License to Kill – the Undead: Guest Post by: Justin Gustainis


My novels Hard Spell and the just-released Evil Dark are set in an “alternate” universe where the supernatural really exists, and everybody knows it. Supernaturals (or “supes” in cop talk) have been part of the landscape for more than 50 years, and the popular culture of this world reflects their impact. People there read the same books and watch the same movies that we do – but often with a supernatural twist.

The protagonist of my books is Sgt. Stan Markowski of the Scranton Occult Crimes Unit. His partner, Karl Renfer is, among other things, a James Bond nut. Karl’s got all the books, the DVDs, movie posters, soundtrack albums and even (as he once admitted to Stan in a weak moment) the complete collection of 007 action figures. But Ian Fleming’s superspy is a little different in Stan and Karl’s world, as this bit of conversation from the book demonstrates:

“Let’s wait ’til we get there,” I said. “It’s a mistake to theorize in the absence of data.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see Karl turn to look at me. “You’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes again, Stan?”

“Why not?” I said. “If you can memorize all the James Bond books, I can at least read some Conan Doyle once in a while.”

“I don’t have ’em memorized,” he said. “I’m not some geek fanboy.”

“Sorry, my mistake,” I said – then asked him, “What’s the last line of From Transylvania with Love?”

Without hesitating, he quoted, “Bond pivoted, drove the wooden stake through Rosa Klebb’s heart, then slowly collapsed on the blood-red floor.” After a second’s pause, he said, “Hey – no fair. Everybody knows that one.”

“Everybody,” I said, nodding. “Yeah, you’re right. My bad.”

This kind of “supernatural difference” shows up throughout the canon of Bond books and movies. For instance, here are some of the James Bond stories from Stan and Karl’s world:

Doctor No Pulse – How can a crazed Chinese scientist, thought dead for years, be interfering with missile launches from Cape Canaveral? Secret Agent 007 is sent to Jamaica to find out.

Goldfanger – a vampire crime lord plans to rob Fort Knox and use the proceeds to corner the market on rare and precious AB-Negative. Only James Bond can stop him.

Mummies Are Forever – Bond traces an international wolfsbane smuggling ring all the way to Egypt, and finds that its fiendishly clever leader is the reanimated corpse of Pharaoh Ramses III.

Rise Another Day – The Russians have raised an army of zombies, indoctrinated them with Marxist-Leninism, and sent the undead horde against the forces of Western democracy.

Moonchanger – a gang of ex-Nazi werewolves plan to bring back the Third Reich, and James Bond has until the next full moon to stop them.

And Stan and Karl are both waiting for the release of the new Bond movie, Broomfall, in which Daniel Craig will combat a deadly coven who have kidnapped “M” for use in their next sacrifice. I’m kind of looking forward to that one, myself.


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