Sean Cummings is the author of Shade Fright, which is scheduled to be released on March 1, 2010. Shade Fright is the first book in his new Valerie Stevens Urban Fantasy series. This sounds like a really cool series and I can’t wait to give it a read. I really love the book cover. You can read Chapter 1 here.
Synopsis (Author Site):
“I fell into this job quite by accident, when I discovered that I possessed the ability to see the preternatural world. There are a handful of people with similar abilities, and part of my job is to locate them, since Government Services and Infrastructure Canada likes to keep track of these things. Don’t ask me why.”
There’s a malevolent force in town, and it’s quite literally Valerie Stevens’ job to determine who’s behind it and why they want to destroy the world, starting with Calgary.
She’ll have help, in the form of her best friend (now more or less a zombie, unfortunately), a powerful dwarf troll, and the ghost of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon McKenzie King (but he goes by ‘Bill’ these days). But that’s not all – Valerie has some tricks up her sleeve and, she hopes, luck on her side. Oh, and her boyfriend, Dave. He drives a dump truck.
Some people consider me to be a mystic, but that’s far from the truth. I’ve been accused of witchcraft by a certain fundamentalist neighbour of mine, and while sorcery is listed on my resume, I’m not in the habit of luring young children to my condo only to bake them in an enchanted oven. I fell into this job quite by accident when I discovered that I possessed the ability to see the preternatural world. There are a handful of people with similar abilities, and part of my job is to locate them since Government Services and Infrastructure Canada likes to keep track of these things. Don’t ask me why.
What is the preternatural world?
It’s part myth and part reality where magic and turmoil fly in the face of the laws of physics and pure science that we apply to the near world, that’s where we live. The preternatural world made up in large part of beings possessing qualities that would take scholars a lifetime to wrap their collective heads around, assuming they’re open to what can only be described as, well, unnatural. It exists within our world, but it’s a place that is rarely seen by near world residents because we’re too busy sitting in the drive thru at Tim Horton’s or grinding through gridlock on the Deerfoot Trail to notice.
Caroline is a family lawyer—or she used to be until she started her nasty habit of eating dead things.
Don’t worry, she’s far too left-leaning to actually eat people, which is something zombies are exceedingly good at. How she came to become one of the walking dead is quite a miraculous story given that she’d actually been bitten by the rotting husk of a long dead magistrate who was under the control of a necromancer. The only thing that kept Caroline from completing the transformation into a full-fledged zombie is that the necromancer had a weak heart and died of a coronary embolism at the precise moment the zombie magistrate took a chunk out of Caroline’s left shoulder. That I’d just blasted the necromancer with a bolt of lightning probably helped speed up the massive heart attack.
I am, if anything, helpful.
Somehow the necromancer’s magic infected Caroline and as a result, she retains all her pre-zombie faculties with one or two small exceptions. She is technically dead because she doesn’t have a pulse, and her body temperature is lower than ten degrees Celsius. (She still breathes air, and her body isn’t decomposing though she is unnaturally thin so I’m not exactly sure how that works.) As well, there’s this nasty business of eating small mammals and assorted sundry, you know, alive. I asked her why she doesn’t eat people, her response? Because she’d feel guilty.
Yes, Caroline is a zombie with a conscience.
Fifty-Dollar Bill is my name for the spirit of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s tenth Prime Minister and the guy whose face is on the fifty-dollar bank note. With over twenty-one years as Canada’s national leader, he holds the record as the longest serving Prime Minister in the British Commonwealth. He was also a closet occultist and liked to commune with the spirits of Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, his dead mother, and several of his Irish terrier dogs, all named Pat. That now, nearly sixty years after his death, the guy likes to commune with the world of the living, well… let’s just say the irony isn’t lost on me.
I asked him why he refuses to cross over, and he told me that dead people were boring, plus he gives political advice to a certain federal leader whose party will never form a government in a thousand years. While I can’t explain why he’d back a losing party, I can say that despite his questionable manners, he’s proven to be a valuable, albeit irritating, resource. During his life, he amassed a crap-pile of influential contacts among the departed. Better still, because he was a head of state and a highly educated man, his spirit contacts are far more reliable than, oh, say, the ghost of a dead chicken farmer.
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