By Patrick R. McDonough
Do you like horror? Or laughter? Perhaps you’re looking for a place to discover new authors of dark fiction. Ink Heist – A Podcast for Readers of Dark Fiction is your answer. First a quick ink Heist history lesson. Created on April 14th 2018, the ‘zine focused primarily on speculative fiction and films of all types. Heavily favored genres include: crime, noir, neo-noir, and horror, with a dash of poetry, creative non-fiction, and crossover genres.
A Philadelphia suburb native, that currently resides in Central New York with his wife, daughter, and dogs. A few years before he and Shane became partners, he created The Horror Bookshelf, which is still very active to this day! Horror is his first love, but crime and noir have an equal place in his dark heart. His other interests include searching for vintage paperbacks to add to his immersive collection, watching an unhealthy amount of movies, and losing himself in underground music from the 1980s through the 21st century.
Shane Douglas Keene
A Portland, Oregon native that lives with his wife and three dogs. Formerly of Shotgun Logic, and a semi-regular contributor to monumental review platforms such as Gingernuts of Horror and This Is Horror. Like any good lover of horror literature, he has an unhealthy amount of books. When his mind isn’t being consumed with reading, he finds himself writing about books and their creators, as well as listening to heavy metal and blues, and focusing his energy on encouraging literacy.
This pod is 100% unscripted. Shane and Rich lead every guest with a specialized conversation starter, which ends up leading them and their guest into a unique conversation. With each episode, we get a new piece of Shane and Rich, as well as bits of the guest’s background and some of their hobbies beyond writing. From start to end, the show runs like a well-oiled machine, even during an occasional pause or forgotten muted mic. The pauses have a certain beat to them that almost always are followed with comedic dialogue.
Episode 101: The Fearing with John F.D. Taff
First aired – July 8th 2019
Run-time – 48 mins 26 seconds
Considering that Rich reviewed Taff’s earlier novels in 2014, it’s only fitting that he be the first guest. We get the overall concept and ideas which inspired Taff’s latest serialized novel The Fearing. He tells us about the publisher he mainly works with—Grey Matter Press—and the man behind GMP, Anthony Rivera. The behind-the-scenes of putting together a single book is absolutely fascinating, and that’s exactly what we learn about. They also touch upon on the authors in the indie horror community that are making the biggest strides and pushing the indie movement forward.
Episode 102: A Very Irreverent Conversation with Hunter Shea
First aired – July 23rd 2019
Run-time – 1 hr 32 mins 11 secs
Hunter Shea, The Monster Man, tells us about working with Don D’Auria of Flame Tree Press, his most recent novel Creature, and his upcoming novel, Slasher (released October 24th). For me, slasher films from the 80’s and 90’s is what started my horror craze. They don’t even have to take themselves too serious to capture my attention. Slasher sounds like it is exactly that, a fun horror film in book form. There really aren’t enough books out there like that, which is all the more reason to get pumped for Shea’s upcoming novel!
Oh yea…and Rich wrestles with his dogs. Nothing unusual here, folks!
Episode 103: A Conversation with Laurel Hightower
First aired – August 6th 2019
Run-time – 1 hr 14 mins 35 secs
Hightower and the ink Heist boys talk about her debut novel, Whispers in the Dark, brought to you by Journalstone/Trepidatio. She tells us how her mother was a writer and the lessons she instilled in Laurel at a young age. Hightower is not only a rising name in this expansive community, but she’s an intelligent, funny, and fluent conversationalist. I have yet to read her novel, but this episode only made her name and book stamp a place in my mind. It’s going in the TBR pile! They discuss and dissect parts of the book but never actually spoil anything. It’s an intriguing enough story, but don’t take my word for it…check out this episode!
Episode 104: Digging deep into The Fearing Book One: Fire and Rain with John F.D. Taff
First aired – August 13th 2019
Run-time – 1 hr 2 mins 6 secs
Taff is back, making him the first guest to appear on the show multiple times, which is pretty impressive considering the show is only six episodes in. This time, we focus on book 1 in The Fearing story. This is the first of a four-part series. The four episodes will have an in-depth breakdown for each book. We meet the characters and their potential arcs in Fire and Rain. Afterwards, theories on what fears would haunt Shane, Rich, and John are contemplated.
Episode 105: A Conversation with Josh Malerman
First aired – August 27th 2019
Run-time – 1 hr 56 mins 32 secs
Author of Birdbox, Unbury Carol, Mad Wheel, and Inspection, Malerman discusses his stories, creativity itself, and describes the indie horror community with the perfect word: “elasticity”. They cover what determines horror (who cares, it’s all horror!) and how the genre is being stretched like an elastic band by new and interesting voices. They mention how they’d like to get together one day over some drinks and discuss horror. I would love to be a fly on that wall (while enjoying my own fly-sized beer). The genre as a whole, being carried by the indie community, is emphasized, which it’s certainly hard to argue. If you’re new to this podcast, I’d suggest starting with this one. It just may get you hooked on a few good Malerman books too!
Episode 106: Rich and Shane: Screaming Into the Abyss
First aired – September 3rd 2019
Run-time – 2 hrs and 54 secs
This episode has no guests. It’s all about Shane and Rich going back-and-forth with questions and answers, which branch off to other topics and…it’s just glorious. This is my favorite episode, so far…but I have a feeling next week’s episode will become my new favorite episode, hehe.
Right off the bat they get into a great book discussion on what they’re currently reading, books they’re looking towards, and break down author catalogs. A recent love that Shane talks about is Chade Lutzke’s upcoming The Pale White, set to be published September 27th through Crystal Lake Publishing. This novella is already hyped to be a lovely addition to Lutzke’s ever-growing bibliography.
Something I really love to learn about is new publishers in the indie world. If you haven’t heard of them yet, now’s the time to look into Silver Shamrock Publishing. A few titles to look for: In The Scrape, a fantastic novella by James Newman and Mark Steensland; Cricket Hunters, a novel by Jeremy Hepler, and a highly anticipated anthology coming October 1st, Midnight In The Graveyard, with names such as Robert McCammon, Kealan Patrick Burke, and Catherine Cavendish!
One of the most fascinating parts of this episode is when they talk about why they’ve pursued horror. Shane tells a tale about him as an eleven-year-old. A boy that became magnetized by one of his father’s book covers. He had to have it…so he stole it. After he read it, it changed him. That book was Stephen King’s ’Salem’s Lot. Rich on the other hand found his love in the film world—slashers from the 80’s and 90’s. He rented a VHS copy of Candyman. Someone told him the plot and it scared him so badly that it sat and taunted him from his kitchen table for a week straight!
Rich brings up a project Shane and him are collaborating on. A book. This is something I left out of episode 105’s breakdown (the first time they mention it). Neither one gave away too much, actually they barely gave away any details. What they did inform us on is it’s a strange tale that has potential to be of novella length. Shane describes it as “mayhem within a drug facility in the middle of nowhere”. After hearing these past six episodes, I know for a fact these guys are nuts about horror and they have good taste. I can only imagine how well-crafted their finished product will be. Sign me up for a copy!
Towards the end of the episode they talk about future guests. They should all be met with equal anticipation: John F.D. Taff returns to have a deep dive into book 2 of The Fearing. Scott Thomas talks about his recent book, Violet. Chad Lutzke will discuss his bibliography and upcoming novella, The Pale White. Laird Barron is anticipated to elegantly talk about crime and horror novels, as well as his Isaiah Coleridge series. Other future guests include: Betty Rocksteady, Caroline Kepnes, Todd Keisling, J. Danielle Dorn, and Karen Runge.
I love this podcast and was hooked after the first episode. Without a doubt, this is a MUST listen. I binged the series—while washing dishes, performing house work, even while driving—and now I’m waiting excitedly for episode 7. It’s just as enjoyable for a veteran author, as it is for an editor, publisher, or a reader. This podcast has opened my eyes to a lot of names in the indie horror community. My love and interest has only grown for it. In fact, this podcast and community has nabbed my heart and ran off with it for keepsies.
Main Website: inkHeist.com
Check out Ink Heist – A Podcast for Readers of Dark Fiction on Spotify! What episode(s) have you listened to so far? Did we introduce you to the show? If we did, please tell the ink Heist boys that Dead Head Reviews sent you!