Midnight Horror Show by Ben Lathrop
It’s end of October 1985 and the crumbling river town of Dubois, Iowa is shocked by the gruesome murder of one of the pillars of the community. Detective David Carlson has no motive, no evidence, and only one lead: the macabre local legend of “Boris Orlof,” a late night horror movie host who burned to death during a stage performance at the drive-in on Halloween night twenty years ago and the teenage loner obsessed with keeping his memory alive.
The body count is rising and the darkness that hangs over the town grows by the hour. Time is running out as Carlson desperately chases shadows into a nightmare world of living horrors.
On Halloween the drive-in re-opens at midnight for a show no one will ever forget.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from The Darkest Depths.
Interview with the author:
What was the inspiration for this novel?
In the late 90’s, I produced and starred in a TV show where I hosted public domain horror movies in character as “Boris the Undead Hepcat,” kind of a mash-up of Dean Martin and Beetlejuice. The show was definitely amateurish, but also a true labor of love and an ode to all the horror hosts I’d grown up with. Over the years I’d thought about trying to bring the show back, but none of my ideas for it were very satisfying. Then one night I was playing The Cramps during my commute home and kind of letting my mind wander. Listening to Lux Interior tease every possible threat and innuendo out of old rockabilly lyrics put this image in my head – It looked like my old horror host character, but it was something else. Something much darker. A real monster pretending to be a fake one. This book is his story.
Tell us a little about your lead characters.
David Carlson is police detective haunted by past failures and the everyday tragedies of working class crime. He’s a relative new comer to the town of Dubois (“rhymes with noise”) Iowa, but he’s made it his home and is committed to protecting it. While struggling to find clues, Carlson develops a bond with video store clerk James West. James is 19 and still trapped in the small town he never belonged to. He dreams of escape…and finds it at the movies.
Why should readers give your work a try?
Midnight Horror Show comes from untold hours haunting video stores. From long, lonesome drives through endless cornfields. It comes from desperately searching the airwaves and staying up way too late to get a glimpse of something magical, and terrifying, and true. This book is my love letter to the monsters, who were there for me when no one else was.
With a series of unusual killings in the sleepy Iowa town of Dubois in 1985, Detective David Carlson finds himself thrust into the midst of an all-too-real horror show. Investigating the seemingly unrelated crimes, he encounters James West, a strange young man with a fixation on horror and heavy metal, soon to host his own horror show at a local drive-in with a dark history. James's obsession with a former television and drive-in host, Boris Orlof, brings Detective Carlson face-to-face with secrets and terrifying truths previously buried in the past. Confronting his own forgotten memories, a file of missing person cases from twenty years before, and the very real possibility that there's more than simple movie magic taking place behind the scenes, Detective West finds himself fighting a ticking clock to solve the unbelievable mystery and save the young man he's grudgingly befriended before Halloween night. Midnight Horror Show is a captivating story that leaves you guessing what's going to happen right up until the end. When you think you have a handle on what's next, Lathrop manages to dodge your assumptions and veer off in a different direction. The narration provided by Tee Quillin is fantastic and believable as he voices the assorted characters populating the tale with seeming ease.