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John Jantunen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Tildon Chronicles Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

fallingoverstandingstill (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cipher (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Desolate Splendor (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Savage Gerry (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mason’s Jar (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

John Jantunen is a Canadian thriller author who made his name when he published his third novel “No Quarter” in 2018. He loves to describe himself as a man that has never fought a war, been sent to prison for his political views or hallucinated with giant lizards. However, believes that authors who are successful need to have two things: read deeply and widely and have a wide memory. For Jantunen, this is the best way for one to fully engage with the world and their audience. Before he moved to Ontario, he traveled all over Canada and has lived and worked in almost all the Canadian regions. It is from his experiences that he has written a dozen screenplays, numerous short stories and five novels. His debut novel was “Fallingoverstandingstill” which he self-published in 2013. He would then move to ECW, a traditional publisher from where he published “Cipher” and “A Desolate Splendor” in 2014 and 2016 respectively. His biggest and most popular novel has been “No Quarter” the first of the “Tildon Chronicles,” which he published in 2018. “Cipher,” which was his first professional novel made the shortlist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. One of his short stories was also featured on a collection of short fiction “Fractured: Tales From the Canadian Post-Apocalypse.” He currently lives with his wife and children in Guelph Ontario.

Jantunen loves to draw on the experiences and people in his life in the writing of his novels. Since he is a well-traveled author, he has a lot of stories to tell. As a child, he was brought up in Bracebridge and remembers picking up the local paper and enthusiastically thumbing through its pages. Maybe it was because the newspapers then, just as now never did write anything that resembled what he experienced. It was this disconnect between reality and what was written that drove him towards writing. For instance, he has said that Bracebridge was full of horribly abused and messed up kids which polite society preferred to avoid talking about. This is just the type of society in all its ugliness and violence that he talks about in his third novel “No Quarter.” In this regard, he asserts that he is most influenced by the works of William Faulkner who wrote about hillbillies – a people that dared to be different without caring what others thought of them. He was also influenced by the storytelling prowess of his family members and asserts that at its core, his works are all about writing interesting characters.

John Janutenen is best known for characters who take a life of their own. He believes characterization is the emergent property of fiction, the equivalent of the flame in an internal combustion engine. Jantunen writes complex characters drawn from his many experiences and makes them come alive right on the page. For instance, in “A Desolate Splendor,” he got a chance to make a character come alive in a scene. In the story, a boy lost his mother and taking the initiative, the boy had led several refugees back to the farm. Among the refugees is Adele, a pregnant woman. Since his father had craved nothing more than a child he is immediately drawn to her. It just happens that Reed who is the sister to Adele had been injured in a previous scene and while dressing the wound, they have a moment. The next time their eyes connect the man cannot help but involuntarily blush which inevitably leads them on a path of love. This is something they never thought they would ever have given their terrible circumstances. John credits his characterization prowess to John Gardner and his character Grendel, who he credits for luring him away from the fantasy and horror novels and into literary fiction.

John Jantunen’s “No Quarter” is a blistering story that sees three young men on a collision course. The novel is set in the idyllic backdrop of Ontario, where a recently released convict is living in a derelict trailer a few hundred meters from the secluded paradise of Hidden Cove. Hidden Cove is the abode of the nation’s rich and famous where the who’s who spend most of their holidays. But the tranquility of the place is about to be disrupted when the son of one of the richest men in the United States attacks Rene and sparks a brutal act of revenge that turns Hidden Cove into hell on earth. With the flames threatening to take down the poor and rich alike, only a small-town reporter named Deacon Riis knows that Rene is not responsible for the inferno. The reporter is haunted by his past but his instinct tells him that there is someone who has a far sinister agenda who is pulling the strings. The man is setting in place an action plan for an apocalypse that has been written into the works of a deceased local novelist named George Cleary. Similar to “IQ84’s” Murakami or “Red Rising’s” David Peace Jantunen creates an existential thriller that is electrifying readable and passionately political, even as it pushes the boundaries of the genre.

“Cipher” tells several stories that come together to make for one intriguing and interconnected thread. A football star makes the decision to join the army and go on a tour of duty in the Middle East rather than become a professional. An elusive best friend makes an awful but incredible sacrifice. A woman gets her career cut short just when she was at the peak. Fire destroys homes across the city of Regina. A boy is left paralyzed when he gets into a motorcycle accident. When Curtis May comes back home the local hero for his football exploits, he finds the community mourning the death of the granddaughter of the wealthiest man in Saskatchewan. As he is told the fateful events, he thinks that he may have indirectly had a hand in causing the death of the little girl through his actions. He may have tried to run away from his past but now realizes that he can never escape from it. Featuring threads that blend prostitution, kidnapping, murder, and torture it makes for some thrilling reading.

John Jantunen’s “A Desolate Splendor” is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a few survivors are struggling to eke a living in the wilderness of a war-ravaged land. They also have to contend with bands of heartless ex-soldiers, even as the natural world is increasingly hostile towards them. Among the survivors is a family that believes that they only have a few months if not weeks to live and are preparing for the inevitable. But then hope on the horizon comes in the form of their son who was taught survival skills by his father. He is determined to battle for the survival of the family and the race. The son goes to war and rescues a girl that had been kidnapped by a cult that was determined to burn down the world so as to bring back Eden. It is an unflinching and raw take on what is a spookily familiar depiction of life on the edge of extinction through the eyes of a family struggling to keep their humanity in a merciless and cruel world.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Jantunen

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