by Lucy Leitner
It may seem that Hollyburgh has taken a turn to the dark side recently, what with the coverage of Scream Park, Tablet of Tales, and Hemlock Grove. But do not despair, dear readers: I’m not ready to hang entrails from the Hollywood sign yet. We’ll return to the tales of screenwriting contests and Pittsburgh’s contributions to astronomy soon.
Zombie crawl season will soon be upon us. And this weekend alone features a haunted house convention in Monroeville and a living dead musical in the South Side. The macabre is more difficult to escape in this city than a horde of the walking dead.
The Steel City is a haven for horror. The modern zombie was invented here. We have a museum of the dead in a local mall. Even our drag queens cover themselves in blood.
So, it makes complete sense that two of the four authors of Florida-based Necro Publications’ Fresh Flesh series are from the Pittsburgh area. My zombie-comedy novel Working Stiffs will be released in a matter of weeks while Leechburg native Bobby Shupeck’s Red Town Lost is already out and available on Amazon and several other outlets.
Hollyburgh will now make an official hypothesis that everyone and everything is tied to Pittsburgh. All research will be purely observational, and the results will have no integrity.
Bobby’s first novel (for which he is credited by his legal name, John) is also the first piece of writing that he has ever published. With no formal training, he is a self-described voracious reader who learned his craft by years of research, i.e., immersing himself in horror’s many incarnations.
Though Bobby is only twenty-four, he is already engaged in his third dream job. First it was wrestling, which he had pursued since he the age of eight, eventually landing at a wrestling school in Plum. He went pro for some time and cites a match against Doink the Clown at a local event as his most memorable achievement. Though he is attempting to get back into the pro wrestling scene, he realizes the limitations posed by standing 5’5.
His second infatuation was with hip hop. He’s been performing solo or with his brother since 1998 in both horrorcore (which he describes as “a B-movie, but without a plot”) and more personal projects under the name Whyt Bred. The character Frankie Red from his upcoming sophomore album Red Zone provided the basis for Red Town Lost. After realizing that Red made an effective antagonist, Bobby spent nine months crafting four short stories around him that he eventually transformed into a full-length (though a quick read at 200 pages) novel.
Now fiction writing is his focus. While Red Town Lost is an exploration of all things horror, his second novel will be a more focused traditional story of a young girl and her kidnapper.
An excerpt from Red Town Lost can be found on the Necro site. Don’t let the profanity scare you off, Bobby warns. He’s just following the Judd Apatow approach to teenage dialogue. And, with three other sub-stories in addition to the main narrative, the book has enough real scares within. From serial killers to “stuffed animals that come to life and maul people,” Red Town Lost is basically a mash-up of horror subgenres. Characters range from teenagers, to a scared child running from a drug dealer, to a disfigured youth who seeks revenge on his tormenters.
Learn more about Red Town Lost by following Bobby Shupeck on Facebook.