Thirteen words in a want-ad turn Tess Cooper’s world upside down after she signs on as a paranormal research assistant to the mysterious Davin Egypt. He reveals a world of grave robbing, clockworks artifacts in blue amber, antique revolvers that fire strange ammo, and powerful forces beyond human comprehension.
As ancient occult energies threaten to destroy her city, Tess must use her journalistic instincts to stay one step ahead of the public works director, Drew Dawson, whose agenda seems bent on destruction rather than maintenance. And possibly murder, but will anyone believe her?
Yeah, right. When garbage trucks fly.
If Tess teams up with the hunky police lieutenant, Kirk Gunther, and the pale, oddball Mr. Egypt, they might be able to save the city in time. That is, if Egypt even wants to. And if Tess overcomes her phobias long enough to do battle in Granddad’s 1983 Subaru Brat.
Things are about to get icky.
Egypt sat behind the desk, leaving me to stand. He switched on the light. “Nearly all of my work is done at night. I trust that won’t be a problem.”
I generally had no plans at night. But that wasn’t my primary concern. “What exactly is the job?”
His brows squeezed together in mild confusion. “I thought I made that clear. I am an occult researcher, you will be my research assistant.”
“So, what, we look things up in books, cite them for papers?”
Egypt leaned back in his chair. “Hardly. Do you know what the word occult means, Miss Cooper?”
I couldn’t recall actually introducing myself to him. But I must have, right? “It means ‘hidden,’ or ‘covered.’ From the Latin. Same root word as occlude. Synonyms would be, oh, arcane or esoteric.”
“And do you believe we could research the hidden, the arcane, by browsing published media?”
Well, put it that way. “I suppose not.”
“So, what, you go out hunting for ghosts and that?”
His mouth made a little moue. Not, indeed. “We will seek out events caused by apparently hidden means, examine them, study them, and place them into context with other apparent occult phenomenon.”
I suddenly recalled Lieutenant Gunther’s reaction.
“You’re looking into the grave robberies for the police.” I carefully worded it so it wasn’t a question, the way Egypt did.
The moue spread out into almost a smile. “It seems that even if we are not on the same page, we’re in the same chapter. At midnight, we need to examine the graves at the City Cemetery.
Frankly, I had developed an aversion to City Cemetery. All I needed was to fall in another loose grave, which seemed far more likely in the dark. “At midnight? Why not right now? It’s forty-six degrees and sunny. We’re supposed to get six inches of snow tonight.”
Egypt leaned forward, clasping his hands on the antique desk. “That forecast is incorrect. And as for midnight, it is a most important hour in occult research, as you will learn.”
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Newspaper founder, bookstore owner, artist, musician, and man-about-town Eric Turowski writes lots of mixed-genre books when he’s not too busy playing laser tag with Tiger the Cat and his fiancée Mimi deep in the Central Valley of California.
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