New Horror and Dark Suspense Antho from Wolfpack

January 19th, 2021 by Max Allan Collins
Book cover for Reincarnal and Other Dark Tales
E-Book: Amazon Purchase Link

In about a week, my latest Wolfpack release – Reincarnal & Other Dark Tales – will be available on Kindle, and shortly thereafter as a physical book.

When I have copies of the trade paperback, I will announce a book giveaway here. For those that haven’t noticed, this update/blog has a new post every Tuesday morning. [10 Eastern/9 Central unless I mess something up. –Nate] So check in – they go fast.

Obviously, Wolfpack has provided me with another outstanding cover. I continue to be delighted by what they come up with. I realize some of you may be overwhelmed by how much of my material Wolfpack has unleashed upon an unsuspecting world pretty much all at once. Publisher Mike Bray and editor Paul Bishop were good enough to take on virtually all of my remaining backlist, as those who come here regularly know. Nine of these books are novels, but the others are anthologies. Of those anthologies, only three (including a forthcoming one by Barb and me, Suspense – His and Hers) are new collections…new books.

Reincarnal is one of them.

It’s a special one for me, because it collects virtually all of my horror short stories. In addition, the book includes two radio plays that I wrote for Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories: “House of Blood” and “Mercy.” I adapted a number of the yarns in the collection for Dreadtime Stories, but the two radio plays were original to the series.

While I’ve spent most of my career writing suspense and crime fiction, the horror genre has been an interest since childhood, undoubtedly having to do with watching old monster movies on TV. In Reincarnal, you meet the big three: Frankenstein’s monster, a werewolf, and more than one vampire.

Some of the stories are more in a “dark suspense” vein, though the majority have a supernatural element. And they have another element that may either please or not please you: this is definitely a “parental advisory” type book. Several stories were originally written for the famous Hot Blood and Shock Rock series, whose co-editor Jeff Gelb was my co-editor on Flesh and Blood. The format of those anthologies was to combine horror with an erotic element.

I mention this because – much to my surprise – in recent years some readers are offended by sexual content, and many of you are undoubtedly saying, “Boy, did they sign up with the wrong writer.” In re-reading the stories, I realized that changing times and attitudes are reflected therein, but I made no edits to bring them up to date. They were written over a thirty-year period and, like Popeye, yam what they yam.

But also in re-reading the stories I discovered that some of these dark tales are among my best work. I would be hard-pressed to come up with a better story of mine than “Traces of Red,” for example. “Reincarnal,” the lead story, was much praised at the time of its original publication, and I adapted it into a screenplay. That project still rears its head now and then. “Interstate 666″ was written originally as a screenplay, and the story herein is actually a condensed version. It came very close to being made as a TV pilot (one iteration involving Rob Zombie!).

Both radio plays in the new collection were conceived in hopes of movie production and they too are not yet off the table in that regard. Those stories are collected in audio anthologies available at Amazon and elsewhere. Producer Carl Amari did a great job on them.

My interest in horror should come as no surprise to my regular readers, even though they may missed the stories collected in Reincarnal when originally published. Such novels of mine as Butcher’s Dozen, Angel in Black, and What Doesn’t Kill Her, as well as the two J.C. Harrow novels by Matt Clemens and me, are in part horror novels. So is Regeneration by Barb and me (a new edition is coming from Wolfpack).

Speaking of which, let me get back to Wolfpack. You supporting my efforts there by ordering Reincarnal & Other Dark Tales and the John Sand novel, Come Spy With Me, paves the way for me to do new novels in various series that have run their course at other publishers. When fans ask a writer, are you ever going to do another novel about such-and-such a favorite character, the true answer is: it’s not up to the authors. We need publishers who believe in us, and frankly most publishers want the next big thing, not the last modestly successful thing.

* * *

We lost Parnell Hall recently, and the parade of hurtful losses to the mystery genre continues. The great John Lutz of Single White Female fame is gone.

outdoor portrait of author John Lutz wearing a black shirt and jacket.

This from Janet Rudolph:

John Lutz: 1939-2021.

I was lucky to know John Lutz over the years. John wrote over 50 novels of political suspense, private eye novels, urban suspense, humor, occult, caper, police procedural, espionage, historical, futuristic, amateur sleuth, thriller — just about every mystery sub-genre. He also wrote over 200 short stories and articles. John was a past president of both Mystery Writers of America and Private Eye Writers of America. Among his awards were the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award. And, he was a kind, supportive, and generous man. He’ll be missed.

I knew John well, and Barb and I know his wonderful wife Barbara, too. John was a terrific writer and also displayed a dry wit second to none. For many years, John was a welcome, low-key presence at Bouchercon, one of those friends I saw almost exclusively in that manner. He was shy and modest, but that sense of humor came through, or I should say sneaked up on you.

This one hurts.

* * *

This mind-bogglingly wonderful review of Skim Deep is at Book Reporter. Please feast your eyes upon it.


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6 Responses to “New Horror and Dark Suspense Antho from Wolfpack”

  1. stephen borer says:

    ‘Preciate the report on Mr. Lutz .

  2. Luc says:

    Hello M. Collins

    Just started reading Reincarnal .
    I’m not familiar with Wolfpack Publishing but I’m not totally happy with the job they did with this book .
    They seem to have let a few mistakes through. Just on the table of contents we have : the second story starts on page 45 not 66 , the 3rd story (“A Good Head on His Shoulders”) is not listed . There also seem to be a couple of syntax errors in the 1st story but I’m not 100% sure as English is not my first language.


  3. Luc, I missed that. Frankly didn’t pay any attention to the table of contents. But i proofread the rest and I believe it’s solid — any bad syntax is either mine or dialogue intentionally.

  4. Luc says:

    Hello again M. Collins

    Still reading (and enjoying the book) , it’s not what I’m used to in a M.A.C. book .
    I went back and re-read the 2 parts that “felt” odd : the last page of Reincarnal (the story) and the second paragraph of page 26 (“Working from his apartment…”) and .

  5. Luc says:

    And I accidentally posted an incomplete comment :

    Hello again M. Collins

    Still reading , it’s not what I’m used to in a M.A.C. book and it took me a couple of stories to get into the proper mood but I’m enjoying the book .

    I went back and re-read the 2 parts that “felt” odd : the last page of Reincarnal (the story) and the second paragraph of page 26 (“Working from his apartment…”) .
    For that page 26 paragraph , shouldn’t it be Dick Mathis instead of Chaney who faxes the final copy ?
    And for the last page , my fault I read it too fast and misunderstood what was going on.

    I know very little about WolfPack Publishing . This is the first book I’ve purchased that’s been published by that company and I was a bit worried that they would turn out to be the book equivalent of CrossGen comics.

    Regards ,


  6. That is a syntax error — Mathis got the article faxed to him by Chaney. It’s probably clear to most readers, but the sentence is constructed wrong. I’m not going to fix it — that’s how it was originally published and copyrighted.

    Wolfpack is correcting the other errors you mentioned on the Kindle version and any future sales of the trade paperback, which is print-on-demand.

    Wolfpack has done a very good job for me. They had a whole stack of backlist titles and short story collections to bring out, and some perhaps too hasty work was done. And I was unable to proof-read anything that wasn’t a new title.