Friday 15 February 2019

Anxiety - with Russell R. James

I have been a fan of Russell James's work for a number of years now and we have shared no less than three different publishers over the years. We just keep on following each other around!

Russell's latest novel - The Playing Card Killer - is fresh out this week from Flame Tree Publishing. Not only is it a great story, it also enters the dark and misunderstood world of anxiety disorder. I'll let him explain:

Anxiety is a good thing. A rational concern about an upcoming event focuses you on being ready for that event when it happens.

In The Playing Card Killer, Brian Sheridan has too much of a good thing. A victim of his mother’s prenatal drug use, he was born with an anxiety disorder. His fears are not rational, sometimes not even definable. And when one of these panic attacks strikes, they are practically debilitating.

Brian’s fictional mental health issue is all too common in the real world. Sometimes people are born with the problem, sometimes events trigger it. The uninitiated may wonder why the victim doesn’t just “get over it” and see that the fear is overblown. It’s not that easy. People suffering from this disorder frequently require a combination of counseling, self-help techniques, and medication. Brian has been doing all three. It’s when he decides to stop them all that his world spins out of control.

If you have a loved one that suffers from anxiety, it can be a very frustrating experience. Many of the victim’s coping mechanisms can be hard to handle. The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends these tips:
· Remind yourself that the illness is the problem—anger, frustration, or behaviors related to anxiety are nobody’s fault.

· Be patient—learning and practicing new coping strategies takes time.

· If your loved one is learning new skills, offer to help them practice.

· Listen and offer support, but avoid pushing unwanted advice.

· Set boundaries and seek support for yourself, if needed.

· If other family members are affected by a loved one’s anxiety disorder, consider seeking family counselling.

In my new novel, Brian Sheridan has no such support. And he pays a heavy price because of that.

In The Playing Card Killer, a serial killer stalks Tampa Bay, Florida. Brian Sheridan is plagued by dreams of women strangled with a red velvet rope, their corpses left with a signature playing card. And while awake, he’s hallucinating a strange man who appears to be stalking him. Brian hopes all this is driven by his sudden withdrawal from a lifetime of anti-anxiety medications.

Then the victim from one of his nightmares shows up on the news. She’s been murdered and Brian immediately fears he may be the unwitting killer. Detective Eric Weissbard thinks the same thing, and starts to build a case to get Brian behind bars and stop the string of horrific murders by the man the press have dubbed The Playing Card Killer.

Can being proven innocent be worse than being found guilty? That may be the case as the truth about The Playing Card Killer sucks Brian into a whirlpool of kidnapping, torture, and death.

The Playing Card Killer is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers in hardcover, softcover, and ebook formats.

About the Author

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including horror thrillers Dark Inspiration, Q Island, and The Playing Card Killer. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. He resides in sunny Florida. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says "There is something seriously wrong with you."

Visit his website at, follow on Twitter @RRJames14, or say hello at


  1. What a fab premise for a crime novel. Sounds great.

    1. Hi Priscilla. It is indeed. I'm well into it now and can tell you it has a strong thread of menace and psychological horror bound up in it too. Russell has really nailed this.

  2. Wow, that sounds like an awesome book. And Russell is an awesome guy--it's a win-win!

    1. It's a great book, J.H. and you're right about Russell too!

    2. Anyone associated with Don tends to be good people. As he told me, "I don't like to work with assholes."