Toxicity is Now Available

Posted on by Max in admin, Blog, Toxicity | Leave a comment

My debut novel, Toxicity, is finally available to purchase.

All pre-ordered copies have been signed and mailed off, so they should be arriving on your doorsteps any day now. But the time of pre-ordering is over, because this book has now been released and it is goddamn beautiful.

Just look at these things.

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Oh my God, right?

So sexy, I know.

Right then. As I was saying, this baby is now available. It’s received a few reviews already from advance readers, and so far nothing too terrifying has been said. I hope some people love it, and I hope some people fucking hate it. Life isn’t fun when it’s full of nothing but praise. However, life isn’t fun when you’re constantly being shit on either. I am seeking an equal amount of hugging and shitting. Hug-shits, if you will.

Honestly, I’m pretty sleep deprived right now, so this blog post maybe might not make the most amount of sense. But the general gist here is, Toxicity has been released, and it’s ready to rock your faces off.

Buy the paperback HERE

and the kindle HERE.

Here’s some stuff said about it already:

TOXICITY is about as over-the-top insane as anything you’ll read this year, but without ever sacrificing character or story. It’s a fast-paced, amusing, and wonderfully gross ride!”

—Jeff Strand, author of WOLF HUNT

 

“With TOXICITY Max Booth III has put together a rare story indeed. It’s quirky, surreal, laugh-out-loud funny, well peppered with unexpected moments, and above all, jaw-clenching intense. Highly recommended!”

—Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award winning author of BLACK & ORANGE

 

“Misfits, mayhem and Zooey Deschanel. Max Booth III’s foray into the underbelly of life is like being sucker-punched by Tarantino. He offers a world where Desperation is more than a state of despair, Jesus is a housefly determined to begin an apocalypse, and greed is a skewer that pierces the heart of the dammed.”

—Craig Wallwork, author of THE SOUND OF LONELINESS

 

TOXICITY seeps under your skin, infecting you with black comedy, shocking violence, and the stinking desperation of bad people rotting in the sun. And yet somehow, we still root for these dark souls—and that is the genius of Max Booth III.”

—Richard Thomas, author of STARING INTO THE ABYSS

“Quick-witted and outrageous, this book is truly not for everyone (i.e. those puritanical and/or sane). But if you get excited envisioning something that’s like ‘Pulp Fiction’ mixed with a dose of the supernatural and a wicked sense of humor, TOXICITY should top your reading list.”

—Eric J. Guignard, Bram Stoker Award nominated editor of AFTER DEATH…

 

TOXICITY is a gritty, raw, unvarnished descent toward the kind of redemption only a modern noir can offer. Where this ends, though, are some eerily timely places, with some rather rough characters you can’t help but become fascinated by. If the end of the world is coming, this is probably what’d it’d feel like.”

—John Palisano, author of NERVES

 

 

 

“Rationalizing Crime” by Jessica McHugh

Posted on by Max in Blog, Guest Authors, Toxicity | Leave a comment

WHY DO CRIMINALS FASCINATE US SO MUCH?

I’ve asked a number of authors I admire to answer the same question–why do criminals fascinate us so much?–and I will be posting each response here on my blog. It’s a question all writers–especially crime writers–should consider every once in a while. In my debut novel, Toxicity, I’ve dug deep into the minds of criminals. I have written about the bad guys. The ones we love but hate at the same time. If you haven’t pre-ordered a copy yet, I highly recommend you doing so for purely selfish reasons.

And now that you’ve done that, we will pass the time hearing what other writers in the industry have to say about the posed question.

Today Jessica McHugh destroys my blog with her essay about rationalizing crime. For those who are new to Jessica’s work, I highly recommend picking up her stripper serial killer novel, PINS, which completely rocked my stripey socks off. I will be publishing her surreal bizarro novel, The Green Kangaroos, through my own small press this August, so be ready for that. Stay updated with Jessica’s work over at her website and Facebook fan page.

What do you have for us today, Jessica?

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“Rationalizing Crime”

by Jessica McHugh

Why are criminals so fascinating? Because they’re our neighbors. Because they’re our friends and family. Because they’re us.

We think we could never sink so low, never be anything but “good people,” but anyone can become a criminal when the right shade of desperation beats down the door.

There are obvious motivations behind the choices we humans make when it comes to committing unlawful acts. Sometimes we choose poorly because we’re selfish and shortsighted. Sometimes we choose poorly because we honestly see no other way out. But the obvious motivations aren’t always the strongest.

A knot of history and desire fuels every decision we make, the individual threads of which might remain mysteries—even to ourselves. Those threads are lifelines to criminals and the people who care about them. Tug the right thread, untangle and liberate it, and you might just save someone’s soul. Tug the wrong thread and doom two people in the process: the criminal, who falls harder into the pit, and you, who get to live with the guilt of pushing him over the edge.

The division between good and evil isn’t always clear, especially when it comes to the people we love. Some of us think we can help through enabling, while others think we can help by letting go. It isn’t surprising we get the runaround during those times. We’re flustered, doubting, praying, mourning…and after making an “educated” decision about how to deal with the crimes, our hopes sometimes get so high we don’t notice the criminals continuing to pick our pockets.

It’s why criminals are not the only fascinating ones. By existing, the unlawful world bleeds into the rest of life, notably the lives of those for whom love and hope persists. It’s amazing what crimes we’re able to justify, and what we’re willing to ignore for the right kind of criminal. When your son steals the chainsaw that cost you thousands of dollars and hocks it for fifty, what do you do? When he’s an addict who sold the chainsaw so he wouldn’t feel withdrawal sickness for a day, what do you do? When he’s become an addict because heroin helps him cope with the depression and anxiety that could’ve otherwise been treated with medication he can’t afford, what do you do? Call the police? Call the doctor? Believe him when he says, “It was just this once?” Or do you push it down deep, hoping the horror and sorrow won’t sour your own soul?

This is why we tell their stories: to rationalize their crimes against us. Did they really want to hurt us, or was every bad move made for just one moment of silence before mad desperation continued beating their doors? We hope fiction can give us some insight into those minds, as well as our own. Because although some wouldn’t admit it, we desperately want to know how much we, the “good people,” will tolerate before we answer the rapping at our own doors.

“Kill Whoever You Want, As Long As It Is Not Me” by Shane McKenzie

Posted on by Max in Blog, Guest Authors, Toxicity | Leave a comment

WHY DO CRIMINALS FASCINATE US SO MUCH?

I’ve asked a number of authors I admire to answer the same question–why do criminals fascinate us so much?–and I will be posting each response here on my blog. It’s a question all writers–especially crime writers–should consider every once in a while. In my debut novel, Toxicity, I’ve dug deep into the minds of criminals. I have written about the bad guys. The ones we love but hate at the same time. If you haven’t pre-ordered a copy yet, I highly recommend you doing so for purely selfish reasons.

And now that you’ve done that, we will pass the time hearing what other writers in the industry have to say about the posed question.

Today Shane McKenzie takes the blog spotlight with a highly entertaining essay about murderers and teddy bears. McKenzie’s newest novel, Parasite Deep, was just released this month, and you can find the rest of his massive writing collection over at his Amazon page. 

What do you have for us today, Shane?

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“Kill Whoever You Want, as Long as it is Not Me”

by Shane McKenzie

Imagine this.

You’re sitting on your couch alone. Bored out of your skull. You’ve flipped through all the channels, scrolled through Netflix, tried reading a book, but nothing is catching your attention. You toss the book aside, go back to channel surfing because you don’t know what else to do with yourself. You come across the news, and in the upper right hand corner just above the talking head’s ear is the graphic of a teddy bear spattered with blood. In its right paw, it holds a fireman’s ax, the blade soaked and dripping with more blood.

“A man in a teddy bear mask was found today by local police after neighbors complained about loud screams erupting from the woods. Officials say they found the man sitting on a limbless torso in front of a fire, sucking on a grape lollipop. Split and hacked limbs were used as firewood and let off a savory scent as they burned. The rest of the remains—six victims total—were nailed together into ghastly configurations arranged around the deranged madman like gory campers listening to a ghost story.”

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I’d perk up right away, probably turn up the volume on the TV, lean in close as the reporter told the rest of the story. Why is that? I don’t like murder. I don’t want anyone to get hurt, and I don’t think people who do hurt others should be celebrated or idolized.

So then, why do these violent criminals fascinate us so much? I don’t fucking have a clue. They probably fascinate different people for different reasons. I’m no psychologist. I’m just a dude with a dark imagination who loves telling stories. Shit, I just had to use Google to make sure psychologist was the correct term. But in my uneducated opinion, I’d say we are fascinated by criminals because they excite us. Again, I’m not saying that I think we should look up to or idolize murderers or serial killers. And when I say exciting, I do not mean arousing. But you can’t deny that the idea of someone doing those awful things to someone is, if nothing else, interesting.

Maybe it’s because each and every one of us is so caught up in our own routine. The same thing each and every day. For me, I wake up, make breakfast for my daughter and I, we play for a little while, maybe go to the park or watch a movie, then I get her ready, drop her off at her grandfather’s house, and I go to work. When I get off, I go home, eat dinner, watch a show, read a book, and go to sleep. Exciting stuff, right? Notice that nowhere in my day did I have any run ins with mass murderers in teddy bear masks. Remember that psychologist I Googled? That guy’s day is probably much different than mine. When he hears a news story like the one mentioned above, he might roll his eyes, say something like, “Same shit, different day.” But for us normal folks, we only hear that kind of stuff on TV or in books. People capable of performing acts of violence in that way aren’t real to us. They might as well be monsters or aliens or demon robots. So when this does happen in real life, maybe it’s fascinating because it’s like fiction coming to life. It’s like Jason Voorhees stepping out of your television and dicing up your neighbors.

Something about true stories gets us really excited. Let me lay out another scenario here. What if I told you a new movie was coming out about a woman who gave birth to a litter of hippopotami. You would more than likely chuckle, shake your head, wonder how stupid ass movies like this keep getting made. But then I tell you it’s based on a true story. That changes everything. It’s still not real. It’s still a movie. But just knowing that somewhere at some point in time, someone went through this for real just makes it that much more exciting.

We like stories. We like drama. As long as it’s happening to someone else.

And I think maybe that’s the key. It’s happening or happened to someone else. Someone that is not you, not anyone you know or that you’re close to.

Think about it like an offensive joke, right? You and your buddies have been making fun of retarded people your whole life. You don’t do anything cruel to these people physically, and even the mean jokes are kept private between you and your friends. The jokes are hilarious, right? Now, imagine your wife gives birth to a mentally challenged child. Those jokes aren’t so fucking funny now, are they? Because now it’s personal. Now when someone makes a joke about it, you think about your child, you get offended and pissed off and homicidal!

So remember that news story I talked about before? What if your mother was murdered just last year? Would you still feel intrigued by this story? Probably not. Now that you’ve experienced the reality of this kind of thing, whatever fascination was there before is gone.

I mean, the reason we watch horror movies or go bungee jumping or ride a rollercoaster is to experience that thrill of being in danger, but in a controlled, safe simulation. We want to feel afraid, but only if we know we won’t actually be killed. So we pretend to be chased by murderers, we pretend to jump off a bridge. Because when it’s all over, we get all the adrenaline that comes along with a near death experience, and still get to keep our fucking lives.

So I guess what it all comes down to is that we are fascinated by criminals because they are larger than life, based-on-a-true-story, safe and controlled adrenaline rushes. We hear the story, and we think, “Holy shit, I can’t believe that psycho did that.” And that thought is probably followed by a variation of, “Better them than me.”

So a criminal is fascinating as long as their victim is a stranger. Or more importantly, as long as their victim is not you.

But again, what do I know? I’m just a dude who Googles things.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to go wash my teddy bear mask.

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