At long last, my steampunk murder mystery novelette is available for pre-order from Musa Publishing! The phrase “unspeakably excited” doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about this. The novelette will be released on April 5th! Get it while it’s hot!
Here’s a taste of what it’s about:
When theft turns to murder, retired Colonel Geoffrey Douglas knows only two things for certain. The Air Ship Titania carries 300 passengers and crew. And any one of them could be the murderer…
In the wake of global Infection and hard-fought wars to drive the disease out into the wilds, the survivors have slowly rebuilt a polite society that relies upon airships and steam engines to travel safely between the remaining Grand Duchies. In times of peace, old war heroes must find new ways to make themselves useful. But where there are ships, there are pirates, and darkness waits in the most unexpected places…
After years at war, retired Colonel Geoffrey Douglas tries to accustom himself to a more tame career as the Grand Duke’s chief of security, but he can’t seem to let his guard down. He sees danger around every corner. Worst of all, he’s often right. And when a simple mission to deliver precious cargo for the Grand Duke goes wrong, Geoff finds himself in a race against time to find a murderer before the Air Ship Titania lands and the murderer can escape.
But there are 300 passengers and crew aboard, and the murderer could be any one of them. When Geoff discovers a second murder victim, he realizes this isn’t just a fight to prevent the murderer from escaping: it’s a desperate race to stop him from killing again.
I had a lot of fun writing this and hopefully you’ll have just as much fun reading it. As you can tell, Colonel Douglas is a very serious investigator with a very serious mustache, and he’s not about to let a murderer get away with a crime under his watch. Technically if you’ve read The Jade Tiger you’ll have one over on poor Geoff for most of the story, so enjoy your advantage!
Here’s an excerpt so you can get a feel for my writing:
Geoff sat up with a gasp, for a moment disoriented in the darkness, recognizing neither the bed nor the thin strip of light leaking in under the door. He heard only snapping tree branches, the crack of distant guns, shouts, and screams as the Infected slammed into his company’s defensive lines. No, he realized, those sounds were in his mind, mixed with someone pounding frantically at his door, rescuing him from a thoroughly unpleasant dream. He took three deep breaths to calm himself, then felt along the wall to find the lamp and turn the power back up.
“A moment,” he shouted. “A moment if you please. I’m awake. Let me make myself decent.” He slipped from bed and quickly dressed. His shirt was rumpled, collar and cuffs undone, and his tie nowhere to be found, but he deemed it good enough for the ungodly hour.
There was a young officer other side of the door, face pale, ginger hair disheveled. His uniform had a lieutenant’s stripes on the shoulder.
“What is so important that it couldn’t wait for a decent hour?” Geoff demanded.
“Something awful’s happened, sir. Captain told me to fetch you quick as I could—”
“Is it my luggage?”
The lieutenant shook his head, swallowing hard. “No, sir, it isn’t. It’s much worse.”
Geoff nodded, then dug his lorgnette from his traveling case. The little device was rather battered and showing its age, but still serviceable. “Then you’d best show me the way, Lieutenant…?”
Geoff followed Lieutenant Collins along several hallways and down two flights of stairs. Soon they were at the top of another set of stairs, these ones plain metal that led down to the crew quarters.
There was a small crowd gathered at the bottom of the stairs, most of the people dressed in the uniforms of the crew or servants. More to Geoff’s interest, there was a body sprawled untidily across the deck plates, a pool of dark red spread out in a halo from the back of its head. The head itself was turned at an unnatural angle, far back and to the side.
It took only a moment for his sleep-muzzled mind to place who it was at the bottom of the stairs: Lord Caraway. It made little sense for the man to be in this area of the ship, but the truth was inescapable: he was very much there, and very much dead.
And now I’ll get back to work on writing the third novella for the series – because that’s right, there will be at least four more after this one!