Michael G. Williams is a regular at ConCarolinas and, as such, I have had the opportunity to snap up each book of The Withrow Chronicles when it becomes available. Even better, I have talked directly to the author about his own personal challenge for the series. Not only is he following the vampire genre, but for each book within the series he is choosing a different subgenre to keep things fresh.
Once a reader is in on this particular “secret” the series takes on additional fun, seeing what road Mr. Williams will take us down with Withrow Surrett. In the first book, Perishables, our stay-at-home vampire experiences the Zombie Apocalypse genre and has to decide if saving his Homeowners association is worth the effort. Book two is a Detective Noir entitled “Tooth & Nail” and drags poor Withrow even further out of his safe little world into the hills of Transylvania – county, North Carolina (I laughed really, really long when I realized my adopted state had a Transylvania County). During book two Withrow’s insane cousin Roderick comes into his own. You will rarely meet a more compelling, funny, scary as sh*t character. Actions Roderick takes often has me rereading the Chronicles just to figure out which twisty-turn the boy pulled off. He makes Batman’s Joker look sane and safe.
In Deal with the Devil, the subgenre is Superhero. Mr. Williams doesn’t get all the nuances and tropes of superpower prose like his did with Zombie horror, but he does an admirable job. Since superhero is a favorite genre of mine, my expectations bar is higher. On the other hand, this book’s power comes from changing The Withrow Chronicles from a series of completely independent books with continuing characters to a true series with changes tying together an ongoing, overarching plotline. While each story of the series can be a stand alone, this book is a must-read for series fans. Deal with the Devil refers back to both of the preceding stories so I would recommend reading the first two stories first, though it is not required. While not the best book of the series, Deal with the Devil makes the series.
Book four, Attempted Immortality, is a complete Thriller ride. Still unquestionably a vampire book, the thriller subgenre drives non-stop action from the opening scene to closing. Withrow and Roderick run from one end of a small beach town to the other as it gets blown up and burnt down around their ears. The Thriller subgenre suits Mr. Williams action- and humor-oriented writing style, though he admitted on Facebook some long writing sessions to meet the challenge of keeping momentum going while also forwarding plotline and characterization.
Book five, Nobody Gets Out Alive, is still being written. And he hasn’t said what the genre is yet! According to his plans, this will complete the series.
I admire Mr. Williams for attempting such a complicated task to further his writing skill. In addition, the gentleman is well-spoken at convention panels, friendly when bumped into, and approachable at his table.