Title: RAVEN’S MOON
Author: J.B. Dane
Genre: Urban Fantasy PI Mystery Comedy
Otherworld evil is loose in the real world. Previously fictional private investigator, Bram Farrell, must track it down and destroy it before it destroys him.
On the corner, Deer Woman ran a teasing finger along the jaw of the man straining against his seatbelt as he leaned toward the passenger window.
And five tough guys stepped out of the alley ahead of me, blocking the way.
“You da Raven?” the lead guy said.
“You talking to me or the pooch?” I asked. Beelzie flipped his growl switch into the on position again. At least this time the teeth were bared for the benefit of the muscle-bound barricade.
“He don’t look like his picture,” one of the muscles behind the point man said. Incredibly, the dude had a book in his hand. A paperback, well thumbed. He didn’t look like a reader to me.
“That you?” the head honcho asked, gesturing to the cover.
“That’s an artist’s rendition of a fictional character. Do I look fictional to you?”
“It’s him,” a third guy announced. “I read the book and he’s the guy.”
His friends were startled enough to forget both Beelzebub and my unworthy self. They stared at the man.
“You read the book?”
The Mensa candidate frowned at them. “How the hell else were we going to get a decent description of him?”
“Yeah,” I agreed. Let’s face it, I’m used to being the center of attention. I’m the hero in the series, if you recall. “What’s it say? This Raven guy is so handsome women melt at his feet?”
“Naw. It says you got black hair, weird green eyes—”
I doubted Calie had ever described them as weird. “There are hundreds of shades of green. Would that be tequila lime, Douglas fir, clover, peppermint leaf, or another shade?”
Paint chips do come in handy.
“Shut up, smart-ass,” the lead guy snapped.
“More olive green, I guess,” the reader said. He took the paperback away from his compadre and leafed through it. “It also says you got a lean athlete’s body—”
“I hope he’s a good sport and doesn’t mind me borrowing it, then,” I said.
“—a square jaw, a long pointy nose, and that if you stand up straight, you’re close to six-two.”
I immediately stooped to appear shorter.
“Yeah, it’s him, Ham,” the reader said. “The smart mouth gives him away.”
“You want my autograph?” I asked.
“We want you should come with us,” Ham countered.
“I’m on sorta a tight schedule. You could make an appointment with my associate here,” I suggested, indicating the short-statured hellhound on alert at my feet. He’d stationed himself directly in front of me, insanely expecting to be a canine barrier between me and . . . well, these idiots.
“That won’t suit the guys we work with, Raven,” he said.
I’d seen the puncture marks each of them had on the jugular. They weren’t vampires themselves, but they were all Renfields. Handy snacks when required.
“It’s not even noon, fellas. The guys won’t be awake for hours yet. Why don’t we all go about our business and meet back here at, oh, let’s say moonrise?” I suggested. No intention of turning up, of course. I’m not entirely stupid.
“Then we don’t gotta be polite no more,” Ham announced.
This was polite?
“Get him, boys.”
Damned if they didn’t make an attempt. Even the reader, who really should have known better, having read one of Calista’s books.
Unless, of course, I was no longer the man I was within the pages of that book.
Beelzie wasn’t hampered by such thoughts. The sleek black demon took one guy down with a bounding attack to the crotch. That was the last I saw of the hound for a while, though I could hear his snarls and the snap of his teeth, the howls of his victim. I was busy enough blocking, dodging, and avoiding the sharp blade of a knife when it materialized in the hand of one of the goons. A quick twist of his wrist, hitting the pressure point just right, and I was the possessor of the blade. Ha! No magic needed!
The battle moved within the close confines of the alleyway, and the scents that attacked my virgin sense of smell nearly brought me to my knees. Still, to survive the current confrontation, I plunged deeper into the disgusting essence. My sort of magic needed at least a few paces between me and whoever was going to receive the benefit of high-grade prestidigitation.
Three of Ham’s horde followed me in, grins of confidence on their ugly phizes. My back against the crumbling brick building, I planted a foot in the nearest guy’s gut. He flew back against the adjacent edifice and bounded off, smacking face-first into the dumpster. As two others closed on me, he crumbled into a heap in the muck.
The next dudes decided on using a pincer maneuver. I threw up a shield, or at least I tried. There wasn’t even a fizzle of power in the air. No shimmer from an invisible force field. I tried to pull a thought-produced rug from beneath the nearest thug’s feet. He plowed forward without even a temporary wobble.
I was royally screwed! Definitely up Battle Creek without an outboard motor.
Fortunately, good old dirty street fighting was more effective and satisfying. I’d worry about where my freaking trump card was hiding later.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
It helps that this is the first book of a series, of course, but otherwise there’s plenty of snark, comedic scenes, even invented paranormal/supernatural characters, lots of mystery, what might be some romance but is it with the human or the non-human? Beelz, the wonder hellhound who prefers to manifest as a dachshund is on hand as the cast of what will be returning characters begins to gather. Oh, and people keep trying to kill our hero, Bram Farrell, aka The Raven, as he investigates. How can this not be a perfect read for those addicted to urban fantasy comedy mystery? PLUS, the third book in the series released on St. Patrick’s Day, making marathon reading possible!
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J.B. DANE is a pseudonym of a multi-published, multi-genre novelist who goes by many names. Not because she is in Witness Protection. Really not in Witness Protection. Really. She may start hiding from citizens of Detroit since her Raven Tales urban fantasy comedic mysteries have populated their fair city with neighbors who might be supernatural, paranormal or legendary beasts…or not so beasts…but probably ARE beasts. They could be hungry, too. She has also tampered with the lore of the Claus family, you know the one at the North Pole, and hopes this does not land her on the Naughty List, even if Nick Claus has landed on it frequently himself. She might be found at www.4TaleTellers.com, but leave a message to be picked up by a disguised courier and delivered to a secret location.
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Facebook.com/JBDaneWriter or @JBDaneWriter on Twitter