A Brief Introduction to the Books of J. Kent Holloway (Part I)

So you all know the deal. I don’t like talking about myself too much on this blog. But it’s been far too long since I’ve been consistently writing here, and during my time away, I’ve developed quite a few new fans and gained a considerable number of followers on my Facebook page (if you haven’t liked my FB page, go ahead and do it now if you’d like…then come back and finish reading this post: https://www.facebook.com/KentHollowayAuthorPage). So with the influx of new readers, I thought it might be prudent to share a little bit about my books/series, and what differentiates one from another. It’s no secret that I rarely stay in the same genre (though most easily encapsulate the modifier ‘Paranormal’). One series, I would classify as paranormal adventure. Another series, paranormal mystery. One book could be called historical adventure (with a healthy dash of paranormal thrown in). And yet another series falls smack dab in the middle of epic fantasy (which carries with it paranormal connotations by default). So, I guess you could say I’m a ‘paranormal author’. Only, I’m not. Because I’ve just recently written my very first forensic crime thriller without one iota of paranormal in it. So see? Kind of hard to pin me down. Hence, this blog post. 
So, I guess the first place to start would be the first series I released way back in 2008. The series, The ENIGMA Directive, follows the adventures of a smart-mouthed cryptozoologist named Dr. Obadiah Jackson (known just as Jack to his friends because he truly hates his given name) who travels the world looking for the most enigmatic creatures on earth. Along the way, he reluctantly agrees to join a shady government agency known as EN.I.G.M.A (Entity Identification and Global Management Agency) in order to keep them on the up and up (this group had a nasty little habit of taking cryptids and performing genetic experiments on them before Jack came along). 
The series is told in first person by Jack himself, so it’s important to know a little bit about him. He’s smart, yes. But he’s also a bit dense at times. He’s also got a wicked sense of humor and tends to enjoy throwing out the one-liners whenever things get crazy (which means, he’s always throwing out the one-liners). It’s no secret that the character of Jack was inspired by a handful of fictional and real people. He’s sort of a mixture of Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the Evil Dead series, Jack Burton (Kurt Russell’s character from Big Trouble in Little China), Josh Gates from Destination Truth, and myself (any time Jack does something REALLY dumb…um, that’s me. I usually ask, ‘What would I do in this situation?’ and hilarity typically ensues because of it). 
So far, there have been three books in the series: PRIMAL THIRST, SIRENS’ SONG, and DEVIL’S CHILD. 
Primal Thirst is the introductory adventure for our hero, and involves strange blood-sucking creatures out of Malaysia, known as the jenglot. Now, a little known fact about jenglot. As a cryptid, I completely made these creatures up. The jenglot, in fact, are tiny voodoo doll-like things sold in bazaars and shops, and are said to come alive at night, and feed on the blood of their owners. I took this legend, and kind of gave them a literary dose of steroids to make them bigger (well, that’s relative as they’re only about three feet tall), scarier monsters that give Jack a run for his money. 
Sirens’ Song follows the adventure of Jack and the team as they investigate a series of aquatic maulings around the Cyclades Islands in Greece. They soon discover these killings were by strange, mermaid-like creatures they come to call Sirens from Greek legends. Besides these toothy aquatic monsters, Jack’s team must also deal with a giant leviathan, a cult that worships the sea monster, and a mysterious organization that seems to have an opposite agenda to that of ENIGMA. 
Finally, the third book in the series is called Devil’s Child. Though all of these books contain a mystery or two within them, I’d say this is the first in the series that could be considered a ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery. Well, that is, if you can survive an attack by a group of rampaging Jersey Devils terrorizing the Big Apple. 
Now one final thing you need to know about The ENIGMA Directive series…or rather, Primal Thirst, in general. It was written in a time when I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted to be a thriller author or a Christian author. I had serious thoughts about focusing on the Christian market at the time. Though Primal Thirst isn’t preachy, there is more Christian doctrine in it than any of my other books. They way it’s constructed, it makes sense (Jack goes to Malaysia to rescue a missionary, and the Christian doctrine comes from her dialogue mostly). But I’ve heard from readers of all different faiths, and very few were turned off by the book because of it. The rest of the books, however, have much less Christian doctrine in it (though, since I’m a Christian, all of my books will always be written within a Christian worldview…just so you know). 
I hope you’ll give this series a try, however. They’re fun, lighthearted adventures with lots of humor. They’re also truly family friendly with cartoon-like violence more than anything really gruesome.
Wow. How can I describe, in just a few words, the events that take place within a secluded patch of land in the Appalachian community of Boone Creek, Kentucky? How do I explain exactly what to expect? 
For starters, it’s a bit darker than the ENIGMA Directive. And although there are some bits of humor peppered in here and there, for the most part, it’s rather serious. The Dark Hollows Mystery series is, I suppose, a paranormal mystery set in contemporary Appalachian foothills of southeastern Kentucky. It uses traditional Appalachian folklore to weave a tale of murder and magic against the backdrop of a small, secretive town. And at its center…at the apex of all the fear and intrigue…is one man. Some say he made a deal with the devil as a teen. Others say he’s cursed. Everyone in town fears him. Everyone in town wishes he’d leave again, as he had done when a younger man, and never return. 
His name is Ezekiel Crane. And all those things said about him are…true (in a manner of speaking). But there’s so much more to Ezekiel Crane than meets the eye. So much more than anyone could possibly know (for instance, no one knows this, but he’s an actual medical doctor). He speaks nearly thirteen languages fluently–albeit with a charming Kentucky accent. And he’s been Marked by the Willow Hag for her nefarious, though unknown purposes. Crane, however, doesn’t aim to comply. 
In the heart of it, that’s the series. Now to share some tidbits about the books themselves. 
The Curse of One-Eyed Jack begins the mystery that has been festering in Boone Creek for decades. A young FBI analyst, Kili Brennan, comes to Boone Creek in search of her missing brother. Her brother is an anthropologist studying cultural similarities between the Appalachian communities and those of the Celts, and he disappears one night without a trace. Kili comes to Boone Creek to find out what happens, and soon discovers the only hope of finding out the truth lies within the enigmatic mind of Ezekiel Crane. This book begins to lay the groundwork for the folkloric tapestry of the entire series. Expect to learn about Appalachian ideas of witchcraft, the ‘little people’, and mountain magic and remedies. 
FYI, internationally bestselling author Jeremy Robinson loved this book! Here’s what he had to say about it: “Not since Preston & Child’s Agent Pendergast has there been a more mysterious, charming and fun to read sleuth as Ezekiel Crane. His mixture of southern charm, dark history and scientific know-how is intoxicating.”
The Dirge of Briarsnare Marsh, the second book, is darker still. The dead from book one are coming back to life…being reunited with their loved ones. It’s an absolute miracle, and the world of news media rush to the small little Kentucky hamlet to cover this amazing story. But the news crews aren’t the only ones who’ve taken notice of the returning dead. The Leechers, a mysterious group of witch hunters dating back to the sixteenth century, have also returned…and their macabre mission continues once more. They are seeking the one responsible for these resurrections and they will kill anyone who gets in their way. This book ups the ante in terms of Appalachian folklore as you’re introduced to strange totems and phantom cats, as well as much darker and deadlier magics. 
Truth be told, the Dark Hollows series is something really special to me. I love all the books I’ve written, but there’s truly a special place in my heart for it. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in southeastern Kentucky, just near the Appalachian foothills. I grew up with these folkloric myths. I experienced the wonders of Appalachian mountain magic to heal wounds. I marveled at the wisdom of ol’ mountain grannies, who were mighty in wisdom, though they might have lacked a bit in ‘education’. The Dark Hollows is my tribute to these marvelous people. It’s my homage to the mysterious ways these people live…ways quite contrary to what stereotyping has done to them for centuries. 
There’s just something deep and rich about the folklore. Something that resonates deep inside me, and it was for these reasons I wrote the series…in hopes you might feel the same resonance as I. 
Anyway, this post is a bit longer than I originally anticipated, so I believe I’ll have to write the rest tomorrow or the next day. In the next installment, I’ll talk about my solo book, THE DJINN (and a spin-off book by another author). I’ll also spend some time discussing my pet project, which only took me about eight years to realize…The Legend of the Winterking. 
And finally, I’ll give you all an inside scoop on what’s coming up in the future (including news about two all new books in the ENIGMA Directive and Dark Hollows series!). So stay tuned for more! And remember, please feel free to share this post. Leave a comment too. I love hearing from you! And if you’re interested, take a look at my Amazon Author page here.
Thanks for reading…and keep an eye out for part two very soon!

Recent Comments

  • lynaskew
    June 11, 2015 - 7:59 am · Reply

    I love this! It is like visiting old friends yet learning a bit more about them too! Thank you for the many hours I have spent lost in the wonderful worlds of these much loved characters!!

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