10 July 2013 by Published in: Upon a Pale Horse 25 comments

Drum roll, fireworks, cue the marching band…

It’s with great pleasure and a certain trepidation that I launch my bio-thriller, Upon A Pale Horse. Pleasure because I think it’s a good read that hits a host of the right notes and tells a gripping story in a compelling manner. Trepidation because it’s so controversial I know it’s going to get slammed by some, particularly those aligned with Big Pharma and the U.S. Government. If you think that’s paranoia, read the book and you’ll quickly understand why it’s not.

There are certain things one just doesn’t discuss, and doesn’t even dare to consider. We all know what those things are. Things that are simply too jarring, too unthinkable, and if the official stories aren’t true, would mean that the world’s a completely different place than we believe it is – and that’s uncomfortable and disturbing.


NEWS: Don’t miss bestselling author Steven Konkoly’s book review of Upon A Pale Horse. It’s really a must read.

NEWS: A new interview on writing 15 hours a day at Writer’s Guide, with yours truly.


Upon A Pale Horse is fiction, but its basis, the hard science behind it, is not. And the facts are not only troubling, but once one really digs down, contradict the anodyne official accounts in a way that will have any thinking person shocked and demanding answers. And the establishment doesn’t like a citizenry that demands answers. It prefers a docile, credulous population that believes anything it reads on Wiki or sees on the news. It understands that if one can control the dialogue in certain key areas, one can control history, and the public’s grasp of what’s true and what isn’t.

Upon A Pale Horse draws back the curtain on an area of science and medicine that’s rife with corruption, hidden agendas, lies, distortions, statistical malfeasance, and the advancement of almost laughable official theories that make the clumsy old ‘singing tractor worker’ saws touted by a creaky Soviet apparatus appear to be brilliantly plausible descriptions of reality. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the book is how completely bogus the official explanations of some things are, and how even a cursory examination of the facts leads one to immediately question those explanations, which appear to be complete fabrications once one considers the data and simply uses skepticism and deductive reasoning – sadly, two attributes that are largely missing from most dialogues on ‘loaded subjects.’

During the writing of this novel, I consulted with a number of experts, several of whom prefer to remain nameless. I can certainly understand why. In some areas of scientific endeavor, it’s best to accept the party line, and avoid refuting official theories. Of course, when those fall apart, the talking heads and spin doctors merely say, ‘it’s all water under the bridge,’ or, ‘it doesn’t matter how it happened, let’s move forward and focus on the future.’ In other words, avoid a serious examination of anything that would demand accountability, and God forbid, enable the public to truly understand how things actually work. Best to breeze over the inconvenient or the contradictory, and dismiss certain lines of thinking as ‘rejected by consensus’ – and omit that the consensus is one of scientists who are all tied to the military/industrial complex, many of whom may have played a role in whatever’s being rejected. In other words, the furthest thing possible from uninterested science is politics and power masquerading as scientific method, and that’s exactly what appears to have happened. After reading this novel, you might have some doubts as well.

When those in power wish to muzzle inquiry, it’s usually by either branding the inquirer as treasonous, or as a kook. Nobody wants to be marginalized as a nutcase, especially by a compliant media that will parrot any tripe those in power wish repeated as fact. After all, if the NY Times says you’re nuts, you must be – who are you going to believe, the experts, or your lying eyes? And as to treasonous, if you can’t get people to ignore the facts, you can simply state that to consider them in any but the approved manner is a threat to the flag, puppies, children and apple pie. It’s absurd, takes the population for fools, and generally works. Because those in power understand that the public’s apathetic, and fairly stupid, and that only a tiny fraction will think critically about anything. That’s in all societies, BTW, not just any one country. Lenin knew that if you repeated a lie over and over, it would eventually be accepted as truth. That’s apparently just as true today as it was a century ago. We haven’t changed much, and neither have those who abuse us. We get the leadership we deserve, and we routinely discover that many in power believe that the end justifies the means, and that the unthinkable is merely a matter of spin.

I hope you enjoy Upon A Pale Horse. I think that reaction to it will be either five star, or one. It should create a visceral effect in the reader, and hopefully foster outrage and anger, not merely resignation and acceptance and a shoulder shrug. I come from an ethical place where genocide is wrong and evil, regardless of the positioning. Upon A Pale Horse contemplates in a fictional manner the politics of genocide. And it does so in a way that’s bound to cause a reaction, good or bad.

Here’s the cover. I rather like it. The bio-hazard symbol over the planet says everything I could wish for, and then some. Now go buy it so I can pay my bar tab. Stop being so damned selfish, and for once in your life do something for me, or you’ll die cold and alone in a small airless box buried in my back yard. You don’t want that. Neither do my dogs. Trust me on this. You’ve been warned.

pale horse-alt12



  1. Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 7:41 am

    Sweet. I’ve got my tinfoil hat on and cocked askance in defiance.

  2. Bart
    Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 10:09 am

    Just bought my copy as well. Cannot wait. Now get back to writing me a sequel to Fatal Exchange ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 10:27 am

      You know, I have that one completely plotted out. Just haven’t had the time, between Pale Horse, three or four installments in my new Black series, and JET VI for the holidays. Maybe next year. Probably will only release 3 or 4 novels next year. One each Black, JET, Assassin, and…Fatal Deception?

      • Doug  –  Tue 16th Jul 2013 at 7:39 pm

        That is what you said for this year, Russell. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Glad to see this one is out and news of another Jet on the way. Now if we could only get the clown apocalypse book out, well….

        • Russell Blake  –  Tue 16th Jul 2013 at 7:59 pm

          Right, but this time I really, really mean it. I’ll have 26 novels out by the end of the year. With 4 next year, that will make 30. Then I figure I can just coast and get fat. Or maybe that was at 40. I kind of lose track…

    • Savanna-Skye  –  Sun 11th Aug 2013 at 12:09 am

      There is going to be another Jet?? I’m doing a cartwheel right now!!!!

  3. Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Got a copy. Looking forward to reading it.
    I’m curious about the background handwriting on the book cover. What does it say?

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 3:37 pm

      It’s Revelations 6:7-8:

      And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its riderโ€™s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

  4. Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 6:23 pm

    The book sounds fascinating. It will no doubt get the 5 stars for the writing and the story based on it being a fiction and few will consider the possibility of truth. It’s a shame we haven’t reached the day when the politician understands they work for us and not vice versa. Maybe you can open a few minds and for your sake a few wallets too.
    Best of luck.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 10:25 pm

      It’s a thinking man’s thriller, that’s for sure.

  5. yoon
    Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 8:32 pm

    It’s damn good. Very different from your other books… as in a fastball pitcher takes a little off their usual delivery for an effective strike-out. I hope a lot of people read it and open their eyes, not just to keep you inebriated although that’s very important. I still consider it more as conspiracy thriller than a medical thriller.

    I can’t believe you picked that cover over the lesbian horsy cover.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Interesting you say that. Not about the cover. About the delivery. When writing action, keeping the pacing blistering’s the thing, but when writing conspiracy stuff, like Geronimo or Zero Sum or Delphi or this, I find it’s a more satisfying read if you have more peaks and valleys than simply peak peak peak valley peak peak peak, and so on. I consider it a very important book due to the topic. So I didn’t want it to get chucked in with the more disposable action stuff. I liked the way it turned out. More Grisham than my usual, I guess you could say.

      If it doesn’t sell, the lesbian horses will be next.

      • yoon  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 10:44 pm

        Ha. It’s my turn to say it’s interesting you say that. Because I was trying to write the review for about 30 minutes and all I have is the title, One of the most important book I’ve ever read.”

        I wasn’t just referring to the difference from your action thrillers (I actually am not a very big fan of action thrillers, except yours, of course). It’s also a bit different from Zero Sum and et al. I’ll figure it out what it is eventually.

        • Russell Blake  –  Wed 10th Jul 2013 at 11:13 pm

          There’s more depth to the description, more nuance to the secondary characters, and more development in the character arc than I usually do. I try to avoid the formulaic Hollywood cliche character arc thing whenever possible, but as I wrote this one, I leaned increasingly toward it being about the protag’s coming of age, metaphorically, as in his awareness of reality, in addition to the conflict inherent in the plot. It was sort of a natural build, and focused more on his inner dialogue than typical of my crap. But like I said, I think it worked well in the end result. The readers will be the ultimate judges.

          BTW, I’m blushing like a newlywed at you saying it’s one of the most important books you’ve read. Unless you’re lying. Because as I was writing it, I was, like, F-ing A, this is unbelievable. I hope somebody actually reads this shit. It’s a game changer. I’ve only felt that way a few times, like with Silver Justice’s denouement. Like what I’m writing might actually matter, as opposed to simply entertain. I was hoping to get across a dense, unbelievable idea in an entertaining format, and I think it more than accomplishes that.

          Which means it will probably tank. Ah, well. On to the next one. There’s a lot to be said for light-hearted, humorous noir PI novels featuring an overweight cat.

          • yoon  –  Thu 11th Jul 2013 at 2:12 am

            You blushing as a newlywed? Impossible.

            If it tanks, it’s because you chose the wrong cover. The other one has everything going – horses, bikinis, lesbians.

          • Russell Blake  –  Thu 11th Jul 2013 at 9:08 am

            I was afraid of being sued by the My Pretty Pony people. That bastard King’s an animal, and not to be trifled with.

  6. Collette Fritz
    Thu 11th Jul 2013 at 11:16 pm

    I love and hate this book. The love is the story, characters and ending. The hate is of course the idea that this scenario is probably an actual future event that nobody will be able to stop as you did in this novel. I actually knew that the AIDS outbreak did not originate in Africa but in the good old USA. I once worked in a lab that performed HIV testing. I never suspected that it was a lab born virus. I now suspect. I found this book easier to read than Zero Sum simply due to my ignorance of most matters financial. I’m ready for your next book. Hurry. As an aside let me say that your free Jet book led me to your other books and your place as number one.

    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 12th Jul 2013 at 12:13 am

      I know the feeling. I changed the ending twice. I debated releasing it at all.

      But I believe knowledge and skepticism are power. If I get just a few people to think, mission accomplished.

      Truthfully, my guts still wrench at the entire idea. It’s an ugly one that has tremendous ramifications.

  7. JD Adams
    Sat 13th Jul 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Taking it on vacation with me…hope I don’t lose too much sleep…

  8. Scott
    Sun 14th Jul 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Blake: Picked it up yesterday and read the first five chapters. I’ve always enjoyed your point of view on the blog and like idea for the story. We’ll see where it leads.
    I’ve got to be honest, though, and maybe it’s just that I’m not use to your writing style, but the editing concerns me. Some of your phrasing seems awkward, I’ve found several run-ons, etc. I don’t generally read a novel looking to pick these things out, but I’ve had to stop and re-read several times. When I say I’m concerned, I mean that in the context I would hate to see your work be less than all it could be. Perhaps you should consider slowing your pace a bit (a novel a month … is that right?)?

    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 14th Jul 2013 at 9:51 pm

      The editing process takes an additional six weeks, even if the first three drafts I do only take a month.

      It’s gone through a Big 5 editor, a second editor who is a 20 year tech writing veteran, and a proofreader, so I try to catch everything, although anything’s possible.

      I actually enjoy longer sentences as a stylistic thing, sort of like James Lee Burke and David Foster Wallace, who would craft sentences that ran a dense paragraph, so it could be more stylistic than incorrect. I personally hate the short sentence, Patterson approach, so I try to avoid it. If you like, email me at [email protected] with a few of em and I’ll get a take on whether they’re run-ons, or correct but long. My hunch is they won’t be grammatically incorrect or they would have been flagged, but hey, I’ve seen everything, so I never assume.

      And I have slowed. To a novel every six weeks. The slacking’s already begun.

    • yoon  –  Sun 14th Jul 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Your comment reminds me of Toni Morrison’s reply to the question that went something like “it’s so hard to read your book because I often have read a sentence a dozen times to understand.” She replied, “that, my dear, is called reading.”

      I dare say you have problems because you are not used to his style. It happens to me all the time especially with the books I like, which, btw, was not the case with this book – I loved the book but I describe his writing rather “surgical” than his usual approach. That said, I think coming to an author’s blog and commenting his phrases are awkward and etc, hinting he might do better if he slows his pace, is quite out of ordinary to say the least. I’m sure you had nothing but good intentions, but I believe it would have been better if you had sent him an email.

      • Scott  –  Mon 15th Jul 2013 at 6:24 am

        Yes, Yoon, in retrospect, I should have done it that way. As I said, I like Blake’s writing and POV. I think a large part of it just stylistic, which is my issue, not his. I come from a newspaper writing background, where short sentences are the norm and I guess as a reader I’ve tended to drift to folks that write that way – Robert B. Parker, Hemingway, etc.

        • Russell Blake  –  Mon 15th Jul 2013 at 10:07 am

          Yeah, that’s a different style. The short, punchy sentences and minimalistic prose. I appreciate that style. I just don’t like to write it, nor read it for any amount of time. I prefer the more interesting (to me) approach of using all the possible sentence structures I can, provided that they’re grammatically correct. David Foster Wallace being a perfect example of my preference, Ben Fountain being another, James Lee Burke being another. They’re just different schools of writing preference than yours. Neither being the “right” or “wrong” approach, just the one you are accustomed to or prefer. My editors understand this, and keep me painting within the lines, but don’t eye my prose with the intention of shortening it because that’s “better.”

          Journalism has far different conventions than literary scribbling, especially suspense thrillers with literary fiction elements like mine. Just a whole lot of different flavors of ice cream out there, none necessarily better or worse. I do know there’s an entire world of writers who believe that Hemingway’s preferences, among which include the iceberg idea of story telling, showing rather than telling, etc. are ironclad rules, or the “right” way to tell a story, as opposed to simply his preference. Ditto for King’s preferences, which have affected an entire generation of writers who now believe adverbs are “bad,” and that using them is a sign of poor craft. For some reason these notions become dogma, likely because they’re parroted blindly by those teaching the language, and become ingrained, rather than eyed with the skepticism we should reserve for everything.


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