Felix Renn is a private investigator in a supernatural world, an alternate reality where a dark dimension called The Black Lands co-exists alongside our own. Travelling to and from The Black Lands is dangerous — and illegal — but that doesn’t stop some of the creatures that reside there from crossing over into our world from time to time.

After a man goes berserk in a posh Toronto restaurant, Felix suddenly finds himself torn between both worlds as he is drawn into a deadly game of movies, murder, and monsters.

Published by: Burning Effigy Press
Date: September 2009 (chapbook)
November 2009 (second printing)
June 2011 (third printing)
October 2012 (eBook)
November 2012 (reprinted in SuperNOIRtural Tales)
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Burning Effigy Press

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Chapbook

Burning Effigy Press
Horror Mall
ISBN: 978-1-926611-07-5

Notes:

“Temporary Monsters” is the first in a planned series of stories featuring Toronto private investigator Felix Renn and his encounters with the entities from the Black Lands.

I wanted to create a world where the supernatural existed as a matter of course. I decided the best way to do that was to take an existing event in history and alter it to my own creative purposes. The event I chose was one I had seen as a kid on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries: the disappearance of Flight 19 in the Bermuda Triangle.

In my world, the search for the missing five Navy bombers turned out quite different. The planes were found, for one thing, and so was another dimension. Because this world seemed devoid of any sun, it was called the Black Lands. Most people came to the belief that the majority of paranormal phenomena experienced around the world, as well as our deep-rooted superstitious beliefs, were due to our world’s close proximity to this dark dimension. Strange disappearances, supernatural entities, psychic powers. It could all be explained as a kind of supernatural influnce “leaking” into our world from the numerous Black Lands portals that were still being found to this day all over the planet.

After creating this world, along with a bit of history to go along with it, I needed a character to drop into it. In addition to be a serious horror buff, I’m also a fan of suspense and mysteries stories, especially those featuring private detectives. My favourites were Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels, and Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op stories. So I decided to create my own private investigator and see what kind of trouble he could get into in a supernatural world.

The concept of a “supernatural detective” isn’t a new one, but I figured I could put my own spin on it. I enjoyed Clive Barker’s Harry D’Amour stories and Jay Russell’s Marty Burns stories, and I thought there was still plenty of room in the genre for another paranormal dick (so to speak). One of the ways I tried to distinguish my stories was to set them in Canada. They say you should write what you know, but I will go you one further and say you should write where you know, as well. I knew Toronto. I was born there and I lived there for many years. So that’s where I decided to set up my private detective. ( Some useless trivia: the name Felix Renn is a nod to Max Renn, James Woods’ character from Videodrome, which is my favourite David Cronenberg film.)

I have several more Felix Renn novellas planned. as well as outlines for a series of novels. I also plan to write a number of standalone stories set in the Black Lands universe featuring different characters. Some of them may pop up in the Felix Renn stories, but my intent is to tell a variety of stories about how different types of people live in this strange and dangerous world.

Reviews:

“Rogers’ first book in the Felix Renn series is fundamentally about change and impermanence and that makes it an exciting beginning to a new set of books. There is nothing predictable and the reader, like the characters, are placed on uncertain, shaky ground and feel the need to read through the book to have some sense of permanence to grasp onto at the end.”

Speculating Canada (Read the full review)

“The world Ian has created here is surprisingly robust when barely using thirty pages to know only set the stage, but tell the whole story. The added twist of a drug that seems to temporarily morph users into monsters of choice is both macabre and original. There’s a good payoff at the end with enough of a teaser for future installments… Seeing Canada portrayed as something other than a snowbound land of overly polite syrup-suckers is always welcome, and Ian did a heckuva job layering grime all over Toronto. I’m looking forward to reading what else he has in store for the great white north and abroad.”

Gef Fox @ Skull Salad Reviews
(Read the full review)

“…brash, brilliant, and salivating.”

Lurid Lit
(Read the full review)

“If you are a fan of urban fantasy fare as delivered by Jim Butcher or Simon R. Green, you’ll be sure to love what Rogers has in store.”

The Man Eating Bookworm
(Read the full review)

“A fast paced story, where the action kicks of from the word go and never lets up.”

The Ginger Nuts of Horror
(Read the full review)

“Right from the 1st line, “The waiter got killed before he could drop off the bill”, which is so stark, it immediately plunges you into the heart of the action, readers are thrown into a world where monsters are the norm and the Paranormal Intelligence Agency (PIA) and the paranormal itself acts as a dangling carrot that entices both readers and Renn alike.”

Bloody Bookish
(Read the full review)

“TEMPORARY MONSTERS is a fun hybrid of P.I. noir, classic monsters, and some well done humor that doesn’t overshadow the action. Nifty ending, too.”

Read the full review at The Horror Fiction Review

“…a good read for anyone who is eagerly awaiting Season 3 of ‘True Blood’, the next ‘Twilight’ movie, or if you can’t get enough of that TV show ‘The Vampire Diaries’.”

Read the full review at Lipstik.com

“The power of Rogers’ wit and the imagery that he manages to pack into such a tight little bundle, is much larger and well honed than a chapbook can possibly fathom to contain. It’s a shame that the book wasn’t longer, that’s for sure, as Rogers only begins to touch upon something that begs to be fully fleshed out in a much longer format.”

The main character — Felix Renn — is among some of my favorite characters of all time. An anti-hero of sorts, Renn has unquestionable ability to hold his own as life slings crap at him from all directions, while delivering witty and sarcastic remarks pertaining to what is going on in the moment. His one liners are the stuff of a writers dreams, rarely ever achieved with such perfect timing and pinache. This is only one of the reasons why this story should be turned into a multi book series. Rogers has definitely created an incredibly memorable and interesting character with Renn. With an acerbic wit like that, I doubt anyone would be able to forget him any time soon.”

Paperback Horror
(Read the full review)

“TEMPORARY MONSTERS revolves around Toronto’s motion picture business, and has plenty of mystery, action, and intriguing characters, with a nicely textured relationship between Renn and his estranged wife. This definitely feels like an introduction for Felix Renn, who deserves a much larger story in which to conduct his sleuthing and monster-fighting, but Ian has just such a project up his sleeve and I’d advise some publisher out there to pick it up. This could be a series with a lot of commercial potential. And the story in this chapbook might make a good movie, too.”

Jeffrey Thomas
(Read the full review)

“I’m sure this one will earn Rogers more than a few comparisons to Jim Butcher — and those are apt — but Rogers’ work hits just as close to the good old P. I. stuff you’ll find in yellow-paged paperbacks. He’s got the rhythm and the wryness (“He tossed me across the restaurant like a lawn dart…”), plus dialogue and description that snaps. Most of all, Rogers has a hardluck character in Renn who’s a keeper. Here’s hoping the next step for this young writer will be a collection, because it looks to me like he’s got a bibliography that will fill up a table of contents page just fine.”

Norman Partridge
(Read the full review)

“It’s always thrilling to make a discovery like this. Ian Rogers’ “Temporary Monsters” introduces what promises to be an engaging saga, seething with vampires, werewolves, hardboiled dames and – notably – a soulfully wise-cracking detective named Felix Renn. More exciting ideas, more action, more chills and laughs lurk within this slim volume than you’ll find in any ten fat tomes on the current best seller list. Grab a copy. You won’t want to miss a ride this wild.”

 Robert Dunbar

Links: Pictures from the Launch Party
“Temporary Monsters” @ GoodReads.com