In the fifth book in the Jake Helman Files series, private investigator Jake Helman returns to New York City after fighting the battle of his life on Pavot Island to save his best friend, Edgar.
He’s anxious to start a new life with NYPD homicide detective Maria Vasquez, but first he must search for psychic healer Laurel Doniger who disappeared while he was away.
As Jake investigates Laurel’s secret past, he’s drawn into a conflict with a being that has existed since the dawn of mankind. This creature is known by many names—Lilith, succubus, witch—but Jake and his allies will come to know her as the Storm Demon, and she’ll destroy New York City to take revenge on those who interfere with her plans.
Gregory Lamberson is a two time winner of the IPPY Gold Medal for Horror and a three time Bram Stoker Award finalist. He is the author of Johnny Gruesome, the occult detective series The Jake Helman Files (PERSONAL DEMONS, DESPERATE SOULS, COSMIC FORCES, TORTURED SPIRITS), the werewolf series The Frenzy Cycle (THE FRENZY WAY, THE FRENZY WAR), and the zombie novella CARNAGE ROAD, which is being developed as a motion picture. His upcoming novel THE JULIAN YEAR is the first TREEbook (Timed Reading Experience E-book).
Here’s my view of STORM DEMON:
STORM DEMON taps into a part of each of us that is hidden. No matter how rational we all are, how rational authors claim to be, there is another part of us, a part that is aware of death, of evil and of fate. This part is what draws me in, what makes me want to finish STORM DEMON, on a night with the wind howling and the rain tapping against my window.
I interviewed Gregory about STORM DEMON and The Jake Helman Files
As your series progresses what changes are occurring to the story and your writing process?
The Jake Helman Files is a series of self contained novels which also contain serialized elements which are building to a climactic sixth installment. When I wrote the first novel, PERSONAL DEMONS, I didn’t know if I’d get to write the entire series I had in mind because the book was published by a small press. When Medallion Press reprinted it and green lit the series, I planted a lot of seeds in the second novel, DESPERATE SOULS, which set up the rest of the series. I developed those ideas over the next two books, COSMIC FORCES and TORTURED SPIRITS, and now I’m in the home stretch.
STORM DEMON, which will be published at the end of October, is the penultimate entry, setting the stage for the final book in the series. The continuity has been a lot of fun to work with, and I’ve been able to take my characters through many more changes than I could in a single novel. My favorite entertainments have been the TV series THE WIRE and BREAKING BAD, and I love that idea of creating a big story layer by layer. I know these characters so well, and I feel more confident writing them than any others. I’m going to miss them when the series is over.
How do readers respond to these characters and stories?
I’ve never received less than glowing responses from readers. The series has never broken out the way I would have liked – I’m basically a cult author the same way I’m a cult filmmaker (I’ve made several low budget horror films, including SLIME CITY and SLIME CITY MASSACRE, and have a new one on the film festival circuit called DRY BONES). The reviews have been fantastic too. Creatively speaking, this has been a great success for me.
I punish Jake Helman in each novel; I’ve taken this punishment to extremes I believe no other author has gone to with regards to a continuing character, both emotionally and physically. It seemed to take four books for my readers to realize there’s nothing I won’t do to him, so it’s became a game between us – at which point in each novel do I deliver the “Aha!” moment that sends them into disbelief. I love this.
What subplots come together in STORM DEMON?
In DESPERATE SOULS, I gave Jake Helman a friend who’s a psychic and a healer and a shut-in. She and Jake became lovers, then confidantes. I always knew I would figure out what her back story was, and I set it up in the fourth book. She takes center stage in this book, and her mystery is solved. In that same book, I introduced Jake’s assistant, a goth dwarf named Carrie, and her boyfriend Ripper, a Korean hood with dreadlocks.
We’ve seen glimpses of them throughout the series, and in STORM DEMON I finally involve them in the big adventure. And there are threads related to character development: Jake and his antagonist, Detective Maria Vasquez, finally did the deed in the previous book, and now they have to deal with having a relationship when this supernatural character – the mother of all witches – slams New York City with the mother of all storms. There are a lot of payoffs in this book, either setting up or clearing the stage for the conclusion.
Where do you draw the line in what’s believable about psychic forces and eternal evil?
My mission with this series was to throw horror, science fiction, crime drama and noir into a blender and mix a mean concoction. Nothing is too fantastic. Jake has battled demons and angels, a giant mutant octopus god called Avadaeme (my favorite creation – mine too ed.), voodoo zombies, genetically engineered monsters and a serial killer who stole the souls of his victims. He’s a pawn between heaven and hell, although I’ve taken pains to show that these other dimensions are not identical to those described in the Bible – the whole point is for me to spin religions and mythologies to suit my purpose, which is to build an epic mythology. The only thing I’ve avoided are traditional monsters – I have zero interest in pitting Jake against werewolves or vampires. It’s up to me as the author to make everything I include believable, no matter how fantastic.
You have many successes and awards, what is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you as a writer?
I feel inspired every time a reader writes me and tells me how much they like my work. I’ve pretty much been a starving artist for 30 years now, and I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere. My films are goofy, low budget affairs, but my novels are serious and ambitious, and it’s great to have people responding to my work. My zombie novella CARNAGE ROAD was just optioned as film/TV property by actor Craig Sheffer, and there’s a good chance it will actually be adapted.
This year I wrote and directed one film and produced another; I’m just staying as busy as I can, telling as many stories as I can, building a body of work that I’m proud of. My wife’s been a big part of my development, she’s sacrificed as much as I have on this journey. She’s my inspiration.
How does writing for print differ from writing for movies in your genre?
Screenplays are easy to write, they come naturally to me. I typically write a script in four or five days spread out over a weekend. If I could get into television I’d make a fortune. My novels used to take six months to write, but I did Storm Demon in two; I’d been developing this serialized story so long that I just burned through the payoff book.
I have a novel called THE JULIAN YEAR coming out at the end of December. It’s the first TREEbook – Timed Reading Experience E-book. This is a revolutionary new e-book format utilizing time triggers and seamless branching technology. The story changes based on the reader’s own reading habits, and the reader doesn’t even realize it’s happening; it’s a passive reading experience, not a “choose your own adventure” type of thing. That one took me a full year to write, because it was like writing several books.
In what place in your heart has the creative instinct found root and grown?
I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was three or four years old, I used to cut out pictures from comic books and move them around on our TV screen, creating my own “shows.” I’ve always had that urge, and I’ve never let it go. I always wanted to write books and make movies and comic books, and I’m doing all three. I’ve never been one to wait for good luck, I just do my own thing, and keep doing it and keep doing it.
I love your opening scene in STORM DEMON, have you ever experienced a striking psychic phenomenon?
No, I’m a non-believer. I live near a town called Lily Dale, a spiritualist assembly populated by psychics, healers and mediums. I used it as the location for my Kindle exclusive e-book novella SCAREMONGER, but I don’t buy any of it any more than I do any religion. It’s all grist for my fantasy worlds.
“Gregory Lamberson is the kind of force that dark fantasy and horror are lucky to have.”– FANGORIA MAGAZINE
“Lamberson knows exactly what he’s doing and creates a different, more emotionally charged, and thematically huge story with every subsequent release.” –DREADFUL TALES
Thanks Gregory! The TREE book sounds amazing, and I admire your guts and determination. I know that it takes a lot of both to write and wait for the public to tell us what they think.
I wish you well with STORM DEMON. It certainly caught my imagination and put its hooks into me. This is a great time for this type of crossover novel. And a great time of year to launch it.
Gregory Lamberson is a two time winner of the IPPY Gold Medal for Horror and a three time Bram Stoker Award finalist. He is the author of JOHNNY GRUESOME, the occult detective series The Jake Helman Files (PERSONAL DEMONS, DESPERATE SOULS, COSMIC FORCES, TORTURED SPIRITS), the werewolf series The Frenzy Cycle (THE FRENZY WAY, THE FRENZY WAR), and the zombie novella CARNAGE ROAD, which is being developed as a motion picture. His upcoming novel THE JULIAN YEAR is the first TREEbook (Timed Reading Experience E-book).
To learn more about Gregory, please visit his website.