Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The world hasn’t been the same since the preternaturals came out of the closet. Much to many people’s chagrin, strange beings of all kinds are making life tricky for the “normals.” Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and ghoulies of all sorts.
Physics professor Dr. Sabine Brusilov has been obsessed with ghost hunting since he was eight years old. He’s gathered a wealth of knowledge, but can’t produce a shred of scientific proof. Almost. When Sabines found some old artifacts and bones at the bottom of a river, the last thing he expected was to see a ghost desolately sitting on the river bed next to them. Now the ghost is a constant presence in Sabine’s life, including his bed.
One hundred and seventy-five years of death haven’t done riverboat gambler Barton Montoire a damn bit of good. He’s still rash, impulsive, and prone to fits of temper and bouts of melancholy. He’s still trying to fit together pieces of his past, although the way he died, gunshot to the chest, feels as fresh as the day it happened over a game of cards. Now he spends his days and nights haunting the very handsome and gay Dr. Sabine Brusilov.
You’d think that when fate brought the two of them together, Bart’s lonely spirit would be calmed, and Sabine would have the proof his heart desires. But their future is as cloudy as Barton’s past, especially when a new evil arrives in town.
In a world where mythical beings are real, love is still the most elusive… and treacherous myth of them all.
Here we are at the start of another round of Pulp Friction stories, Drawing Dead: Jack of Spades by Lee Brazil, and it has all the hallmarks of a most memorable series. Taking place in New Orleans, whose name conjures up ghastly past events, hauntings and romance, Brazil’s characters and plot fit right in.
First is Dr. Dr. Sabine Brusilov, an intense physics professor and hunter of ghosts. Sabine is such an intently focused human being that he lurks on the edge of being self involved to the point of obsession and obliviousness to those around him. He is one character I hope shows some emotional growth as the storyline progresses because he comes close to dividing the main characters into two teams. Team Sabine and Team Barton. His careless treatment (in my eyes) or perhaps just lack of concern towards Barton comes close to derailing any affection I feel towards Sabine. Luckily, his lover more than made up for Sabine’s inadequacies in the personality department. Barton I adore. Ten years ago, while hunting for artifacts, Sabine came across some bones and personal objects buried in the river bottom. Sitting next to them? Their dead and now ghostly owner, riverboat gambler Barton Montoire.
That aspect of the story just drew me in. I love the idea of a ghost of outrageous character and gorgeous to boot and that’s Barton Montoire! He’s definitely my favorite character. Dressed in the clothes in which he died 175 years ago, he cuts quite the figure. In Barton, Brazil has created a vivid character, voluble and emotional (well, who wouldn’t be given his circumstances), whose memories and personality is still somewhat frayed by the “whole dead thing” experience. Barton is not only charismatic but made sympathetic by the way he is forced to “live” his ghostly existence. He can only be seen and heard by Sabine (at first), and he is restricted in movement and to specific locations by Sabine’s will. If Sabine doesn’t want him to travel with him, Barton is stuck in Sabine’s quarters, alone and frustrated. If Barton has anger issues (and he does), they are ones the reader can relate to. Really, he makes the story for me.
Sabine now runs a Dead Mens Tales Investigative Service and thats the plot point which introduces the mystery that launches an investigation that will threaten to bring both men, alive and dead, permanently down. Brazil does an excellent job of easing us into this portion of the plot. Sabine gets a phone call from an elderly woman, who may be dotty but is also definitely afraid of the tenants upstairs in her house. His initial investigation provokes a few jitters but the worse is yet to come. Little by little Brazil takes a mild case of suspicion and builds it into something ominous and heavy with evil intent. I loved that! It definitely gave me goose bumps. And using a gambler’s or magician’s sleight of hand, while our attention is focused in one direction, something equally awful and startling is happening in the other direction, just put a wonderful finishing flourish to all the events unfolding. In a totally scary and creepy way of course.
As the story heads towards its cliffhanger, other characters are introduced, some from the Altered States stories of Harner and Webb and others new and central to the Pulp Friction interconnected series. Be on the look out for wolfshifter Jet (from Altered States), Laurant the incubus from Havan Brazil’s series, among many others. I can’t wait to see what parts they all will play in the drama to come.
I definitely recommend this story and series. It’s haunting, dynamic and full of elements that will draw you in. Love supernatural tales? Ones full of mystery, romance and dread? This one’s for you. Along with all the others to follow. Get started today!
Cover art by Laura Harner. I love this cover and all the covers I’ve seen for the Pulp Friction series. Just gorgeous.
Published February 13th 2015 by Lime Time Press
About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner
The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
One supernatural finale.
Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner
Not familiar with the Altered States series? Check them all out here:
Books in the Altered States Series in the order they should be read:
• Altered States (Altered States, #0.5)
• Deep Blues Goodbye (Altered States, #1)
• Deadly Shades of Gold (Altered States, #2)
• Free Falling Crimson (Altered States, #3)