Here's a great new release – one of the best books I've read this year. See my review below and then an interview with the author LX Cain. Don't miss the giveaway at the end! Bloodwalker isn't fantasy or sci-fi but I totally recommend it as a tremendous read.
Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
Zorka Circus’s big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, children vanish.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. He must find the culprit before anyone else disappears and his home is destroyed by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravedigging ghouls. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict code, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable…
I highly recommend this book. Very different to the usual Urban Fantasy or murder-mystery. I can tell the author did phenomenal research on Romania and the circus life, because the setting is incredibly vivid and rich – it sucked me right in so that I was among the circusfolk, along with their family and talent squabbles, walking through the thick mud between tents and trailers.
The mystery is a strong and chilling current flowing through the core of this book. It forced me to keep turning pages. Who was the villain? No shortage of suspects. Every time I thought I had it – another twist.
And then there is the plotline of a fascinating, almost sinister tribe of women to which the title refers. Their matriarchy is steeped in history, lore and ancient knowledge. Riveting. I became so invested in all of the characters, but rooted especially for the little Bloodwalker.
The climax is dramatic, intense and outright spooky in one of the most incredible settings I've ever read about. Once there I could not stop until I turned the last page.
One of the best books I've read this year. You'll love it, whatever genre you usually enjoy.
INTERVIEW WITH LX CAIN
Give us a short teaser about Bloodwalker. What should we expect? What genre is it?
Children are disappearing. The strange part is it seems to happen every time the Zorka Circus leaves one of the Eastern European towns on its tour. Rurik, the circus’s Security Chief, thinks someone in the circus is behind it. But who?
Readers can expect a riveting mystery with lots of action and a streak of horror. It’s a genre mash-up of mystery, thriller, horror and fantasy—something for everyone!
What inspired you to write Bloodwalker?
I was fascinated with the idea of a sheltered society that’s superstitious and oppressive. Very often people in closed-off societies are so used to the rigid rules they live under, they don’t see them as wrong or believe in questioning them. If it was good enough for their grandparents, it’s good enough for them. It would take a lot for a young woman from such a group to begin to question and finally rebel against unfair rules, so I gave Sylvie plenty of problems to push her over the edge.
Making our characters miserable—it’s what authors do best!
The locations in your book are so rich and authentic. Have you been to or lived in Eastern Europe?
I’ve never been to Eastern Europe, but I did a lot of research. I became really good at using Mapquest maps and satellite pictures to scour countries for cities where I could put my circus. Once I had the locations, I read news articles about the places, browsed tourist review sites for details, researched flora and fauna, and looked at every picture I could find. Originally, I wanted the climax of the novel to be in Russia, but I stumbled on a polluted town in Romania with two abandoned factories. It became the town that’s featured in the finale (with a name change and some fictitious additions to make it super scary!).
How did you come to learn so much about the circus life? You really bring it to life in the book!
Research. Research. Research. I read everything I could find about circuses and performers. I watched lots of videos, including several of the big top being put together and raised. Fascinating stuff!
What’s your favorite part of the book? No spoilers!
Sylvie is a “bloodwalker” for her village, which means she prepares dead bodies for burial the way they did a hundred years ago, before mortuaries or funeral homes. My favorite parts were the anecdotes about times she was doing her job and things went wrong. The stories are a bit macabre and filled with black humor. I could write a whole novel on the weird ideas I came up with about mishaps when dealing with corpses!
How long did it take you from idea to formatted book?
Almost two years. The research, writing, getting feedback and revising took about a year. Then finding a publisher took 4 months (the first one I subbed to went out of business while I was waiting to hear from them!), and then cover design, final edits, getting ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) to reviewers, and final proofing took another 6 months.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I read a lot when I was a kid. I loved the sense of being taken away to other worlds full of adventure and scary things. I especially loved Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and Horror. The Horror novels of the 70s (like The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, and The Fog by James Herbert) inspired me as a young teen, and I wished I could become a Horror writer. I eventually did, after a thirty-year detour called real life and work.
What is an interesting or bizarre writing habit or quirk you have?
If I’m stuck on a plot point or can’t decide on something, I do the dishes or clean. The mindless activity helps my mind wander and find the answer. Or maybe it’s just the pretty soap bubbles…
Tease us about your next book? Will it be along similar lines to Bloodwalker?
I’m writing a novel now called Coldest Night. It’s about a wanted man who must come out of hiding when the tiny Alaskan town his wife and daughter live in suffers a toxic gas attack. It’s a Thriller but not very much like Bloodwalker.
However, I’m researching my next book, which will be more like Bloodwalker. It’s tentatively called Paris Underworld and is about a secretive society living in the Paris Catacombs who are being hunted by a serial killer. Since they’re illegals, they can’t go to the police. They know there’s only one man who has a chance to catch the killer. But that man was banned from their group for being a murderer himself.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I spend time on the internet and watching TV. But surfing the net and good TV shows inspire me with plot ideas, so even when I’m not actually writing, I’m usually thinking about writing!
What was the hardest part of writing Bloodwalker?
Everything. Coming up with the premise. Doing all the research. Outlining and then changing the plot ten times as I went along. Writing and re-writing. Getting feedback. Revising again and again. And again.
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