Lilith Gets A New Review!

Longtime reader Ray Bara has posted a new review of The Chronicles of Lilith on Amazon.com. He gave the book 5 stars and titled his review “Another Wonderful Barry Reese Romp!” Here’s his full review:

“Another epic Barry Reese novel. He never fails to deliver a great tale. I love the Lilith character and would love to see more of her. My only complaint about this story, and it’s a small one, is that I would’ve liked to see more of Lilith’s Crimson Ladies. I feel they are big part of what makes Lilith interesting. More of them would’ve made the book even more interesting. I also loved the way Reese brought in an old favorite character, very ingenious! All in all, a great adventure. Go read it!”

Thanks, Ray! Sorry you didn’t feel we got to see enough of the Crimson Ladies. I definitely agree that they’re a key ingredient in the Lilith recipe. Since this was Lilith’s first solo book, I did want to keep the emphasis on her as much as possible but if there are future volumes, I’m sure we’ll explore more of the Crimson Ladies. Glad you enjoyed the guest appearance by Max Davies 🙂

The image accompanying this post is of actress Mia Goth.

When is too far… too far?

I keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far? In The Adventures of Lilith Volume One, I decided to depict some extreme violence and sexual situations – it felt right for that particular story but not everyone agreed. One reviewer, in fact, said that I should pull it off the market and tone it down before re-releasing it!

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

However, with the more modern parts of my shared universe, it seems right to up the ante when it comes to violence, language, and sexual content. When writing in the ‘golden age’ of pulp, I want to mostly stay within the classic confines but that’s not true of the modern or future-set stories.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

Another Lilith Review

Michael Brown, the Pulp Super-Fan posted a review of the Chronicles of Lilith book. Here’s what he had to say:

“Along with the recent release of the latest Lazarus Gray volumes from Barry Reese, we get another novel set in the Reese Unlimited universe: The Chronicles of Lilith.

It stars Lilith, Adam‘s first wife, who was introduced into the universe in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 11, in her first solo adventure, mainly set in modern times.

So for those not aware, Lilith is not from the Bible but comes from Jewish and Mesopotamia mythology. She is supposedly the first wife of Adam, created as a co-equal. But was expected to be subservient to Adam, which she balked at, and was banished from Eden. She is immortal but has no special powers. She has existed over the centuries, working behind the scenes, and has a group of female followers, her Crimson Ladies. As noted, she appeared in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 11, helping out the group before going on her way.

This novel starts in 1835 England at a manor house. A young girl comes to work there, meets the members of the family, and also discovered Lilith there, who has been imprisoned through mystical means. She is freed and takes action against the family for their crimes against women.

The story continues in modern times (2019). As all Reese’s recent works have been set in the 1940s, I should note that we haven’t had many works set in more modern times. One thing that had happened in the timeline is that Max Davies, who was The Peregrine in the 1930s and ’40s, had come back to life, though he disguises this as being his grandson and works as a P.I.

We get some horrific serial murders, which are tied to a mysterious man calling himself The Caretaker, who has a partner named Kio. This somehow draws out Lilith, as there is a connection between this Caretaker and Lilith. Lilith happens to know the Atlanta City police chief, as she was once part of her Crimson Ladies. And Max is also pulled in, though this is more Lilith’s story than a Peregrine story.

Warning for some, there are some disturbing scenes of torture and murder.

Lilith, along with Max and the police chief, must figure out who the killers are and who The Caretaker is. Along the way, it’s discovered what his connection to Lilith is. And before they can put a stop to them all, sadly others will die.

I had been hoping for some time for new Peregrine stories. There has been an almost exclusive focus on Lazarus Gray. Though Max appears here, he doesn’t quite appear as The Peregrine. And as there are other works planned for this universe, I don’t know when we’ll see a full Peregrine story, or additional stories with Lilith. But this should be checked out, especially if you found the character interesting after her recent appearance.”

Thanks, Michael. People seem really taken aback by the sex and violence in this one. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that extreme!

As for The Peregrine, there was a novel in the works by another author but I’m not sure where that one stands. Every now and then I kick around the idea of doing a new tale with Max as the lead – we’ll see.

Uh-Oh! Lilith takes a hit!

It’s never easy to get a negative review, even when you’ve been writing for as long as I have. Making it even harder is when that review comes from someone that has been a long-time fan. ChickJ posted a review of the Lilith novel and have it just 1 star. His review was titled This should have an X/MA warning label. Here’s his review:

“This is a hard review for me. I have really enjoyed Barry’s stories and books. But this time he got into some really disgusting, violence sex descriptions. Now at my age I can shrugged it off. But younger people and most adults I believe will really offended. I think Barry should take this book off the market and make it a lot less graphic. The story is fine and I like some of the characters, but it is too graphic for most people. Can’t recommended it.”

Sorry to read this, my friend! Whenever I do a new series or a new standalone story, I always try to make it a little different in an attempt to take my writing in new directions. With Lilith, it was meant to be a modern-day thriller and I definitely tried to lean into explicit horror more than I do with Lazarus Gray or Gravedigger. This book is far from my most “out there” work, though! Avoid Rabbit Heart if this one was too much for you. Hopefully you’ll like my future works more.

Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

The Chronicles Begin!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FROM THE PAGES OF LAZARUS GRAY RISES A NEW THREAT TO EVIL! THE CHRONICLES OF LILITH DEBUTS!

Known for tackling genre fiction and making it his own, award-winning author Barry Reese brings readers a new adventure of a character first seen in THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY. From his author imprint, Reese Unlimited, and Pro Se Productions, THE CHRONICLES OF LILITH is now available in print and digital formats.

Lilith, the first wife of Adam, has spent thousands upon thousands of years hunting down those that would prey upon humanity. Now, in the 21st Century, she is forced to take up arms alongside a hero from the past and do battle with a series of dark entities bent on nothing less than the enslavement of all mankind!

A bizarre tour-de-force from author Barry Reese, spinning out of his long-running Lazarus Gray series. THE CHRONICLES OF LILITH! From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring an atmospheric cover by Mike Hoffman and print formatting and logo design by Sean Ali, THE CHRONICLES OF LILITH is available for 9.99 via Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/yafsb2yy.

Formatted by Antonino lo Iaocono, this Lazarus Gray companion tale is available as an ebook for only 99 cents for a limited time from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/4n5xh4p2. Kindle Unlimited members can read for free!

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUMES ONE-THIRTEEN are available on Amazon by a title and/or author search.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Lazarus Gray 11 is Here!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAGIC AND BETRAYAL THREATEN SOVEREIGN CITY! THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME ELEVEN DEBUTS!

Thirty Pieces of Silver… the cost of the ultimate betrayal. Now those same coins have ended up in Sovereign City and a mad search for possession of them has gotten underway. THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME ELEVEN by award winning author Barry Reese is now available in print and digital formats from Reese Unlimited, the author’s own imprint, and Pro Se Productions.

Lazarus Gray and the members of Assistance Unlimited are forced to ally themselves with Lilith, Adam’s first wife, in order to halt a plot involving an aged sorcerer named Woland; the Black Terror’s archfoe, The Puzzler; and a powerful entity known as The Quietus. Will these cursed thirty pieces of silver once again lead to the ultimate betrayal?

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME ELEVEN by Barry Reese, from REESE UNLIMITED and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a sleek cover by Jeffrey Hayes and print formatting and logo design by Sean Ali, THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME ELEVEN for 9.99 via Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/233m8th5.

Formatted by Antonino lo Iaocono, the continuing tale of Lazarus Gray is available as an ebook for only 99 cents for a limited time from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/2p9h4t4j. Kindle Unlimited members can read for free!

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUMES ONE-TEN are available on Amazon by a title and/or author search.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.