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Counted With the Dead
Released by Grendel Press on June 3rd, 2024.
Counted With the Dead reimagines the Frankenstein myth set in the racial cauldron of late 90s Detroit.


Counted With the Dead is the story of Jack Killeen, a Mafia hitman who has grown disgusted with killing and wants out. Unfortunately for him, it's too late—a mad surgeon has created a monster from the bodies of his victims and the creature is animated by the damaged brain of Jack's final kill, Victor Moravian. Now the Mob wants him dead, the cops want a piece of him, and his hard-nosed parish priest refuses to grant him absolution until he atones for his crimes. Complicating matters, Jack is in love with Marlene, Victor's widow, who wants him to use his particular set of skills to find her "missing" husband.


The hitman is forced to navigate an urban mosaic of racial and ethnic fiefdoms as he tracks the beast through the ghostly ruins of skyscrapers and factories. He struggles to protect his family and destroy the monster while at the same time searching for some means of achieving absolution for his crimes. In the end, Jack Killeen comes to understand the monstrosity of his own crimes and performs a grisly act of self-sacrifice and compassion that allows him to achieve a fleeting moment of grace.


What Others Are Saying About Counted With the Dead

Celso Hurtado is the author of Ghost Tracks—praised by NPR and recipient of the International Latino Book Award—and The Devil's Promise.


"In Counted With the Dead, a hitman searching for absolution faces a monster hungry for revenge. O'Keefe expertly weaves a suspenseful, propulsive tale set in the haunted streets of late 90's Detroit. Violent criminals, a demented surgeon, and a love-sick monster collide in this absorbing, thoughtful reimagining of Frankenstein. Counted With the Dead is a haunting exploration of guilt, and the gut-wrenching price of redemption."


Midwest Book Review:


Counted With the Dead is a horror/crime thriller that poses the dilemma of exactly when a seasoned hit man can retire. The answer is: usually never. But in Jack Killeen's case, that answer is too simplistic, because Jack finds himself drawn into an extraordinary milieu in which his particular area of expertise must be applied in a different manner … to monsters.




These juxtapositions of action, relationship insights, and psychological suspense, tempered with forays into crime worlds and supernatural influences, set Counted With the Dead apart from the usual crime thriller's tendency towards formula writing. All these pluses make this story highly recommendable to not only thriller and horror audiences, but those who normally eschew predictability.


Libraries and readers will find Counted With the Dead comes packed with surprising twists and turns and equally strong in psychological revelations which drive events into directions even seasoned thriller readers won't anticipate.