Monday, 6 June 2011
Breathing life into the Dead Man - co creator Lee Goldberg speaks to The Tainted Archive
THE TIME - SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 1970 AND 1985
The interior of the shop was a little gloomy and there was a musty, though not unpleasant smell about the place. Behind the counter, sat a plump middle aged woman with freshly permed hair. She sat there, reading a magazine and occasionally peering over her glasses at the sole customer browsing the paperbacks. He'd been there for almost an hour without buying anything - selecting paperback after paperback, reading the back cover blurb, examining the front cover and then placing the book either in a pile besides him or back on the shelves.
Ahh, those were the days - when the bookshops were filled with slim mass market paperbacks, the type of thing they used to call mid-list fiction. All genres were catered for - westerns, thrillers, horror, crime, fantasy, sci-fi and even TV and Film tie-ins, and most of them cost less than a pound. It's a different story now and the publishing industry is much more secular. Those cheap paperbacks designed to be read in one or two sittings have long disappeared. We were told there was no longer a market for the books, that their audience had vanished, migrating first to video tapes, then DVD's and now the Internet.
The Internet seems to get blamed for a lot of things, but one of the web's many positives is that it proved that there was still a market for the type of books we used to read. Online auctions did a thriving trade in old paperbacks and once again readers were able to follow the adventures of Edge, the Executioner, Nick Carter, Sabat and countless other heroes and villains. Publishers had stopped selling the books in the first place because, presumably sales dropped and writers, for the most part, stopped writing them because there was no longer a readership. Strange then, how those readers quickly appeared on the net, using all the powers of communication and community the world wide web offered.
One new series that perfectly recaptures the golden days of paperback fiction is the Dead Man series created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.
THE PLACE - ANYTOWN
THE TIME - TODAY
"THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL is a tight, well written, supernatural thriller [that] satisfies all on its own, while being a terrific opener that promises an epic tale to come. I'm excited for the next book."
—Man Eating Bookworm Blog
"THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL reminds me of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.[...]a fascinating horror story that leaves you wanting more, more, more!"
—Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine
"I haven't seen a writing tandem like this since the glory days of Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy."
The original concept came about in a series of scripts for a proposed TV series. And the two men spent many years trying to get the series produced, and years later Lee and Bill, both now with considerable experience in writing for both TV and print, decided that the Dead Man series may be worth reviving as a series of eBooks.
And readers can be thankful of the tenacity of Lee and Bill in realising their initial vision in digital print - there have been four titles thus far, with the fifth on the way and more beyond that. In my review of the first book in the series, Face of Evil I commented on the humour which provided ligh relief in what is essentially a very dark series.
"We firmly believe that humor humanizes and reveals characters, especially in extraordinary situations, and allows us to relate to them on a much more personal level. There's humor even in some of the darkest moments in our lives. And where we find that humor, and why we do, says a lot about who we are. We've kind of strayed a bit from the humor in the first book and we'd like to see us get back to that. But that said, we're really enjoying the unique take that each novelist is bringing to their story in the series. It's made it a lot of fun for us...and we're discovering new things about Matt Cahill and his world along the way." Lee Goldberg.
And staying true to the projects origins as a TV script Lee and Bill decided to recruit world class writers from the mystery, western, horror, science fiction and suspense genres to write books from their original outlines. For just as with a TV series a team of writers usually work from a series of outlines, then so too would the writers contributing to the Dead Man series - this allows for an overall structure to be maintained while each new writer brings something new to the series.
So far Lee and Bill have penned the first and third books in the series, while the second was written by James Daniels. David McAfree did the fourth and number five, coming next month, is being done by James Reasoner.
The series is compelling and you'll find yourself hooked after the first few pages of that first book, and now that the eBooks are proving successful will we see that Dead Man TV series?
"We'd love that to happen, but that's not really up to us. That's up to the studios and networks." Lee Goldberg.
So if any canny producers are reading this - go and check out the Dead Man series.
The Dead Man website