||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.
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
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
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 www.killerasylum.com.
The novel will be available in trade paperback or e-book formats
from amazon.com, xlibris.com, barnesandnoble.com and other online
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"
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.
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
An editor would have circled this in red and said "clean
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
. . . 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
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
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
- C. Dennis Moore
From Niagara Falls Times
Q: Why did you decide to
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
Q: Is it hard to come up
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 BarnesandNoble.com.
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
Q: How many scripts have
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: 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
|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!:)|