Michael Slade is the pseudonym of author Jay Clarke (born 1947) and his collaborators. Clarke is a criminal lawyer based in Vancouver, who specializes in criminal insanity. Under the Michael Slade name, Clarke and his co-authors have released a number of horror crime novels.
Novels by Slade include:
Some tropes associated with Slade's work include:
- Always Gets His Man: Interestingly, the idea that a Mountie does this is what sparked Clarke's interest in writing about the Mounties. The central killer may or may not be captured at the end of each story.
- Ax-Crazy: Of course.
- Badass Bookworm: DeClerq.
- Badass Crew: Special X is made up of elite, highly specialized members.
- BrotherSister Incest: Rika and Saxon Hyde.
- Canada, Eh?: Played straight, averted, subverted, and just about (a-boot) any version of the trope, the Canadian West features heavily in Slade's work. However, it's a grim and seedy place, full of brutal criminals and dark secrets.
- Canadian Western: While Slade novels are generally categorized as crime and horror, many of the elements can also be considered Canadian Western.
- Cowboys and Indians: The Battle of Rorke's Drift is described in Evil Eye. In this case, it's actually Redcoats and Zulus, a battle that captured the author's imagination as a lad.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the characters, but particularly Zinc Chandler, Robert DeClerq, and other members of Special X.
- Development Hell: Headhunter was optioned in 2008, but has yet to see even a script.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Becomes a Chekhov's Gun in Ghoul. The perpetrator of a murder leaves the scene, but she's noticed because of her fantastic cleavage... Except she's not who they think.
- The Dung Ages: Discussed in Ghoul. Made particularly Squicky with mention of Richard the Raker, a 14th century sanitation worker who drowned in the sewage in London's streets.
- Freudian Excuse: Ghoul in particular came about during a time when crimes were believed to be a result of a person being subjected to years of horrendous abuse. Although still relevant, some of the psychology from The '80s seems dated now.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: A deadly game of Hangman and a "murder mystery" game gone sour.
- Jack the Ripper: One of the recurring characters is a Ripper wannabe.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Every novel is packed full of characters, although a few key characters cross over and receive a longer character arc.
- Market-Based Title: After the novel was released in Britain, North American publishers discovered Joyce Carol Oates had released a novel entitled Zombie, so the title was changed to Evil Eye.
- The Mentally Disturbed: Many of the killers, to extreme degrees. The psychology used in the book is better presented than in most fiction, as criminal insanity is the author's specialty.
- Police Procedural: Many of Slade's novels revolve around Special X, a (fictional) international division of Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- Serial Killer: Almost every novel has one (or more) at the centre of the plot, along with Shout-Out s to many Real Life serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Richard Ramirez. In fact, the end notes to Ghoul provide a handy list of notable serial killers. And if you were wondering, a couple of the books include a handy check list for serial killer behaviour.
- Shown Their Work: The novels are meticulously researched and very unique in that they include a bibliography.
- The Vamp: Rika Hyde from Ghoul is a perfect example of the trope.