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Announcement: Murderous Requiem, by Jamie Fessenden

Murderous RequiemQSFer Jamie Fessenden has a new mystery/paranormal book out:

Jeremy Spencer never imagined the occult order he and his boyfriend, Bowyn, started as a joke in college would become an international organization with hundreds of followers. Now a professor with expertise in Renaissance music, Jeremy is drawn back into the world of free love and ceremonial magick. The old jealousies and hurt that separated him from Bowyn eight years ago no longer seem significant.

Then Jeremy begins to wonder if the centuries-old score he’s been asked to transcribe hides something sinister. With each stanza, local birds flock to the old mansion, a mysterious fog descends upon the grounds, and bats swarm the temple dome. During a séance, the group receives a cryptic warning from the spirit realm. And as the music’s performance draws nearer, Jeremy realizes it may hold the key to incredible power—power somebody is willing to kill for.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2013.


I KNEW his voice. Even after eight years, it was familiar and ordinary, as if he were just calling to see if I wanted him to pick up something on the way home. I knew it was Bowyn, though he’d said nothing more than “Hey, it’s me.”

That’s how he always began a phone conversation. At least, with me.

“Who is this?”

“Come on, Jeremy. Don’t play games.”

I sighed and dropped the pretense. “All right, Bowyn. What can I
do for you?”

“I need to see you. It’s important.”

Embarrassed that I’d become instantly erect at the thought of seeing him again, I thanked God he wasn’t there to see the tent in my bathrobe. It had been almost a decade, but the mere sound of that soft, smooth voice was enough to make me horny as hell. I wanted him. I wanted him as badly as I had every day we’d been together.

“I don’t know—”

“Seth has acquired a document,” he rushed ahead, trying to stop me from hanging up. “One you need to see.”

The mention of that name quenched my desire as though someone had tossed a bucket of ice water on my crotch. It wasn’t that I hated Seth. Once I’d loved him—almost as much as I’d loved Bowyn. But things had been… awkward… when I left. And it still hurt to think about. “I’m sorry. I really don’t have the time.”

“An original manuscript by Ficino,” Bowyn went on as if I hadn’t spoken. “And it includes a mass written in four-part harmony.”

Marsilio Ficino was a fifteenth-century philosopher and doctor. He’d been responsible for translating the complete works of Plato from Greek into Latin and was well-known for his own writings on philosophy and magic, including works on the healing properties of music. I’d done my master’s thesis on Ficino. Bowyn had helped me organize my notes and critiqued several of my drafts.

“It’s a fake, Bowyn. Ficino wrote about music, and he composed some pieces for the lyre, but he never wrote anything as complex as a polyphonic mass.”

“We can’t know for certain it was written by him—not yet—but it does date to the late fifteenth century,” Bowyn explained patiently. “Seth has someone in Greece working on a translation of the libretto, but he needs someone with your expertise to transcribe the Renaissance musical notation into modern notation.”

“Greece?” I asked.

“The libretto is in ancient Greek.”

It wasn’t impossible. Ficino had known ancient Greek, of course. But most of his work had been written in an archaic Italian dialect, and the text of a mass—the libretto—would generally be in Latin.

“Maureen?” Our friend Maureen had helped us with ancient Greek translations when we were in college.

“No. We couldn’t track her down. But we found a professor at the University of Crete who was willing to do it.”

I grabbed a mug from the kitchen cupboard, filled it with water, and set it in the microwave. It was more for something to do, to stop my hands from shaking, than a desperate need for tea.

“Ficino was a skilled musician and singer,” I protested. “But a polyphonic mass…?”

“That’s why we need you, Jeremy. You’re the only one Seth trusts for this.”

“Why me?”

“Because you’re one of the Brethren.”

I slammed the box of tea I’d taken from the cupboard down on the counter, my temper flaring. “I am not one of the goddamned Brethren!”

Bowyn laughed gently. The bastard had always found it cute when I lost my temper.

“Damn it, Bowyn! How many years do I have to put between me and that place before Seth will acknowledge that I’m gone?”

“You know how he is,” he responded soothingly. “He considers you family, no matter what.”

I bit back an angry response. He was right. Seth was incapable of processing the idea that anyone could ever leave him. At a fundamental level, he was convinced everyone adored him. Once I had adored him….

That I was capable of doing the transcription, I had no doubt. Earlier in the week, I’d been in London, where I’d been transcribing Renaissance musical pieces at the British Museum for a planned article on performance variations. It was a demanding task. The notation was very different from modern musical notation, and damage to a manuscript often rendered sections difficult or impossible to read. Educated guesses had to be made to fill in the gaps. But I had years of experience, and I was good at it.

It’s impossible to describe to someone who isn’t as fanatical about Renaissance music as I am just how my pulse started racing at the idea of working with an untranslated, untouched original document by Marsilio Ficino. Perhaps not as mind-blowing as it would be for a Christian scholar to get his hands on something written by one of the apostles… but pretty close. Bowyn knew me and knew I would never be able to resist bait like that.

But I’d closed the door on my life at the Temple, and I had no desire to reopen it. I made one last attempt to at least keep myself safely rooted in Durham, rather than make the trip up north. “Look, Bowyn, if Seth really wants me to work on this, have him e-mail me high-resolution photos—”

“You’re taking the semester off to work on a paper,” Bowyn chided. “The receptionist in the music department told me.”

“Vivian needs to stop giving information to strangers on the phone.”

“We only need you for a week, Jeremy. Maybe two. You’ll know better than me once you’ve had a look at it. I’ll be at your place tomorrow afternoon to pick you up.”

Then he hung up while I was still trying to think of a response. The bastard knew he’d won. I’d never been able to deny him anything.

Except once.

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Author Bio

Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010.

After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his “day job” as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.


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