Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Showcase - Excerpt - The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish

Today I'm showcasing Canadian author, Ph.D. in Zoology Kristi Charish's re-released novel and debut in her new Kincaid Strange series.
Fun fact she is the scientific adviser for the White Trash Zombie novels.


ISBN-13: 978-0735273122
Publisher: Vintage 
Release Date:canada
Length: 352pp
Kincaid Strange #1
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


For fans of Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, a new urban fantasy series introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...
For starters, she's only twenty-seven. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.
Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.
And then she becomes the target... As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

Read an excerpt:

The Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish (excerpt from pp.44–46)

I slid two twenties across the bar. The bills disappeared into Lee’s dress. Without another word or glance at me or Cameron, she left to handle the other patrons. Sparse as they were tonight, they still expected something resembling service.

Cameron eyed his brains.

“Cameron, there’s an easy way or a hard way to do this.”

He still didn’t touch the glass.

“Right now, you’re doing it the hard way.”

His nostrils flared and the muscles in his throat contracted as he involuntarily began to salivate. A big part of the new Cameron wanted to drink it.

I shook my head. “Stop thinking.”

He closed his eyes, grabbed the glass and slammed the drink back, forcing the grey liquid down his throat with the commitment—if not the enthusiasm—of a frat pledge. He made it halfway through before something between a gag and a whine escaped him, but he finished it all. He set the glass back down and wiped the remnants off his mouth with his hand, then coughed as he began to breathe again.

“That was disgusting,” he said, staring at the glass.

“Less chugging, more sipping: this isn’t a kegger.”

He coughed again. “You try sipping it, then.”

I’d have come up with something witty to say, but just then Lee stepped back behind the bar well and began mixing drinks. I caught a whiff of formaldehyde. I’d been right: only zombies putting up with the fumes tonight, probably ones who couldn’t pass for human anymore.

I figured Lee would offer her opinions about Cameron when she was ready to, so I switched topics. “Care to tell me what the redecorating is about? And don’t tell me you found the undead, Chinese version of IKEA.”

She glanced around, as if seeing the lanterns and paint for the first time. “I had a premonition of bad luck. Red and white will help to change that.”

I looked around the bar. Considering what happened the last time Lee had a premonition, luck was something she had to take very seriously.

Lee Ling Xhao had died during the summer of 1889, the year the great fire destroyed most of Seattle. An entire city built of lumber on wooden stilts—even the drainage pipes were made of wood. Add to that the driest summer in fifty years and a carpentry shop full of turpentine. The surprise wasn’t that the city burned down; it was that no one had seen it coming.

Lee didn’t die in the fire, though. She had been murdered three weeks before the carpenter had the bright idea of downing a bottle of whisky and striking a match.

At the tender age of fifteen, Lee had had a flourishing career as a high-end courtesan in Shanghai. Known for her gold-coloured eyes, a coveted symbol of freedom from worldly cares, she expected to have a long and illustrious career . . . until her twin brother, Lou, was exposed as a practitioner of the dark arts. Perfectly acceptable in China at the time, but not so much so with her predominantly foreign and very Christian clientele. A witch hunt ensued, and the two fled to San Francisco, where they once again set up shop, Lou selling his talents and Lee selling hers. They eventually followed the gold rush up the coast to Seattle.

To hear her tell it, Lee had quite the distinguished clientele, all of whom she and her brother planned to extort and blackmail into comfortable retirement. Things probably would have gone exactly the way they’d planned if it hadn’t been for Isabella, the wife of one of Lee’s more ardent customers, who got wise to where her husband’s money was going.

Stories of Whitechapel’s infamous Jack the Ripper murders had reached the northwest coast by then, and had inspired Seattle’s own copycat, who was attacking crib girls—indentured Chinese
prostitutes—by the Seattle docks.

I shivered, remembering how Lee had described for me the way the merchant’s wife had drugged her with chloroform in the dark of an alley, her single scream muffled by the noise of the crowds out enjoying an unusually warm summer night.

She’d still been lucid when the woman began slicing into her beautiful porcelain face with a paring knife. The last thing Lee saw before she died was the knife coming towards her golden eyes.

She’d been found in pieces the next day and carried to Lou. Lee’s brother did his best to stitch her up before raising her as a zombie.

The grey china cracks running over her beautiful face were what was left of his handiwork.

I asked her once why she hadn’t found a pair of golden eyes, like the ones she’d lost.

“I like green,” she’d said. “It is a good reminder that I am not free from worldly cares. And Isabella had such beautiful green ones.”
I know when not to push for details.

Next in the series

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Meet Kristi:
KRISTI CHARISH is the author of Owl and the Japanese Circus and Owl and the City of Angels and the first book inthe Kincaid Strange series, The Voodoo Killings. She has a background in archeology and a Ph.D. in zoology from theUniversity of British Columbia. She has worked as a scientific adviser on projects such as fantasy and SF writer Diana Rowland’s series White Trash Zombie, and is the co-host of the Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing Podcast. She lives in Vancouver.