A woman finds herself inside of a grave. She looks up and screams to anyone for help, but no one is going to help her. She’s about to buried and the reality sets in—”No One Will Hear Your Screams.” That thought serves as the title, and that scene, is the opening chapter of Belle Harbor resident Thomas O’Callaghan’s latest thriller, set to be released on May 19.
In 2006, O’Callaghan became a published author with his debut novel, “Bone Thief.” The book gave a peek into the dark, creative talent of the friendly, churchgoing author, as he thrilled readers with a story of murder and mayhem and the NYPD’s top fictional cop, Homicide Commander Lieutenant John Driscoll, as he tries to make sense of it all and serve justice. O’Callaghan continued to thrill with the sequel, “The Screaming Room,” in 2007. The books reached international markets and left readers screaming for more.
As life took hold and obstacles became distractions, O’Callaghan put down the pen for a while, but O’Callaghan’s previous books about death have been given new life and a new sequel is about to hit the market, just as lives around the world have been put on pause due to coronavirus impacts, and more people are turning to books to escape reality.
O’Callaghan started working on the third book of his Driscoll series shortly after he finished “The Screaming Room,” but life's disruptions led to delays. A while after Hurricane Sandy took place, O'Callaghan found new inspiration, and used the storm as a major theme in his book. However, after so many years since the storm, publishers advised him that as much as Sandy would have a lasting impact on those in Rockaway, a book about the storm would not be marketable nationally. O’Callaghan got back to work, scrapping most of the hurricane theme and even removing some characters connected to it. In the finished product, locals may pick up on some brief references mentioned in Lt. Driscoll’s dreams, such as a fire claiming homes during a storm, and other more obvious local mentions of Driscoll’s old hometown of Breezy Point and a dinner at a familiar restaurant—Kennedy’s, taking place at a table with a prime view of the bay and the New York City skyline. The reference is based on the view from a real table at the restaurant—Table 7—which happens to have a plaque on it dedicated to O’Callaghan by his friend and Kennedy’s co-owner, Gerard Casey.
The local references bring light to a twisted story of a sociopathic killer, Tilden, who has a dark history of sexual abuse as a child, and who uses embalming—as one method of murder. Another method mentioned? Crucifixion—of a nun. Or is she?
At a Mass at St. Francis de Sales, after O’Callaghan finished the readings as church lector, the humorous Father Jim Cunningham called him out. “After the reading, he steps out into the church and says, 'I don’t know if anybody is aware, but our lector is an author. He’s got two books,’ and he turns to my wife, Eileen, who says, “Bone Thief, and ‘Screaming Room,’ and he’s working on a third one—'No One Will Hear Your Screams’—where he’s killing nuns,’’ O’Callaghan said, recalling Fr. Jim’s jestful accusations.
O’Callaghan says there is a caveat. His writing coach, Stephen Ohayon, PhD, introduced the concept, but as his own wife almost became a nun, O’Callaghan says the idea of murdering one in his book, would have put him in an early grave. The crucified nun of his latest book is more like one of those who gave kids literal and figurative nightmares in old Catholic school days, and who was eventually excommunicated for her torturous acts—making her, technically, no longer a nun.
Readers can decide for themselves when they read “No One Will Hear Your Screams” when it is released by WildBlue Press on May 19. The publisher is different from O’Callaghan’s original publisher of his first two books. The new publisher gave him a deal that would not only publish his new book, but bring new life to his entire Lt. Driscoll series. WildBlue Press has revamped and republished “Bone Thief,” which was re-released on April 28. “Screaming Room” will be re-released on May 5, and this all leads up to the much-anticipated release of O’Callaghan’s newest book. All three books will be available on Amazon as paperbacks and e-books, and potentially audible books and hardcovers, making them accessible to all looking for a good quarantine read.
For O’Callaghan, the timing worked out well. He signed a contract with WildBlue Press in January and expected a nine to 12 month wait for his books to be published, but the publisher insisted on a May release. The extra time spent at home has also given him the opportunity to focus on his writing. “I’ve been working even harder now,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s the perfect time for me to be busy and working.”
O’Callaghan has been so busy writing, that he’s nearing completion of his fourth book, one that he feels particularly excited about and has aspirations of it making it straight to the big screen before print. This book steps away from the world of Lt. Driscoll and introduces completely new characters in a story that goes far beyond murder and mayhem with a unique twist. And, it takes place in Rockaway. “It’s exciting to write this fourth book. There’s that adage that says to 'write what you know.' It’s exciting to set it in Rockaway,” he said. The new book makes direct references to local streets and restaurants that will have local readers feeling like they’re part of the story.
And O’Callaghan isn’t stopping writing anytime soon. “I already have a fifth book in mind,” he said.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS