Back in 2010, Stark House Press published my first novel, Thief of Midnight. Today I can report that the sequel is finally on its way! Coming in 2015, the next instalment in the adventures of one small group of Chicago monster-hunters: Fell the Angels. Or as I like to call this one: Four Bodies, No Insurance.
What’s it about? Well …
A month after a ruinous assault by a family of bogeymen, the few humans in the know are still recovering and trying to figure out what they’ll do next. Abby Marquise is waiting for her son, Jimmy, to be returned by the forces that took him, but she’s still not sure if she can square her job with parenthood. (Intimidating therianthropes isn’t a common domestic skill.) It doesn’t help that Chicago looks to be ringing in the New Year with a string of mysterious deaths. The victims? Sorcerers, the rare human practitioners of magic, who are dying in inexplicable ways. Who’s the Crystal Lady? Where did those strange dolls come from? And what’s big enough to tear a human in half … vertically?
I think you’ll like the answers.
This is a book I’ve been working on since 2007. It’s been my experience that things are always hardest the second time, and Fell the Angels did not disappoint me in that regard. It’s also a new direction for me: there’s a cameo by some certain fear-based folkloric monsters, but this book is more of a straight mystery and an opportunity to see the human agents from Thief of Midnight working in their own sphere. Chicago is an old town full of dark corners, and I’m thrilled that Stark House has given me the opportunity to share another story inspired by the Windy City (and torment these characters a little more).
And now, because I’m excited and feel like sharing, here’s a short excerpt from Fell the Angels. The text is still subject to revision (ahh, the editing process) and is, of course, copyright yours truly. 🙂
The SSR office occupied a plot of land too large for it, leaving bumpy expanses of asphalt and patches of overgrown grass both out front and behind the building. A couple of large trash bins rested on the edge of the back lot and faced across the alley. Several businesses and apartments occupied the buildings one street over, and their own back walls formed a patchy, uneven border to the world of the backyard. At this time of night, most of the windows were dark, and only one door was open across the alley. It was the usual one.
Several small garages and car-customizing shops were dotted around the neighborhood, and Tribeca Classic Car on the next street tended to keep late hours. A massive corrugated-steel garage door was propped open despite the cold and Pete, one of their painters, was taking in a delivery of Chinese food. He waved to Abby as she pulled up.
“Working late again?” he called out. “Demons keeping you up?”
“Worse,” Abby responded as she locked the car. “Quarterly tax filing.” Pete made a face and retreated into the warmth of the garage with his bag of food.
As far as Pete and his coworkers were concerned, the building across the alley was shared office space for a small group of academics, translators, and other self-employed types. The lot opposite the SSR had been abandoned for a long time, so the agents hadn’t bothered with spreading much of a local cover story, but when Tribeca moved in and proved to be full of night owls they’d had to come up with one. The situation had been slightly complicated when Mary, who was newly recruited and only fifteen at the time, had gone across the alley to ask the Brazilian-German Pete to translate a piece of old German writing found at the scene of a potential magical crime. Abby had only learned about this complication two days after the fact, when she’d overheard Pete talking to his buddies. “Young girl with braids, big smile, looks very like my little sister, and her paper says ‘The unrighteous liars who persecute me shall perish in the fires of Moloch and Balaam—’”
That had been a slightly awkward conversation. Unable to completely explain away Moloch or Balaam, the agency had settled for being nonaffiliated academics with a folklore emphasis. Around the same time, John and Mal had put up a small car shed in front of the back door so they could switch license plates and unload bodies without anyone being the wiser.