I first read THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME by Richard Connell in the 6th grade and have been captivated by it ever since. Upon that initial reading, I was determined to one day write a modern thriller that paid tribute to Richard Connell’s classic tale, exploring the relationship between hunter and hunted. That tribute is the third novel in the James Reece series, SAVAGE SON. One of the most intriguing passages in THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME is this exchange between the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford, and the antagonist, General Zaroff, where the central theme of the narrative is revealed: “I wanted the ideal animal to hunt,” explained the general. “So I said, ‘What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?’ And the answer was, of course, ‘It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.’” “But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford. “My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.”
Written by Geoffrey Household, a veteran of British Intelligence in World War II, ROGUE MALE was first published in 1939. It is almost unbelievable to me that as a student of the genre I did not discover Geoffrey Household earlier in life, especially considering what an influence he was on one of my literary heroes, David Morrell. I was leaving Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale Arizona with industry icon Barbara Peters after interviewing my friend and fellow author Mark Greaney when a retro-looking book of matches near the front desk caught my eye. It pictured a man with a rifle in an elevated position looking down on what appeared to be a castle. ROGUE MALE was printed across the top of the matchbox and in smaller letters near the bottom was the name Geoffrey Household. I purchased the matchbox and immediately ordered the book which I read in one sitting. I was well into SAVAGE SON by this point, but it was Geoffrey Household’s seminal work that would bring it all together for me and lead me where I knew I must go. As a tribute to this classic thriller and its author, there are two sentences quite intentionally written into SAVAGE SON as a sign of respect to this legend of the genre. If you are picking up ROGUE MALE for the first time, pour yourself a brandy by the fire and transport yourself back to the world of 1939, a world on the brink of war.
David Morrell$9.99 $9.19
“His name was Rambo, and he was just some nothing kid for all anybody knew, standing by the pump of a gas station at the outskirts of Madison, Kentucky.” Those words introduced the world to John Rambo in David Morrell’s 1972 classic thriller, FIRST BLOOD, though in the novel he is known simply as Rambo. I had already seen the 1982 movie starring Sylvester Stallone and read David Morrell’s THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE, the first in a trilogy that includes THE FRATERNITY OF THE STONE and THE LEAGUE OF NIGHT AND FOG when I finally read FIRST BLOOD. In fact, because of my age I had seen RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II in the theater with my dad and had read David Morrell’s novelization of the screenplay before I read FIRST BLOOD. I was struck by how different the novel was from the film adaptation and how both were impactful for different reasons. The differences would be at the forefront of my mind over thirty years later as I advised on the script for the adaptation of my first novel, THE TERMINAL LIST. Never one to chase the market and one of, if not the best to ever ply the trade, David Morrell, “the father of the modern action novel,” is not just an author who continues to reinvent himself writing stories that make him and his readers “fuller, more significant people,” he is truly a “first rate version” of himself and an example for us all. With each and every project, David moves the genre forward. If you have seen the film but not cracked the cover to FIRST BLOOD, prepare yourself to get to know a character you might not fully recognize and for a story that will linger with you long after you’ve turned the final page.