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Is symbiotic sibling horror your thing? Does the bond between twins get under your skin? If so, the UK’s Screaming Dreams Books has a tale you may want to seek out. This month, Dreams released Paul Kane’s THE GEMINI FACTOR, a thriller that finds the aforementioned genetic wonders being sought out by a vicious murderer. Read on for more!
The official synopsis of THE GEMINI FACTOR reads: It’s a miracle, pure and simple. The miracle of twin birth. But in the city of Norchester, being a twin also marks you out as a victim. Because someone is killing them and stealing their body parts. It’s up to Inspector Roy Mason and his Sergeant, Deborah Harrison, to track down the culprit before they can strike again. Their only lead? A man whose own twin was brutally murdered by the killer. A man whose brother is now helping him from beyond the grave.
“I started writing this story a few years ago—before the postapocalyptic Robin Hood books I’ve done for Abaddon,” Kane tells Fango. “I was inspired by a TV show about the phenomenon of twins. It was also hugely influenced by my love of crime and thriller fiction growing up, but also those writers who’d combine crime and thriller plots with supernatural or horror elements. James Herbert is a good example of this, with books like THE JONAH and OTHERS. Peter James, as well, who was kind enough to give me a quote for the front of the book. More recently, people like John Connolly have been hinting at the supernatural in their thrillers, and I suppose this was my attempt to do something like that.
“I’ve also been a fan of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novels for a long, long time,” the author continues, “and the male detective in this book owes a lot to the archetypal grumpy, grouchy kind of policeman with a disastrous private life that comes with the territory—only hopefully I’ve given him his own unique spin. When I’d finished a first draft, THE HOODOO MAN author Steve Harris very kindly took a look at the book and offered invaluable edits and suggestions, as did my wonderful wife, the writer Marie O’Regan. It wouldn’t be the novel I’m so proud of today without their help.”
Much of horror and sci-fi throughout the years has touched on twins and what can be the very wondrous, odd or disturbing relationships between them. “The relationship between twins is fascinating to most of us who haven’t experienced it,” Kane says. “That bond and unexplainable connection. Marie has identical twin sons, although I wrote the book long before I knew that, and it’s funny hearing some of the stories she tells about when they were small—about one sensing the other’s pain, even when they might not be the same place. That, in itself, is both intriguing and just a little bit terrifying, which is probably why twins have been used quite a bit in the genre. I was conscious of that, but also saw it as a challenge to try and do something original with it.
“I’ve done the same with vampires, werewolves and zombies, the latter in the story DEAD TIME, which was filmed as NEW YEAR’S DAY by Darren Lynn Bousman for FEAR ITSELF,” Kane adds. “I always try to find some way of looking at them from another angle. So this time, I set the twins up as targets of a serial killer. The victims of ‘Twinkle,’ as the press call him—short for ‘Twin Killer’—might not even know themselves that they’re twins, some having been separated at birth, but he knows. He can feel it. And he has a very special aim in mind when he kills.”
It seems when Kane says he’s proud of THE GEMINI FACTOR, there’s a reason. Aside from James, the book has attracted quotes from authors Kelley Armstrong and horror favorite Clive Barker and features an introduction from Peter Atkins, author of MORNINGSTAR, MOONTOWN and the screenplays for HELLRAISER II-IV and WISHMASTER.
“I’ve known Pete for quite a while because of my association with the HELLRAISER mythology,” Kane says. “In fact, he recently contributed a tale to the HELLBOUND HEARTS anthology I co-edited with Marie called ‘Prisoners of the Inferno.’ But I didn’t get to meet him in person until the World Horror Convention in Toronto in 2007, and found that he really was that nice in real life as well. I thought his novels were superb, so when he agreed to intro GEMINI, I was over the moon. Not long after Screaming Dreams accepted the novel last year, I asked him to, and he kindly agreed. It was close with his deadlines, but Pete really came through for me, and sent a wonderful piece in which he said the novel ‘moves like a f**king rocket.’ He also picked up on the hidden narrative running throughout the novel: the story’s twin. I was delighted that he could write something for the book.”
THE GEMINI FACTOR is now available through Screaming Dreams’ official site here.
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