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Dead Soul Mary: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

M.J. Winn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dead Soul Mary by M.J. Winn has been selected as an IndieReader's BEST BOOK OF 2014. Don't miss this one!

Have you ever had a dream that disturbed you? A dream where you’re not you, but someone capable of evil? A dream where you willfully commit deplorable acts of violence?

Now, what if you aren’t entirely certain that it really was just a dream?

Within his chilling literary horror novel, DEAD SOUL MARY, acclaimed horror author M.J. Winn shows us such a world.

Megan Bauer, a spirited seventeen-year-old high school student, didn’t know souls could become sick. She didn’t know souls could die while the host lives on, unaware. But she’s going to find out… Megan must save good people from brutally turning against one another in unprovoked, bloodthirsty rages. But is there time? For she must first defeat her own demons before taking on the utterly terrifying one that is incubating an evil, supernatural virus.

Can Megan stop the plague of violence before it becomes unstoppable?

"A vast number of horror novels produced today represent genre formula writing at its worst, with shallow characters, predictable plots, and story premises that don't seem very extraordinary, at all. Not so in Dead Soul Mary..." D.Donovan, Senior eBook Review, Midwest Book Reviews

If you enjoy reading fully developed stories and characters written in the tradition of great literary horror authors, then DEAD SOUL MARY is the book you have been looking for. Download it today!

This IndieReader 5-Star-rated TOP BOOK PICK was recently a Finalist in the Horror/Suspense category of the 2014 Kindle Book Awards of The Kindle Book Review. Dead Soul Mary represents literary horror at its best, but contains adult themes and is intended for a MATURE READERSHIP ONLY.

Editorial Reviews


(5 STAR REVIEW, IR Approved, IR Top Book Pick) "...the novel's powerful kick to the "tell it like it is" solar plexus is a big part of what makes the story so formidable. It is a rich, dense novel... The horror lies not in the shock value of jarring scares but in the insidious creep of emotional degradation on a soul-deep level. Winn precisely crafts his characters in such a way that the reader can't help but be emotionally invested in the journey they take, which makes the horror all the more appalling."   -IndieReader

"A vast number of horror novels produced today represent genre formula writing at its worst, with shallow characters, predictable plots, and story premises that don't seem very extraordinary. Not so in Dead Soul Mary... Winn takes plenty of time to build up plot and protagonist - and it pays off big time... So it's a real pleasure to find a slowly-building plot where the horror element is tempered by the motivations, influences and history of realistic people just trying to live their lives."    -D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"The ability to draw the reader into the concept of soul death and still make the story a mystery driven thriller takes talent - a gift MJ Winn so obviously has. He writes with the skill of a poet, imbues his narration with dark humor, creates a plot scenario like a playwright, and all the while keeps his story as fine literature. Talent, incipient notoriety. Read and see".   -Literary Aficionado

About the Author

Michael James Winn is a writer and a police officer who lives in Long Island, NY with his wife and two children. In addition to fiction writing, he enjoys reading, chess playing, and whiskey drinking, sometimes engaging in all of these lofty pursuits at the same time. Dead Soul Mary is Michael’s first full-length novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 889 KB
  • Print Length: 607 pages
  • Publisher: Janday Publishing (February 28, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,753 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Long Island author Michael James Winn is both a writer and a police officer whose debut novel DEAD SOUL MARY gives notice of an impressive new talent. Though there is an increasing number of writers incorporating horror stories into their shelve of themes, very likely due to the growing affinity for the genre as indicated by the popularity of serials such as the Twilight series, the Divergent series et al that seem to be devised with subsequent film adaptations that continue to tick coins into the coffers, there remain a relatively small number of writers to whom this genre seems so natural that their works have staying power - think Poe, HP Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, MR James, Dean Koontz, Algernon Blackwood, Stephen King. What makes these authors stand above the others is their ability to incorporate the incredulous moments into the landscape of stories that seem so organic that they are all the more strange and terrifying. There are elements in this very long debut novel that arise so frequently in the tale that their presence suggests that MJ Winn may just be stepping into that realm.

One particular aspect of Winn's capacity to scare the reader enough to check the lights and locked doors while reading is his very subtle dropping of hints about characters - a mere fragment of a sentence or a phrase that reveals how the mind of that character is functioning. And once we realize that Winn is dealing with that nebulous concept of souls, and the death of souls while the corporal housing remains living, he makes us search for clues that are present on every page of this elegant writing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! April 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would fist like to say that this cover art is exceptional. I will admit that I readily, easily, and regularly DO judge a book by it's cover and this one wins. It's a beautiful photo that combined with the title make buying and reading a no-brainer.

M.J. Winn comes out of the gates with his first published novel and should be exceptionally proud. It is a book that immerses you immediately and keeps the pages turning.

The novel is unique in that it spans a great time frame from late 60's into the early 2K's, and Winn handily is able to use both image and vocabulary to put you in the place in time. This is a rare talent. This is a thriller, maybe even a horror story to some- and it will leave you with a gasp stuck right in the middle of your throat.

This is definitely an adult book with mature themes, but let's face it the genre calls to the 16-25 set and given society today I think it's appropriate for a later teen to adult.

Thanks for a great book, keep them coming.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good characters, disturbing stories May 15, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author shows lives intersecting and the influence of others’ choices on their own paths.
It shows how our lives are Interwoven stories yet we all have our own individual demons that we must endure alone. Sometimes creepy and often embarrassing, seeing people’s actions when no one is watching can be disturbing.

M.J. Winn describes well-defined characters that make you picture quirky people you may know. I was routing for the shy, awkward Drew, the sad, lonely police officer and Megan, the somewhat naïve high school senior. The characters are well rounded. Each has their flaws as well as sensitive side. A mother and daughter battle their pain through obesity. Trish is the promiscuous teenager looking for attention. Megan is the adopted Korean girl trying to blend in with her white family and friends. Delores and Desmond have a difficult mother and son relationship that degrades as they struggle with poverty and loss.

Each person is searching for a way to fit in and experience love of some kind amidst their complicated and messy daily lives.

I don’t know what to say about this book. It was perfectly entertaining for the first 85% of it but the ending was unsatisfying. I wanted a better explanation of why the murders occurred. There were too many elusions to religious meaning without explanations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary, gruesome, thought provoking April 13, 2014
By MrsG
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dolores has lost her job and is facing eviction. In order to save the roof over her and her son Desmond’s head she succumbs to the sexual favors in order to stay where she is. Desmond leads a life of criminal activity and does bad things to people. Megan, a typical 17-year old teenager is trying to find her way and teams up with an unlikely ally with Drew. There are many story lines to follow in this scary novel and at times I felt a little lost, but I kept reading and in the end it all comes together. The author has such an imagination for stories which makes this book so good. It is a bit scary and gruesome, but if you don’t mind definitely read it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Lazaro
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Author M.J. Winn does an outstanding job is his débuts novel Dead Soul Mary.

This is a modern-day real horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time and will have you sleeping with the lights on. Brilliant and gripping are the two words that best describe this book. I would say that this novel is a cross between Dean Koontz and E. A. Poe except on a whole other level.

Main Character Megan Vauer is a 17 year-old girl who has her work cut out for her in wicked fashion as she tries to save her life and soul. The way her character is described and developed in the story is phenomenal and is multidimensional that keeps you engulfed the entire time. Not an easy task to accomplish.

Once I got started I could not put this one down. Words to best describe this novel are, Gripping, Original, Haunting, Terrifying and Descriptive that will captivate your mind and senses all throughout. I had to say it was quite disheartening to see it come to an end and left me wanting more.

5 Stars and highly recommended
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very deep and disturbing story!
The story starts out slow. For several chapters I felt I might not finish the book. Just wait, it gets very good. Now that I am finished, I understand why the beginning was slow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by c grif
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good story! Definitely would read his next.
Story was compelling and drew me in from the start. Liked the fact that the main characters were not your typical protaganists/antagonists. Will definitely read his next novel.
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Looonggggg
I really don't know if I liked this book or not. It seemed to take a excruciatingly long time to get to the body of the plot. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lisasun
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This piece of literature was bone chilling, grotesque, and--oddly--held a lesson.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is intelligent and well thought out
Wow, what can I say? This book is intelligent and well thought out. The character development is flawless. By mid-book, you KNOW the characters and relate to them. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rose Panier
1.0 out of 5 stars the book was so terrible! Do yourself a favor
Couldn't even finish it, the book was so terrible! Do yourself a favor, read something else. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
One of best reads I've read lately,up there with S.King,great compliment. Look forward to finding more of his novels.keep up the good ideas.
Published 6 months ago by R. S. Kuykendall
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was so bad I kept looking at my % complete and wishing ...
This book was so bad I kept looking at my % complete and wishing I was further along. I finally stopped reading when I realized I wasn't even looking forward to finishing it.
Published 7 months ago by Millard H. Jackson, III
5.0 out of 5 stars This novel was a great find.
It was a very suspenseful and frightening read. I highly recommend it to people who are looking for a longer story where the characters are developed and the suspense builds... Read more
Published 7 months ago by BJ O'Brian
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark and twisted tale that holds you in it's grasp
Thrilling Story! I really enjoyed reading this book. I haven't read a great horror novel like this in many years. Don't miss it!
Published 7 months ago by Mo Birch
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More About the Author

So, here is where I am supposed to tell you where I was born, how many kids I have, and the names of my dog and cat. You know, "Just the facts, ma'am," like on the old "Dragnet" TV show. Instead, I'm going to risk embarrassing myself and offer a glimpse of who I really am, and explain why I write fiction. Hopefully, by telling you why I'm compelled to write, you'll find a reason to want to read me. I suppose we'll see.

It began like this: When I was in the 9th grade, my English teacher assigned the class to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Everyone hated it to varying degrees. Except me. I connected with the story, or at least to the book's unusual structure and playful language. Right in Chapter Two it says "Listen: Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time." Well, I did listen. And I became unstuck. I began to fall into the flow of stories rushing inside my head. I reread Slaughterhouse-Five and said "I can do this." Then, trying to pen a Vonnegutesque-like short story, I soon realized "there's no way I can do this," but I want to. I would spend a decade studying and learning the craft, finding my own voice, before I could write anything that anybody would actually want to read. But I'm jumping ahead. First, as a hopeful, awkward teen, I proudly gave my father some scribbled pages I'd written - my very first story. My dad graciously spent the next twenty-minutes reading my masterpiece before setting it on the coffee table and returning to his newspaper. His face offered no expression of approval or rejection. Impatient, nervous, I mustered the courage to ask him what he thought. He looked over his reading glasses and said, "If people could make money writing, everyone would write." I said nothing in reply. Have you ever been kicked in the stomach? Yeah, it was like that. So it goes.

Okay, so writing became my secret shame. I would take a spiral notebook into the bathroom, close the lid on the commode, and take a seat with the notebook on my knees. I would ignore my mom's knocks on the door and her asking me "are you okay in there." Being questioned about constipation was better than being accused of fiction writing. In that tiny bathroom, I began to fall into the flow. That is, the stories started writing themselves. No, that's not exactly true. The stories existed independently of me and I tried to jot them down without screwing them up. (This is why I needed years to learn the craft.) It was like watching a movie, but not a regular movie or even a 3D movie. It was like watching a 4D movie where you're not only present within the scene but also inside everyone's head at the same time. A lot of people ask author's where they get their ideas from. Mine come from the flow. I don't really get to decide what I write. Writing is a submissive, passive thing to do. It's like slipping on ice. Maybe a lot of the creative arts are like this. I have a friend who is a sculptor. When I asked her how she decides what to sculpt, she said, "The stone tells me. I look at the stone and see who or what needs to be released." And I nodded politely in agreement, while inwardly attributing her perception to all the pot she smokes. But maybe it's true. Stories are rescued like that. At least for me they are. The tales may be scary or humorous, or dramatic, I just try to capture them in words on paper without effing them up too badly. The funny thing is, sometimes I write horror even though I'm too scared to read horror. I don't even watch horror movies because I can have nightmares for days afterward. Yet my novella, The Unwanted, is a chilling story, and my first full-length novel, Dead Soul Mary (February 2014,) is an extended, character-driven, supernatural thriller with pervasive frights. Go figure. Incidentally, Dead Soul Mary was nearly lost to the Hurricane Sandy tidal surge that claimed my house, car, and personal property, including my computer that I stupidly did not have backed-up. I lifted the tower PC from the floor as the seawater filled our home. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, you can decide for yourself.

So, now, if I was following the unofficial Author Bio template, I would name the dozens of literary and mainstream authors, the giants of fiction, who have influenced my writing. There's been many, but I won't bore you with a list of men and women who write better than me. Moreover, I'm supposed to include my adventurous and electrifying life experiences so you'll know I'm competent to write an exciting book. Unfortunately, I'm not a mountain climber or a combat veteran or a bullfighter, so you'll have to settle for a writer who crafts stories about fully-realized people, often placed in extraordinary or supernatural circumstances. I wish I could say I've lived the life of a typical mainstream fiction protagonist ; that I've traversed deserts as a Green Beret, boxed five rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard on a bar bet, or worked as an FBI mole to bring down a ruthless organized crime boss, but I haven't. Nor have I done anything other than intensely reading and writing to learn and hone my craft. I don't have an MFA in creative writing from an Ivy League university. I don't network, hobnob with other authors, or keep a writer's blog. I don't teach creative writing at a community college. Although my work has been published within small press publications that nobody reads, I have never been published in the Iowa Review, the Paris Review, The Threepenny Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, or any other literary journals with names ending in the word "Review". I have never worn snug, sequined women's undies while typing in order to try and write better female characters. Really, I haven't. And I have never been awarded any big literary prizes from "juried" committees that like to dole out such recognition. So, in other words, I'm a lot like you with the possible exception that I devote my time to fiction writing. Hopefully, you'll give a little of your time and try one of my books or short stories -- you might be pleasantly surprised. If you do, please post a review on Amazon to let me know your thoughts. You can also email me at I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Reading!

M.J. Winn

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