New book and book launch The Monsters are due in Madison Square Garden – Tom Johnstone
Brighton writer Tom Johnstone is proud to announce the arrival of his first novella The Monsters are Due in Madison Square Garden.
Published by Bram Stoker Award winning press Omnium Gatherum, the story, set in 1934, focuses on investigative reporter Herb Fry who moves to New York to escape the vengeful Ku Klux Klan. Finding safer work writing on the paranormal, he’s in for a shock, the Big Apple's crawling with German American Bund Nazis, jumpy because a horror movie buff with supernatural powers and a taste for elaborate set-piece murders is picking them off one by one. Will Herb ever find out who murdered the love of his life? And how will he survive long enough to interview Bela Lugosi.
The Monsters are Due in Madison Square Garden weaves a noir narrative rich with history and atmosphere, steeped in cinema and the dark genres - Rosanne Rabinowitz.
Tom began writing the novel during the 2016 US presidential election campaign, and the simultaneous rise of the 'Alt-Right'. The parallels between the politics of the 1930s and present day prompted him to weave this tale mixing folklore, early horror cinema and gothic fiction whilst addressing the real-life horrors of economic depression, fascism and war.
‘Whilst writing this, I was struck by how stars of these movies were often outsiders: immigrants and refugees. Bela Lugosi, who created the most enduring screen persona of Dracula, fled Hungary because his trades union activities made him a target for state reprisals after an uprising there. Peter Lorre, another popular actor specialising in villains and other creepy types, was a Jew who narrowly escaped Nazi Germany. This idea was the starting point for the novella.’
Having lived in Brighton for over twenty years, he’s rarely used it as a setting for his fiction, with some notable exceptions: ‘A Helping Hand’, his contribution to QueenSpark Book's Brighton - The Graphic Novel set during the 1950s police corruption scandal, ‘The Chiromancer’, a 'club story' told in an illegal gay club in the '50s (the Regina Club) rather than the traditional gentleman's club, and ‘The Beast in the Palace’, a kind of twisted fairy tale about the dark side of George IV's lifestyle in the Royal Pavilion, which will appear in the next issue of Black Static magazine.”
Tom is currently completing the follow-up novella to Madison Square Garden, called Star-Spangled Knuckle-Duster.
The book launch for this new publication will take place on Wednesday 13th March 7-8,30pm at Bom Banes, 24 George St, Brighton BN2 1RH.
A noir occult thriller, taking in the classic Universal monster movies, the rise and fall of the American Nazis in the '30s, racism and anti-Semitism... Johnstone is sure-footed... creating a series of narrative cliff-hangers that kept me... eager to see how events developed - Kit Power, Ginger Nuts of Horror website.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty. - Christine Campbell Thomson