QSFer Edward Kendrick has a new MM paranormal romance out: Darik Wilson, Ghost Talker.
Darik Wilson was normal young man in college until the day he stumbled across a man’s body in a local park. When he touched it, the man’s ghost appeared. It scared the hell out of Darik as the ghost of Cornell Albright begged him to find his murderer. He was the thirteenth victim of the serial killer dubbed as X for the way he laid out his victims. Cornell told Darik what little he recalled about his killer, which Darik passed on to Detective Lang, who believed in the paranormal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to find X, who ceased his murderous spree after Cornell’s death. Cornell stayed around, unable to move on because X was never caught.
Ten years later, X reappears. Darik is on the scene when the third of his victims is discovered, and with Cornell’s help he is able to talk to Morris and relay what he learns to Detective Lang. Now, Darik has two ghosts to contend with. At the same time, he meets Steve Grainger while out jogging. When Steve comes to Darik’s costume shop to rent a costume they strike up a tentative friendship, planning to run together at a park the following Sunday morning.
Things don’t go quite as they expected when X strikes again, killing a man who, in the early morning light might have been mistaken for Steve. Darik and Steve are there when a woman finds the body, at which point Steve discovers he, too, has the ability to see ghosts.
Now, the problem becomes, was Steve the intended victim? If so, will they be able to find and stop X, with the help of the three ghosts, before he strikes again?
“You though of something more?” Detective Lang asked when he came over, still holding the evidence bag with the dagger.
“That’s mine,” Darik told him. “I mean it belongs to the shop and …”
“And I rented it as part of a costume,” Steve said before Darik could finish. “For a party last night. Somewhere along the line I must have lost it. I swear I did! I swear I’m not the man who killed him or anyone else.”
Lang nodded, although he didn’t seem certain he believed him. “I’ll need your fingerprints,” he said, gesturing for one of the CSI people to join them. When she came over, he asked her to take Steve’s prints, which she did. Then he told Steve he was going to take him down to the precinct to question him further.
Steve swallowed hard and agreed to wait. “I didn’t do it.”
“I don’t think you did, but I still have to question you. You might remember something about when and where you lost the dagger.” Lang turned his attention to Darik. “I need to talk to you, too. I can do it here if you’ll come with me.”
Lang led Darik to the same bench where he and Steve had planned on meeting for their run. “Anything?” he asked.
“Yes. Not much and pretty much the same as everyone else. Big man, smelled, big hand to quote him. Do you know who he is?”
“His ID says he’s Edward Nelson. For the moment that’s all we know.” He shot Darik a sour look. “If you tell me he was one of your customers …”
“The name doesn’t ring a bell, but I’ll check,” Darik replied with a rueful smile. “If he only rented once, or quite a while ago, well …” He shrugged. “I don’t remember everyone who comes in.”
“Didn’t expect you would, but please check. Between Morris Burke, and now Mr. Grainger, this is beginning to feel strange.”
“I didn’t know the first two victims,” Darik pointed out.
“That you know of. You might want to see if they’re in your records, though.” Lang took a pad and pen from his pocket, wrote the names down, and handed the page to Darik.
“God, I hope they aren’t.”
Lang patted his shoulder. “I’m sure you do. All right, I have to get back to it. Let me know if the ghost of Mr. Nelson gets in touch with you again.”
“I will.” As soon as Lang left, Darik went back to wait with Steve, to give him moral support if nothing else.
Steve was standing by himself, well away from all the action. When Darik joined him, Steve said shakily, almost under his breath, “I saw him.”
“Who? The killer? How do you know it was him?”
“No, no.” Steve shook his head wildly, staring at the victim’s body, which was being put into a body bag. “Him.”
“He lives in the neighborhood?”
“I don’t know. Hell. I …” Steve turned away, chewing his lip. “You’re going to think I’m crazy but I swear by all that’s holy I thought I saw his ghost or his spirit or something floating above his body when I first got here but it couldn’t have been, could it?” He looked at Darik, his gaze pleading with him to tell him he’d been imagining it.
Darik debated how to reply. Do I tell him it was his imagination? Do I admit he wasn’t seeing things? That I saw Mr. Nelson’s ghost, too? That he has the same ability I do, although I think this is the first time it’s happened to him?
“Have you ever seen one before?” Darik asked, understanding how Steve must feel if this was the first time.
Steve shook his head and then, conversely, nodded. He started to walk away until Darik put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. “Tell me, please,” he said. “It helps to talk to someone.”
He took a gulping breath, his hands clenching. “I was a kid, ten, and while I was visiting my grandparents my grandmother died of a heart attack. I found her lying on the kitchen floor and screamed at her to wake up. No one believed me, but suddenly she was there and she told me she wished she could but it wasn’t possible. She said she loved me and wanted me to know she was going to a beautiful place to be with her parents. Then she was gone and my grandfather rushed in to see why I was screaming and …” He shuddered.
Darik slipped an arm around Steve’s shoulders. “That’s the only time until today?”
“Yes. They insisted it was impossible, that I’d imagined it because I loved her and didn’t want her to be gone. I believed them, after a while.” Steve smiled wanly. “That’s the only time I’ve been around a dead person, well except for a couple of funerals, until today.”
“Consider yourself lucky,” Darik replied dryly.
“Do you believe me?”
“I do. I really don’t have much choice because I saw him, too. Mr. Nelson’s ghost, that is.” Lang was coming toward them at that point, so Darik said, “We’ll talk more about it when he’s finished with you.”
“I don’t suppose …” Steve looked plaintively at Darik.
“That I can come with you? I will if the good detective allows it,” Darik replied, looking at Lang since he was within earshot at that point.
“Is there a reason you want to?” Lang asked.
“He needs moral support.”
“I’m not going to browbeat him, damn it.”
Darik chuckled. “I know that, he’s not quite so sure.”
Born and bred Cleveland, I earned a degree in technical theater, later switched to costuming, and headed to NYC. Finally seeing the futility of trying to become rich and famous in the Big Apple, I joined VISTA—Volunteers in Service to America—ending up in Chicago for three years. Then it was on to Denver, where I put down roots and worked as a costume designer until I retired in 2007.
I began writing a few years ago after joining an online fanfic group. Two friends and I then started a group for writers, where they could post any story they wished, no matter the genre or content. Since then, and for the last seven years, I’ve been writing for publication. My first book came out in February of 2011. Most, but not all, of my work is M/M, either mildly erotic or purely ‘romantic’. More often than not it involves a mystery or action/adventure, and is sometimes paranormal as well.