It’s been more than a month now since Down To Sheol hit electronic bookshelves. Book sales are truly the only number that matters but seeing that people have actually taken the time to read your book and then taken even more time to review it or even drop you a line is a great feeling. To paraphrase George V. Higgins, a writer writes to be read. The rest is just keeping a diary.
The reviews have been positive. Allen Skeens, told me on Gab that he really enjoyed the book.
He also thought Texas was a good setting. Write what you know, right? Since I’m from Texas, it was only natural to set the book there. I also feel the Lonestar State has gotten short shrift from Big Media as a whole. A lot of modern movies and books portray Texans as dirty, ignorant rednecks. This was a trend I wanted to counteract with Down To Sheol.
Another great pleasure is the book has some crossover appeal. Since I started writing for Return Of Kings, I’ve made some friends in the science fiction world—specifically members of a movement entitled the #PulpRevolution. These guys just want their sci-fi/fantasy to be adventurous, entertaining and unpretentious; a return to the days of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. As one who got in to reading because of science fiction—and Burroughs in particular—these guys are definitely on my wavelength even though we write in different genres.
Brian Niemeier and Jon Del Arroz graciously helped get the word out about my novel on Twitter and elsewhere. Voice-over artist Jon Mollison even wrote a glowing review on his website. At the beginning of the review, Jon stated that my type of book was outside his normal “balliwick” and contains more explicit content than his usual preference. I can understand that. I knew the book had some heavy content and definitely is a walk on the dark side. Thankfully, the story was strong enough that Jon kept turning the pages and liked what he read:
“M. T. White writes with a ruthless minimalism that results in a gripping read. This story of small town politics might read like a small stakes version of the Dallas TV show, but White’s characters leap off the page and his plot races ahead at breakneck speed. This is the closest thing to a modern day noir story written with the plain-writ style of a Dashiell Hammett or Mickey Spillane that I’ve read in a long time.”
Dashiell Hammet—founder of the Hard-Boiled detective story and author of The Maltese Falcon; Mickey Spillane—the inspiration for talent as diverse as Stanley Kubrick, Ayn Rand, Max Allan Collins and Frank Miller. NOT BAD COMPANY TO BE IN AT ALL.
More importantly, one aspect of the book I really worked hard on—the action—had its intended impact:
“I have an easier time reading explicit violence, but found myself wincing at times. White’s writing isn’t just graphic, its gripping. He writes fight scenes in such a way that you almost feel each blow land yourself. It’s powerful stuff, and it gives his fight scenes a weight and suspense that you don’t read very often. The stakes in each scene are very real, and even if you think the right man will win, the action goes so fast and so visceral that you always have that little shred of doubt whether the hero really will make it out alive.”
The great thing about reviews like Jon’s is people trust his opinion about books more than The New York Times itself:
— Oghma (@Oghma_EM) February 26, 2017
And its not just on Twitter. On Gab, Holmes said the following:
If Vox Day and Castalia House want to publish my work (or start a crime label), I’m in. Until then, I’ll keep on self-publishing.
If you want to read the novel that is too hot and too politically incorrect for traditional publishing—that people are raving about—then click here.