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Creator / Michael Slade

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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:

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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.
  • Brother–Sister 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

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