We're giving away three print copies of Concealed in Ash for Halloween! Enter now.
Our victim was spread too awkwardly on the floor for him to have been simply knocked out by a piece of falling debris. He could have died from the smoke, but the fire had not traveled much beyond the bed. I cleaned the grime from my own spectacles with my handkerchief and moved to where I could examine him more closely. That’s when I saw the bullet holes. One entered through the back of his head, ranged downward, and removed the lower portion of his face. The other shot had been fired into his back.
Gwen Mayo's second novel, Concealed in Ash, is now available on Kindle. The print version will soon be available.
Former Pinkerton Agent Nessa Donnelly has nearly forgotten life before trading in her skirts for her brother's suit. As “Ness Donnelly”, she’s become Kentucky's most prominent detective, but her success is built upon a foundation of lies. Now she must help Doc Haydon, the county medical examiner, identify a murder victim discovered in the ashes of Lexington's Phoenix Hotel. The victim is Fergus O’Brien, Mary Katherine McGuire’s uncle. Nessa first met Mary Katherine on a blind date, and their relationship bloomed. Beulah, her beloved housekeeper and ally, warns Nessa that she is creating expectations, but Nessa waves her off.
Unfortunately, evidence from the hotel room puts Mary Katherine at the scene on the night of the fire. The more Nessa learns, the stronger the case against Mary Katherine grows. Worst of all, though, Doc Haydon has taken an interest in Mary Katherine himself – which bothers Nessa far more than she thinks it should.
When a colored boy is charged with murdering O’Brien, a white man, Nessa’s first reaction is relief. Professor Percival Pettijohn, a quirky inventor, pleads with Nessa to save Jake, his young assistant, from the gallows. The lad had good reason to kill O'Brien, but Pettijohn is certain he was framed. Nessa is reluctant to help until she discovers that Pettijohn's assistant is Beulah’s grandson.
Haydon, Donnelly, and Pettijohn put their lives on the line as a mob attempts to lynch the youngster. Stopping the mob once is not enough; O'Brien was involved with the Red Strings, a vigilante group with Northern sympathies. They show up in force, along with their mortal enemies, the Ku Klux Klan. Finding the real killer is the only hope Jake has, but this means Nessa must place herself between the Klan and the Red Strings.
Get ready for the long-awaited sequel to Gwen Mayo's first novel! We'll be launching it in the next few days.
This book has been a long time coming. Gwen's work on Concealed in Ash was interrupted when we made a radical life change - moving from Kentucky to Florida - due to life circumstances. But it was only an interruption, and we're pleased to share the good news with you!
Stay tuned for more information.
Gwen Mayo's first novel, Circle of Dishonor, is now available on Kindle again. The print version will follow shortly.
Nessa Donnelly and her brother were Pinkerton agents during the Civil War. After her brother was murdered by the Knights of the Golden Circle, she took his identity and pursued them. Fifteen years later, she's still living under her brother's name, looking for the killers. When Lexington prostitute Belle Brezing comes to her for help, Nessa follows a string of bodies that lead her to the Knights... but if she's not careful, she could be their next trophy.
This revision (the original was published by Pill Hill Press) reveals more details about Nessa Donnelly's background. It also contains a section of historical notes after the story.
If you didn't catch the novel in its first run, grab it now. The sequel, Concealed in Ash, will be out later this year.
"Mayo’s depiction of late-19th century Kentucky is fascinating, and the mystery is ably handled. The author has a knack for the telling detail, giving us a picture of a society struggling to recover from the consequences of the Civil War. Recommended."
History and Mystery, Oh My! is a finalist in the Short Fiction category for the 2015 FAPA President's Award. The Florida Authors & Publishers Association awards these annually. Monstermatt Patterson took the gold last year with Ha-Ha! Horror.
HMOM is up against two other story collections for the gold.
The awards will be given on August 8th. Keep your fingers crossed!
In other news: the winner of the Goodreads Giveaway is Barbara in Florida. And no, we don't know her. :) We had 715 entries for the drawing, which is our highest total ever.
Mystery and Horror, LLC, is an indie press interested in what the name suggests.
Ha Ha! Horror