Today I am interviewing Paul Crilley, debut author of the new buddy cop/cosmic horror novel, Department Zero.
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DJ: Hey Paul! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Paul Crilley: I’m a Scottish writer adrift in South Africa. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to writing. I’ve worked on kids novels, (my own Invisible Order series, as well as The Hardy Boys), computer games, (Star Wars: The Old Republic), comics, (X-files: Conspiracy), and television (too many shows to list)
DJ: What is Department Zero about?
Paul: It’s about multiverse theory and Cthulhu mythology. It’s also a portal fantasy, a buddy-cop type story, a story about a divorced dad trying to do right by his daughter, and it’s snarky.
The more formal pitch: Harry Priest is down and out. He’s in “biohazard remediation”, which is a fancy way of saying he cleans up crime scenes for a living. He’s divorced, and the highlight of his day is when he gets to say goodnight and read a bedtime story to his daughter. (Over the phone.)
Harry and his partner Jorge stumble onto what they think is just another crime scene at an old motel in Santa Monica, and when Jorge steals some evidence form the scene, Harry finds himself chased down by Vervet monkeys with the faces of old men (that quote Shakespeare at him), spider monsters that eat your brain, various creatures from the Cthulhu mythology, and of course, the acolytes of the Old Ones.
All this brings him into contact with Havelock Graves of the Interstitial Crime Department, an agency that polices the multiverse. The ICD works the infinite number of realities from their base in Wonderland and when Graves offers Harry a job Harry accepts. (Well, he has to. He got fired from his old job.)
Unfortunately for Harry, Graves, as well as being arrogant, loud, and over the top, is also a big fat liar. The kind whose pants are on fire. His team was demoted to Department Zero after the incident at the motel, Department Zero being the lowest department in the entire ICD.) And what does Department Zero do? They clean up crime scenes. Of the supernatural kind.
Graves wants to use Harry as bait to draw out the people that got him demoted, and this brings them into contact with a cult that worships Cthulhu and wants to free him from his prison in the Dreamlands. Cue lots of bickering, travel to alternate realities, battles, incredibly strategic and fast retreats, the Spear of Destiny, Robert E Howard-type fantasy worlds, and more bickering. Continue reading