Justin Gustainis

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Joseph Justin Gustainis (born February 9, 1951) is an American college professor and fiction writer. When younger, he wrote and published a great deal of academic writing, including the book American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War (1993). Beginning in the mid-1990s, while retaining his academic job, he began to write fiction.

He has published, so far, two novels – The Hades Project (2003) and Black Magic Woman (2008) – and a number of short stories. A third novel, a sequel to Black Magic Woman entitled Evil Ways, was published in 2009.[1]

In 2013, Gustainis will publish the third book in the Occult Crimes Unit Investigations series, entitled Known Devil.[2]


Gustainis was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and grew up in nearby Pittston, a former coal town on the banks of the Susquehanna River. His upbringing was strict, loving, and very Catholic. After spending the early grades in several schools, in fifth grade he was enrolled in St. John the Evangelist School in Pittston, from which he graduated in 1968.

Gustainis went to college at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit school 12 miles from his home. He commuted for all four years. That means that while the rest of his generation was, apparently, getting high, getting laid and getting crazy, Gustainis was living at home with his parents, who continued to impose curfews on him even as a 21-year-old college Senior.

While earning a degree in Political Science at Scranton, Gustainis was a member of the university's Army ROTC program—of which the first year was mandatory for all students at the (then) all-male institution. Gustainis reluctantly decided to complete whole the four-year program, less out of patriotism than a sense of the inevitability of the draft.

Gustainis was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army the day before receiving his bachelor's degree. Later, he went on active duty, to fulfill his service obligation. Details of his military service are not available on the public record.

After being honorably discharged from the Army, Gustainis held a variety of jobs including a brief stint as a professional bodyguard, before returning to school.[3] He earned a master's degree in English from the University of Scranton and, some years later, a Ph.D. in Communication from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Along the way, he met and married the love of his life, Patricia Grogan.

After finishing his Ph.D., Gustainis took a one-year faculty appointment at the University of Rhode Island. The next year, he was hired by Plattsburgh State University in upstate New York, part of the SUNY system. He remains there today, as a professor in the Department of Communication Studies.[4]

Writing career[edit]

Gustainis first tried his hand at writing fiction in 1978. He wrote a few mystery/suspense short stories and sent them off to magazines. Receiving (as one might expect) nothing but rejection slips, he put his ambitions to be a writer aside. He tried again in 1994, less with the intent of publishing anything than as a way to deal with some personal problems he was experiencing at the time. Over the next three years, Gustainis worked on a novel that would eventually become The Hades Project. At the same time, he took up short fiction writing again—this time with both greater persistence and more success. His stories began to win prices in contests, and he also sold some of them to semi-pro magazines.[3]

Gustainis finally sold The Hades Project to a small, independent publisher, Wahmpreneur Press, in 2002.[5] The novel was published as a trade paperback, under the publisher's Brighid's Fire Books imprint in 2003.[6]

Gustainis's second novel, Black Magic Woman, was sold to British publisher Solaris Books in 2007. After years trying to interest either an agent or a publisher in the book, Gustainis saw the manuscript that he submitted to Solaris Books go from the slush pile to a contract offer in three weeks.[7]

Solaris Books expressed interest in turning Black Magic Woman into a series, "Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigations," chronicling the adventures of occult detective Quincey Morris and his partner, "white" witch Libby Chastain.

Black Magic Woman was published in January, 2008, and Evil Ways was released in 2009.

In 2013, Gustainis published his third book in the Occult Crimes Unit Investigations series entitled Known Devil.[2]

Bibliography of published fiction[edit]

A Morris and Chastain Investigation
Occult Crimes Unit Investigations
Short Fiction
  • "Bargain," in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine (July/August/September 2002)
  • "Bounty," in the anthology Darkness Rising 2003 (2003)
  • "Reunion," in the anthology Fedora 2: More Private Eyes and Tough Guys (2003)
  • "Blood Moon Rising," in Surreal (Winter, 2005)
  • "Let us Prey," in the anthology Time for Bedlam (2005)
  • "Advocatus Diaboli," in Dark Discoveries (2006)
  • "damnation.com," in the anthology Shadow Regions (2006)
  • "Courtesy Call," in the e-zine Thuglit (June/July 2006)
  • "Meat Wagon," to be published in the magazine Inhuman (2008)
  • "Last Rights," to be published in the magazine Inhuman (2008)
  • "Until I Come Again," to be published in H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror (2008)


  1. ^ "Justin Gustainis". Justin Gustainis. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  2. ^ a b c "Justin Gustainis - Known Devil cover art reveal". Upcoming4.me. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Justin Gustainis | SUNY Plattsburgh". ZoomInfo.com. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  4. ^ "Communication Studies Program Faculty - Dr. Justin Gustainis". Web.plattsburgh.edu. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived October 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ [2] Archived January 19, 2013, at Archive.is
  7. ^ [3]

External links[edit]