As the sun sets over New Orleans, two brothers, John and Wayne Carter, find themselves standing in a French Quarter alleyway, their clothes stained with blood, and their minds foggy. They have no memory of how they got there or what they have done. All they can recall is a new friend, Jacques St. Germain offered them a deal – work for him, and he will give them a home, purpose, and power.
As the brothers sink deeper into compelled crimes, they are plagued by nightmares and memories they can’t explain. Through a romantic interest of John, the Carters seek the help of her aunt, a voodoo queen, who recognizes their plight and a danger to her own family. With guidance, they unlock memories of their past and learn about the dark rituals they were forced to participate in.
The brothers race against time to break Jacques’ hold before they are turned and forced to serve him for eternity. But the old vampire is not so easily defeated, and the brothers find themselves in a final showdown with Jacques.
Enter the origin story legend and the hidden world of the Big Easy where paths intertwine with serial killers, witchcraft, and a bloodline of the dead that existed well before Prohibition in the Crescent City.
Laissez les bons temps rouler.
TheBigThrill spent some time with author J.T. Patten to learn more about his latest novel, BROTHERS OF BLOOD:
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
The Carter Brother legend is a mixed bag of the two young men being either serial killers or vampires. I tried to think about what scenario could bring them to be both and what would cause the gaps in the stories to be more intentional. I thought it would be important for people to hear the “true” story from the brothers. One of their version to clarify all the other fables and interpretations. It was the first time I wrote a novel in first-person, and I think I gave the brothers their appropriate voice to evoke both empathy and disdain.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I was so “compelled” to write this book that I literally did not stop writing for a month. I broke the story down into core chapters, mapped out the pacing and suspense factors, and then dedicated each day to at least a couple chapters of writing. While I was creating, I was also mapping the story to the French Quarter logistics and points of interest so a reader could use the book as a tour guide of Big Easy haunts.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
My wife and I were visiting New Orleans and learned about the legend of the Carter Brothers. She and I both turned to one another and discussed what the origin story could look like that draws from other French Quarter dark histories, which would be logical touch-points. The result was very intreaging and one that closed many historic holes by adding some forensic and behavioral aspects of my own past to sew murderers, vampires, voodoo witches, and psychological abusers together.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Normally, I write rather complex multi-layer plot stories. Because there is an element of mental / psychological abuse that I would like to be evident to readers who may find themselves in such abusive relationships or situations, I started the story off more like a YA novel. I wanted the book to be interesting but accessible, so I leveled it down from an Anne Rice, Stephen King, or Seth-Grahame-Smith while elevating it up from the shows like Twilight and Vampire Diaries. From a song standpoint, there was a lot of the Alanis Morissette song, Uninvited that played in my head as I wrote this, and I found myself listening to both her haunting acoustic versions to remix dance rave interpretations for some vampiric bloodbath imagery.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I titled each chapter with the header of a psychological abuse characteristic. Some of these are found in day to day relationships, some are exploited for interrogation, human souRce development in intelligence, and brainwashing. It would be great if some people could walk away with a greater awareness through the vampire vignettes and perhaps help someone or themselves.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I am a huge fan of Jack Ketchum. Both BROTHERS OF BLOOD and Whispers of a Gypsy cover some sensitive subject matters that I did not want to have overshadowed. In my latest, Awaken the Piper, I’m ready to have some fun with a bit of a slasher to stretch my legs and let my innermost Jack and old-school Stephen King out.
J.T. Patten, a former intelligence professional, is the author of six dark fiction novels drawing from his experience in mission support, criminal investigation, and human behavior. His well-received debut horror, Whispers of a Gypsy, paved the way for a following of readers seeking faster-paced roller coaster rides of the supernatural and psychological thrillers.
To learn more about the J.T. Patten and his work, please visit his website.