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David R Williams

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Killer Asylum
by David R Williams   

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Publisher:  Xlibris ISBN-10:  1401039081 Type: 


Copyright:  Feb 1 2002


Combining the dark visceral horror, complex protagonist and twisted villains of "Silence of the Lambs" with the nightmare surrealism of "Naked Lunch" and the tear-it-up action of "Die Hard", author David R. Williams pumps fresh blood into the serial killer/profiler genre with this compelling and terrifying page turner.

Professional Reviews

Art of the Voice Profile: David R. Williams

An insane goat-god screams its black hatred at the very heart of the world. A junkie with a car fetish is visited by the whore of the angels. A troubled female bounty hunter dreams of porcelain dolls that chant "the black is on the wall".

The nightmares of the mentally unstable? Images from the latest Marilyn Manson video? A typical weekend in Allentown? As close to reality as that last possibility might be, the actuality is that these are all images taken from the works of david r. williams - a local writer you have probably never heard of - but whom you will be hearing a lot more about in the very near future.

david's first novel "Killer Asylum" is scheduled to be published sometime after the new year. It is an intense, disturbing novel with some of the most frightening passages I have ever read and filled with images that stay with you long after the final haunting sentence. "Killer Asylum" is about a government research facility where a coven of the world's most heinous serial killers have been gathered for the purpose of trying to understand how their minds work and how they came to be. The inmates soon take over the asylum and hold the staff as hostage. Their single demand is that, in exchange for the lives of their hostages, the one person responsible for their capture be brought to them. That one person is former FBI profiler Alison Moire - one of the most complex female protagonists to grace any novel I have ever read. Alison agrees to enter the asylum but does so not for the sake of the hostages but for her own personal reasons. The result is a story that combines the visceral thrills of "Silence of the Lambs" and the dark surrealism of "Naked Lunch" with the tear-it-up action of a "Die Hard".

On the surface, "Killer Asylum" has all the earmarks of your typical suspense thriller and indeed it works very well on just that level. There is a "pulpish" quality to the work that reminds me at time of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and even at times of Clive Barker in his early "Books of Blood" phase. But throughout the work also raises some very interesting questions about madness, obsession and the nature of evil. Alison is not just some Clarence Starling clone. She is a mature woman of thirty-seven with a younger lover (who also happens to be Asian). She is tormented by a past that includes her having witnessed the murder of her mother, father and two brothers at the hands of an unknown assailant. There are also questions about her own sanity. During the course of Alison's ordeal in the asylum, she is injected with a "psychopharmaceutical" that alters the chemistry of the brain, resulting in a form of "artificial" madness. It is these passages that describe what Alison "sees" that provide some of most disturbing, skin-crawling imagery in the book. The "killers" are also far from one note. Short chapters are devoted to each, to their pasts, to the thought processes they possess, to their "world views". This brings the reader deeper into the mind of a serial killer than any novel I have ever read before, and possibly deeper than many would care to go.

david, a graduate of UB with a degree in Media Study and a successful writer with a thriving technical writing career and four screenplays in development, spent the better part of a year writing the novel.

"A good two months of that time was spent doing research, I did a huge amount of research," said David, "I read stacks of books on serial killers and forensics, on weapons and profiling procedures. Everything in the book, every action taken, every weapon or technology described, is based on fact."

And the serial killers themselves?

"Each character is based on one or more real serial killer or mass murderers, as are their crimes. However, in describing their crimes, I had to tone it down as the reality was much too disturbing, too horrible. That monsters like these actually exist in the real world is incredibly frightening."

What did he find most frightening?

"That while doing research on characteristics shared by most serial killers and mass murderers, the childhood events and personality traits nearly all have in common, that I fit the profile all too well."

Although David has been very successful and has even gotten a bit of name in the copy and technical writing field, he has (as yet) not been able to achieve that sort of success in the fields of his true writing passions - novel and screen writing.

"I'm afraid I'm a bit too edgy," he says, "Or a bit too over the edge. I don't care to just push the envelop. I want to shred that f**ker. Tear it apart. Stomp it into the muck. I don't sugar coat or glaze over the nasty bits. I'm not afraid to drag my readers behind the mask and under the flesh. Unfortunately, that tends to fly in the face of what most producers and editors expect. They want everything nice and predictable. They want happy endings and tidy plot threads and uncomplicated characters you can describe in a sentence or two. I can't write like that. I really can't. I've tried. It doesn't happen. Life is messy. Filled with loose ends and anomalies. People can be absolute saints one second then swinging a meat axe the next."

Those wishing to read an except from "Killer Asylum" can visit the book's web site at The novel will be available in trade paperback or e-book formats from,, and other online booksellers.

From C. Dennis Moore

I wrote my first novel, Rite of Dawn, in 1995-96, a mere 4 years after I started writing, and I made all the mistakes every writer makes when they try a novel before they're ready. Unimportant subplots, unnecessary characters, trying to pack in too much story, and simple, clumsy writing. It's not a crime, and it's to be expected, as I said, when a writer tackles the novel too soon. The manuscript sits in a box under my desk. A few years later, Xlibris comes up and offers these too-soon books the chance to be published. And that's alright with me.

Except . . .

Xlibris is a print-on-demand, pay-to-publish publisher. They don't edit, they don't go through a strict selection process. When I first heard of Xlibris, anyone with a few hundred bucks to publish their book could do it. That may have changed since then, but I'd bet their hands-off editing process hasn't; David Williams's "Killer Asylum" is typo-ridden.

The mistakes in here are ones any competent editor would have caught (using "parameter" when he means "perimeter" or "pass" when he means "passed"), but Xlibris doesn't offer that service and you can't trust the author to catch their own mistakes.

And what's with all those damned sentence fragments?

"Not rotted through.

Too clean.


Alison pushed herself up.


This time she heard it distinctly. She brought her gun up.

Cocked. Lifted her foot. Braced. Slammed her foot into the second door."

An editor would have circled this in red and said "clean it up."

When the editor read this:

"In this hidey-hole, into which only she was small enough to squeeze . . . (Nah, nah, nah, two big old smelly brothers ha ha ha!)

. . . she had a fluffy white bath towel . . . (one of her mother's best, so she better not find out) . . . that she used for her rug." they would have circled it and made a comment to the side, something like, "You're channeling Stephen King, and it's not the good Stephen King, either"

These sound like I'm being negative, but I'm not. I'm only pointing out the weaknesses of what is essentially self-publishing a novel. If David Williams had gone through another revision or two and went to an agent or a publishing house that pays instead of getting paid, this would have been a hell of a book. The plot is there, the action is almost non-stop, and, while the heart of the story isn't the most original, it's one of the ones people tell over and over because it works so well.

Alison Moire' is a 37-year-old FBI agent, speciallizing in serial killers. When she was 7, her entire family was slaughtered while Alison watched from her hidey-hole. For the past few years she's been tracking Soren Cabal (who at one point is called Cable, something else an editor would have caught), who, in the world of this novel, is a master serial killer. When we meet him, Williams paints his character as some kind of genetically altered demi-god who can't be stopped. But he is. Alison gets the arrest and Cabal goes away. Her Moby Dick finally caught and locked away, Alison retires from the FBI.

A year later.

(see, sentence fragments work, sometimes)

Alison's got a lover (one of the first serious ones of her life), and Soren Cabal is in the Henrietta Mental Health Facility where the government is funding a project to study serial killers. Here's where I had a problem. With this many serial killers in one place, you'd think MAXIMUM SECURITY, but when Cabal decides to take over, he's met with inadequate opposition and soon has the run of the place.

He says he'll kill every hostage unless Alison Moire' comes to him.

But Alison's retired.

Her boss, Dickerson, manages to coax her back into the game by showing her a taped interview with Cabal where he admits to being the man who killed her parents (this given away about a quarter through the book, so it's not supposed to be a huge surprise, I don't think. If it is, sorry David for giving it away). Alison, in her desire for revenge against the man who, essentially, took her life without physically killing her, agrees.

And what makes Alison capable of handling this situation herself and hoping to come out intact? She studies Ninjitsu. Yeah, I didn't buy that part either. Saying she's a martial artist is fine, but when I read "Ninjitsu," I'm picturing the ancient art of stealth and assassination the movies have shown us, something you spend your entire life on a mountain-top studying. I'm sure I'm wrong, but it just lends a bit of unbelievability to an otherwise good story.

So in she goes and finds Soren Cabal has set himself up as the god of the facility. Security cameras covering the inside of the building allow him to see everything she does. And an experimental drug designed to mimic the serial killer mindset is supposed to bring Alison to their way of thinking (I didn't much buy that part, either, really).

The majority of this novel is Alison first trying to survive in the facility and bring Cabal to justice again. Slowly she begins to care for the hostages and her goal is then to get them out alive, and bring Cabal to justice. But Alison's justice, I believe, is more retribution than anything. And who can blame her?

Killer Asylum is one of the rare books where I don't come to a part of the book and glance ahead to see "How much longer is this chapter?" For one, all the chapters are pretty short, and David Williams has one thing going for him: action. It rarely lets up here and that is a welcome change, believe me.

Alison Moire' is a character I can come to care for and hope she gets what she's after because her motives are just and even 30 years later her demons are active. When she was 7, she didn't ask for her family's death. And when she's 37, she doesn't ask to have to face Soren Cabal again. But he keeps coming to her, and she wants to make it stop. A fine goal.

My prediction is that, in a few years, David Williams will look back on Killer Asylum with a smile and a blush. When he's found his voice and developed it a little more fully, he'll see the flaws and shake his head, berating himself for not going over it a few more times before letting it go, and for not having the faith in himself to do that extra bit of work before going to a paying publisher.

There's nothing wrong with this book that couldn't have been fixed. And when the "official" mass-market paperback version of Killer Asylum is released by a publisher that sends David Williams his royalty checks, I'll happily re-read and write the review the novel deserves. In the end, the story is there, but having to wade through the mistakes that should never have made it past the 2nd or 3rd draft distracts from the enjoyment.

- C. Dennis Moore

From Niagara Falls Times

Q: Why did you decide to start writing?

A: I didnít actually decide to start writing, it is just something that I have always done. Iíve been writing since I knew how. My earliest writing memory is of being at my grandmotherís, sitting at a desk and writing a story about a flying saucer. I was going to send it in to some kidís magazine. I never did. I think I was six or seven years old. Iíve been writing ever since.

Q: Is it hard to come up with ideas?

A: Ideas are easy. The world is full of ideas. Anyone who picks up a newspaper or magazine or watches the evening news is going to find an idea to write about. Just sitting at a restaurant and listing to conversations around you, you will get ideas. The hard part is turning those ideas into stories and making those stories interesting through out. One idea that Iíve had for a long time is about what happens to a family after their child goes missing. It would be an exploration of how this event affects each member and how it changes them throughout the years that follow. I even have an ending. The mother, now divorced, has launched a successful career as a grief consular in a big city. This is like ten years later. She is walking down the street and a young man walks pass her. And for a brief moment their eyes meet. And she realizes that it is her son, now grown. By the time she realizes it, he is gone, lost in the crowd. But she doesnít go after him, she realizes that her life is so different now, that he is a complete stranger to her, so she turns back around and continues on her way. Unfortunately I think that most people would not like that ending. And thatís probably what has kept me from writing the story. But thatís the right ending.

Q: Is there anything that influences you in your writing,
whether it be a movie, book or a person?

A: I have a rather strange mix of influences I think. Growing up I was a huge fan of the old Universal Studio horror films of the 30ís and 40ís. The Frankenstein series, Dracula and the Wolfman. Like that. I remember staying up late on Fridays to catch the Fright Night Program that would show these and also low budget stuff from the 50ís - The Killer Shrews, The Screaming Skull, stuff that is almost unwatchable now, but I was really into when I was seven or eight. When I got older though I was exposed to a great number of foreign films, stuff from Japan and Sweden, Italy and Eastern Europe. I was particularly influenced by Ingmar Bergman, especially "The Seventh Seal", "Persona" and "The Silence". In my novel "Killer Asylum" there are at least two direct references to Bergmanís films. My literary influences are Poe, Stephen King, and William Burroughs.

Q: That last book you wrote? What was it about?

A: "Killer Asylum", which is being published in February, is about a former FBI agent and profiler who is trapped in an old "insane asylum" that the government has turned into a research facility they are using to study serial killers. The government has assembled 13 of the worldís most heinous serial killers to try and figure out what makes them tick. The killers take over the asylum and the rest of the book is about how this agent fights to stay alive with all these maniacs stalking her through the asylum. The book will be available in trade paperback and e-book, and will be distributed through Xlibris, Amazon and

Q: How long did it take you to write Killer Asylum?

A: It took about a year. And thatís seven days a week.

Q: Whatís your next book?

A: Iím not sure. I have a few ideas though. One is about Dante, who wrote "The Inferno". It is a cross between a historical detective novel like "The Name of the Rose" maybe and the movie "Seven". Thereís also talk about doing a sequel or prequel to "Killer Asylum". But itís all just notes on paper right now.

Q: I remember hearing abut a script of yours that might
become a movie. What ever happened with that?

A: At one time or another Iíve actually had four scripts optioned by different production companies. An option means that the company has the right to go out and try to get the money to get the movie made. Right now there is a production company in Toronto that is trying to get a "cyberpunk" script I wrote off the ground. There is a company in Florida that is looking at a horror script I wrote about a reanimated skeleton that cracks bad jokes while seeking revenge against the people responsible for his death. And Iíve got a "southern gothic" thing also being looked at. Itís called "twilight in the spaces between" and is about a bounty hunter who goes down south to track an escaped murderer. There she becomes involved in the troubled lives of the killerís family and rediscovers her own lost humanity and purpose of life. The problem is movies, even small independent ones, cost money and it takes quite a bit of work and more than a bit of luck to get one made. You have to realize, thousands of scripts get written each year, a few hundred at best get optioned, and at best, 150 actually get made. Of those, very few make money or even break even. Itís a very risky business and getting investors to put up the money is tough.

Q: How many scripts have you written?

A: Iíve written 10 scripts.

Q: Looking back at all the movies you have watched, which ones do you find good and really well done? And what qualities, effects, etc., do you look for in a movie?

A: Thatís a tough question. I like different movies for different reasons. I love the old Universal horror films because they are fun. I like the films of Bergman and Antonioni (an Italian film director) because they make me think. I like the films of Peter Greenaway because they also make me think but also because of the way they look and the way he is trying to merge film with writing to create a multi-textured hybrid. I like stupid little no-budget films because I know how hard it is to make any movie and it never ceases to amaze me when someone is actually able to do it. The type of movie I hate is the stuff that typically comes out of Hollywood, stuff with big name stars that had tons of money thrown at it, and you go and see it and, it stinks. I hate most modern comedies, because quite frankly, they are not funny, they are stupid. Thereí s nothing wrong with slob comedy per se, but when itís obvious that the filmmakers just went after the lowest common denominator, I canít watch it. Any movie by anyone who use to be on Saturday Night Live fits that description perfectly. My favorite films are those that take chances and make me think. "Memento" and "PI" are good examples of that. Or "Amores Perros".

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Reader Reviews for "Killer Asylum"

Reviewed by Kyle Soule 10/2/2002
wow, im not done with this book yet but i love the details! im the same kinda writer, when i write (for fun), but the details in my stories don't flow like Williams, so far so good!:)

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