Today I’m talking to Jonathan Mitchell and his horror novel The Agent, a perfect read for anyone trying to get into the Halloween spirit…
The Agent is a story about loner David Turner — what type of man is David Turner? Can you tell us about him?
Turner is a decent guy who finds himself getting lost in the shuffle. As he approaches middle age, Turner realizes how disconnected he is from the stream of human existence–and, when offered an out, he takes it. Unfortunately, this escape route is not as attractive as it first appears.
Where is The Agent set?
The novel is set in Moorestown, a fictional city which is modeled on a crumbling industrial region of northwest Alabama known as Muscle Shoals. (Anyone who’s seen the Rolling Stones tour documentary “Gimme Shelter” has had a glimpse of it.) That’s the primary setting, but some of the action takes place in California.
The Agent is a horror — how scary does this book get?
Pretty scary in the ghostly Henry Jamesian sense. There are a few scenes of graphic horror which were necessary to the story, but I didn’t dwell on them. “The Agent” is a psychological horror piece.
Can you give us an idea of the cult murders Turner discovers?
Turner’s recurring nightmares about dismembered bodies prod him to do a little research at the library. Newspaper records confirm that he’s been dreaming about real events: a series of mutilation murders which took place twenty-five years earlier in Southern California, the base of operations for a human potential cult. Without giving too much away, there is a direct link not only between the murders and the cult, but between the murders and Moorestown.
Are there any other characters in the book that are significant in the plot?
Yes, but here again I’d be spoiling the story if I described them in any detail 😉 I can say, however, that the entire sequence of events hinges on Turner; none of the action would be possible without him.
Do you have a favourite scene or passage you can share with us?
I’m especially fond of a dream sequence in which Turner is confronted by the novel’s lead villain. It was a chance for me to indulge in some very bizarre, off-the-wall verbal imagery (not just for its own sake, but in a way that actually moved the story forward), and I think it turned out really well. Most of the dreams that appear in “The Agent” are my own; as I began to document them carefully, I realized what a crucial source of inspiration they were for the book.
What’s next for Jonathan Mitchell — is David Turner going to reappear again?
Anything’s possible! Right now, though, I’m working on an outline for an entirely different novel and trying to make my first short story sale.
You can download this story now from Amazon