Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Plains of Shadow (Kurval, Book 1) by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

 

Release date: January 12, 2021
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery
 

About The Plains of Shadow

 

Long before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a guard captain in service to the tyrannical King Talgat of the land Temirzhan beyond the sea.

One day, Talgat orders Kurval to escort the condemned witch Aelisia to the Plains of Shadow and behead her, so her blood may feed the dark gods who dwell there.

However, Kurval does not want to execute the sentence, once he learns that Aelisia is innocent of the crimes of which she has been accused.

But if he lets Aelisia go free, Kurval will not only have to face the wrath of Talgat but also the fury of the dark gods who dwell upon the Plains of Shadow.

This is a novelette of 9800 words or approx. 33 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.


Excerpt:

 

I. Sentence of Death


The prisoner knelt in the dust before the throne, clad only in a thin gown of roughly woven linen. Her hands were bound, her feet bare. Her dark hair was tousled and her head was lowered in submission.

“Aelisia of Samatov,” Talgat, King of Temirzhan, thundered, “You have been found guilty of witchcraft and of treason, for you attempted to use your sorcerous wiles to murder me, your King and conqueror of your people, in my sleep…”

The prisoner said nothing. Her mouth was covered by a leather muzzle, for one accused of witchcraft was not allowed to defend herself, lest she use her voice to utter a spell or a curse. And so only her eyes spoke. Dark eyes blazing with hatred.

“For a crime of such magnitude, there can be only one punishment: Death.”

The word fell like the axe that would soon sever the prisoner’s head.

The prisoner still glared at Talgat and it was the King who first turned away.

“Kurval,” he said to the young captain of his Royal Guard, “The condemned must be put to death as soon as possible. See to it that it is done.”

In response, Kurval stepped forward. He was a tall man, with lean muscles, sun-bronzed skin and dark hair he wore tied with a leather thong at the nape of his neck in the manner of his people. His steel grey eyes were impassive as he regarded the young prisoner kneeling before him.

He drew his mighty broadsword and raised it over his head, ready to bring down the blade on the neck of the condemned.

“Don’t move, girl,” he whispered, his voice curiously gentle, “I’ll make it quick.”

Talgat shook his head. “Not here,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand, “The people of Samatov might riot, if the witch is beheaded in public. Lead the condemned onto the Plains of Shadow instead and execute the sentence there, so the dark gods may feast on her blood, as the ancient bargain dictates.”

Talgat paused and cast a knowing look at the captain of his Royal Guard. “You may do with her as you wish before then, Captain”

Kurval nodded and sheathed his sword. “As you command, Your Majesty.”

He hauled the girl to her feet and led her away, his grip firm, but not rough enough to leave bruises.

Aelisia did not struggle, but her dark eyes were still blazing like the black flames flickering under a witch’s cauldron.

 

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About Richard Blakemore:

Richard Blakemore (1900 – 1994) was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. Nowadays, he is best remembered for creating the Silencer, a masked vigilante in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, during the hero pulp boom of the 1930s. But Richard Blakemore also wrote in many other genres, including an early sword and sorcery series about the adventures of a sellsword named Thurvok and his companions.
Richard Blakemore's private life was almost as exciting as his fiction. He was a veteran of World War I and II as well as a skilled sportsman and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s. He may also have been the person behind the mask of the real life Silencer who prowled New York City between 1933 and 1942, fighting crime, protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, though nothing has ever been proven.

Richard Blakemore was married for more than fifty years to Constance Allen Blakemore and the couple had four children.

 

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey. Cora was a finalist for the 2020 Hugo Award.

 

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Luck Be a Lady by Chris H. Stevenson

 

Release date: December 26, 2020
Subgenre: Contemporary fantasy, Greco-Roman mythology 
 

About Luck Be a Lady:

 

Mason Hart has just lost his job, fiancé, and car in less than 48-hours. A short time later he accosts a cop and ends up in jail. He finally lands in a hospital as the result of a jailhouse brawl. He’s helpless to quell this downhill slide into calamity. Since he believes all is lost at this point, suicide seems the only alternative left…

Until the figure of Felicity Fortune, the Roman Goddess of Luck, interrupts Mason’s suicidal plans in the nick of time. It seems Felicity Fortune was hampered by the bird flu and few other appointments, so she must apologize for her tardy appearance. She tells Mason that he’s ripe for a cosmic alignment, and that his 15-minutes of fame and wealth are finally at hand. He is allotted six chances via the roll of the golden dice for his deserved share of the “Great Cornucopia.”

Beshaba, the Maid of Misfortune, has ear-marked Mason at the exact same time, to heap upon him the bad luck part of the equation. She is the evil incarnate daughter of Felicity, and now covets Mason for her own devious alignment. Everything that Beshaba represents is in stark contrast to her mother. It is a deliberate ploy to spite the good works of her mother, thus laying down a challenge of cosmic power.

Their simultaneous claim to Mason forces the two Goddesses into a mythological cat fight in hell. When this push and shove reaches a fevered pitch, even the destiny of mankind in called into question. Mason must find the solution and tear away the veil of darkness that could upset the divine balance between good and evil. What he doesn’t know is that the final key to the solution is himself.

 

Excerpt: 

 

Mason Hart felt a searing pain as he tried to move his eyes under closed lids.  When he tried to open them, they wrenched up like rusty garage doors and throbbed against his brows.  They wouldn’t stay open.  His mother used to ask where it hurt in his head when he had a migraine, and he would tell her that it was the top of the overhead camper.  That was the overhang part of the brain, and it was exactly where he felt such a terrible thrombosis now.  The two-headed boy in the circus never had such a headache. 

            Mason tried to speak but his lips were stuck together, so he grimaced and felt a tear and a stream of spittle over his chin.  He pushed some wind up through his throat and a sound escaped.  “Haaaagh.”     

            He tried again. “Halp guh!” 

            Struggling, he swallowed a small puddle of saliva and tried once more.               

            “Help ma,” he finally uttered. 

             He raised his eyelids again, but he only saw dappled light juxtaposed behind a milky film that he supposed was his vision trying to clear.  Blinking several times to wash away the glue-like residue, he saw a familiar box-like object that sat perched high up in the corner of a room.  The object was a television set, but it was hanging on the ceiling, which seemed terribly wrong.  Televisions always sat on the floor or at eye level.   

            He shuddered, believing he had ended up topsy-turvy in an 8.5 earthquake and was now on the ceiling looking up at the floor.   

            “Halp,” he called weakly, certain that rescue workers would bring their chainsaws and axes.  

            With eyes still out of focus, he saw something that looked like a small snowstorm with red stripes appear from a hole in the wall.  It drew closer, moving swiftly around him.  In the next moment, the conflagration came at him and he could see the static outline of a human being in the blur of colors.  A face as big as a truck came over him to look down into his eyes, and then felt a cool mop on his forehead.  A warm breath washed over his cheek with some words. 

            “There, there, you’re going to be just fine.  Try to relax.  I’m Wendy, and I’m a candy striper here at Juliet hospital.  You’ve had an accident and we’re taking care of you.  Do you understand?” 

            “Assident?” 

            “Yes, you had a little problem in incarceration.  But that was after your car was stolen.  They transferred you here from the main jail.  That’s all over now.  What you need to do is rest.  How is your head feeling?” 

            “Tellible.”   

            “Do you have pain anywhere else?” 

            He made the effort to formulate words and spoke slowly.  “If I have … pain … I don’t … feel it.” 

            “Ah, then that might be a good sign.”  She furrowed her brows.  “I think.  Try to stay awake before you fall asleep.  Okay? You wait right here.  I’ll get you a real nurse.”  With a flourish, she vanished.  

            “Okay.” Mason realized he had been abandoned by the candy striper girl and tried to gather his thoughts, but his eyelids grew heavy again and he lapsed in and out of consciousness. 


Amazon


About Chris H. Stevenson:

Chris Stevenson author photo

Chris H. Stevenson, (pen name, Christy J. Breedlove) originally born in California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009. His occupations have included newspaper editor/reporter, astronomer, federal police officer, housecleaner and part time surfer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today he writes in her favorite genre, Young Adult, but has published in multiple genres and categories. He was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and took the first place grand prize in the Entranced writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. Other awards include YA book of the Year in the N.N. Light Novel Writing Contest, and bronze medal for YA horror in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards Contest.  

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for January 22, 2021

 


It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with tributes to Storm Constantine, The Mandalorian and Star Wars in general, season 5 of The Expanse, WandaVision, season 3 of American Gods, season 2 of Batwoman, Outside the Wire, The Watch and much more.

Speculative fiction in general:
 
 
Film and TV:
 
Comments on The Mandalorian and Star Wars in general:
 
Comments on WandaVision
 
Comments on season 5 of The Expanse:

Comments on season 2 of Batwoman
 
Comments on season 3 of American Gods
 
Comments on Outside the Wire:

Comments on The Watch
 
Awards:
 
Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews: 

Classics reviews:

Con and event reports:
 
Crowdfunding: 
 
Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Trailers and videos: 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Interview with Lee Mathew Goldberg, author of Orange City



Today it gives the Speculative Fiction Showcase great pleasure to interview Lee Matthew Goldberg, whose Science Fiction novel Orange City debuts in March 2021.

Orange City is not your first book, though it’s your first in the Science Fiction genre. Tell us what drew you to the genre.
I’ve always been a big fan of Sci-Fi and the book is something I’ve been working on for many years, so I think it just took a lot longer to build the world. My last novel The Ancestor flirted with Sci-Fi as well, so it’s a genre I’ve been naturally moving toward.

The Orange City of the title is a dystopian place “ruled by a monstrous figure called the “Man” who resembles a giant demented spider”, where felons and the unwanted are given a second chance at life. What led you to write such a story now?
The book began as a short story about the advertising industry and slowly more and more strange Sci-Fi elements were added. Because I’ve been working so long on the novel, it’s interesting to see any real world parallels that have arisen. The “Man” was influenced from Slenderman and Francis Bacon’s paintings, so he was a character from early on. I’ve had people comment that the title has “orange” in it, relating to Trump, but that’s just a weird coincidence.

Books such as 1984 seem prophetic, though they also reflect the time when they were written. How does a writer proceed when current events seem bizarre and even surreal?
Definitely current events shaped later drafts. The Trump era of us moving toward a dictatorship fell in line with a lot of similarities to the “Man.” So I think the book has more meaning to it than when I began to write. The novel also takes place after “The War to End All Wars,” so the world, and especially America, has been reeling. For those brought to the imagined City, they see it as an escape. It’s their desperation for some type of better life, which allows them to be snared.

Tell us about the protagonist of the book, Graham Weatherend. How does he come to Orange City?
When he was nineteen and broke, Graham robbed a liquor store with a wooden gun. Instead of jail, he’s given the opportunity to come to the City instead and work for its advertising company. His parents have died so he really has no one and sees it as a chance to restart his life. There is a bigger conspiracy that actually brings him specifically there, which you find out, but I don’t want to spoil too much.

There is mention of a sequel and indeed a series. How do you see it developing?
I’ve plotted out about 2/3 of the sequel. It’s called Lemonworld and follows the characters in a different City with some similarities. Readers will learn more about what happened in the War to End All Wars, which is only touched on in the first book. I see the series adaptable to TV as well, so that’s something I will be working on too.

You are the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, devoted to “books on the fringe that can’t be put in a box, that bleed from genre to genre, that don’t quite exist in the same reality as our own.” Do you think traditional genres are dissolving, and what does this mean for writers and publishers?
Yeah, Fringe was intended to launch in 2020, but due to Covid I’m pushing it forward to likely 2022. I want to launch it right. I do think traditional genres are dissolving. Readers are hungry for unique books and want something different. A lot of work bleeds genres a little so it’s a natural progression for me. For the big presses it’s hard to sell books that are not easily marketable, but indie presses are doing a lot more exciting things. Certain imprints in big presses are as well, so hopefully others will start taking more chances and publishing books that don’t so easily fit in a box.

Brick and mortar bookshops like Blackwell’s in the UK and Powell’s in the States are divided according to genre. Has the appearance of online stores such as Amazon enabled the breakdown of genres?
Amazon has broken it down in a lot of ways. Especially because when you buy a book, it’s tells you others you may like. And there are so many specific genres rather than just Thriller, Romance, Sci-Fi. My novel The Ancestor is a thriller, but also literary and historical with a bit of Sci-Fi too. It would be hard to find a shelf for it in a bookstore, although a place like Powell’s is amazing and I’m sure they’d find the perfect place to showcase. 

When Graham Weatherend becomes addicted to Pow! Sodas, they paradoxically make him realise he’s living in a false or nightmare reality. What inspired this idea?
I write a lot about obsession and addictions. I gave up white sugar as well in my actual life, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how bad sugar is for you and the clarity someone has when they give it up. Some people have a Diet Coke every day when they wake up. We’ve become addicted to advertising and sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves out of what we get used to. Soda, for example, is so responsible for a lot of people’s health issues.

On your web-page, you call yourself a writer born in N.Y.C. How important is New York to you and how has it influenced you as a writer, given its almost mythical status in literature and film?
I love being a Native New Yorker. When the weather is nice, I write every day at a tree in Central Park. A good chunk of my books take place in NYC as well. The city is so alive that it really fuels my creativity. I like to leave and take breaks from it when I travel, but I’ll always come home. There’s no place like New York.

How does Orange City relate to the real New York and other cities of the imagination?
There are some parallels. There is a Downtown area in Orange City that’s like a Blade Runner version of NYC. I think because I’ve lived here all my life it naturally bleeds into my work. Lemonworld will be more of a barren wasteland, so for that I’ll probably have to go to parts of Arizona or Utah for inspiration.

Tell us about some of your other novels and your writing generally. I think it’s safe to say that you are a prolific writer!
Thank you! I do write a lot. My last novel The Ancestor was about a man who wakes up in the Alaskan wilderness believing he was frozen in time from the 1800s when he was a Gold Rush prospector. I also have my first YA coming out in the Spring too called Runaway Train about a girl in the 1990s who runs away from home to go meet Kurt Cobain and become a grunge singer. I like to work on different kinds of projects to challenge myself and so I never get bored.

How do you feel about writing novels and series, as opposed to short stories and screenplays?
I do them all. A novel is definitely the most work, so I find short stories and screenplays as palate cleansers. I’m in the process of adapting all my books into scripts right now.

To return to Fringe, what are the different challenges of being a publisher as well as a writer?
There are a lot of challenges and I’m just beginning. Right now, I’m figuring out some logistics of what I want the company to be before we launch. I’m thinking of moving it further in a Hollywood direction, so the books we acquire are in the process of having interest in film or TV as well. I’m putting a pause on taking on any more novels until I decide exactly what I want to do.

How has the pandemic, itself a dystopian event, affected you as a writer?
As a writer I’ve been super prolific. Early on, writing was a way of escaping what was happening. I leave my body sometimes when I write, so I would go away somewhere when things in New York were really really bad. On the flip side, I released a book during the pandemic and wasn’t able to do a physical tour. That was unfortunate. But I’ve learned a lot about doing things more virtually, which will help for future releases.

What are your plans for the future and what are you working on now?
I just finished the book I wrote over quarantine called The Great Gimmelmans about a family of bank robbers in the 1980s. My agent will send it out soon to editors so hopefully it gets picked up. And I’ll start writing the sequel to Orange City soon too. Looking forward to that!


About Lee Mathew Goldberg:




Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, SLOW DOWN, THE MENTOR from St. Martin’s Press, and THE DESIRE CARD.

He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. His first Sci-fi novel ORANGE CITY will be published in 2021. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box.

His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. 
 
You can usually find him on Twitter @LeeMatthewG. 



Monday, January 18, 2021

Speculate: A Collection of Microlit by Eugen Bacon and Dominique Hecq

 

Release date: January 19, 2021
Subgenre: Poetry/Prose Collection, Speculative Poetry
 

About Speculate: A Collection of Microlit:

 

From what began as a dialog between two adventurous writers curious about the shape-shifter called a prose poem comes a stunning collection that is a disruption of language-a provocation. Speculate is a hybrid of speculative poetry and flash fiction, thrumming in a pulse of jouissance and intensity that chases the impossible.

One might describe some pieces as complex, relentless, but above all, speculating or crossing borders in the fantastic playground of language. We invite you to leap onto the stage of your own imaginings, plunge into what Henry James called the house of fiction.

 

Excerpt:

 

She steals at dawn

 

to a place of memory, a beloved place she can enter her stories. The way her fingers pad on the keyboard. The rush that sweeps through her body arrives her at an intersection where mind and fingertip are one. She needs practice sleeping in a little, her lover’s breath heartfelt on her earlobe. But she runs when she can, to a play-filled memory enriched with mannequins she can chase, surreal encounters on red rock bicycles, oh, how she soars.

 

***

 

She feels adrift, like an autumn moth flapping its dusty wings until it rests on your windowpane on the far side of the world. Says there is no rhyme nor reason nor even any explanation for being. Sky pied, almost as perfect as the horse she used to ride. As for turbulence, the sky is cloudless; the writing not exactly cloudy, but cloud-gathering. Now it’s raining streams of light on red rock bicycles.

 

Let it play out

 

She wonders at the misjudgment of facts, the hybrid of the unknowing and the uncanny. Looking at the artist and his painting of the death mask, there is notable difference between a brief and a summons. In, out, who commissioned the sketch and to what detail of artwork? Out, in, beyond interrogating the plastic cast disunited from the corpse, how to discern confidence in an artist’s perception? The plan is to keep silent, let it canvas out. Or perhaps to issue a bordering statement that is a responsible thing, or to conclude it’s an illustration that is simply a hoax.

 

***

 

It is a hoax. All art is. We deceive ourselves, sometimes all the better to tell the truth, but deep down we fabulate, fabricate, counterfeit—lie about our deepest desires. As should be. I’ve just picked figs from the tree and painted them, knowing full well it’s plagiarism in the history of art. Now I’m going to stew them, French style: Flambé Figs. Peel them carefully (12 of them). Put them in a heavy-based frying pan. Add 3 tablespoons of curaçao and the same amount of brandy. Sauté them over low heat until the figs take on the color of the painting. Prick them gently. Set them alight and shake the pan until your flame dies. Serve them warm with whipped cream. Sprinkle them with hoax dream powder. Enjoy!

 

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About Eugen Bacon:

Eugen Bacon is African Australian, a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. She’s the author of Claiming T-Mo (Meerkat Press) and Writing Speculative Fiction (Macmillan). Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Award for Speculative Fiction by Africans.
 

Website | Twitter

 

About Dominique Hecq:

Dominique Hecq grew up in the French-speaking part of Belgium. She now lives in Melbourne. Her works include a novel, three collections of stories and ten books of poetry. Hecq’s poems and stories have been widely published in anthologies and journals. Often experimental, her work explores love, loss, exile and the possibilities of language. Kaosmos and Tracks (2020) are her latest books. Among other awards such as the Melbourne Fringe Festival Award, the Woorilla Prize for fiction, the Martha Richardson Medal for Poetry, and the New England Poetry Prize, Hecq is a recipient of the 2018 International Best Poets Prize.

 

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne

 

Release date: January 15, 2021
Subgenre:  Occult thriller, Paranormal thriller
 

About The Wind in My Heart:

 

Miles Landry is trying to put violence behind him when he takes up work as a private detective focused on humdrum adultery cases. But when a Tibetan monk hires him to find a missing person, things get weird fast. Charged with tracking down the reincarnation of a man possessed by a demonic guardian from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Miles is plunged into a world of fortune-tellers, gangsters, and tantric rituals. The year is 1991 and a series of grisly murders has rocked New York City in the run up to a visit from the Dalai Lama. The police attribute the killings to Chinatown gang warfare. Miles–skeptical of the supernatural–is inclined to agree. But what if the monster he's hunting is more than a myth? 

Douglas Wynne’s THE WIND IN MY HEART is compelling, full of heart, and creative in ways that hit all the notes I want in a thriller while remaining fresh and full of ingenuity. Wynne is a worthy successor to William Hjortsberg and has me counting beads on my mala, mindful that I am more than a little jealous of what he has done here. THE WIND IN MY HEART firmly falls in the category of Things I Wish I Had Written!”--Bracken MacLeod, author of Stranded and Closing Costs

Douglas Wynne delivers all the thrills and chills and twists and turns of your favorite police procedurals in this neo-noir thriller! And so much more! Set in 1991 The Wind in My Heart is full of murder, Tibetan philosophy, history and magic along with gritty depictions of New York City on the eve of a historic visit from the Dalai Lama. Thoughtful. Clever. Philosophical and action packed. Like Falling Angel meets Tim Powers meets Seven Years in Tibet.”–Daniel Braum, author of Underworld Dreams

 

Excerpt:

 

They call Doyers Street Murder Alley. It’s the perfect place for any killing you would want to commit under the cover of gang violence. One block long with a sharp ninety-degree angle in the middle, it runs from Pell Street to the Bowery at Chatham Square and is—according to the cops—the bloodiest intersection in America. There are probably two reasons for this. One is the sharp bend in the street whence comes the nickname, “The Bloody Angle,” a feature that lends itself well to gang ambushes. The other is a pedestrian tunnel that runs under the buildings, offering quick escape routes to East Broadway and Catherine.

A tight channel, like a slaughterhouse chute, seldom traveled by cars, it’s a street that seems to serve no purpose as there are plenty of other ways to get where you’re going without it. Which is not to say it’s devoid of cultural heritage. Home to the oldest Chinese tea house in America, the Nom Wah, and the site of the 1905 Chinese Theater Massacre in which Hip Sing gunmen opened fire on a group of On Leong gangsters under cover of a string of firecrackers, today the street bustles with knick-knack shops, barbers, and restaurants between graffiti stricken corrugated metal panels at street level and rat-infested tinderbox tenements above.

The once secret tunnel has been converted into an underground shopping arcade where, on December 27 at 2:17 A.M., Sammy Fong found the remains of David Yu in a pool of blood long after the retailers, acupuncturists, and fortune tellers brave enough to hang a shingle down there had locked up for the night.

But I don’t find Sammy in Murder Alley today. I find him right where Joe Navarro told me I would: smoking a (probably untaxed) cigarette in another alley, a garbage-reeking space piled with empty wooden vegetable crates behind the kitchen of Mappow’s restaurant. He’s lanky but not without some muscle, dressed in black jeans and a white sleeveless t-shirt, arms and pockmarked face glazed with sweat from the kitchen steam, a white bandanna tied under his shaggy hair. He reminds me of an extra in a karate movie, but I’ve had enough karate for one week.

 Spur of the moment I decide to forgo the reporter angle and play it straight with him. “Sammy,” I say, as I come around the corner from where I’ve been watching him. I’m not even sure this is the kid I’m looking for—they’ve kept his photo out of the papers—but he looks up at the sound of his name and the fear on his face confirms it.

He tosses the butt at the ground and backs up toward the screen door to the kitchen. I can see woks and colanders hanging on the wall, hear voices calling over the sizzle of stir-fry, but there’s no one in sight of the back door. “What do you want?” he asks and sniffles. I don’t know what he looks like on a good day, but he doesn’t look well to me today. It’s the look of a man who has not been getting much sleep. And no jacket or even sleeves in February? I’m sure it’s hot in that kitchen over the dishwashing sink, but it’s in the thirties out here.

I flip open my wallet and show him my PI license. “Miles Landry. I’d like to talk to you about the night that made you famous.”

 

Amazon

 

About Douglas Wynne:

Douglas Wynne is the author of five previous novels, including The Devil of Echo Lake, Steel Breeze, and the SPECTRA Files trilogy. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and his writing workshops have been featured at genre conventions and schools throughout New England. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son and a houseful of animals.

 

 Website