THE HUNT

Released: November, 2012 | Published by: Severed Press

After completing her freshman year of college in East Lansing, DOREEN WOODS returns to her hometown of Northville, Michigan with plenty of problems. A drug-dealer boyfriend who has her hooked on his new product. An alcoholic father who abuses his wife. A history of body image issues. Paralyzing bouts of depression. Cutting. Things are about to get worse. She's just called her best friend, Katy, to drive her home from a long night of partying, but Katy has other plans for Doreen. Like having her chased by a soul-sucking demon across a nightmarish landscape of haunted forests, endless oceans, and hungry undead, all while experiencing withdrawal from her new drug of choice: the little doctors. But there is more to fear in the shadows than monsters and demons. Doreen soon learns that, when you're in THE HUNT, nothing is ever what it seems, and there's only one way out.

“I loved The Hunt. It moves with impressive whip-crackle intensity, dragging us into a world of obsession and despair and cumulative horror that reminds me of a young Clive Barker taking aim at society and exposing its pulsing raw red underbelly.” Tim Curran, author of Skull Moon and Long Black Coffin

The Hunt is a cautionary tale as written by Lewis Carroll if Lewis Carroll was in the middle of a Clive Barker reading binge. The writing is taut and pulls you along until you can’t do anything but read another page, and another, and another. Williams creates characters you might want to smack the hell out of, but you can’t help believing. I recommend it unreservedly.” Paul Anderson, editor of Jamais Vu and Torn Realities

“Joseph Williams’ The Hunt takes the reader on a perilous excursion through a young girl’s twisted fears and ruined life, across other dimensions and ahead…barely ahead…of the sinister Dr. Rull, whose games are as macabre as they are vicious. The Hunt is worth the journey!” Robert E. Vardeman, author of The Resonance of Blood and Star Trek: Mutiny on the Enterprise

“Joseph Williams is a hell of a writer, and The Hunt is one hell of a book. A strong statement? Perhaps. But I think you’ll be hard-pressed to disagree once you delve into this genuinely unsettling narrative about a young woman who goes through a hellish ordeal—literally…The horror on offer here is of the Barker-esque stripe. The descriptions of the various set-pieces bring to mind a Dali painting fired through the lens of a maniac’s kaleidoscope. Heavy stuff, but right up the alley of most horror fans. Take a look at The Hunt and just try to tell me that Williams isn’t a name to look out for.” Brad Carter, author of Saturday Night of the Living Dead and (dis)Comfort Food


SPECIAL FEATURES

COMMENTARY

THE HUNT was a special book for me. It was my debut novel, my Master’s thesis at Wayne State, the beginning of my affiliation with Severed Press, and my first extended character study with a female lead. I can say now—after looking back through the plethora of trunk manuscripts filling boxes, binders, and filing cabinets in my basement—that it’s the first good novel I ever wrote.

I wrote THE HUNT as a study of addictive personalities. I wanted to explore the time period in a character’s life when she’d truly reached the tipping point with her addictions, after which there would be no turning back. She’d either learn to control the addictions or they would control her, even if she yo-yoed in and out of use for years and years after the fact. In Doreen’s case, her dependencies involved the little doctors and her jackass boyfriend, Drew, but really those were just side-effects of her larger issues. Depression. Low self-esteem. Learning to live after heartbreak. The lasting impact of a strained relationship with her parents (particularly her father). Things that affect most of us. Things we all cope with in different ways.

To be clear, the book is not anti-drug or anti-alcohol or anti-partying or really anti anything. People can make their own decisions about all that, as far as I’m concerned. However, like many addicts, Doreen uses drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with traumatic events in her past, and to numb some of her self-destructive urges even as she perpetuates others. THE HUNT also is not a Paranormal Romance, though the amazingly creepy/beautiful cover by Matt Leese coupled with the fact that the protagonist is a college-aged girl with a boyfriend may have mistakenly drawn in that particular niche audience...to their chagrin, I suppose.

In my biased eyes, THE HUNT is a novel of discovery, independence, and empowerment. It’s a dark fantasy novel (more of a warped fairytale than anything), which means it can be very depressing at times. It has a somewhat cynical ending, too, but I think it stays true to the reality of addiction and recovery.

My thesis advisor, Dr. Caroline Maun, was an invaluable resource in writing this book and in teaching me how to write novels in general. Her notes led me to create some of my favorite chapters in the book (about five of the flashbacks) and helped flesh out the chunks of the novel that needed fleshing. As Stephen King often says about his editors/research assistants, whatever I got right in the book was because of Dr. Maun. Whatever I got wrong was because of me. That’s paraphrasing, of course, but you get the point. THE HUNT isn’t a fast-paced, shoot ‘em up novel like BU or the Stasik books, but in my opinion, it has much more to offer beneath the surface.

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