Michael G. Williams writes wry horror, urban fantasy, and science fiction: stories of monsters, macabre humor, and subverted expectations. He is the author of three series for Falstaff Books: The Withrow Chronicles, including Perishables (2012 Laine Cunningham Award), Tooth & Nail, Deal with the Devil, Attempted Immortality, and Nobody Gets Out Alive; a new series in The Shadow Council Archives featuring one of San Francisco's most beloved figures, SERVANT/SOVEREIGN; and the science fiction noir A Fall in Autumn. Michael strives to present the humor and humanity at the heart of horror and mystery with stories of outcasts and loners finding their people. He lives in Durham, NC, with his husband, two cats, two dogs, and more and better friends than he probably deserves.

Perishables by Michael G. Williams

Perishables - Winner of the 2012 Laine Cunningham Novel Award!

Author – Winner of the 2019 Manly Wade Wellman Award

Withrow Surrett is more than just his neighborhood's resident curmudgeon. He's the self-declared vampire lord of North Carolina, he bakes a mean batch of biscuits, and he's at a meeting of his homeowner's association. When the dead rise, which will Withrow's neighbors find worse: the creatures outside or the monster who might be their only hope?

Across the state, Jennifer McCordy is a genius stuck in a dead-end job, waiting for opportunity to knock and starting to think maybe it went to the wrong address. When Jennifer takes matters in hand to save herself, will the people around her trust her competence or surrender to their own prejudices?

And when Withrow and Jennifer meet, will anything survive?

Perishables is a sometimes-funny, sometimes-terrifying, utterly original novel in three parts about reclusive vampires, reluctant heroes, questionable potlucks, late-night electronics sales, retail hell, unexpected friendships, and post-apocalyptic recipes.

It's the first in the five-book series The Withrow Chronicles, which tell the story of a sarcastic gay vampire and his dog, his go-go boy cousin, and the witches, ghosts, demons, and robots they meet along the way to confronting conspiracies, mysteries, and all manner of interconnected troubles.

Fans of The Black Knight Chronicles, The Tome of Bill, and Fred, the Vampire Accountant will love this series.



  • "Stephen Colbert meets Stephen King."

    – Book Nerd's Brain Candy



When the zombies came, I was at a potluck for my neighborhood association.

Odd, isn't it? For all sorts of reasons, not just that I'm a vampire.

It's true, though, being there when the zombies showed up. I was ten minutes' walk from my place, down at the Reinholdts' five-bed, four-bath McMansion. Gods, but I hate that house. When they moved in we didn't have a neighborhood association to stop them from constructing that vinyl-sided monstrosity and no sooner had they dropped the last box in their front hall than they'd begun agitating to start one so they could make sure their place stayed the biggest house in the entire development.

Typical mortals.

Some of the more bothered types went and talked to lawyers or talked to the city or, in the case of Mr. Jones-Magnum - the only person who's been here so long even I have cause to fear his attentions - talked to the city in the presence of a lawyer and, eventually, everyone who cared shoved their hands in their pockets and slunk back up their drives in silent resignation. The Reinholdts knew how the game was played and immediately began campaigning for Best Neighbors Ever. With gift baskets and mown lawns and good candy on Halloween they whittled away just enough of the resentment against them that they got a neighborhood association started without being its first victims. By New Year 2002 it was a done deal: Franklin Not Frank Reinholdt was elected chair of the neighborhood association, with a three-member rotating board to keep the Reinholdts on a leash. Thus began their benevolent dictatorship of our neighborhood.

* * *

The neighborhood association's authority, I should note, does not extend to my yard. Oh, technically it does but Mary Lou Reinholdt always somehow seems to flinch when she tries to look me in the eye on my own turf. Every once in a while she'll come around and try to tell me one thing or another through the screen door but she always makes it fast and leaves faster. Franklin Not Frank won't even show up. He can't handle it. He's a wuss. The deal is, one of the rules imposed on the Reinholdts – really on Mary Lou, because we all know Franklin Not Frank is not the brains in that operation – is that whenever the neighborhood association considers a new restriction affecting a current homeowner's existing property then the homeowner has to be notified before the measure can be considered. The first time I actually met Mary Lou Reinholdt was for that very reason about four months after the association started.

Thirty minutes after sunset I'd heard a ring at my doorbell. I remember it took me a minute to figure out that it was, in fact, the doorbell. No one had rung my doorbell in years, not even on Halloween. I turn the lights on like anybody else but eventually my place acquired whatever psychic stain puts people of a mind to ignore it and move on. My guess is, I turn the porch lights on a little too late and I leave them on a lot too late and I'm never out mowing my lawn and people notice the little stuff like that. People don't notice the house that always stays the same so it fades into the background and they eventually learn to ignore the house where the dogs yap all day and the kids are always screaming but they notice the house that has a vibe of being just slightly off. A house that feels and looks too empty stands out like an open grave.

Anyway, the doorbell rang so I walked downstairs and peeked out the peephole and I could see Mary Lou standing there on the front porch with her lips pursed and her eyebrows knit together. She looked just as pissed as all get-out, like how dare I not answer her, and I figured she was a missionary or some other kind of low-life. I flung my door open so hard the hinges squealed and at the same time hit the whole bank of switches in the foyer so that the porch, front hall, front stairs and walkway were all suddenly flooded with the brightest, whitest light possible.

A vampire never gets tired of seeing surprise in a human's eyes.

"Mister..." She fumbled for a moment, and I made a show of studying her face while she did. I wanted to remember her but I also wanted her, whoever she was, to know that I remembered her.

"Surrett." I leaned my frame against the door and the floor creaked under me. I'll say it, I'm not afraid to: I'm a great big fat guy. I'm middling tall, about six feet if I remember correctly, but I weigh in somewhere around three fifty. I'd been out the night before, and just woke up, so I was in my black trench coat and wearing the boots that give me a little lift and my thick black hair was pointed eighteen directions at once because I hadn't hit the shower yet and she just stared and stammered.

"M... Mister..."

"Surrett," I said again. "Withrow Surrett. And I don't want no damn Bibles or newsletters or what-the-hell-ever, so get the hell off my land." I slammed the door shut and flipped all the lights back off with a smoothly reversed pinwheel sweep of the same arm. Mary Lou was left standing there just as blind as a bat. I could still see her out there as I stomped upstairs to get out of my club clothes and into something more reasonable, like the bath, and I smiled to myself because I could smell that she was a little bit afraid.

* * *

That's how I came to be a member of the neighborhood association's board. It was early. Some people were probably just getting home from work. Others were probably out on their porches enjoying the April evening. By whatever means, from whatever place, someone heard that exchange and the next month I got a note stuck in the screen door by an anonymous neighbor: a resolution to restrict the weight of dogs allowed as pets in the neighborhood had failed, and I had been elected to the association's board in absentia.

The dog thing was probably what Mary Lou came by to talk about. I've got a Doberman named Smiles. He weighs 150 pounds because I feed him some of my own blood once a week. When I have to go to town on my own, or when I leave him out front for the day to guard the place, I leave him on a chain that's too big for a large man to grasp in one hand because that's the only chain Smiles hasn't broken yet.

That got my attention, so I took the position on the board. What the hell, you know? Even we – especially we – can act on a whim and that was mine in that moment.

Being on the board turned out to be pretty low-impact. Once every six months I went to a potluck at the Reinholdts' damned house and we'd have a semblance of a meeting. I'd walk Smiles up there - no lead, I'd hate to see the leash that would work on him if he needed one - and drop him off in the Reinholdts' fenced back yard. He would spend the entire evening sitting on their back porch watching me through their series of French doors, ignoring their Jack Russell named "Killer". Killer usually just barked until he passed out.