Monday, August 2, 2010

Exclusive Peek: The Banshee's Walk by Frank Tuttle

From Frank Tuttle:



“The Banshee’s Walk” is the fifth book in my Markhat series. It’s also *the* pivotal book, because it’s in this book that hero Markhat and his lady love Darla finally confront the nature of their relationship.

For those unfamiliar with the Markhat series, Markhat is a professional finder. If you’ve lost something, or someone, Markhat will find it (or them) for you, for a fee. He’s much like a private detective in out world – but Markhat’s world is most certainly not ours.

Magic is part of Markhat’s everyday reality. Rannit, Markhat’s sprawling, bustling hometown, is shoulder-to-paw with ogres, soothsayers, whammy men, and the halfdead. Ghosts walk. The shadows hide murder and mayhem, sorcery and scoundrels; the streets are crowded with the working poor, all of whom just want to get home before dark and live through another night.

For many, the wise-cracking cynic Markhat is their last and only hope.

The world-weary private eye is a familiar trope to many readers. But Markhat is different in many respects, chief among them his long-time relationship with Darla Tomas.

Markhat made it plain at the outset that he simply wasn’t going to tolerate being cast as a womanizing cad. None of that new-flame-every-title business for him. And when he met Darla in “Hold the Dark,” he quickly became eager to see her name appear in every adventure thereafter.

There have been a few successful man-and-women detective series. There have been quite a few failures, too. So what am I, the reluctant arbiter of Markhat and Darla’s fates, to do?

“The Banshee’s Walk” answers this, in a way I hope readers will enjoy. Markhat takes on a case that takes him out of Rannit entirely, and deep into a thick, sparsely populated rural area where something foul is definitely afoot. And in the midst of the mayhem, he and Darla confront the very simply question “Will you, or won’t you?”

And the answer is – read the book!

Exclusive Excerpt:

Buttercup was frantic. She was running into walls, knocking over furniture, tearing cushions off the couch, looking anywhere, everywhere, for a way out. She wasn’t howling anymore. It took me a moment to realize that mewling sound she was making was crying.

I struggled to stand upright. I forced my voice to some semblance of normalcy.

“You know me,” I said. The banshee hurled a lamp at the wall, started clawing at the wood. “Buttercup. Listen to me. I am not going to let anyone hurt you.”

She began to strike the oak panels with her fists. Her back was to me. I walked slowly toward her, and when I was close enough I laid a hand on her shoulder.

“You know me,” I said. “Remember? Corn bread? The woods?”

She whirled.

I tried to smile. I managed not to step back.

I reached forward, pushed her hair out of her face. She managed to open her eyes. It was only then I realized they been stinging from the soapy water. “See? It’s me. You’re not afraid of me, are you?”

Gertriss wisely stood very still, and remained very quiet. Buttercup’s eyes darted toward her, and her mouth turned down in a tiny pout.

“That’s Aunt Gertriss,” I said. “She’s nice too. She was just giving you a bath. She has clothes for you too. Pretty clothes.”

Buttercups’ gaze turned back toward me, and she smiled, and took my hand.

“Good,” I said. “Now then—let’s put this gown on you. Gertriss? Very slowly?”

Gertriss took a small, slow step.

Buttercup snatched my left shoe off the floor and managed to fling it right toward Gertriss’s face. Gertriss deflected the shoe with the blanket, which she then flung at Buttercup, and Buttercup managed to move herself and me right behind Gertriss, where the banshee grabbed Gertriss’s dressing gown at the neck and gave it a good furious banshee yank.

Gertriss shrieked, and her dressing gown fell. Buttercup giggled, and at that very moment Fate arranged for my door to fly open and for Darla, my Darla, to walk in.

For a moment, all was stillness and silence.

There was Gertriss, mostly naked. There was Buttercup the freshly bathed banshee, completely naked and hanging onto a Markhat who was naked from the waist up. The floor was covered in cast-off clothing of both male and female varieties. Obeying some capricious law of garment behavior, a pair of Gertriss’s bloomers was hanging from a lamp.

Darla merely nodded at me, raised her right eyebrow and put her left hand on her left hip.

“I see you’re keeping busy, darling. I didn’t knock because I was told you were mortally wounded. I’m pleased to see you’re not. Yet.”

Momma Hog stepped into my room, joined by Evis, who was swathed from head to toe in yards of pure black silk.

Mama gobbled something incomprehensible at Gertriss, who wrapped herself in the blanket and fled for my bathroom.

Evis broke into hissing vampire laughter. He doubled over. He did manage to hide his mouthful of fangs behind a black-gloved hand.

And then Darla marched past Gertriss, pushed Buttercup gently aside and kissed me on the lips.

“So dear, tell me all about your day.”


Summary from Publisher's website:

No secret stays buried forever.

A Markhat novel.

When patron of the arts Lady Erlorne Werewilk hires Markhat to identify the parties who are stealthily mapping out the Lady’s estate by moonlight, Markhat anticipates the usual—greedy relatives or rapacious neighbors plotting a land grab. After all, muses Rannit’s most feckless Finder, the Lady runs a colony filled with young artists. Aside from snits over color and perspective, how dangerous could a squabble over a backwoods house possibly be?

With new partner Gertriss in tow, Markhat takes the Lady’s case. Before the first night is done, the house is visited by murder, mayhem, and the haunting wail of what may be a genuine banshee, come to herald not just one death, but the deaths of all within. Trapped in a house under siege, Markhat must make a desperate gamble with an old enemy to win the race to unlock the secret that lies beneath the Lady’s lands. And find a way to turn that secret against the powerful forces converging on House Werewilk.

Available at Samhain Publishing (ebook).

3 comments:

Sunny said...

Darla is such a woman! I like her confidence.

Interesting story. Would this be leaning toward urban fantasy?

dor said...

I love the characters and the story line. I really love it. Thanks for the review. I love romance.....alot!

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Frank Tuttle said...

Thanks for the comments! Darla says hello!

Frank Tuttle

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