Genre bingo (or How to Write a Bestselling Book/Hit Movie) :
Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky. —Alan Moore, The Mustard (January 2005)
Genre mashups such as The Devil’s Mouth by today’s guest, Matt Kincade, are a great way to breathe life into established genres. And it’s fun: just pick a genre—any genre—and then mix with one or two more that have nothing to do with it.
Two quick and easy ways to do it are to add zombies—
And/or do it in space—
—Western + Space = Firefly
Want to mash more genres? How about what these movies did?
- King Arthur + magic + motorcycles = Knightriders
- SciFi time travel + romance + tragedy + dramedy = Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Philip K. Dick scifi story + Ridley Scott neo-noir + crime thriller = Blade Runner
- Comedy + fantasy + western/scifi/nostalga/future + coming of age + rom-com = Back to the Future series
- Romance + apocalypse + humor + YA (zom-rom-com) = Warm Bodies
Or maybe even—with apologies to Alan Moore for the lack of porn—a ‘horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel’ like The Devil’s Mouth, written by today’s guest, Matt Kincade. Matt joins us to talk about his absolutely incredible new novel, his life, and his writing. Welcome Matt!
- What was your first car? A 1996 Subaru Impreza. For twelve years, it was the single most reliable thing in my life. I cried like a little girl the day that it died.
- Star Wars, Star Trek, or Firefly? Dang, tough question. It’s a tossup between Star Wars and Firefly. The parts of Star Wars that I always liked best were the smugglers and the and bounty hunters and the hives of scum and villainy, and not the Jedi so much. And that’s basically what Firefly is.
- Worst movie ever? In terms of sheer disappointment and lost opportunity, I’d have to say The Golden Compass. I adore the His Dark Materials trilogy, and I was so excited for everything about the movie. That they could start with such great source material, line up such an amazing cast, have such wonderful production design, and still make such a deeply bad movie is, frankly, mindboggling.
- Who would play you in a movie? As much as I’d like to be able to say Channing Tatum or Brad Pitt or somebody, I’ve got to be honest with myself. It would probably be like a balder Paul Giamatti. Which wouldn’t be that bad, really. At least my part would be well acted.
- What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was little, I either wanted to be an animator or do special effects in movies. I was always making crazy, horrifically violent flipbooks, always doodling on something, making models, devouring behind the scenes books about Star Wars and Industrial Light and Magic. So, storytelling and creating fantasies has always appealed to me.
- What are you working on right now? Currently I have several irons in the fire. I’m working on the sequel to The Devil’s Mouth, while I’m also attempting to clean up a few old manuscripts I’ve got laying around, and hopefully put them out on the market.
The Devil’s Mouth (Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter Book 1) by Matt Kincade
The only things Alex Rains cares about are rock ’n’ roll, classic cars, and killing vampires—that is, until he meets Carmen, a tough-as-nails cop who’s hot on the trail of her missing little sister.
When the two join forces, they leave a trail of corpses across the desert as they race against the clock, hunting an ancient evil that’s preyed on the migrants of the American Southwest since the time of the Spanish conquest.
While Alex leads Carmen deeper into the deadly, secret world of vampire hunters and their quarry, a romance blooms that neither of them expected. But when it all goes wrong, Alex is forced to make a grueling choice.
An action-horror thriller from author Matt Kincade, The Devil’s Mouth is an adrenaline-fueled ride through the dark underbelly of America: a warped landscape of old motels, seedy roadhouse bars, and monsters lurking in the night.
Book Title: The Devil’s Mouth (Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter Book 1)
Author: Matt Kincade
Genre: Action-Horror Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Contact and Buy Links:
My Review: 5 stars out of 5 for The Devil’s Mouth (Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter Book 1) by Matt Kincade
If I could give more than 5 stars to any book, it would be The Devil’s Mouth by Matt Kincade. Not only did it start with one of my all-time favorite writing quotes from Alan Moore, but it sucked me in immediately and did not let go until I’d somehow raced through all 384 pages in one night without so much as a potty or coffee break.
So instead of extra stars, I’ll just tell you that the second I finished reading The Devil’s Mouth, I pulled up Amazon in a desperate search for anything else by Matt. And THEN I followed up with an even more desperate (dawn) email to him demanding the sequel. Now. Yesterday would be even better.
Despite the number of genres he mashed to create Devil’s Mouth, Matt Kincade’s writing and world building is in the spare, essential-info-only style of a Clint Eastwood western. Against that, the backstories of protagonist and vampire hunter Alex Rains and almost every other character emerge in tantalizing fragments to create a tapestry of three-dimensional supporting characters, both good and bad.
This is a tale of hunters and victims, but the roles are constantly being swapped. It begins with a prologue in which Mia, a Mexican teenager trying to reach her sister, is being smuggled into the US along with a group of other Mexicans. But once on the American side, they are taken prisoner, forced to watch while one is murdered by a vampire who then taunts the remaining prisoners, “Bienvenidos a América.”
In the first chapter, we meet Alex Rains, hiding in the New Mexico desert to spy on a remote house. When a woman enters the house and then begins screaming, Alex reluctantly leaves his surveillance to intervene. Rescuing the injured woman and killing her vampire assailants, he takes her back to his home in a secret location to care for her. She tells him that her name is Carmen and that she’s searching for her little sister Mia.
A skeptical Carmen is initiated into Alex’s violent world where vampire hunters are often the hunted, and where a shadowy network of hunters, adrenaline junkies, and their surprisingly well-equipped technical and medical support network are always aware that they are a step from death—or undeath.
“She took another sip from the coffee and looked at him sideways. “Forgive me if I’m having a hard time with the concept. Do you make money at this? Do you have a boss?”
Alex laughed. “I’m…an independent contractor. And as far as money, you know what they say, do what you love and the money follows.”
Okay, so the vamp vigilante career doesn’t exactly involve a formal medical or retirement plan. But the job isn’t without its financial rewards. Vampires who’ve been around a long time have had plenty of opportunity to stockpile money and treasure—the hunters’ payroll. Plus…swords! Really cool old ones.
In all this, Alex is a complex figure. To Carmen’s growing frustration, he hides lethal expertise and tragic history behind his aw-shucks country boy rockabilly facade and quips.
“Gonna be harder to find than a black jellybean in a rabbit hutch.”
Carmen shook her head. “Do you just make these lines up?”
As Alex and Carmen search for Mia, they become the targets of one of the oldest, most dangerous opponents, putting their lives, their friends, and their developing relationship at risk. In their world, violence is sudden, constant, and inevitable. They are in a war that can’t be won, against a constantly replenished enemy. It’s the world of the modern western, where the toys and trappings of modern civilization hide an endless cycle of good vs bad, while showcasing the vampire and western genres’ most common tropes:
- The gunslinger (Alex) is not only a quick draw, but also a trick shot as he demonstrates for his friends’ entertainment
- There are plenty of horses (but they’re under the hood, especially of Alex’s beloved muscle car).
- The good guy (Alex) rescues girls and wears a white cowboy hat, while his enemy eats girls and wears a black one. (No really.)
- Morality is on a sliding scale, where every horrific act committed by good guys is justified by the fact that the bad guys are so far outside the scope of the law.
- Heroes are badass, but bad guys are so unrelievedly villainous that they kill each other, murder young girls, and withhold cigarettes from enslaved housekeepers.
- Vampires do NOT sparkle, but they are spectacularly flammable in sunlight.
The Devil’s Mouth is a nonstop rollercoaster where violence, humor, tenderness, good, and evil are mixed, and where the individual wins are balanced against heartbreaking losses. Not only would I not hesitate to recommend it, but Matt Kincade goes straight to my autobuy list.
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
SPECIAL TREAT! Excerpt from The Devil’s Mouth
Alex held out the picture of Mia. “You seen this girl?”
The vampire stared at Carmen with a calculating look. “Ella es tu hermana?”
Carmen flinched and turned away from the creature’s gaze.
“Sí,” the vampire said. “I’ve seen her.”
Carmen stood up and looked back at him, her eyes wide. “Is she alive?”
The vampire struggled to his feet. Alex took a step back and held his sword ready, one hand on the hilt, one hand gripping the scabbard.
“She is alive,” said the vampire.
“Where is she?”
The vampire only smiled.
“Where?” Carmen said. “Please tell me.”
Alex said, “You best tell the lady.”
The vampire grinned, wider this time. “She is with El Diablo.”
“That ain’t much of an answer,” muttered Alex.
“She is…” the vampire mumbled something under his breath.
“What?” Carmen stepped forward.
“I said, she with El Diablo in hell!” The vampire’s arms shot out, one grabbing Carmen’s pistol, the other reaching for her throat.
Alex’s blade flashed, a silver blur in the darkened room.
The vampire’s arms both dropped to the floor. Blood gushed from two cleanly sheared
stumps. The Vampire screamed in rage.
“Well now, that just tears it,” said Alex. He stepped forward, winding back with the sword.
The vampire stepped back towards the wall. Carmen and Alex closed in on both sides. He bared his fangs again.
“You got no place to go, hoss.”
The vampire launched himself backward through the window.
The drapes wrapped him like a shroud. Sunlight exploded into the darkened room. The vampire fell in a cloud of diamond bright glass shards toward the immaculately hardscaped backyard.
He hit the ground, smoke already pouring from his exposed skin. With an audible chuff, he ignited. In seconds, the fire enveloped him. The drapes melted into his boiling skin. The flames burned hotter and hotter, searing the flesh from his bones as he stumbled across the yard. He collapsed in a heap and died screaming.
Still the fire burned like pitch, almost too bright to look at. By the time the flames died down, nothing was left but fine ash, already being scattered by the wind.
“Well, shit,” said Alex, staring through the broken window. He rested one hand on his hip, and the other loosely gripped the sword. “That contrary son of a bitch.”