This week’s other featured books, “That Crazy Perfect Someday,” by Michael Mazza and “The Pensees of Alan Kreiger, by Alan Krieger,” by Marc Estrin, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: The Late Bloomer.
PUBLISHED IN: 2018
THE AUTHOR: Mark Falkin
THE PUBLISHER: Rare Bird Books/California Coldblood; Rare Bird Books is a PGW-distributed independent publisher of approximately fifty+ books each year in multiple formats, including print, ebook, audiobook, and limited edition.
SUMMARY: In Mark Falkin’s THE LATE BLOOMER, the world experiences an abrupt and unthinkable cataclysm on the morning of October 29, 2018. Kevin March, high school band trombonist and want-to-be writer playing early morning hooky, is witness to its beginning, though he isn’t as shocked by it as he thinks he should be or wishes he could be—these dreams he’s been having; this story that he wrote; his little brother’s night terrors and sleepwalking. Surprised or not, Kevin now not only finds himself pitted against forces these changes have wrought in order to survive, but soon discovers that he may have a crucial role in this new world, one that he is reluctant to play.
To stay alive, Kevin embarks on a journey that promises to change everything yet again. On his journey, into a digital recorder he chronicles his experiences at the end of his world.
This book is a transcript of that recording.
Depicting an unspeakable apocalypse unlike any seen in fiction—there are no zombies, viruses or virals, no doomsday asteroid, no aliens, no environmental cataclysm, no nuclear holocaust—with a Holden Caulfieldesque protagonist at his world’s end, The Late Bloomer is both a companion piece to Lord of the Flies and a Bradburyian Halloween tale. And though crossover-oriented and delivering genre-novel fear, The Late Bloomer is harrowing, grim and poignant in the way of McCarthy’s The Road. Told in Kevin March’s singular and unforgettable voice, delivering a gripping narrative with an unsparing climax as moving as it is terrifying, The Late Bloomer defies expectations of the genre and will haunt those who read it.
THE BACK STORY: I love dark stories. It’s hard to do something original in horror, so that was my goal. I wanted to attempt to write something that explores an answer a question I’ve always had about Lord of the Flies: What if the kids weren’t saved in the end by a contrived deus ex machina? What would that mean?
I wanted to attempt to write a story that leaves the reader as terrified and spellbound as I was as a viewer of the end of The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man (original), every time I finish Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery.
WHY THIS TITLE?: The work-in-progress title and for a long time was No Go, taking that from a key turn in Lord of the Flies. But I came to feel The Late Bloomer works better because that’s what Kevin is and it’s key to much in the narrative and I like that it doesn’t sound like a “horror novel”.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It’s original (apocalyptic) horror. No virus or zombies.
“Falkin synthesizes multiple unnerving apocalypse scenarios into something entirely new in this horror novel….The novel’s style also highlights the protagonist’s flair for poetic language, and the overwhelming situation that he finds himself in allows readers to learn more about him as he sees deeper into himself. The apocalypse itself is a mystery that drives the entire story….Through all of this, Kevin has to contend with the possibility that survival is a false hope, but he also finds that recording and remembering are acts of defiance in and of themselves.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review; named one of the Best Books of the Year).
“I fell deep into the postapocalyptic and addictively complex world of The Late Bloomer and didn’t want it to end…the voice of the central character had me hooked” – Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will (National Book Award Finalist & NYT bestseller)
“A riveting apocalyptic tale with a ton of heart. The Late Bloomer isn’t just about the end of the world; it’s about the end of innocence.” – Scott Thomas, author of Kill Creek and writer of Syfy’s Day of the Dead
AUTHOR PROFILE: Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mark Falkin graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and then the University of Oklahoma College of Law where Anita Hill taught him Contracts. He has lived in Texas for the last twenty years, where he is a literary agent and recovering music attorney, having represented platinum sellers and Grammy winners alike. He used to be in a band that rocked and rolled.
His 2006 self-published novel, Days of Grace, was optioned for film and shortlisted for a literary award in self-publishing, ‘The Needle’ at POD-dy Mouth blog, where the reviewer said, “This is literature at its best . . . Falkin could easily be likened to the aforementioned Lethem or to Augusten Burroughs or even J.D. Salinger.” Bookpeople in Austin noted, “Here’s more proof that Austin is home to some of the best new writers around . . . Falkin’s novel is reminiscent of the writing style found in Lethem, Sedaris, Coupland, and Kerouac, with his sharp wit and journalistic style.”
In 2015 he published Contract City (Bancroft Press), a dystopian thriller set in 2021 Tulsa about a teenage girl filmmaker who gets embroiled in the conflict between combative revolutionaries and the privatized paramilitary force determined to wipe them out, a father-daughter story that lives at the intersection of documentary film, street art, first love, and speaking truth to power (though written in 2009-2010, if you watched HBO’s Watchmen in 2019, you’ll get a vague sense of it, minus the capes and masks and such). Following Contract City came The Late Bloomer, an apocalyptic horror in the form of an audio transcript made by a young man at the end of his world. It involves no virus, zombie, alien, asteroid, or nuclear winter. It published with Rare Bird Books imprint California Coldblood in October 2018. Kirkus Reviews named it one of the best books of the year.
Working on his next project, he lives with his wife and family in Austin where he reads, misses coaching recreational soccer, tries to find time to paddle Texas waters, and keeps a sharp eye on his daughters, snatching hugs here and there.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: This story hopefully gets readers thinking about how groupthink is dangerous and that there’s so much we don’t understand.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: See the Amazon page.
LOCAL OUTLETS: Bookpeople (Austin), Powell’s (Portland), Magic City Books (Tulsa), some other indies.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
http://www.markfalkin.com/the-late-bloomer.html (book trailer)