Paul Dale Anderson

Paul Dale Anderson has written more than 27 novels and hundreds of short stories, mostly in the thriller, mystery, horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. Paul has also written contemporary romances and westerns. Paul is an Active Member of SFWA and HWA, and he was elected Vice President and Trustee of Horror Writers Association in 1987. He is a current member of International Thriller Writers, Author’s Guild, and a former Active Member of MWA.

Paul has taught creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago and for Writers Digest School.  ...See more >


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"Renders spirits and the preternatural realm as tangible scenes of action and intensity."

Kirkus Reviews


AWARDS, PRESS & INTERESTS

Hometown Rockford, Illinois


BOOKS REVIEWED BY KIRKUS:

Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0-937491-19-5
Page count: 306pp

After spending years in a mental institution, a woman has revenge on her mind in Anderson’s (Claw Hammer, 2016, etc.) dark thriller.

Megan Williams was institutionalized five years ago after she killed one man and castrated three others who raped and disfigured her. She earns her freedom by telling her psychiatrist that she knows right from wrong—just what the doctor wants to hear. However, she still plans to murder the survivors of her last attempt at vengeance, which occurred after she’d spent one year in a coma and another undergoing reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. Shortly after her return to Twin Rivers, Illinois, cops find the body of a castrated man and suspect Megan of the crime. Newspaperman Tim Goodman, however, connects the new murder to five of the dead man’s associates, who are all inexplicably missing. With police watching her, Megan puts her retribution on the back burner. Meanwhile, she’s leery of her older sister Susan’s new beau, Harry Berg. The mob-linked drug dealer hopes to launder money in Twin Rivers, and he’s also in the process of meting out payback to those who’ve wronged him. Soon, the dead bodies are stacking up, and Megan is in danger of arrest. Anderson rivetingly presents his protagonist from a first-person perspective, which clearly shows her instability. As she reveals more details of her attack, it seems as if she’s continually reliving it, which gives the book’s title a sad twist. As a result, readers will initially have sympathy for Megan, but it may subside as the story progresses; at one point, Megan says she that she tortured multiple men, all strangers who picked her up at bars, as practice for her revenge; after butchering them, she says, she “showed them mercy and slit their throats to make certain they died.” Still, the story’s intensity rises with each new murder victim, as each puts Megan or someone she knows in potential danger. Anderson, meanwhile, does add glimmers of hope, as when he shows that Megan regrets at least one of her killings.

A relentlessly gloomy but memorable tale that explores questions of morality.

Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1-5190-5831-7
Page count: 212pp

Anderson (The Devil Made Me Do It Again and Again, 2016, etc.) tells the story of a vicious series of murders in a small Illinois town in this thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Joyce Roberts underwent an unbelievable trauma when she was 6—her father killed her older sister, and the event left both her mind and body scarred. Now an orphan living with her grandparents, she tries to acclimate to life as a normal teenager. She excitedly agrees to attend the senior prom with Tony Virusso, the most popular boy in school. Things go well, and Tony takes Joyce to the cool kids’ after-party. But after the two go off to an empty room with the intention of sleeping together, the night goes off the rails: Tony’s jealous ex-girlfriend bursts into the room, revealing Joyce’s hideous scars to the school’s social elite and causing her to flee into the night. Things get even worse, however, when someone murders the other partygoers, including Tony. The victims are all struck in the head, and the faces of the men bashed in. Det. Sgt. Carl Erickson and Dr. Marsha Wade, the police team assigned to investigate the murders, guess that the assailant is most likely a woman, and the identity of the killer may have something to do with Joyce’s troubled past. Anderson originally published this novel in 1989, but this edition has been revised and updated with more contemporary references; one character, for example, is described as a “Britney Spears lookalike.” Still, the book has the feel of a vintage 1980s pulp novel, which may help distract readers from the plot’s more predictable elements. Overall, it traffics in mostly enjoyable camp, featuring scenes of gore (“Pools of blood ruined the carpet and flecks of blood and brains stained the wallpaper”), sex (“his hands slid up her thighs to probe again at her liquid center”), and dated teen dialogue (“Is she Gary’s steady?”). That said, its tendency to dwell on the size of female characters’ breasts is somewhat off-putting.

A kitschy murder-mystery thriller with a retro feel.

THRILLERS
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0-937491-17-1
Page count: 294pp

A young woman who survived a brutal rape seeks retribution against her assailants while directing homicidal rage at men in general in Anderson’s (Winds, 2015, etc.) unforgiving thriller.

The four men who raped and mutilated teenager Megan Williams four years ago left her for dead. She pulls through, awakening from a coma and undergoing reconstructive surgery. Cops think the rapists, still at large, had intended to attack Megan’s then-roommate and older sister, Susan. Megan concurs with the vengeance-minded woman secretly living near Susan, convinced the men will, in due course, follow her sister home from Terri’s Restaurant where she waitresses. Megan, however, hates every male she spots eying her or Susan, and anyone who takes Megan home will suffer relentless torture. Columnist Rodney Engleworth, a former investigative journalist, notes similarities between recent murders and Megan’s attack, with male bodies mutilated in ways comparable to Megan. But there have been other rapes/murders with the same modus operandi over the last several years, and sure enough, Megan sees a man at Terri’s who she believes is one of her attackers. Rod, his editor, Timothy Goodman, and Officer Elsie Dorr track down an unidentified woman caught on camera with one of the victims. At the same time, Megan, with a loaded gun, waits for her suspect to contact his three equally guilty friends. The novel is merciless, with the abused main character committing barbaric acts. In Megan’s first-person perspective, she’s seemingly conversing with the men she’s butchering, but that may be only in her head. She apathetically details her rape and explicitly relays what she’s doing to the men, including mutilating genitals. The investigating team can occasionally be too dense: they initially don’t suspect Megan due to her physical condition, though no one’s seen her (not even Susan) for six months. Sympathy comes in the form of Rod, a widower who lost his wife, Helen, to cancer. But he saturates pages with more dourness, at one point equating Helen with an old car that a mechanic (doctor) couldn’t fix. Fortunately, scenes hinting at a romance between Tim and Elsie temporarily relieve the story of its gloomy tone. The ending is appropriately dark but satisfactory.

An unflinching portrait of a victim-turned-predator; sometimes repulsive but unquestionably potent.

THRILLERS
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0-937491-16-4
Page count: 558pp

In Anderson’s (Light, 2015, etc.) latest thriller, it’s up to a small group of people to stop an evil corporation from disrupting the balance between the spirit and material worlds.

When someone brutally murders Wisconsin tree farmer Ellen Groves, the Pentagon sends Lt. Col. Robert McMichaels to investigate out of suspicions that terrorists are targeting soldiers’ families. He meets up with Maj. Tom Groves and quickly learns that the Groves family, including sisters Diane and Nancy, believe something else entirely is afoot. They claim Ellen was one of the Guardians of the Watchtowers, controlling the flow of energy between the spiritual world and physical world. Meanwhile, Philip Ashur, CEO of XIIMI and master of the Black Arts, is plotting to kill all the Guardians, keeping a body part from each on ice to prevent their spirits from reaching the other side. Anderson’s novel triumphantly merges thriller elements with the supernatural: what seems like a typical murder investigation eventually pits the forces of good and evil against one another. The action scenes dabble in both. Ashur’s men kidnap McMichaels’ children, for example, leading to just one of the numerous gunfights. At the same time, Diane and Nancy, as well as others, like their aunts, are capable of magic. Diane transfers her spirit to a hawk for a particularly vicious attack entailing a bit of eye gouging. The story addresses an abundance of abstract notions, including reincarnation; for instance, Shelia Ryan, an attorney whom Ashur sends to purchase Ellen’s land, may have a change of heart once she remembers her past life from centuries ago in Egypt. Fortunately, the atypical concepts work well amid a genuine threat to the more familiar world: if Ashur succeeds at closing the spirit world, restless spirits in the physical realm will turn “vile, mean, and nasty.” Romantic interests develop perhaps a little too quickly, since they all seem predestined; Diane, who’s short with McMichaels at first, warms up to him immediately when realizing they were lovers in past lives. But Anderson rounds out his story with shocking deaths and a surprising ally for the Groves clan.

Steady pace keeps this novel consistently riveting and often entertaining.

THRILLERS
Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0-937491-15-7
Page count: 530pp

The ghost of a murdered U.S. Army Ranger plans to thwart a plot to assassinate world leaders in Anderson’s (Pinking Shears, 2015, etc.) supernatural thriller.

Maj. Bill Ramsey is dead, but he won’t go into the light until he completes his mission. He’d been in Pakistan to infiltrate a secret base for training American mercenaries. His spirit guide, Vajrapani, a bodhisattva (enlightened being) tells him how to share a body. Ramsey enters the momentarily unprotected (and orgasmically distracted) body of ex-Marine Randy Edwards, who’s already being wooed by the Worldwide Logistical Security Consultants and Transportation Corporation. WLSCTC is gathering former military personnel and plotting “something big,” which Ramsey hopes to stop. Fortunately, he has plenty of people and entities to help, including Vajrapani and intelligence analyst Deb Johnson of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. There’s a lot to ponder in Anderson’s novel, which blends abstract notions (like the astral plane) with palpable action sequences, but the author manages not to lose the reader. When Ramsey speaks to Deb, for example, it’s perfectly clear that he’s using Randy’s physical body. In the same vein, many characters are, for various reasons, familiar with bodhisattvas and the spiritual realm, making it easier for readers to accept that Deb and boyfriend Bill Porter can spiritually traverse the astral plane and physically teleport. Reincarnation, too, plays an essential part to the tale and explains why 12-year-old sex slave Anong becomes an efficient ally for the good guys. The story is sometimes a little too conceptual, like the description of spirits who’ve learned “how to manipulate the subtle energies from which was woven the very fabric of the universe.” But Anderson adds rousing elements such as gunfights, the suggestion of a mole inside INSCOM, and surprising connections (i.e., Ramsey knows the man whose body is occupied by Vajrapani). There’s also a bit of suspense; Earl Wright is an unmistakable villain recruiting mercenaries for WLSCTC, but the one(s) actually behind the plan for world domination may be something much more than human—and much worse.

Renders spirits and the preternatural realm as tangible scenes of action and intensity.

ADDITIONAL WORKS AVAILABLE:

ABANDONED
Horror, thriller, suspense

The ancient Tibetan god of death, Yama, reincarnated as a People’s Republic of China General, recruits terrorists to sabotage electrical power transmission grids worldwide. Yama and his eight demon underlings feed on panic and fear, and they intend to devour the entire world and everyone and everything in it. All hell breaks loose to prevent David Davis, a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army who specializes in human intelligence gathering, from foiling a plot to disrupt electronic communications, destroy the electrical grids of civilized nations worldwide, and end life as we know it. Davis and eight reluctant companions—a former Army Ranger turned ruthless hit man for the conspirators, a former Marine named Jon Fish who became an unemployed drunkard after the sudden deaths of his mother and brother, Mike Cleary, an FBI Special Agent and family man, Bill Porter, an electrical engineer, Debra Johnson, an Army Intelligence Analyst, Anamarie Noble, a computer systems analyst, and two Tibetan monks who have mystical powers—join forces to restore order in a world gone mad. Not only is the whole world thrown into chaos and darkness by the lack of power and communication, but Iran has nuked Israel and America cannot respond because strategic weapons systems have been completely disabled by an insidious computer worm embedded in their operating software. Yan Khawa Garpo, a People’s Republic of China General, is secretly the reincarnation of Yama, an ancient evil who was once worshiped as the god of death in both China and Tibet. Yan mobilizes an army of demons to take over cities and spread fear and panic. Yan and his eight diabolical companions are truly monsters who feed on fear. They feed literally on the hearts and minds of innocent people. In this epic battle between the most ancient of all adversaries, Dave and his companions must first battle their own greatest fears. Can Davis overcome his life-long fear of fire? Can the Ranger overcome his fear of snakes? Can Deb vanquish her fear of insects? Will Mike overcome the fear of seeing his family beheaded? Can Jon overcome his chemical dependencies? Can Lokesvara overcome the limitations and frailties of age? Can Phut conquer death? And can Bill learn to love? Abandoned takes place amid the dilapidated and abandoned houses and factories of the once-prosperous Rockford, Illinois, the corrupt seats of power in Washington, D. C. and Beijing, and the majestic Meili Snow Mountains of China and Tibet. Abandoned is much more than a horror story. It is also an action thriller, a contemporary romance, and a modern myth. Many of the characters are derived from world mythologies, and readers may recognize archetypes of some of their favorite heroes and villains.

Published:
ISBN: 978-0937491140
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CLAW HAMMER
Psychologial horror, crime suspense, forensic mystery, police procedural

Relentless, inhumanly cunning, a killer stalks the serene streets and elegant houses of the quiet Illinois suburb of Riverdale. The victims' skulls are shattered, their flesh torn and flayed. Hard on the killer's trail, a dedicated cop and a brilliant young doctor risk everything to run an elusive, insanely savage predator to ground. Their only clue–a beautiful girl, scarred body and soul by a past she can't escape. Their only hope–untangling the dark, terrifying secrets of that past before their quarry turns the tables and makes them the hunted. Torn from the pages of today's headlines, Claw Hammer is a suspense-filled novel of psychopathological investigation orchestrated by a masterful storyteller. Now a part of the acclaimed Instruments of Death series from Gordian Knot Mysteries, and Crossroad Press Publishing, Claw Hammer introduces Detective Carl Erickson and Pathologist Marsha Wade to lovers of crime fiction.

Published:
ISBN: 978-1519058317
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DADDY'S HOME
Psychologial horror, crime suspense, forensic mystery, police procedural

Terror gripped the streets of Willow Woods as the grisly deaths increased. The killer struck in isolated areas, slashing young women into bloody ribbons of flesh with the precision of a surgeon. The experts knew he used a razor-sharp butcher’s knife, but only the dead knew his face…. The bad dreams started when Danny’s real dad disappeared. Weird, scary dreams about a strange man with a long, shiny knife, standing over Danny’s mother covered in blood on their kitchen floor. His mom told him to forget about the dreams and stop watching the TV news reports about the Mad Slasher. She said they were safe, especially with their new friend Michael, his pretend daddy, to protect them. But Danny was afraid of Michael. Michael looked too much like the monster in his dreams….

ISBN: 1-55817-412-5
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DARKNESS (Unpublished)
Dark Fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, horror, military

An evil entity has hidden the sun, and the world becomes a dark and dreadful place. Biegolmai Davvii, a Saami shaman and one of the eight Guardians of the Four Winds, sends the Lone Ranger, a former US Army Ranger, and Jon Fish, a Marine Drill Instructor, to Machu Picchu to find the evil sorcerer who sacrifices women to acquire the power to control the sun. Jon is the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Akashagarbha, and he has the power to cross time and space. The Ranger is the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Vajrapani and he has the power to control winds and rain, thunder and lightning. But as long as an evil entity controls the vortex at the peak of Machu Picchu, neither man may access their bodhisattva powers and they must climb the mountain as mortals. After a fight with Elman's minions, they are able to halt the sacrifices, but they are unable to capture Yam Elman, the twin brother of Guardian Hadad Elman. Elman escapes and attempts to take control of one of the other vortexes of power. Elman thrives on chaos, and the darkness that encompasses the world sends people into panic. Weird religions spring up overnight, among them Elman's Ministry of Light which promises eternal life and eternal light in return for blind obedience and personal sacrifice. Jon, the Ranger, and two other Guardians—Bryn Helgasdottir, a Valkyrie, and Kisikil Lalake, a wood nymph—attack Elman's church headquarters north of St. Louis at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Elman double-whammies Jon, Bryn, and the Ranger with Vril magic. Kisi turns Vril magic against Elman and frees her companions, but the Ranger hits his head against a tree and loses all memory of Vajrapani. In order to heal the Ranger, restore his memory, and reunite him with Vajrapani, Biegolmai sends the Ranger, Kisi, Bryn, and Kiyari—the reincarnation of an Incan moon priestess who is also the reincarnation of Persephone and Inanna—into the underworlds on a healing journey. Yam Elman has also gone into the underworlds to recruit demons to help him take over the world. In order to find Elman, force him to return the sun and keep him from ascending the world tree with a demon army, the Ranger and his companions must search through all nine underworlds and return their spirits to their mortal bodies within twelve days or remain trapped in the underworlds forever. Guided through the underworlds by Hecate, they encounter demons, serpents, Queen Ereshkegal, King Aidoneus Haides, Snow Queen Hel, and demon Udug Hul. Each of the four companions faces his or her own personal demons in the underworlds. They emerge from the underworlds with greater knowledge and they manage to recover the silver mask of the Moon Goddess, but Elman escapes them.
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SPILLED MILK (Unpublished)
Fiction, thriller, suspense, crime,

Yesterday Twin Rivers was the safest of all Chicago suburbs. Today it is the most dangerous. Four years ago Megan Williams was raped. Today she is a serial killer who castrates her victims before letting them bleed out. Police haven’t found the four men who raped and mutilated Megan’s body with hunting knives, and they aren’t even looking anymore. There are too many other rapes and murders to investigate. Only Megan’s sister, Susan, and 70-year-old investigative reporter Rodney Engleworth appear concerned the rapists are still raping and killing. When Rod falls victim to Megan, Gazette publisher Tim Goodman joins forces with Detective Sergeant Joel Giffords and police public information officer Elsie Dorr to track down Megan and the rapists before Susan falls victim to the rapists and Megan can kill again.
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THE GIRL WHO LIVED
Thriller, psychological foction, suspense, horror, police procedural

Published:
ISBN: 978-0-937491-19-5
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