Friday, May 10, 2013

Haunted House


It was an experiment in fear.

Eight people, each chosen because they lived through a terrifying experience. Survivors. They don't scare easily. They know how to fight back.


Each is paid a million dollars to spend one night in a house. The old Butler House, where those grisly murders occurred so many years ago. A house that is supposedly haunted. 


They can take whatever they want with them. Religious items. Survival gear. Weapons. All they need to do is last the night.

But there is something evil in this house. Something very evil, and very real. And when the dying starts, it comes with horrifying violence and brutal finality.

There are much scarier things than ghosts.

Things that will kill you slowly and delight in your screams.

Things that won't let you get out alive.

People are dying to leave

Jack Kilborn, author of AFRAIDTRAPPED, and ENDURANCE, brings back some favorite characters from those earlier novels and puts them through his own unique brand of hell. One that hurts real bad. One that will scare you to death.

Are you brave enough?

Notes and Background

After a three year hiatus, Jack Kilborn is back. And so is JA Konrath. HAUNTED HOUSE not only features characters from AFRAID, TRAPPED, and ENDURANCE, it also brings back Dr. Frank Belgium (from ORIGIN), Detective Tom Mankowski (from THE LIST), and Moni Draper (from SERIAL KILLERS UNCUT).

One of the wonderful things about self-publishing is being able to write books I wouldn't normally be able to sell. What legacy publisher would ever release a novel that is a sequel to six other, unrelated novels?

Observant fans will find references and in-jokes to some of my other books and characters. I've gotten lots of fan mail over the years from readers asking for sequels, and it is nice to be in a position to oblige them. HAUNTED HOUSE really is a love letter to my fans. I never would have written it if it wasn't for all the support, encouragement, and kind words I've gotten over the years.

That said, HAUNTED HOUSE can also be read without prior knowledge of any of my work. It stands alone just fine (though new readers might wonder how Mathison the monkey got so damn smart without reading AFRAID first).

I came up with the idea for this book a while ago, partly from watching old haunted house movies (The Haunting, The Legend of Hell House, The House on Haunted Hill, Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, House) and partly from my love of going to haunted houses around Halloween. Back in my younger years, I got to dress up as a monster and scare people at a local haunted house, and it remains one of my favorite holiday memories. While writing this book I tried to capture that tingly/fun feeling of walking through the dark and having a ghost pop out and say "Boo!" For this reason, HAUNTED HOUSE is a bit less intense than the other Kilborn novels, and has more humor in it. Who doesn't giggle nervously while going through a haunted house?

I also loved playing with and breaking convention. Thrillers (and most genre novels) are formulaic, and many contain scenes we've all seen before. I had a lot of fun defying reader expectations by setting up something recognizable and obvious and then going in a different direction. I also did a big no-no for fiction: stopping the action to include a very long infodump, which is something I always caution newbie writers against.

If you're a fan of my writing, or of this blog, I hope you give HAUNTED HOUSE a try. Even if the other Kilborn books were too graphic for you, HAUNTED HOUSE is a gentler, more fun kind of horror novel.

Also, to coincide with this release, my horror collaboration novel DRACULAS is currently free.

As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to spread the word.


Tracy Sharp - Author of the Leah Ryan Series said...

Congrats, Joe! The cover is fantastic! Downloading now.

Jude Hardin said...

Bought it, read the prologue, can't put it down. Might be your best one yet!


Jill James said...

I like scary as much as the next girl, but Jack is too scary for me. LOL Love the cover. Hope you sell a million.

TheGirl said...

Ooooohhh...I like the book cover, and I haven't read a mystery in a long time. Think I might pick this one up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe-

I, too, was recently gifted with a pre-order page from Amazon, and my book is due out in 2 weeks - so curious to see how the practice affects your 1st week Rankings, any guess as to how many pre-sold over the past several weeks?

(I only see my pre-sale ranking, no pre-sales yet on my KDP report.)

On a related note, has Amazon ever placed your paperbacks into a bricks and mortar store when you signed with Thomas and Mercer?

Thanks! I loved all the 'prequels' to Haunted House and can't wait to read....

Tim Tresslar said...

I’m a wuss when it comes to horror books with lots of gore. (Kind of weird for a guy who writes hardcore action-adventure novels.) But I will have to try this one. Having protagonists who can take care of themselves probably changes the dynamics quite a bit.

Off topic, but I thought Suckers was one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I tried reading it in bed while my wife was asleep next to me, but had to move to another room because I couldn't stifle the laughter.

Kevin Riley said...

I love the sound of this one, and the cover is amazing. Can't wait to read it.

Joe Konrath said...

Thanks for all the kind words.

Anon-- I had about 2100 preorders. On one hand, I liked making money before the book was done. On the other hand, if I'd launched it without preorders, I'd have a much better ranking right now.

My Amazon pubbed book SHAKEN was in bookstores. But then B&N said they wouldn't carry A-pub titles unless they could also sell the ebook, and since then I haven't seen my T&M titles available.

Daniel said...

Congratulations, Joe. You must have a lot of fun with your characters. Larry McMurtry once said he could never get lonely because he had too many characters in his head he was always communicating with.

Cristian said...

woo hoo!!! I pre-orederd this ages ago, and have been looking forward to it since. Cannot wait to get into it...only problem is, you've got me hooked on Alexandra Sokoloff's 'Huntress moon' (I'm ploughing my way through that currently, and also got 'blood moon'). Really enjoying it so thanks for introducing me to another great author Joe. Addicted to your blog and writing. Really happy for the success you are enjoying. Keep it up ! Cristian (from Oz).

Deeply Dapper said...

I am extremely excited about this book!

Amusingly, I discovered Jack Kilborn at the recommendation of my 12 year old nephew (And his mom, who now watches the books he reads much closer...) It was almost a year before I realized that he was the same author as the guy who wrote the Jack Daniels books I loved.

Deeply Dapper - Geek Decor, Ebook covers & Formatting & More

Michele said...

I was so happy to find Josh in this book, I haven't had a chance to read it yet, except the Prologue, but I look forward to Kilborn books like I look forward to a great TV show or a long-anticipated movie.

I pre-ordered the book quite awhile ago, and when the date was pushed back, I was bummed but I'm more than happy now. =)

Almost Published said...

Just from the description, I suspected that this might have been inspired by a movie I'm familiar with. "The Legend of Hell House" is just flat-out awesome. Seriously. It might look a little bit dated (the women's fashions and hairdos are another type of scream entirely), but to this day it still scares the be-jaysus out of me.

Downloaded. Had been looking forward to this one. First actual Konrath book I've purchased.

Oh, and I grew tired of posting under the troublesome moniker of "Anonymous."



Jeff Canner said...

I enjoyed reading Endurance, Afraid, and Trapped, and I look forward to reading Haunted House. I was wondering though, will it be available in paperback format? I don't mind adding it to my Kindle. However, if there's a paperback copy coming out, I'll hold out for that so that there's a physical copy of the book in my horror collection.

Katya Starkey said...

Thanks for posting this because I did read your Draculas book and it was WAY too violent for me, but I do love thrillers and horrors so if Haunted House is less graphic I'll give it a go!

Anonymous said...

Who controls the rights for the Draculas book? Do all for of you authors share the rights, and do all four have to agree when to make the book free or on sale?

John Kaden said...

Thanks for more scary stuff, Joe. I love all your horror books - reminds me a little of the awesome Richard Laymon. Hope you keep them coming!

Mark Edward Hall said...

Just bought it, Joe. Looking forward to getting into it.

Michele said...

Just finished it, and without giving anything away, it was as awesome as I hoped it would be. Still graphic and gory, but not to the extent of the other Kilborn books.

There were a few typos along the way and a seemingly big "oops" toward the end involving Duncan and Josh.

But overall, amazing!

Max said...

Hi Joe,
You may be interested to know that none of the links to your ebooks buying page on your 'store' page work - at least not for me - they just go to an error page - you might want to check it out.

Stephen Leather said...

A friend of a friend owns a haunted house, I kid you not. He built it twenty years ago on an isolated plot overlooking the North Sea. A succession of builders worked on it, none of them for very long. It was eventually finished but no one has ever been able to spend a full night there. Turns out it was built on the site of a plague pIt. It is now overgrown with weeds and grass and it has been years since anyone has opened the front door. I have looked in through the windows and all seems okay, and I have a standing invitation to spend the night but I'm not sure..... Every now and again a tourist will discover the house and try to buy it, but it's not for sale. The owner doesn't want the grief that he knows will follow.... I've been thinking about getting a group of horror writers to spend the night but every time I start to organise something a still small voice warns me off...

Anonymous said...

So they can bring anything they want to the haunted house?

Well, a couple of pitbulls, a bunch of road flares that burn for hours, a WI-FI hotspot and laptop to pass the time, a nice portable stereo and most important lots of of beer. The day before, I'd hand out flyers for a free beer party around town. Then I'd wait for the peeps to come.

Some people just don't know how to prepare for a haunted house. ;)

Anonymous said...

The pitbulls are supposed to protect me, they are not for dogfighting.

And the flares are a unqeunchable light source. ;)

Tim Tresslar said...

Stephen Leather gets a prize for the freakiest true ghost story.

Anonymous said...

Read "Afraid" in one day. Good work. A real page turner I couldn't put down.

Michele M. Reynolds said...

I am def. not brave enuff! :)

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P.S. Power said...

Count me in! I love haunted houses. Of course I'd have to travel to get there, being in the states, but it sounds more than worth it.

Someone could video the whole thing and watch the meltdown of a half dozen people that have fertile imaginations responding to every bump, creak and apparition!

Either you get a hard hitting "real ghost" experience, or a good laugh watching people panic. Either way it has to be fun!

Of course there's always a chance of real death and destruction, but what fun is life without risk? Joy is found in both the simple things and finding new ones at the fringes.

If you get a chance you should always go and stay in the haunted places. Just like you should always try the strange menu items and when the aliens say "probing or non" go with whichever one you haven't done before.


Jude Hardin said...

Just heard that there won't be an ebook version of Stephen King's new novel Joyland (Hard Case Crime, June). I posted a link on Facebook with a question mark for Charles Ardai, still waiting to hear back.


P.S. Power said...


Is that really so strange? Stephen King is wealthy and entrenched in the old publishing world. It makes sense for him to guard them, work with them and even take hits monetarily to protect his friends.

Over the years they've been very good to him, it isn't unreasonable for him to want to pay that back now.

I think this is a test by his publisher to see if they can split the current publishing world in two. You can get the books you want...

But only in paper, which they control.

It won't work, if that really is their plan, since the electronic age is too handy and pervasive.

Most people are already used to reading off of a screen. Worse, the idea that people will cling to paper out of nostalgia doesn't seem to be working as well as was once thought.

I could be totally wrong of course, but that would be my guess as to what's driving that king of behavior. If sales are high for his book, watch for more of the same from the industry as they cling to the sinking ship that once supported them.

wannabuy said...

Most people are already used to reading off of a screen. Worse, the idea that people will cling to paper out of nostalgia doesn't seem to be working as well as was once thought.

It will be two markets:
1. An older wealthier market that upholds paper.
2. A new younger market that embraces digital convenience.

In the end, the later always wins. Its a question of how quickly the transition happens.

Stephen King is making a statement that will help him short term. If it becomes a regular pattern, his true fans will buy paper; most will move on.

Jude Hardin said...

Charles Ardai (the founder and editor of Hard Case Crime) responded to my Facebook post. You can read our ongoing conversation here.

Mean Teacher said...

You didn't have a "conversation", Jude. He just responded to your FB comment.
It seems obvious to me that King is doing this as a nostalgia/throwback thing, which is cool. While I agree with the general consensus here that ebooks are the future, I also think that paper will continue to occupy a small but persistent niche for many years to come.

Jason said...

Jesus Mean Teacher, nitpick much? I would define several FB comments back and forth as a conversation, but what the hell do I know?

King has released ebook only stories before (UR, Mile 81, Throttle) so releasing a paperback only is not very surprising from him. Whether he's making a statement or just going for publicity/ doesn't really matter. He'll have strong sales no matter what since it's his stories people want.

But I'll read it from the library since I have no desire to own physical books anymore. $7.77 isn't a bad price for a new King book - even in paperback. Honestly, if it were an ebook I might have considered the purchase...oh well.

Panich Choonhanirunrit said...

The book is still listed as $5.99 in Kindle Store.