Title: RAVEN’S EDGE, Book #3 in The Raven Tales series
Author: J.B. Dane
Genre: Urban Fantasy PI Mystery Comedy
Name’s Bram Farrell. I’m a PI – well, used to be. Michigan doesn’t think I have the requisites for a license in this world. My experience is nearly all within the pages of a set of fantasy books written by Calista Amberson, who I thought died shortly after yanking me into the real world but hadn’t. Currently, I rank at the top of her Erase These Idiots list. The feeling is mutual.
As St. Patrick’s Day dawned, I thought the only dangerous thing on my social calendar was meeting Naomie Enright’s family. It wasn’t, though downing green dyed potato salad took courage. No, it was finding the Irish goddess Danu waiting for me at the Enright Pub’s bar. She wanted me to find an enchanted sword. Someone had nicked The Retaliator, a blade that could kill with just a scratch. Except this ancient Tuathan treasure would only go to the hand of a master swordsman.
Not many of them around in 21st century Detroit.
Except, Mack Enright, Naomie’s brother, has a friend who likes to buckle on some swash and dazzle crowds with sword play. And he's vanished, only the scents of ghoul and vampire lingering behind in his wrecked apartment. That’s never good.
And it's headed for even worse. I definitely need an edge to solve – survive – these cases!
Hours later, the party began to wind down. Probably because the majority were pickled to the gills. I was only pickled to the flippers, but as Calista Amberson, the witch who wrote me to life, had never described me as drunk, I only reached mellow no matter how much I drank—and sometimes that was a lot, depending on the circumstances. A benefit that, if they’d known of it, would be envied by many of the Enrights. The noise level dropped as people departed in units. Nomes stole my car to head out on her first charity delivery case, depositing a couple of well-soused single cousins at their digs. I had a fresh Jameson in hand, in part to wash away the taste of green dyed potato salad that Fionna Enright had forced on me. “Then we can send an empty bowl home with Enya,” she’d explained. I manned up and made everyone happy. Had just forced the final swallow when I noticed Mack frowning at the screen on his cellphone.
“Problem?” I asked, moseying up next to him.
“Sorta,” he said. “I’ve got a buddy—best friend since third grade, actually—Seth Rayburn. He never misses the St. Pat’s bash, but he never showed. I’ve called him, texted him, and got no response, and that’s not normal. Man, he’s a textaholic usually, but recently the messages have dried up. I thought maybe he’d lost his phone or killed it with overuse. Was sure he’d be here tonight, showing off the latest model.”
Considering I’d never heard concern in Mack’s voice before, I made an offer. “You want to go check on him? I can leave a message with your uncle for Nomes that she should just head home without me.”
“Only one problem with that,” he said. “I came with the cousins she just loaded into your car for transport. They didn’t leave the key to their car behind.”
I reached for my phone. “Not a problem,” I assured and called Burt.
Burt is one of the first humans I met after crossing from the world of fiction. He drives a cab, can pick a lock, knows every decent—and probably indecent—place to eat in Detroit.
Of course, he might not be available.
He picked up within five seconds. “Somebody blow up the Chrysler now, too?” he asked, not bothering to greet me.
“No, Nomes made off with it, taking inebriated relatives home. I’m at her uncle’s bar and in need of a ride. You free or tied up ferrying drunks tonight?”
He snorted. “I’m never free. I can be bought though.” I asked if he knew where the Enright Irish pub was. Oddly enough, he did. Gave me an ETA of twenty minutes.
Mack’s buddy’s place was another half-hour drive away. During it, he and Burt talked sports, a language both knew I lacked agility in speaking. The neighborhood was much like the one I lived in currently as Nome’s sofa renter. Older and teetering between slipping further downhill or getting gentry-ized. In the case of Naomie’s habitat, I voted for the upgrade and, while she didn’t know it, was in the process of buying the building as well as remodeling the larger apartment next to her dinky one. The building Burt pulled up to was sturdy but not worthy of inclusion in an architectural digest for any reason.
Mack perked up a bit when he noted a light on in a second-floor window. “That’s Seth’s place. He must be home.”
“Nasty flu bug goin’ around. Maybe he’s just got a bad case,” Burt offered. Oddly enough, he no longer seemed inclined to climb out of the cab and be part of the party now.
“Could be,” Mack agreed as he angled out of the back. I’d already oozed from my preferred arquebus position near the glove compartment. “He teaches in an elementary school, so colds fell him regularly.”
It sounded logical but something niggled at me that such was not going to be what we found. Maybe it was that my mind had been on the missing persons’ cases I’d promised to help my cop friend, Detective Chad Durkin, solve. The one various distractions kept me from following up on. Hoped we’d find Mack’s friend doing nothing more than downing meds and watching television when we reached his door.
Taking time to scan the area, I trailed a bit behind as Mack headed for his friend’s place. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The sort of hackles that raise when it feels like I’m being watched didn’t stir, so I took the steps up to the upper level two at a time as Mack had done.
He relaxed a bit when he heard a familiar sound leaking into the hall. “Marathoning Game of Thrones again,” he said, jerking his head toward the closed door. “He’s got a thing for Daenerys.”
“What’s not to like about a girl who owns dragons?” I asked.
“And always looks hot,” Mack added then knocked on the door. “Yo, Seth. You alright? It just wasn’t St. Pat’s without yo—”
The door creaked open of its own accord.
The set was on, and Jon Snow wasn’t having an easy time of it on the screen. But it didn’t look like Seth had fared much better. A recliner lay on its side, sofa cushions were cockeyed, a bookshelf had its contents splayed across the floor and a side table and lamp had bit the dust. The only things in good order were the floor lamp glowing near the window and the flat screen where the fate of Westeros still hung in the balance.
“Seth!” Mack shouted, heading for what was probably the bedroom.
I stayed where I was, closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. Yup, the Spidey senses had been on the job alright. The room smelled of spilled beer, nachos, weed, and three other essences.
Vampire, ghoul, and blood.
Buy Links (including BookBub):
Amazon link: mybook.to/RAVEDGE
What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?
Well, if I really was Bram, I’d say “drink”, but as he’d also be streaming movies, that is something we’d be doing together. And since I like movies with lots of CGI and things blowing up, the excitement on the screen can easily massacre any doldrums. But as I’m currently working on Bram’s fourth adventure, there’s lots of exciting stuff moving from brain buzz to fingertips to the computer screen.
Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?
It’s definitely the type of book I pick up to read most of the time because I like the same sort of things happening on the printed page as I do on the movie screen. As before I dived into writing the next novel in The Raven Tales, I went back and reread every novella and novel in the series to snug myself back into Bram’s head, which left no time for winter blues, or any other color Father Winter cared to throw in to confuse things. I wouldn’t put it beyond him. Season and Weather gods have warped senses of humor.
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Runs March 1 – 31
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J.B. Dane is the author of the urban fantasy PI mystery comedy series, The Raven Tales, which includes novels published by Burns and Lea Books, and a series of Indie published novellas that are prequels and also "between the books" adventures of her main character, Bram Farrell. The latest novel in the series is RAVEN'S EDGE. Quite a few 5* reviews have followed for the novels in particular. She also writes shorter fantasy fiction, many tales of which have appeared in anthologies, particularly her Nick Claus, North Pole Security stories.
Social Media Links:
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