Billy Ray Chitwood's Blog - Posts Tagged "thriller"

Posted on November 19, 2012 by billyraychitwood

This is a ‘Don’t Miss’ combo for you: an interview with a quality author and a partial review of his 5-Star book, “Everyone Burns.” If you have not had the pleasure of reading John Dolan you’ve missed a great experience from a writer extraordinaire. JD is truly a wordsmith for his times. He is also the man who introduced me and countless others to the word, ‘Galericulate’ — that’s the name of his website/blog. (See end of interview/review.) He’s the man hidden under the hat and he’s roaming around some continent or another. At last report, he was in Amsterdam. Meet John Dolan.

‘Burning’ John Dolan, writer extraordinaire – An Interview (Sort of!)

(Billy Ray Chitwood=BR) (John Dolan= JD)

BR: Okay, Filbert, take off the blindfold!

JD: Hey, not so rough! You just don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, do you?

BR: Why should I? You can leave us now, Filbert, and take Salome with you.

JD: You kidding me? ‘Salome!’ ‘Filbert!’ They’re ‘junkies…’

BR: Had no money…they grabbed you for the ‘grass.’

JD: Are you mocking me? Are you stealing my interview ideas?

BR: Show me a legal document!

JD: At least my chair is comfortable, and my straps are pure leather, not this cord crap!

BR: You left me no choice, JD, you broke your promise to take my books viral and…

JD: Correction! I said your books were vile and pretentious…

BR: Okay, okay, I understand you’re a bit angry…just some tit for tat, that’s all. I really like your book, “Everyone Burns,” and I’m thinking ‘movie,’ ‘TV series,’ something really big. Can we just relax and talk about the book?

JD: Can you at least put a cushion on this orange crate? You’re not helping my hemmies.

BR: How’s that? Better? Good…Now tell me about “Everyone Burns” and how you came to write it.

JD: Guess I got no choice, but you gotta promise me you’re not going to make a habit of this kind of interview. This is my idea, not yours. Do we have a deal?

BR: Yes, we have a deal…Hell, I thought you would be pleased!

JD: Well, I am, sort of, but this is intellectual property, not something you mess with, BR. Plus I only get one original idea per decade.

BR: Okay, no more kidnaps for interviews! Got it! Can we proceed?

JD: The events in “Everyone Burns” take place over seventeen days while Thailand is still numb from the giant tsunami of December, 2004. Like everyone of sane mind this great catastrophe made my emotions run wild, made me think of life like I had never really thought about it. “Everyone Burns” gave me some escape from the reality all around me.

BR: Really?

JD: No, not really. I wrote it for the money and the groupies.

BR: And how’s that working out?

JD: Probably about as well as it’s working out for you, I’d guess. Well … looking at you, probably slightly better with the groupies.

BR: Here’s a quote from ‘Everyone Burns, just after a bar fracas:

“To summarise, my life is one of split personality. I am in two minds about it myself. Nevertheless, down these narrow streets a man must walk, even if it is in flip-flops. But I am no Philip Marlowe, and Koh Samui is not film-noir USA. There is nothing of Hollywood’s black and white morality on this most colourful of Thailand’s Islands. And long overcoats just make you sweat in the sun. Here The Postman Never Rings Twice, simply because he never rings at all. He has better things to do. Lamai’s and Chaweng’s adventurers generally pack a condom, not a gun.”

You open the book with a broken cue stick inflicting injury to your protagonist and it’s like the excitement and action just never stops after that. I picked this quote because it’s one of my favorites but also because it gives the reader a sample of your splendid writing…Do you have any disagreement with my assessment here, JD?

JD: Take these cords off and I’ll kiss you. The passage is also a favorite of mine. Aside from the style thing in my writing, it is just basically who I am. But I’m NOT David Braddock, by the way. I want to make that clear in case my wife Fiona is reading this! A book of this genre for me has to move at a rapid pace, the action mostly non-stop. A lot of what I write about in “Everyone Burns” has some factual similarities, the people, the places, the time certainly. And, of course, you know my English is rather precise, proper, as it was intended to be! WHY are you smiling and shaking your head?

BR: Never mind, just me being me! It’s a great book, JD. Wish we had more time because I’d like to mention “People With Real Lives Don’t Need Landscapes,” a book of poetry you wrote in 2003. You certainly have a way with words, JD, and I happen to love poetry. As Amazon puts it, “This big bouncy collection of contemporary poetry draws on both popular and high culture. The poems have energy, imagination, humor, and lively speech rhythms. They are light, weighty, topical, intellectual, gory, sad, wild, and tender all at once.”

JD: I didn’t write that.

BR: What?

JD: I didn’t write that collection of poetry. That was a different John Dolan.

BR: Are you sure?

JD: What do you mean, “Am I sure”? I’m not likely to forget a thing like that, am I? Sheesh! It’s scary how your brain can live in such a small space.

BR: That hurts, JD. Well,regardless, I loved your book “Everyone Burns” and can’t wait for the sequel. People should really take a long look at you, my friend…

JD: ‘My friend!’ My butt is sore here, BR!

BR: Filbert and Salome are napping right now. I’ll untie you, but, please, no fracas here. Tit for tat, remember? Be gentle.

Please follow John Dolan on twitter – @JohnDolanAuthor

Visit his website/blog (‘Galericulate’): (You do not want to miss his posts!)

Also visit JD’s amazon site: (amazon)

(Really, follow him and read him. He’s ugly mean: it took two junkies and me to get him here for this interview/review!)
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everyone Burns" is sublime chaos! The best kind!, November 9, 2012
By Billy Ray Chitwood

This review is from: "Everyone Burns" (Kindle Edition)

Sublime chaos! Action scenes and dialogues are deftly metered by a mind that seems ever reaching for outer limits. It's easy to be absorbed in the mad Thai business at hand, the off-beat protagonist, but it is the exquisitely witty patter and the author's unique penchant for challenging the reader's mind that moves one hungrily through the pages of "Everyone Burns." If you haven't read this 'wild and wonderful' guy, you've got to take the time... You will be glad you did - guaranteed!

Guess I'm biased because I love John Dolan's author interviews --- they are truly addictive, innovative, and must reads! (Just stay away from 'Digby!') I'm also a faithful follower on twitter. You, too, will be when you catch a glimpse of his talent...

Follow John Dolan on Twitter: @JohnDolanAuthor

Go to John Dolan's blogsite;
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on November 22, 2012 12:07 • 288 views • Tags: action, anti-hero, bar-fights, crime, detective, everyone-burns, john-dolan, murder, thailand, thriller, tsunami
Meet John Dolan
Posted on August 18, 2013 by billyraychitwood1

Image (shows picture of man in broad-brim hat - can't see on Goodreads). This trademark picture of John Dolan might lead one’s imagination to suspect that this is a man of daring, perhaps out on safari facing the giants of the animal kingdom, a man of mystery and intrigue. One could look at this image and consider the man under the hat either very timid, or, suspiciously avoiding recognition… I had some other scary thoughts about this man when he interviewed me some months back at his ‘Dubai Dungeon’ with an odd. hulking gray-skinned Cyclop assistant named Digby — hmm! wonder whatever became of Digby (haven’t heard of him in months). Anyway, the Dubai Dungeon was a bit like the hat – deceiving. Actually, John’s blog is called ‘Galericulate’ (defined as ‘covered, as with a hat.’) You can always visit him at Galericulate at The interview of me was indeed original, witty, and also very informative, showing the different shades of John Dolan. (I shall include that interview at the end of this post – for your pleasure, I hope!)

The man under the hat is British, living now in Thailand with his lovely wife, Fiona, and family. He is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. Hence, the reason for this post. John Dolan wrote “Everyone Burns,” book one of his trilogy, ‘Time, Blood, and Karma mystery series,’ and it is a superb, thrilling read about a worn down detective, David Braddock, fighting not only himself but the underbelly crowd of Thailand. Some charred remains of Europeans are discovered on the Thai island of Samui, and this starts the non-stop action…and Braddock’s efforts are definitely not helped by his having an affair with the Police Chief’s wife… But I will say no more here about “Everyone Burns” except that it has a multitude of 5-Star reviews and is one of my all-time favorite books.

What I really want to write about here are two things: 1) Book Two of the trilogy, “Hungry Ghosts” and 2) The man under the hat.

1) “Hungry Ghosts” – Unfortunately, I can’t say a lot about book two in the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’ except that it is COMING OUT VERY SOON, and I shall be one of the first to buy when available. “Hungry Ghosts” has been written, has gone through most of the final editing phase, and I’m guessing it will be out within the next few weeks. One thing I know, having had the titillating experience of reading Book One, “Everyone Burns,” I’m like the proverbial kid in the candy store… Yes, John Dolan will do that to you! Please be on the lookout for “Hungry Ghosts” – it will be my personal promise to you that your reading appetite will be craving more from this man.

2) The man under the hat is not only my friend but he is a man of profound wisdom and wit. He is also an excellent poet, in the mold of the great English Romantics who gave me impetus to become a wordsmith, to play in the sand pile of words, to create stories that were uniquely my own, to turn phrases that could either bring me to a smile or bring a tear to my eye, to make me more aware of who I really am. The writing process does that for me and I make no pretense at greatness for my books, but I like them. John Dolan, I’m reasonably sure, feels much the same way about his writing as I do of my own. The difference between our writings? My tales tend to be gritty and simple tales, some inspired by true events. John’s writing brings an extra dimension which causes me some envy – he has the capacity to maintain a scholarly tint to his prose, to make a metaphor seem golden, to entertain a reader in a masterful display of diction and delirious fun. John Dolan is a master wordsmith who can be a Mickey Spillane, a John Grisham, a Nelson DeMille, a John LeCarre… Guess what I’m trying to say is that John Dolan is literary and he is one hundred percent real (the masses will love him as will the literary folks.)

You can follow John Dolan on twitter (@JohnDolanAuthor) and on Facebook.

You can preview “Everyone Burns” at

You can find ‘Galericulate’ at (watch for his announcement of Book two, “Hungry Ghosts”)

Now, that interview I promised follows…

Talk to the Hat: Billy Ray Chitwood (from John Dolan’s archives at

JD My guest today in the Dubai Dungeon is Billy Ray Chitwood, author of several books, the most recent of which is ‘What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale’. Welcome!

BR Where am I? How did I get here?

JD You’re in Dubai, BR. You’re here through a process that’s known as ‘Rendition’, I believe. It involves the use of secrecy, incapacitating drugs and a private aircraft.

BR Why am I hung up by chains in a damn Arabic basement?

JD Technically this is not a basement, it’s a dungeon. Anyway, I’m working on a budget. The electric chair has broken down so this is the best I can do at short notice. Ha! That was a pun. “Short”.

BR Yeah, yeah, very funny.

JD Digby, get the cattle prod.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR Holy crap.

JD Nice to see something still works in this damn place. OK, BR, I want to talk to you about your life. Particularly as there may not necessarily be much of it left. But first I’m going to read you some of my poems.

BR Couldn’t I just have the cattle prod instead?

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR Thank you.

JD According to my secret dossier you’re from the Appalachians, East Tennessee. Which makes you another damn American. What’s that place like? They got indoor toilets and shoes there yet?

BR Well, yeah, now they do! When I was In Oswego Bottom, we had an old unpainted clapboard house, kerosene lamps and an outhouse … sure hated to make the ‘number two’ trip in the dark of night. The Sears catalog pages were not too functional … Must have had shoes but damned if I can remember them. Went barefoot a lot on the old country roads and cut my toes on discarded fruit jars – the old timers used fruit jars for their moonshine, or ‘white lightning.’

JD Sounds ghastly. I’ve always thought the difference between Tennessee and yoghurt is that yoghurt is a living culture. But, hey, what do I know? I’m only an educated Englishman after all.

BR Can I disagree with that last statement?

JD Of course.

(Sounds of electricity arcing)

JD I’m interested to know how you started off in life with no shoes and ended up as a writer.

BR I never said I had no shoes as a kid! Just don’t remember them …

JD Shut up. I’m trying to make you sound interesting here. Tell Dr John about your life.

BR Lots of mobility, divorced parents who fought a lot, literally. Lived for a time with my paternal grandparents (Oswego Bottom – AKA Wooldridge). Lived for a time in state-run institutions – we were poor and Mom had a rough time keeping my sister and me with her. Life became somewhat normal for me during junior and senior high school. Mom worked as a boarding house cook for some time but her real love was the Bell Telephone company, where she retired. The Southern Baptist influence was heavy. There was a ton of emotional stuff to get through. At Seventeen, I joined the US Navy to get away from it all. That’s when a misdirected kid came ‘not very well’ of age. The adult world collided with my emotions and I sort of went crazy: married too soon, had kids, divorced, hit the gin mills and met some very pretty ladies. Managed somehow to get a college degree, worked with some major textbook publishers, owned a business, and was even able to do some acting on stage, film, and television … To sum it up for you: I ate some emotional soup in my youth and I’ve spent a lifetime trying to digest it. Shall I sing a chorus from “All The Girls I’ve Loved?”

JD Not unless you want Digby to use the prod again. OK. Tell me about your Bailey Crane mystery books. And don’t be boring about it.

BR Five books in the series, three inspired by actually crimes. The first book, “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery,” is about the brutal murder of a young actress and mother. In real life this lovely lady happened to be a friend of mine, actually got me into acting, was also a secretary to a couple of my attorney friends in Phoenix … Sorry, I’m rambling, trying to get my mind off these infernal chains …

JD It’s alright. I’m only half-listening anyway.

BR Anyway, Bailey Crane is a transplanted southern fellow and mirrors a bit of my own life. Bailey tells the stories with his simple plot lines, fuses and muses about his own life experiences. Book 2, “Satan’s Song -ABCM”, deals with a decapitation murder in Phoenix, again inspired by a true crime. (Put the prod down! I’m getting boring.) Suffice, the five books deal with Bailey Crane’s life as he chases the bad guys. The books can be read independently of each other, but each book does show the natural progression through the years of Bailey Crane. Book 4 in the series, “Murder In Pueblo Del Mar – ABCM”, was inspired by an actual murder of a mother in Mexico while on family holiday. The story involves the husband/father and his relationship with a transsexual lover. The book is a fictional account but with some truth and author embellishment. Books 3 and 5 in the Bailey Crane Series (“The Brutus Gate – ABCM” and “A Soul Defiled – ABCM” respectively) have no basis in true crime, but good reads if I do say so. Sorry to be so boring –

JD As well you should be. (Yawns, and thinks about electricity)

BR - but the Bailey Crane books gave me the chance to explore some dimensions of myself. I call my writing therapy for the soul.

JD I want to talk about “Mama’s Madness”, a book of yours I read and reviewed recently. But this is serious talk, so I don’t want you dangling from chains. Digby! Lower Mr Chitwood down and sit him on a crate.

BR Thank you. You can be a really difficult person to ‘hang around’.

JD You’re welcome. I feel a little more dignity and decorum is required at this point. Oh, and Digby bring the bucket of maggots for Mr Chitwood’s feet.

BR Is that necessary?

JD My lawyers insist.

BR Ugh. They’re warm. They’re alive!

JD Of course they are. You think I’d use dead maggots? What sort of a host do you think I am?

BR A psychotic one, actually. No wonder you liked “Mama’s Madness”.

JD Great book! And a brave one for an Indie writer. Tough and unsentimental. Well, more ‘mental’ than ‘sentimental’. For those who haven’t read it, it’s a tale of southern lowlifes, and a central character Tamatha Preen who is basically a no-holds-barred psychopath that tortures and murders her own children.

BR Your type of woman, I’d guess.

JD I’m going to let that one go. It’s based on some real-life events which I believe happened in Northern California?

BR Yes, “Mama’s Madness” deals with an evil mother’s hold on her children. It deals with dark closet punishments, beatings, forced prostitution, unbelievable acts, and three murders. It was a book difficult to write because most of us are unwilling to accept the fact that people like Tamatha Preen (a fictional name), that this kind of evil does indeed exist. Although “Mama’s Madness” has its sordid disbelief it is one of my favorite writing accomplishments.

JD Tell me, BR, what is your favourite book of all time?

BR That would likely be, “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR “The General’s Daughter” by Nelson DeMille.

(JD nods at Digby. Sounds of electricity arcing)

BR OUCH! Okay, okay, my true favorite is, “Everyone Burns” by John Dolan?

JD Now you’re getting it. Tell me about your latest book. And be quick about it, I’m getting hungry.

BR “What Happens Next? A Life’s True Tale” is non-fiction, about me, about my memories of east Tennessee, about my wanderlust, about a marriage that happened too fast, about the kids I cherish, about some of the loves of my life, about the neon lights and gin mills of California and Arizona, piano bars, pretty ladies, and about my faith. The book is an honest look at my mistakes, about my joys and triumphs, and about the remarkable wife, Julie Anne, with whom I get to spend the rest of my life. This non-fiction book is a ‘brother’ to my first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son”, a fictional memoir which is ninety per cent true and covers some of the same ground. I even explore a family murder and a family suicide.

JD Had enough of the maggots yet?

BR I sure have.

JD Good, because I think they’ve had enough of you.


Follow Billy Ray on:



On: and

liebsteraward booker-award most-influential-blogger-e1364230844577 (1) reality blog award very-inspirational-blogger1 beautiful-blogger-award one-lovely-blog inner-peace-award the-wordpress-family-award Billy Ray Chitwood
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on August 18, 2013 14:18 • 127 views • Tags: action, billy-ray-chitwood, blog, books, everyone-burns, hungry-ghosts, john-dolan, meet-john-dolan, mystery, suspense, thriller, writing
The Man Under The Hat – His New Book: “The Hungry Ghosts”

Writing means so much to me. The process of stringing words together to build characters and plots is fascinating. An internal bell goes off when I fancy that I’ve nailed a line, a paragraph, a chapter, that says exactly what I want it to say. While I’m not in the elite family of authors who pump out their ‘best sellers’ I consider myself a pretty good author of books…they are generally not so convoluted as to make them heavy reading, and I’m told they are enjoyable. The writing process helps me in ways a psychiatrist likely could not. My characters tell me much about myself So, I write my books, some inspired by true events, some from my imagination.

When I chance upon an author who ‘rings my bell’ with lucid and melodious prose, with some fusion of grit and scholarly detours, I am humbled and appreciative of her/his talents. One such author is John David Dolan, better known at twitter as @JohnDolanAuthor. When I read the first book of his 7-book ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’, “Everyone Burns” (, I was hooked. John and I began a twitter/facebook friendship and have now corresponded for some time. He is the man ‘under the hat’ and he can ad lib and tease with the best of us…you can see that in his writing. This I can assure you, John Dolan is a masterful wordsmith and will not disappoint.

John is British and lives in Thailand on the little island which he writes about in “Everyone Burns” and “The Hungry Ghosts.” Yes, he is rather ‘proper’ but he also knows how to play in the tough and tumble literary sandbox.

It was my extreme pleasure to recently read JD’s book two of the ‘Time, Blood, and Karma Series’, “The Hungry Ghosts” ( I wrote an amazon review about “Everyone Burns” and this is tantamount to a review of “The Hungry Ghosts.”

John Dolan brings you up close and personal with his characters, and though you might have some possible trouble with their Thai names you will thoroughly bond with them. John’s lucid and melodious writing style has a rather hypnotic effect on this reader and I suspect on many others. He weaves a tale of intrigue, mayhem, murder, and his protagonist, David Braddock, is the quintessential anti-hero: Braddock is caustic, embittered, subtly enslaved by his own self-guilt, and he seeks absolution in his loves and lusts, tiptoeing dangerously on a Karmic tightrope as the ‘ripples from the tossed stone’ connect, interconnect, and become the essence of life. You can expect to find some semblance of an ending with “The Hungry Ghosts” but there is a surprise or two and another beginning. It is a story written with style and substance, crafted brilliantly by this man under the hat. I found myself at times wondering just how much of John Dolan was in the naughty David Braddock. There have to be some genetic identifiers, for sure! Certainly, I found it easy to identify with David Braddock and feel most men will also find something of themselves within this ‘everyman.’ The ladies will also identify with the ruggedly handsome Braddock because of his capacity to doubt himself, the dark secrets he carries within himself, that ‘little boy lost’ component, and his commitment to finishing the task in front of him, and his sometime wavering loyalty.

I can think of no better way to salute a master wordsmith like my friend, John Dolan, than to give you some short random samples of his writing in “The Hungry Ghosts.”

From Chapter 28 – ‘David Braddock’s Journal’

Sometimes we falter.

The streets of Bangkok move steadily past the car window. All that dusty, gaudy, dreadful magnificence persists regardless. It imprints itself on the observer; making him part of the observed; making him complicit. In my present reflective mood the City whispers to me of daily struggles, of invisible karmic arcs, of older mysteries. It reveals to me an incessant shambling line of humanity clinging to the remnants of fading dreams. Sadness oozes from its very walls. It is a montage that reeks of futility and death; that speaks of a landscape populated by blind ghosts feeling their way along once-familiar thoroughfares. The dead are always with us. And sometimes we falter.

From Chapter 31 – ‘David Braddock’s Journal’

Perhaps, while the dead are always around us, they are not always with us. Perhaps they only appear when we need them or they need us; and in the meantime they wander the earth in the same state of confusion as the living, in search of something that remains forever elusive.


Interconnection …

I recall the Old Monk’s Zen lessons – how nothing exists in isolation – and I view my own situation now through that lens. My father’s past, Nang, the Lamphongchat family, my presence in Thailand, the ‘burning murders’, the Chaldrakuns, the employment of Jingjai, and, last of all, me … The Web of Indra forever expands, enveloping us all, penetrating and triggering so many emotions and intentions; in turn creating ever more complex actions and reactions. Like trapped flies we cannot move far yet our vibrations resonate in others as their movements resonate in us.

Blood begets blood.

The unseen forces of karma connect and cross-connect to each other and to every sentient thing. The vehicle of time propels us forward remorselessly. There is no returning, and yet everything returns.

Oh, Claire, how I miss you.

Come back.

Save me.

Just one more excerpt: From Chapter 35

For the rest of us, we tread the path of Daedalus. We create labyrinths in which to hide away our monsters or else we fashion wings that will carry us too close to the sun. We are the artisans of avoidance, the fabricators of falsehoods. We sell ourselves snake-oil and we call it medicine. As Teresa of Avila observed, not only do we not understand ourselves but each day we move a little further away from that which we really need. The spirits of the dead are all around us, but it is we, the living, that are the true hungry ghosts.

(End of excerpts)

Hopefully, the reader will pardon me for picking some of my favorite excerpts.

First and foremost, “The Hungry Ghosts’ is immensely entertaining, chapter after chapter. There are great characters. There is mayhem, murder, and there is love. The dialogue is crisp and lively, at times inducing chuckles – other times, germane, serious, and in the moment. The plot lines will resonate. In short, “The Hungry Ghosts” is a 5-Star read, and the movie reel will be turning in the minds of readers. You do not want to miss this exciting read!

I’ll end with more about John Dolan and his links…JUST REMEMBER:

David Braddock returns in A POISON TREE The third book in the Time, Blood and Karma series – There are to be seven books in the series. Watch for it.

ABOUT JOHN DOLAN, THE AUTHOR: “Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants.” John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK and Thailand.

You can follow John’s ramblings on Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor or see his website or see his blog (‘ Galericulate’ – or see his Author Page on Amazon or Goodreads or Smashwords.

The ‘buy links’ for “The Hungry Ghosts”: (Amazon US) and (Amazon UK)

One final piece of business:

You can find Billy Ray Chitwood at twitter @brchitwood and at:
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on September 08, 2013 14:18 • 132 views • Tags: mayhem, murder, mystery, samui, suspense, thailand, thriller