What Scares You, Kristopher Zgorski?

Kris Zgorski is truly a gift to the crime fiction writing community. I’ve discovered many of my favorite crime writers by reading Kris’s reviews at BOLO Books. He has a distinct talent of getting to the heart of every book he reads, making his reviews works of art in and of themselves.

Since he reads and watches so much crime, horror, and mystery, is there anything left that can truly scare him?

Why, yes. There is.

Read on to find out what…

What is your earliest childhood memory of fear? Or the scariest thing you remember from childhood?

I have a distinct memory of being put to bed one night as a young child and for whatever reason, being conscious of my heartbeat. As I started to drift off to sleep, I could sense that it was slowing down. Of course, it turns out this is perfectly normal and expected, but my young brain was not aware of this, and I became convinced I was dying. I believe this was the beginnings of the mildly hypochondriac side of myself.

What is your weirdest fear?

Weird and irrational. What a potent combination. Picture yourself watching a movie or TV show where a character is being hypnotized (with a swinging watch, a metronome, or whatever, accompanied by a countdown.) Whenever I watch something like that, I must close my eyes or look away and try not to listen too closely. Something in my brain is afraid that if I follow the swinging watch like the character is doing, I too will be hypnotized. Except in my warped mind, there won’t be anyone around to snap me out of this unintended hypnotic state, and then who knows what happens…

“My brain is afraid that if I follow the swinging watch like the character, I too will be hypnotized.”

Is there anything you are terrified of eating? Why?

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of eating anything that still looks like it looked when it was alive – so things like shrimp and crabs from the shell are out – but this would also certainly extend to anything that was still moving and/or alive. Nope, not going to happen.

Do you enjoy scaring other people?

I don’t really, mainly because I don’t what them to think it is ok to scare me. Now that said, I do love watching horror films with groups of people, but in those cases we have all signed up to be scared together; it’s like a pact. I see no joy in scaring someone else just for shits and giggles. I mean, what if they have a heart attack because of some minor prank? That’s just not for me.

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Is there a particular scene that really haunts you still?

It is not the scariest book I’ve ever read, but there is a scene in John Connolly’s THE KILLING KIND that haunts me to this day. The villain in this third novel of an excellent series has an affinity for spiders – which I already don’t like – and particularly those of the poisonous variety. There is a scene where a character goes to get the mail in the dark and reaches into the blackened mailbox and becomes covered with spiders. Our home mailbox is one of those that is in a community location, so we have to walk to it, and every time I do that in the winter evenings (when, of course, it is dark already), I think of that scene and quickly grab the mail, slam the mailbox door shut, lock it tight, and rush back to the safety of our house.

In which post-apocalyptic scenario are you most likely to survive and thrive: 28 Days Later (zombies), The Stand (sickness kills all but a few), or The Last Policeman (asteroid hits Earth)?

I think I would survive, though maybe not thrive, in any of these situations. We’re pretty much dealing with a minor version of The Stand now and certainly my obsessive-compulsive side has kicked in and I wash my hands way more than any human needs to, but I am still here and while I do miss seeing folks, I actually don’t mind the staying home part of lockdown. So, I’ve watched enough The Walking Dead (and others) to know how to survive with zombies around – basically stay away from the dead things that move and don’t trust the live strangers that show up out of the blue! As for the asteroid, there’s not much we can do but gather with our loved ones and sing “Kumbaya” until it’s over.

What’s worse: being buried alive or bitten by a vampire?

Definitely being buried alive. Hands down. I really don’t like confined spaces and I prefer to have all the oxygen I might need. I’m not saying that being bitten (and thus becoming) a vampire is desirable, but if I have to choose, I guess I’m going to be “existing” for a very long time because there is no way I want weight of tons of loose dirt on top of me forever.

Kris’s vampire portrait

Kristopher Zgorski is the founder and sole reviewer at the crime fiction book blog BOLO Books. In 2018, he was awarded the Mystery Writers of America Raven Award for “outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.” Kristopher writes a column on digital crime fiction resources for every issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and his blog reviews are syndicated to his column in Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine. He is the secretary on the board of directors for Malice Domestic. Kristopher will also be the Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2022.

1 Comment

  • January 31, 2021 at 10:08 am — Reply

    I am totally with you on the not-wanting-to-scare people thing, for the same reasons. Kris, I promise I won’t scare you (except maybe in my books!) as long as you don’t scare me!

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