The Worlds of John Van Stry

Series Synopsis:

This is the story of one Mark Levine. Mark grew up in NYC, his father dying when he was still quite young. Unfortunately for Mark's mother, who had three mouths to feed (Mark has an older sister and a younger brother) this ended up with her going on welfare. Mark's older sister is gorgeous and she ended up a fashion model. His younger brother is a genius and got a full ride to MIT.

Mark was neither of those things, so he joined the army and ended up in Afghanistan, where he was the sole survivor from his platoon when they accidentally discovered a vampire's den. This did not end well for Mark, who was medically retired from the army, which believed he'd gone crazy. However it did eventually lead to his being recruited to work for the 'Hammer Commission'.

The Hammer Commission was founded with the sole purpose of hunting down summoned devils and dispatching them, as well as dealing with those people who summon them. They are a very secret society managed by the Catholic Church, which founded them hundreds of years ago. They are also at times asked by governments or other organizations to deal with those things that go 'bump in the night'.

Mark is now their head 'devil killer'.

How the Hammer Commission came to be:

The first book, 'The Hammer Commission' really did come from a dream I had, back in early 2001, while I was visiting someone in Mountain View, California. It was a very vivid dream, and I ended up writing much of it down. I tried a few times to write it as a story, but kept having problems with it. I was able to resolve those problems when I made a change to the hero, which changed not only who/what he was, but a few other things in his life. In the dream, he was just a character, sometimes he reminded me of me, other times he reminded me of characters I'd played in RPGs. He was just too nebulous in his background. When I finally developed his (I stole it from a formulaic paranormal romance I had tried to write as an exercise) it all worked out.

The beginning and ending, are almost exactly from the dream, as are more than a few of the intervening scenes. The ending scene also came (partially) from a discussion with my friend Raymond Gorka back sometime in the mid 80's.

As for the main character's background, well I was going to make him a werewolf, and cut down the number of 'wives', however my two beta readers at the time (both women) were rather vehement that I leave it the way it was. One said that 'werewolves' were too common, and the number of wives made it clear to the reader that he was no longer human.

On the Series:

The books in order (shown below) are:

1. The Hammer Commission
2. Wolf Killer
3. Loose Ends

The novel 'The King of Las Vegas' is technically a 'prequel' to the Hammer Commission series, as it takes place several years before the events in the first book of the series takes place. It was written later however as a lot of people wanted to learn more about Rafael and found him to be an interesting character.