Released in October 2011 from Mulholland Books at Little Brown and Company, Black Light is a supernatural thriller novel, which is a collaboration between Stephen Romano and the top Hollywood screenwriting team of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who wrote many of the SAW films. Met with enthusiastic reviews at the time of its release—Kirkus called it “Ghostbusters with bloody mayhem on steroids”—the book was quickly optioned by Hollywood super-producer Michael DeLuca and is now currently in pre-production as a big budget feature film.
From the official jacket copy:
If you have a supernatural problem that won’t go away, you need Buck Carlsbad: private eye, exorcist, and last resort.
Buck’s got a way with spirits that no one else can match. He was normal, once. Until Something Horrible killed his parents and left him for dead.
Buck has spent years using his gift to trace his family. It’s his only hope of finding out what happened to them-and what made him the way he is.
Now the voices say that something big is coming. Buck already knows what it is-a super high-tech bullet train running express across a stretch of unforgiving desert known for the most deadly paranormal events in history. A place where Buck almost died a few years ago, and where he swore he would never return.
But as the train prepares to rumble down the tracks, Buck knows it can only be the inevitable hand of fate pulling him back to the most harrowing unfinished case of his career at four hundred miles per hour.
Black Light was an offer I literally couldn’t refuse. It was actually pitched to me just after I wrote Resurrection Express, and I hadn’t sold Resurrection yet. This deal with Patrick and Marcus was sort of already in place, and I appreciated the opportunities it represented, so we started working on the story together. I put Resurrection on the back burner for a year, which was something I really didn’t want to do… but again, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I needed the money and I really wanted to work with these guys. I came up with some ideas that expanded Patrick and Marcus’s original storyline a bit, and it went really smoothly. They are amazing guys and rare collaborators in the whole Hollywood scene—guys who walk it like they talk it.
There was a bitter irony to the whole thing, though: The project moved forward so fast that we had just a few months to prepare the book from ground zero. The whole experience of writing and going through the publishing process on Black Light was like a sort of training ground for me—I learned a lot of dos and don’ts.
If I was writing that book today, I’d do a lot of it differently for sure. It’s still a good book, but fortunately we got a second chance at the story, when it came time to script the film version. I was able to work with Patrick and Marcus on refining the narrative and discarding certain elements that had unbalanced the piece as a novel. The film, when you finally get to see it, is going to blow your socks off.