Today I’m hosting Mae Clair, who is finishing up a blog tour for the first book of her new series. If you like past/present timelines, fiends, and sinister happenings, you’ll enjoy not only Cusp of Night, but Mae’s other books as well. Take it away, Mae!
Julie, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. I’ve been making the rounds with my latest novel, Cusp of Night, the first book in my new Hode’s Hill series. Although the first book in a three-book series, Cusp of Night is also a complete standalone read offering two mysteries in one. It features past and present timelines that ultimately converge at the end, tying both plots together.
Lucinda Glass, my main character in the past, becomes a renowned medium in the late 1800s. She’s lauded by the elite of society for seances and producing “automatic writings” in which she communicates with the dead.
In the present, Maya Sinclair, a recent transplant to Hode’s Hill rents Lucinda’s old brownstone home. Once she moves in, odd occurrences start to take place—ghostly visitations that correspond with attacks and disappearances in Hode’s Hill. Residents fear the “Fiend”—a nightmarish creature said to have killed Lucinda and others in the late 1800s—has returned. Maya finds herself at the center of the mystery when she witnesses the creature attack Leland Hode, one of the town’s leading citizens. Soon, she and Leland’s son, Collin, are working together to get to the bottom of the attacks and how they tie-in with Lucinda’s life in the past.
I brought along a short excerpt today in which Collin takes an early morning jog and makes a grim discovery.
Collin slowed as his path led him closer to the river. The end of the bank was rife with reeds and cattails, knots of vegetation that sprouted in untamed clumps. Normally, he would turn back, but there was something lumped among the snarl of weeds that looked like a blue tarp. He could ignore it and let the current carry it down river, but the conscientious thing would be to haul it out and toss it. Every now and then his mother got on a kick about saving the planet. Recently, she’d joined a committee for environmental beautification.
Collin suspected she was secretly more interested in the attention she’d reap as a result.
Deciding he couldn’t leave the thing snagged in the water and weeds, he clambered down the bank. Up close, he realized it was a large piece of fabric, not plastic. His foot sank into the muck, and he knotted his fingers in the waterlogged material. It resisted when he pulled, far heavier than he’d thought. Another, stronger tug and it rolled like a fish, bobbing belly upright.
A bloated face framed by a hunk of blond hair popped to the surface.
“Shit!” Collin tripped in his haste to get away, nearly landing on his butt. “Oh, shit. Hell, no.” He could see it clearly now, the body of a young woman, her clothing in tatters. Scrapes and abrasions marred her exposed flesh, chunks of skin gouged from her arms and legs as if every scavenger in the river had nibbled on her corpse. Wide, sightless eyes stared upward, frozen in an unanswered plea for help.
The stench hit him.
Collin dropped to his knees and vomited.
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.
Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .