teaming with an artist and turning into a graphic novel. If not that tale, then another yet to be created. That’s based on a need to create, and I think it would be a lot of fun, even if no one but my mommy reads it. Who am I kidding? My mom wouldn’t read it.

You can read my review of Seeing Evil here.

You can buy Seeing Evil here:

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy any of the books mentioned in this feature or indeed anything at all from Amazon. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews. 


In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.

When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in on knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

And for more about Jason, visit his site or find him on social media:

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