Friday, December 25, 2015

Here's hoping Santa stuffs your banana hammock...wait...WHAT?

Ho, ho, ho! Tis the season to give and in the spirit of the holidays, I'm unleashing my newest book, Bad Day in a Banana Hammock.
Sure, I hear you asking, "But, Stuart, this doesn't sound very holidayesque at all!"

Au contraire, mon fraire!

Bad Day in a Banana Hammock is my first straight-up comedy. All wrapped up for the holidays in a snug banana hammock. No angst, no darkness, no horror. Just (I hope) dumb fun. Perfect for the holidays!

Santa gives and keeps on giving! Like the Energizer Bunny.

Banana Hammock is a cozy mystery. Sorta. Gone are teacups, replaced by male g-strings. A femme fatale using the (false?) name of "Kat" replaces the customary kitties. Comfy chats about food are relegated to spam and fast-food burgers. But it's a cozy, I tell you!

Here, this explains it better:

Zach wakes up with no memory, no phone, and no clothes except his stripper g-string. And oh yeah! There’s that pesky naked dead guy in bed next to him. Problem is Zach's not gay. Or a murderer. At least, he doesn't think so. Only one person can help him, his sister, Zora. Of course Zora's got problems of her own—she has three kids at home and is eight month's pregnant with the fourth. So she’s a bit cranky. But that’s not going to stop her from helping her brother. With kids in tow, the siblings set how to find the true killer, clear Zach's name, and reassure Zach he's not gay.


Full disclosure time: I wrote the book on a dare. A writer friend (looking at you, Meradeth Houston) dared me to pen a book about a vapid male stripper involved in a mystery. I did it. But it's his sister that's proving to be the fan favorite. Zora is a very pregnant, very irritable ex-detective who knows her stuff and ain't afraid to use a gun. Forget about getting her husband dinner on time...the game is afoot!


“An hilarious murder mystery romp. Ride along with Zach and Zora on this most entertaining of mysteries.”
-Heather Brainerd, author of the Jose Picada, P.I. mystery series. 



“A fun, quirky whodunit so full of wild antics, it will keep you guessing...when you're not giggling.”
-Heather Greenis, author of The Natasha Saga. 



“Bad Day in a Banana Hammock will have you wiping up tears of hysterical laughter.”
-Suzanne de Montigney, author of the Shadow of the Unicorn series.


Enjoy! (Um, I hope...yes, yes, yes, I'm absolutely shameless).

Happy holidays!

Buy it here: Bad Day in a Banana Hammock!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Murder, Madness & Love! It can only mean an interview with Yolanda Renee!

Hey, give a warm welcome to Yolanda Renee, author of Murder, Madness & Love, a sublime mystery of...well...read the title. Yolanda has several other titles outs I haven't yet read, but believe me, they're queued up, ready to go.




SRW: Yolanda, hey, thanks for braving my blog!



YR: You're quite welcome. I love interrogations when done by a master. That light, is it necessary? And I'd love a cup of coffee if you don't mind. Please, ask away.



SRW: (The light's part of the interrogation, Yolanda! Deal with it!) Recently, I finished Murder, Madness & Love. And I really liked it. Tell everyone what it's about.



YR: Murder, Madness & Love is a murder mystery with a romance that creates nothing but problems for a dedicated detective. The tagline says it all: After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.



SRW: One of the things I really loved about the book is the questionable nature of the heroine (anti-heroine?). Masterfully, you kept me guessing until the end whether she truly is a "black widow killer." Very strong Hitchcockian vibe there. Well done! So, did you have in mind, before you wrote the book, her true nature? Or did you, you know, wing it?



YR: Thank you, Stuart. I love that term Hitchcockian! I still enjoy watching his work. I knew when I wrote MML that I wanted Sarah to be suspect number one. I'm glad my efforts worked. Her job was to keep Quaid tangled in barbed wire throughout the story.



SRW: The book's set in Alaska. Brr. But the setting was a blast of fresh arctic air. You know what you write. Are you an Alaskan? (Or is that a politically incorrect terms these days?)


YR: I'm a former resident of Alaska. I traveled there on vacation when I was twenty, and extended my stay by 4 years. I hiked the Brooks and Alaskan Range, and left to finish my education. I'm not there now, because my husband doesn't like the cold. We compromised and spent 17 years in Washington State. He's a Florida man, but right now, we reside in Pennsylvania.

As far you being politically incorrect – who decides what is or isn't?
  
SRW: (Apparently not Donald Trump! Ahem...) I see your next book is a sequel. In name only, at least. Revolving around detective Steven Quaid. Can we talk a little bit about this guy?




YR: I'd love to; Quaid is part Tlingit Indian and Irish. He's a dedicated detective with no black marks in his file – until Sarah's case. He's unusual as a detective in that he wants the white picket fence, but he's unlucky in love. Then he meets Sarah, and his luck really sours, but like most guys, his job defines him and when that goes sour, he overreacts. In Memories of Murder, he's trying to correct the errors he made during Murder, Madness & Love, but his foe, Lucifer, knows his weakness.



SRW: Yikes...Lucifer?

YR:  Yep. The antagonist in Memories of Murder was raised to believe he's the son of Satan. Lucifer taunts detective Quaid with notes written in blood.


SRW: All right. Honestly, Quaid was kinda ticking me off. First, he falls in love with his main suspect. Uncool. Then he makes some major blunders. Finally the killer is unveiled. Um...no thanks to detective Quaid. Not really. He sorta falls into the resolution. So, tell me, Yolanda...should detective Quaid be busted back to school crossing guard? 



YR: You should have heard the remark an agent gave me when I told her the ending. I'm also sure it's the reason she's not representing me. But I was tired of the usual detective story. Quaid is almost too perfect, he needed a monkey wrench thrown into his life and Sarah is it. He falls in love with her before he's aware of her background. Then when he realizes who she is, he goes too far in the opposite direction. His brain believes he's being suckered, his heart isn't listening.

As far as going back to school, he does. In book 2, Memories of Murder he goes to Quantico for training. The bad press that follows this case is damaging the department, and he's determined to win back his stellar reputation. His ego takes a real hit, but aren't these the cases that turn a good decent detective into a hard drinking, shortcut taking master of the game? Quaid has a long, long journey yet.


SRW: I consider myself a pro at sussing out the killer in murder mysteries. When my wife and I watch Castle, Major Crimes, etc., no problem. First seven minutes, I point to the actor, arrogantly proclaim, "He/she's the killer." Makes my wife mad. But I have a 91% accuracy profile. Yet your book completely bamboozled me on the identity of the killer. Comment please (while complimenting me in the same sentence; my blog).



YR: Every mystery writer wants to fool the reader, so thank you for being sweet enough to say that I was able to fool you, especially with your accuracy rate. (Does that fit your requirement as a compliment?) I did work hard to bamboozle the readers. Setting up the red herrings was and is always super important in any mystery. Your question tells me I achieved my goal, thanks.



SRW: I'm not a romance fan. And a good part of your book deals with romance (don't worry, non-romance folks! There's great stuff between the mushy stuff!). Maybe it's because I'm a novice at reading romance books, but, um, some of the dialogue struck me as super bodice-ripping, Harlequin time. Tell me, Yolanda, does anyone in a burning, passionate romance honestly call one another "angel" or "warrior?" Keep in mind, I'm a stoopid guy. Enlighten us stoopid guys, Yolanda!



YR: First, there is no bodice ripping!

My first love was the mystery, and my second was a good romance. I wanted the love story to be part of the finished product. If I could do it over, I'd probably handle it a bit different, but as to 'angel' and 'warrior,' I took that from real life. My husband and I do have pet names for each other (although not angel or warrior) and yes, we are a bit of a Harlequin tale. We eloped on Valentine's Day and kept it secret. We then had a ceremony for our families. I wrote what I knew, but as I said, next time, less will be more. 
 
My husband is a man's man with a very romantic soul! I have a feeling you are too, something your wife might admit too, but not you. No man does. I'm just thrilled that men are reading my books, and lately I've seen more and more male authors adding romance to their books – in all the genres. When you're fighting evil, what better monkey wrench than love to frustrate the situation. Even Batman has his Catwoman. If I remember correctly, romance plays a huge part in your book Zombie Rapture.


SRW: Um, moving on...

Another thing I really loved about your book, Yolanda, is just when I thought we were settling into "cozy territory," you pull out some very vivid, excellently written, Argentoesque (look it up, folks) murder scenes. I cheered! I liked the juxtaposition quite a bit. So...Yolanda, where does your writing heart beat? Murder? Mystery? Romance? All of the above?



YR: Thank you for the comparison. I cut my teeth on Stephen King, so horror is a big part of my background. Honestly, I've yet to read a book that doesn't have some romance in it. As far the genres I prefer, it's all of the above, and recently I added science fiction. I don't limit my imagination.


SRW: Casting couch time. Detective Quaid is easy: Nick Nolte. (Hey! He was once voted sexiest man of the year by People magazine {you believe that? It's true!}).  Sarah? Hm. Let's go with Meryl Streep. Only we'll need to kinda "photoshop" her into the part via younger roles. My picks. What're yours, Yolanda?



YR: I don't like Nick; they're constantly showing his hideous mug shot. Plus he's a blonde, definitely not my detective. I actually saw the Rock, Dwayne Johnson, as Steven, and Sarah Michelle Geller as Sarah. I was hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and now own the series. While the Rock might be bald, he can rock the long hair! The Scorpion King comes to mind.



SRW: (Psst...don't tell anyone, but I own the Buffy series, too). Do I understand correctly you're involved in a zombie project (gasping for air and way overly excited; where're my meds???)? Anything else new on the keyboard we can look forward to?


YR: Thank you for asking. The third in the series is Murder & Obsession. This time Quaid is framed for murder and escapes into the Brooks Range where he not only has the cops on his trail but a grizzly's picked up his scent. Murder & Obsession is scheduled for release in March 2016. I'm currently working on a prequel to the series called The Snowman. It's a novella about Quaid's first case. "The Snowman" is mentioned in Murder, Madness & Love. 


And yes, I just released a book of short stories called When Zombies Attack: Tales of Horror and Romance. After all, where there's love there's always a little horror, isn't there? When Zombies Attack is titled after a zombie story that I wrote on a dare. Zombies, of all the monsters scare me more than any other, and haunt my nightmares. Which just happens to be where I find all my antagonists. My warrior husband is always rescuing me from them (waking me when I scream and sleeping with the lights on when necessary).

Oh God, did I just confess that I call my husband warrior. (Wiping the sweat from her brow, Yolanda reaches up and switches off the light.)

SRW: Ah HA! Gotcha!

YR: Yes, okay, I do call him warrior, but you'll never get his pet name for me. That's it. I'm done! Interview over! Got anything stronger than coffee?
  
SRW: (Hands her a shot of Jack.) Thanks for putting up with me, Yolanda. Now, readers, go out and get Ms. Renee's book! It's very good!


YR: Thanks Stuart. You weren't lying about this being a grilling, but quid pro quo; I have a few questions for you!

SRW: Uh-oh...but, hey, that's where you'll find me on our epic two-part grilling: http://www.yolandarenee.blogspot.com/


And here's where you can find Yolanda and her books:
 

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Little Krampus for the Holidays!

Okay, what is it exactly with the Germans? First, they idolize David Hasselhoff. Then they celebrate Christmas with the legend of Krampus.

Not heard of Krampus? (And, no, he's not the advertising cartoon spokesman for Midol). Krampus is a truly nightmarish legend, a demon who punishes bad children at Christmas-time. Merry Christmas everybody! Have a gander:
Gives you that cheery Christmas spirit, right? Krampus is furry, has horns (some say phallic in origin; best not to go there), cloven hooves like a goat. And sometimes he carries a bathtub or sack on his back to stuff bad children into it and drown them. Happy holidays! He also carries chains and bundles of birch branches to beat the children with. I know right? Gives you that fuzzy holiday warm feeling.

Curious, I researched ol' Krampus's origins. Well, apparently Krampus's back-story has historians stumped. They could only trace it back so far. But anthropologists agree, Krampus predates Christian theology, reaching back to ancient Pagan beliefs. Some believe Krampus is the Horned God of the Witches; other anthropologists postulate that over time Krampus has transformed into a representation of the Christian devil. But he was there first.

Oddly enough, Krampus works in tandem with Saint Christoper, the patron of children. They're pals. Unlike Krampus, though, St. Chris bestows gifts upon the nice children. But, I have to wonder, what if they accidentally got their lists messed up? For example, what if Little Cyndy Loo-Who pays for what ornery Kevin did to his classmates? A simple bureaucratic, Christmas-time slip-up can result in unwarranted death! Terrifying! Ho, ho, HORROR!

In the '50's, German government pushed to do away with Krampus. Pamphlets were distributed, proclaiming "Krampus is an Evil Man!" (That'll show 'em!) But you can't keep a good demon down. Krampus has resurged in popularity again in recent years (you know, like Donald Trump). The night before The Feast of Saint Nicholas in certain parts of Europe is dedicated to Krampus. Called Krampusnacht, people (or ARE they?) dressed in Krampus costumes run through the streets, causing havoc and bugging people, giving coal to children and who knows what else. A Krampuslauf is a run of Krampus costumed people. Tradition has it you offer them schapps for their efforts. Some gig.
And, of course there's a new horror film out now celebrating Krampus (um, I kinda want to see it).

But honestly, what kind of parent would push this tale onto their children? Only the most sadistic kind, of course!

"Wilhelm, you've been very naughty this year. Krampus is going to come and drown you tonight."

"Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

The father sits back in his lounge chair, grinning around his pipe, another year of fine parenting.

Happy holidays everyone! Don't let Krampus get you!
 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanksgiving Post Show

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Maybe a semblance of normality can return to our lives now. Until Christmas.
Don't get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. The true meaning of the holiday is to gorge on food until you pass out. And, yeah, yeah, yeah, all that stuff about giving thanks and being with family and what have you.

Since downsizing from a house to an apartment, my mom still insists on hosting the holiday at her residence. Makes for some mighty crowded eating. And there's no escape, not in such confined quarters. Back at her house, I could always wander off upstairs and nap the day away. But at the apartment, everyone's trapped. 

After dinner, we sat in a circle in the living room, no exit, no relief. 

Hard of hearing, Mom cranked up some Christmas music. Rod Stewart, for God's sake. We didn't even think she knew who he was.
"Mom," I shouted, "can you turn that down?"

"What?" I think she believes her hearing is normal, so her standard is the one everyone should go by.

Santa Claus is coming to towwwwwwnnnnn (you better believe it, baby! Yow!)....

"I said, 'can you turn that down?'"

"I'm sorry..." Mom shook her head, a hand up by her ear. Pantomiming. Sitting right in front of the boom box. "...I can't hear you."

You better look out (look out, look out, look out, AYEAHah!)... 
 
Frustrated, I got up, turned it down. One song later, she  turned it up again.

Finally, the CD ended. Mercifully, Mom forgot about it. And the family conversations began. For me, the most interesting (not necessarily the best!) part of Thanksgiving.

One of my nieces had her socks and shoes off. "Why're you barefoot?" I asked. "It's, like, Winter outside."

Her mother interjected. "Don't look at her toenails. I haven't had time to cut them. I mean, I don't mind cutting her nails. But I won't do his." With a wrinkled nose, she pointed at her husband (my brother). I felt her pain and immediately wondered just how bad his toenails were, imagining all kinds of greens and purples.

Defending his toenails, my brother said, "I can't even reach my toenails. It's not worth slipping a disc in my back to cut my stupid toenails."

"So you're gonna go Howard Hughes style?" I asked. "Grow 'em out?"

"Yep, Howard Hughes style." 
I thought about it. Turned to my wife and said, "Would you cut my toenails?"

Pretty much she just stared at me. But the toenail conversation went on for a while after that.

Finally, the newest member of our group (another niece's husband), offered, "Um...I can't believe we're talking about toenails on Thanksgiving."

While I felt a little empathy for him, I just shook my head. Rookie.

Can't wait to do it all over again in three more weeks.

Speaking of being trapped...Leon Garber's trapped. Trapped between a homicidal maniac, the police and a mysterious evil organization set to take him down. And, really, all Leon wants to do is continue his hobby: ridding the world of abusers.
Secret Society available here. (But don't tell anybody...otherwise it won't be such a secret society any longer).







Thursday, November 26, 2015

Butter Battle on Aisle Nine

I spent six hours at various grocery stores last Saturday. Prepping for Thanksgiving.

Of course a good part of my time was gobbled up by taking my mother shopping. When you deliberate for fifteen minutes on what type of butter to buy, something's not right.
"What's the cheapest butter?" asked Mom.

"Looks like $2.99."

"Huh. Highway robbery." Mom's stock answer for everything. Which I guess is pertinent to someone somewhere. Just not to the growing line of agitated shoppers behind us. But Mom wasn't going anywhere.

"Mom! It's the cheapest option. On sale. You want it?"

"I dunno..."

"I've read all the prices on all of the butter to you. $2.99 is the cheapest."

"But...it's all so expensive." 

"How about I buy the butter for you? Can we just move along? We still have to hit the meat aisle." (A dreaded encounter that goes on forever).

"Yes, Stuart, I know, I know! But the butter's so expensive. I swear...everyone's out to make a dollar."

Well, yeah, sorta the nature of capitalism and commerce. Clearly, I was on the losing end of the argument. But by now, I've realized Mom's not gonna change, best just to go along with it. Problem was we weren't going anywhere.

"Mom, here's Blue Bonnet. It's cheaper. $1.99."

"Is it margarine?"

"Um...says vegetable spread."

"Forget it. I've heard it's not good for you."

"Mom! How is it not good for you? I mean, yeah, it's processed. But, come on, vegetables? Gotta be better for you than regular butter!"

"I know what I know. Not good for you."

Back to debating the price of butter. Or as my mom says, "the price of tea in China." Which I still don't understand.

"How 'bout this butter, Mom? It's...$3.50. On sale. You save .50."

"Just in the last year, prices have gone up. It's ridiculous."

A woman burst between us, thrusting an arm into the elusive butter section. "ExCUSE me, I need butter."

Didn't deter my mom.

"Mom, see how fast that lady got her butter?"

"I don't know..."

Truly a weighty decision. I guess. Finally, I just plunked the cheapest item into her cart. "Mom, here's your butter."

"Huh. What a rip-off. Highway robbery."

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the States! Think of me while you're eating butter.

Speaking of giving, my first book, Tex, the Witch Boy is FREE, dangit! Till the end of November. Click the link if you're feeling lucky!


 And since I'm in such a giving mood, why not hit up Ghosts of Gannaway, on sale now for .99? Perfect American historical gobbling good scares.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Go Team Adventure!

My wife and I love having adventures!

Okay, we kinda, sorta like having adventures. 

Fine, I dread having adventures, flat out loathe them. Sorta less dramatic. 

But you need to understand..."adventure" has become a sort of euphemism for us regarding mishaps. 

It all started back in the winter of 2005...(cue flashback music, muddying of the screen)...

We were both snowed in at home, couldn't get to work. The entire city was under siege by a giant two-foot tall marshmallow of wetness. Yet something about the day, the climate, the gloom and good-time feeling screamed out "Chili!" Problem was we didn't have all the fixings. 

"Hey, wouldn't it be fun to walk to the grocery store?" asked my wife.

I said, "Sure!"

You know how your parents used to moan about trudging through five feet of snow to school "back in the day?" That's what it was like. Only worse. 

The snow plows couldn't even make it out of the parking lot. We were knee-deep in snow. The wind whipped the fallen snow around, a blindingly white tornado. Shark teeth of icy death bit into my face. Tears of anguish froze on my frost-bitten cheeks. I hung onto my wife's belt-loop like a prison love-slave. Why? Because I'm a slave to love.

"Are we there yet?" I screamed, because I couldn't see, couldn't hear. Couldn't feel my legs.

"No! We still have six more blocks to go! We're gonna have chili! Just follow in my footsteps!"

What ordinarily takes 15 minutes to walk took an hour. Took me twice as long to thaw out.

Once home, I said, "That sucked!"

My wife laughed, said, "It was an adventure."

Huh. I decided right there my adventuring should be lived vicariously through Indiana Jones.

But it became a thing, the kinda thing only people who are attuned to one another understand.

We've had quite a few adventures since then. Once we were going to my wife's parents' house in Oklahoma, usually a four hour trip. 


But we got so wrapped up in chatting, my wife forgot to take an exit to the right highway. Neither one of us realized it until we were in some Godforsaken town way off the beaten path, hours away. Turned into a seven hour journey. Never go from Kansas to Oklahoma and take a shortcut through California. An "adventure."

As I said, I don't like our "adventures." Again, I'm sorta lying. Any "adventure" with my wife is always worth it. Only after the fact.

Are you looking for adventure? Look no further...Secret Society by Stuart R. West (sure, it's kinda sick & twisted adventure, but you'll stay dry and warm on your sofa reading it).

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Punch in the face guarantee: Secret Society!

Yep, you heard me! I believe in my suspense thriller, Secret Society, so much, I'm issuing a heretofore unparalleled guarantee: If you don't like this book, I'll personally come over to your house and you can punch me in the face!* That's right! If you're disappointed in the book, don't enjoy a ton of thrills, chills and dark laughs, your fist will meet my face!*
*Disclaimer: The reader must live within a one block range of said author's residence. Traveling is expensive. Plus, as much as I love this book, I also kinda like my face. Warning: Don't read Secret Society while driving heavy machinery. Don't mix prescription drugs with Secret Society. If drowsiness ensues, then you're not reading Secret Society. Pregnant women should not read Secret Society unless consulting me first and I say it's okay. If a rash persists while reading Secret Society, call your doctor and tell him to read Secret Society.

Haven't heard of Secret Society? Well, you've come to the right place:

Leon Garber has his reasons for ridding the world of abusive people, call it justifiable homicide. Opportunity comes knocking from Like-Minded Individuals, Inc., a global company fulfilling the needs of clients: new identities, security, and even lists of potential “projects.” But let’s not call it “serial killing” (such a nasty term). For Leon, it’s a dream come true.

However, LMI has put a target on Leon’s back, with no indication of why. LMI, the police, sanctioned hit men, and a vicious psychopath are after Leon. He collides with other Like-Minded Individuals: The Good Samaritan Killer, The Mad Doctor, Donnie and Marie (don’t ask). Heads are chopped, dropped, and swapped as Leon fights for his life. But nothing will keep him from finishing his current project. Not even the chance to fall in love. Sometimes a killer business idea is just that. Killer.


'Secret Society pulls you in for a furious ride, sure to give you chills. Dark, gritty and meaty fun.'
-Meradeth Houston, author of the Sary Society series.


'A brilliant thriller about a society of serial killers with just a dusting of humor. Suspense fans will not be disappointed.'
-Heather Greenis, author of the Natasha Saga.


‘Dexter meets Dilbert. Take a serial killer, cross it with bureaucracy of the damned & the game is on.’
-5 star USA Review 


All of this fun to be had just a click away: Secret Society. Satisfaction guaranteed or you punch me in the face!*

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Trapped in Lucien's Bar!

Okay, doing something a little different this week.  

Huzzah and welcome to the Realms Faire! Strap on your finest Medieval clothing, hoist a sword, bring an extra turkey leg. Several writers are "jousting" for points and stuff. Like a dang videogame. Only it's real! The stakes are high! Today (Thursday, November 12th), I'm battling it out over on author M. Pax's blogLeave a comment to win free books and other prizes. And while you're commenting, drop in the words: "Sir Stuart R. West," "stirrup," and "zombie." Help me beat the competing fantasist!

Tomorrow (Friday, the 13th...my favorite date), I'll be battling it out on River Fairchild's blog. Here...let's let River explain it:

Stuart needs your help. He’s trapped in Lucien’s Bar, the gateway to the Underworld, and challenging Death to a peanut-eating contest is his only way out. Please come over and cheer him on. Your comments will improve his chances. The Immortals aren’t above cheating so here are three magic words to give Stuart an edge in the contest: sticky, bones, chew. Use these words in your comment to give him an added boost.

Also, check out the fun at Mary Waibel's blog and Cassandra Webb's blog

Okay, get going folks, just a couple clicks away!

And, while I have you all here, I need to give a shout out to my very first book, Tex, the Witch Boy, FREE for the rest of November! If you're late to the party, give it a shot, you have nothing to lose.

Other books (but you gotta buy these!):
Ghosts of Gannaway.

Secret Society.

Zombie Rapture





Friday, November 6, 2015

Mad Scientists and Hunchbacks

Over the Halloween weekend , I conducted a lot of research. I watched a lot of mad scientist movies. I mean, a lot.

One thing I noticed is every mad scientist always has a hunchbacked assistant. How this strange scientific anomaly first occurred bugged me.

Moreover...why? So I delved even further into the subject.
Is there something special in a hunchback's skill-set that qualifies him to be a mad scientist's assistant? Furthermore, where do the mad scientists find them? I can see the Craig's List posting: Wanted: Hunchback to aid in performing world conquering experiments. Must be mute, not too bright. Communicates through moaning only. Contact Dr. Evilhausen at 666-666-6666.

Really, I've yet to see any of these hunchbacked assistants contribute much. I suppose it started with Ygor in the Universal Frankenstein film series. And he botched his first big assignment, retrieving an abnormal criminal's brain. Honestly. Good help is so hard to find these days, particularly in the mad scientist field. But the complete incompetence of movie hunchbacks is probably not why mad scientists seek them out.

It's certainly not for their communication skills, either. Usually, they moan, whine, freak out. Terrible at dinner parties.

Of course there's the entire dominance theme. Everyone knows a good mad scientist likes to lord it over people, suffering from a real God-like complex. And who better to push around than a hunchback? Whips are usually involved, a fetishistic choice, I suppose. Honestly, hunchbacks really oughta think about unionizing.

If I was a mad scientist, I'd probably rather have someone around who's adept at adjusting the radioactive meter on the monster-making machine, or at the very least able to polish the living head hydroplasty case on a regular basis.

I have nothing against hunchbacks. Don't get me wrong. Hunchbacks are people, too. It just baffles me why mad scientists keep hiring them.

There are no hunchbacks or mad scientists in my dark books. Yet. But you can find plenty of other spooky thrills and chilling suspense at my Amazon author's page. Tell 'em Ygor sent you.