by Jack L. Pyke
You know, I’ve done fourteen-hour shifts in factories, and I know the graft that goes on after clocking in, especially when it comes to peace work rates. Working hard has never been an issue: factories test out your endurance, your patience, your friendship if you get someone working next to you who can’t cut the pace and you end up doing their work as well as your own, but mostly they test out… how well you can work in order to skive when needed. Get my hourly count in ten minutes early, mate, then that’s it—I’m off to the coffee machine for a quick brew and some fun away from the press.
It’s why getting to grip with Ash has been such a blast from the past. Ash and his friend Chase are factory lads, young, out for a fuck about at the end of the work week, but in true Don’t ways with the world, they get so bloody dark with it. Like with anything, though, evolution gets cockier, showing how there’s always someone bigger, better, scarier out there to take you down for it. And this brings in the dark psychological thriller edge with Ash. As Ash stretches his wings, it stirs all sorts of psychopaths with it.
Ash is therefore the prequel to Psychopaths & Sinners, Don’t 5, but it also sets the scene for the final novel in the Don’t series: Fractured (tentative title for book 6). Ash itself brings in the initial glimpse of Gray’s son, Light, and how Ash’s world mixes such bad blood with Gray’s.
It’s a complex storyline over the next three novels, and Ash’s story needs its own novel to foreshadow what’s to come, without throwing everything into one novel and expecting readers to keep up.
A few characters and some concepts that went into deciding where Ash was going are taken from a previously written short story of mine: Original Sin. The story and characters from that story have morphed so much, making Ash such a lovely dark fit into the Don’t world, and bringing in whole new angles to the Don’t series itself.
Is Gray in this? Jack? Jan? No… but give Ash the choice, he’d rather shut his wings down and not attract a side to Gray Martin’s starting to… play fuck about with himself. But like with the butterfly effect, heads are already starting to turn with how Ash plays. It’s only a matter of time.
And yeah, there are butterflies, only it gets a little twisted from here on in when it comes to just what it stirs when they flutter their wings close by….