By Bruce Auld News Review Staff Writer–
Casey Sutton, to date, is Burrough’s High Schools’ most recent author and a 2023 Firebird Book Award winner.
An avid reader, Casey Sutton knew from a very young age that he wanted to write. While touring South Africa in 2018, Casey suffered life-threatening internal bleeding, which motivated him to finally write his first book Malfus, Necromancer Unchained – Book One: The Damned and the Dead. Malfus is in the “Grimdark Fantasy” genre, which Casey self-published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. According to Wikipedia, Game of Thrones was one of the first true “Grimdark Fantasies, selling some 90 million copies.” According to Wikipedia, the opposite of “Grimdark Fantasy” is “Hopepunk,” defined as “a literary and artistic movement that celebrates the pursuit of positive aims in the face of adversity.”
Born to a US Navy family in Virginia, Casey arrived at Burroughs as a Freshman and graduated in 2002. While at Burroughs, Casey participated in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC). Following commencement, Casey enlisted in the US Army, serving eight years as an airborne Information Technology (IT) and radio specialist. Casey was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Following his service, Casey earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Phoenix, Bakersfield.
According to Wikipedia, a necromancer is “Someone who claims to communicate with the dead to discover what will happen in the future, or who is involved in black magic (= magic used for bad purposes). Leonardo da Vinci was considered a necromancer due to his extensive knowledge of human anatomy…”
In the book Jacket, “ Malfus’s past has finally caught up with him. He’s a renegade, an outlaw, a necromancer. Now he’s a prisoner. He’s been captured by Inquisitor Deza to be tried, tortured, and executed for his crimes. But they’re ambushed by half-hyena marauders, forcing them to take refuge with a heavily wounded battalion already under siege by monsters. Deza only cares about his mission. But another assault by the marauders would be a death sentence for the battalion. The only option remaining is to free Malfus and raise an army of the dead. But will the dead be enough to save the living?”
I typically submit my articles to the News Review Sunday night. I ordered a copy of Malfus from Amazon, which arrived on Sunday. As such, I have only scanned the book. Yet, at first look, it presents very well. Cover art by Alejandro Colucci, some twenty-seven chapters and 275 pages. Having never read this genre or seen an episode of Game of Thrones, I am not qualified to evaluate Casey’s work. However, in August, I will share my copy with our fifteen-year-old granddaughter in Virginia and ask her to interpret the book for me. Having read hundreds of titles in this genre, Avery is well qualified to educate me. Casey invites “honest reviews” of his first book to guide future Malfus writings. “You can follow my progress for Malfus’ next novel on my website at www.caseysuttonwrites.com.” (Casey Sutton) I appreciate my Burroughs profile subjects teaching me new words: “I am a self-taught mycologist and forage for wild mushrooms, and I have grown my own.” (Casey Sutton) Now every time I buy mushrooms, I can call myself a mycologist, sort of.
A quick read of Casey’s “Acknowledgements” documents his serious investment in his book: Cover artist, chapter artist, and numerous editors. And another new term for me, Casey self-identifies as an “Indie” author. Wikipedia loosely defines an “Indie author” as one who self-publishes (like Amazon) or publishes with an independent publishing house.
Like best-selling author Sabaa Tahir (BHS 2000), Casey credits his being “the shy, new guy every two years” and escape into reading as the foundation of his writing.
Casey’s day job is IT manager in Athen, Ohio. Casey credits the supervision by his four cats for keeping him writing. (Interviews with Casey Sutton)
Casey is the most recently published Burroughs author, joining a cadre of nearly thirty Burrough’s authors of which I am aware.
Two judges from a select panel of 27 read each book and independently scored each entry. All judges commit to a set of standardized criteria that evaluates the quality of the writing as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest scores are awarded the coveted Firebird