Diary of a Serial Killer #1
Publication Date: 14 May, 2017
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Sometimes, the cravings just take over.Jimmie Putnam is an ordinary man by any measure. By day, he works as a law clerk. At night, when he can't fight the cravings, he becomes a collector. He takes great care of his human Things; buying them cherry lipstick and reading to them from his journal. When they've been on their best behavior, he even takes them out of his freezers...Sometimes, the need is just too deep.Florel Ross has been mostly invisible since the death of her twin, who died twenty years ago at the hands of a serial killer. Obsessed with justice, Florel is willing to risk anything for the answers she craves: What goes on in the mind of a serial killer?When the two yearnings collide, will it be justice or just Things?
I can’t sleep. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. My mind has raced since I was a kid. While I probably should be accustomed to it by now, I’m not used to it: At all. Worry. Worry. Worry. Stop. Worry some more. Then stutter, so I can worry about that too. Why not?
It’s like the ringing in my ears. That won’t stop either, and it drives me crazy. Although I sleep with a fan, it doesn’t help much. It merely mocks me, blowing dust around the room and forcing me to pull the covers tighter, the way I do with my Things’ bandages for wounds. (Not that I hurt them all that often anymore, I’m a nice guy lately).Don’t mistake nice for not callous, or, maybe more like sentimental. Some people count sheep. I count their screams. If it wasn’t so darn cold out, I’d go back to visit my Things. I like checking up on them, seeing how they’ve changed. Sometimes I bring a bag of make-up. I fix them up the best I can. You see, I’m not all evil either. Wait. I said that already. I can’t really explain it, you see. It’s complicated. There’s one good way to describe it: I’m a collector. Because of that, I mostly take good care of my Things. Whatever. I don’t owe anyone explanations.Back to the screams. I lost count at forty-seven on the last of my Things. Forty-seven bellows, pleas, and “Mister, why are you doing this to me’s?” Forty-seven blissful moments of feeling, no, knowing, I was God. Go ahead, roll your eyes, give me a dirty look. It doesn’t matter what you think of me. Until you’ve killed, you can’t possibly understand. You can’t know. Not until you’ve become an accumulator and taken pride in your belongings.It’s in those final breaths before surrender where I get the high. Submission comes first through their eyes, which bulge and, when I’m lucky, turn red. It’s even contagious. I’m sure mine turn red too, reflective of the panic. In that moment, we’re connected most. If you’ve done it, you know that the terror races through them and into your own hands toward the finish line. It enters your limbs, likely wrapped around their necks if you are anything like me, and doesn’t leave until they are finally dead. I never kill someone from behind. That’s for cowards. I want to see it. I want them to see it coming too, so they know who’s in charge. What good is owning a Thing if it doesn’t know who its master is?Maybe it was forty-eight. I can’t be sure. The last Thing mumbled at the very end. I can’t decide whether to count it or not. I guess it would depend on what she said. I think it was “help,” so that would count. Right? Do you agree? Answer me. Yet if it was only a grunt, it doesn’t. I really, really need to get some sleep. This is their fault; my Things.Silly little Things they are. They think so little of me. I should be used to it. Everyone underestimates me. As if I haven’t prepared for their yammering. As if I don’t have a place where I can do my best work. As if I don’t have routines and a spot. As if they have a chance of escape. As if I haven’t prepared for this my whole life since that bitch in high school thought she was better than me. The one who made Momma laugh and say I was too “pansy” to ever land a girl like that.
Whatever, Momma. Look at you now.It’s cute, though. The screamers, as much as they annoy me, are also the most fun. There’s something more satisfying about possession after you’ve really earned it. That last one, well, she certainly gave me a run. I’ll have to pick up lipstick—cherry red—for our date this week. I’m a considerate man. I take care of my Things. I told you that already. I don’t think I’d like her so much if she hadn’t screamed. I wish I could be sure how many times it was. It’s really haunting me. I need my rest, though it’s not going to happen until I’ve completed my mental inventory. It’s just something I know about me. Step one in being an effective collector is knowing yourself. It’s as important as keeping track of your Things.I catalogue everything – journal entries of why I do the things I do, scrapbooks as reminders, and even logs of activities and research. I take this seriously, you see. And numbers, well, sometimes they bother me. Forty-eight is better than forty-seven. I don’t like odd numbers. I don’t like a lot of things. I don’t like Things that think they are better than others. I can’t stand pumpkin latté and I’m never late. Punctuality is the first step of being in control. The wonderful thing about Things is that once you possess them, they can’t ever be late. Better? They have to respect you. And they are fully in your control.
My wife Shelia was always late. Couldn’t even show up to church on time. What kind of woman of God was she? Never trust a ginger. Doesn’t matter now anyway. She’d never have been good enough to be one of my Things. I’m not saying they’re all perfect. My Things come in every shape and size. I’m sure lots of them were like Shelia – loud mouthed, white trash, and big, with lopsided titties. Hell, Thing Ten is the perfect example of that. When I get to her, you’ll hate her too. You’ll thank me for doing what I did. The world’s a better place with her mostly out of it. That one doesn’t get a bag of potato puffs for her head. She’s jammed in a freezer out back, alone, odd, left out… I’m not sure why I even keep her.
Wait. That’s it. That’s why I can’t sleep: Odd numbers.
Currently, I only have fifteen Things. I never sleep right when I’m stuck on an odd number. I hate odd numbers more than pumpkin latte with extra cream. Odd numbers are the worst, especially thirteen. I hate odd numbers even more than I hate Halloween, a holiday for posers.
Some shitty little kid with a sheet over his head and oval cut-out eyes isn’t of any interest to me. Nor are their mothers, who couldn’t be bothered to put together a proper costume. No. Not for me. I prefer to find my Things in much more refined settings, like book clubs, the library, the local university. I like my Things tidy, educated, neat. Sadly, it doesn’t always work that way. My research says it’s because I’m “impulsive.”Whatever.Sixteen will feel so much better to me. I look at my nightstand, squinting in the dark to see my alarm clock. Its blue numbers read 3:16. I smile. It’s a sign. I still believe in those, and I don’t believe in a lot of things. Tomorrow is killing time. Tomorrow is my day to collect my sweet sixteen.
I’ll have to dress the other Things up and throw her a party when I get her home. I bet she’ll like that, being the center of attention and all.
I close my eyes and quickly drift off to sleep, dreaming of the gym.
This book was creeptastic, it was psychological, it was dark, and it was absolutely fantastic!! The characters were layered, and the situations were hard to stop stop reading about. I could not this book down.. This author knows how to spin a tale! You feel for every character written, and are able to gain understanding into the whys of how they came to be what they do. The lists.... the lists were informative, but also really detailed and shocking at times. This story was disturbing, but addictive. I have already started suggesting it to everyone I can get to listen to me about books!!
Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .
Can you tell me about your Series?
The series includes three books – Just Things, Jimmie’s Ice Cream, and Thing Fifteen. Book one is about how Jimmie came to become a serial killer. It also introduces Florel, an FBI agent specializing in forensic psychology with a need for justice. Florel’s sister was abducted twenty years prior and the two of them have quite the interesting relationship as the series moves forward. Jimmie’s Ice Cream is about that relationship and how Jimmie manages to get away with his crimes. In Thing Fifteen, readers hear the story of his favorite victim, Beverly, and see the story from the victim’s perspective.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
When you spend your entire week working with people from all works of life who tell you their deepest, darkest secrets, you can’t possibly run out of ideas for your work. I have no books out there that don’t involve at least a shred of the truth of a client’s story. Of course, all names and situations are changed, but I always write from reality. I don’t think you need pure fiction to tell a good story because reality is so rich with experiences.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I do weekly visits with kids to the state prison. I have often wondered about people convicted of the more taboo crimes – murder, especially premeditated, mass killings, etc. I began talking to these men in supervised visits and started listening to their life stories for research. It fascinated me to see how their lives had changed – from ordinary lives to unforgivable crime. So, in short, the story and series that follows was actually inspired by real world interviews I did with men convicted of murder at the state prison. One of the men said “I’m not all bad you know.” That is what got me to first re-write Jimmie’s character. I knew he wasn’t all bad and I wanted to figure out what motivated him to do what he did – much like Florel in the story.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, etc.)?
My degree is in psychology. I’m fascinated by people’s minds. All of my books have to do with people and their behaviors or even taboo thoughts. I think we are all a little crazy in our own ways. The difference is who acts on that crazy and who doesn’t. I wanted to know what could make an ordinary guy like Jimmie snap and kill women vrs someone, like me, who would rather do it on paper and by pen in a book as therapy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Just Things, the first book in my Diary of a Serial Killer series, is a great introduction into the mind of Jimmie Putnam, the killer. Just Things gives readers a background into the world of this man, who appears ordinary on the outside but is actually a serial killer who has a pension for hoarding women’s bodies in his freezers at his ice cream shop or in his barn. While that sounds rather gory, it’s really not. This book is more about the mind of a killer and how it works, rather than the acts themselves. It will leave readers questioning themselves and whether or not this could be someone they know.
I was watching a documentary about serial killers and one killer said that he didn’t view his victims as people. He saw them as *insert shrug* “just things.” That’s how Jimmie sees his victims. At the time, it was called “Jimmie’s Freezers.” I changed the title that night. Then, I got to thinking: “How can I write about a murderer if I have never known one?” That’s when I got the idea to start interviewing convicted murderers as research for the series. (More on that later).
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Being asked to write a zombie sex story for an anthology
Why did you choose to write for the genre that you do?
I write for all genres. I can flop from sweet romance to extreme horror in no time at all. I think this is because there are so many sides of my personality and life experiences.