Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome Lorel Clayton with their book Tangle of Thornes. The first book in the Eva Thorne Series
We will have info about the book and author. A great excerpt from the book.
Make sure to check everything out and go and show some love and add the book to your TBR 😉
Happy Reading 🙂
When Eva’s brother is murdered in a city of rude elves and matriarchal dwarves where humans have no rights, she is forced to investigate the crime herself. What she discovers brings her up against a powerful slave-trading cartel, dark gods, and—worst of all—her twin sister. Both her family and the elven authorities want her hushed. She has no money and no magic of her own with which to combat them, but she does have an illegally-freed slave, a senile nanny, and an ex-almost-boyfriend on her side. Even when she nearly loses her job and almost loses her head in a sword fight on the same night, she isn’t deterred. It’s when the nanny goes missing that she really starts to worry.
Femme fatale turns hard-boiled investigator in this first Eva Thorne novel. Set in a fantasy world where magic and machines can’t stand against the God of Death, humans are on the run from the god’s invasion. Highcrowne is the only refuge, but that means living in the Outskirts of an ancient city ruled by Avian mages, indifferent dwarves, and elves who’d prefer to see humans as their slaves. It’s worst for Eva’s people, Solhans, because they were the ones who summoned the Dead God into the world. No one wants her kind in Highcrowne and there are plenty who would be happy to see her brother dead. There are too many motives and not enough time to unravel them, because other people are dying … and Eva is fast running out of vacation time.
I’ve read a few of those hard-boiled detective novels. You know, The Maltese Griffin, Murder on the Troll Road…the classics. None of them ever mentioned the smell. Mister Hylar, my last hope, smelled like old sweat mixed with fermented stomach contents, some of which stained his shirt collar. City elves were like their country cousins, filthy.
The detective lounged at his desk, cigar in his mouth, glass of whisky at his elbow. When he took a swig from the bottle, the caramel alcohol scent swirled with the cloud of cheap cologne he wore. I thought I might pass out.
I pinched my nose shut and tried to bat my eyelashes like every femme fatale should. The effect was ruined by the hand clamped over my nose and how green I was turning. I wasn’t a good femme fatale. That’s another thing those detective stories never told you—how tough it was to be the dame with a problem.
“I’m in trouble,” I said nasally.
Mr. Hylar turned his full attention to the near empty glass, seeming to wonder if he should bother with the sip remaining. He shrugged and chugged it back, decision made.
“Look.” I tried again. “My brother died and left me a fortune.” All my life I’d been told to keep Thorne troubles in the family, not to show weakness. Yet, here I was asking for help and hating it.
“A fortune? How is that bad? Other than your brother being deceased of course. Though, with you people, it might not be.” The detective curled his lip. I was accustomed to the expression and the way he said, ‘you people’. He meant Solhans, like me. We were a whole different category of human, one other races tended to hate. Not without good reason.
I needed the elf, so I closed my nose tighter and went on. “Viktor was attacked in an alley…his heart cut out.”
He perked up with professional interest. “Odd for a robbery.”
“Nothing stolen, not even his jeweled dagger. Where did Viktor get one anyway? My brother always had the same vow of poverty as me.”
“You’re broke?” The detective sat up, ready to see me out.
“Not anymore. Remember?”
He slouched back in his chair and eyed me head to toe, not like he was appraising a client but more like he was looking to buy property. “Right. I’m listening. What’s your name, gorgeous?”
“Thorne.” He stood all the way up this time, crossed the room and held open the door. “Sorry.”
Was he kicking me out? “My brother was murdered. People are saying it was me, but I loved him. I need to find his killer. You are a private investigator?”
“Private means I choose my clients. I don’t choose you or your troubles.”
I wanted to smash that cigar into his face, but I kept my anger in check. “What should I do then?”
“Talk to the City Guard.” He took my arm.
I pulled away, not about to let him push me around. “Why won’t you help me?”
“I’m not the first person you came to.”
I should have known. These jerks were all in the same business and talked to one another. “The other guy took off with my money. He never got back to me.”
“Your last detective, Oberon, is dead, murdered, and he was better than me. Whoever killed your brother is making sure no one finds out. I advise you to go home, have a good cry, and be done with it. Your brother isn’t coming back, assuming he was cremated. He was, I hope?”
“Of course.” I was off balance from hearing the dwarf I’d hired was dead, Gypsum’s brother-in-law. She would be upset when she found out.
“Best if we all get on with our lives.” The detective took advantage of my daze to usher me to the exit.
I was stunned. Other people were dying? What had Viktor been into? The elf nudged me the last few inches out the door. I wobbled on unfamiliar heels and then there was nothing but unvarnished wood in my face. The lock clicked.
The shock wore off along with any desire to keep up the pretense I was a lady. I was mad. I kicked off the heels, tore the large, decorative pin out of my hair, and stabbed it right into the ‘P’ of ‘Stanley Hylar Private Detective’ painted on the door. It thunked like a throwing knife hitting its target.
“If you’re going to sit around all day and do nothing, Stanley, you might as well take a bath,” I screamed, making sure he heard me. I turned on my bare toes and fumed down the hall and all the way out to the street.
Lorel and Clayton were teen sweethearts, brought together by a fierce love of books (and hormones). Despite being married for almost 30 years, they are still madly in love and still writing. As writing partners, they meld logic, creativity, and genres. Fantasy, science-fiction, mystery, horror, steampunk, thriller, romance, classics … they read them all, and if they can mix them they will!
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Still reading? Want to know more?
Lorel has a PhD in molecular biology and Once Upon a Time did cancer research before turning to the dark side (aka marketing), but she uses her powers for good, helping raise funds for charity. She loves books, movies and animals, and would gladly spend all day with a cat on her lap and the wind in her hair (Conan reference there), while tapping out a story on her keyboard. Or maybe a movie script. With coffee of course. And lots of chocolate!
Clayton is an artist and has recently tackled digital painting, mostly because there’s a hyperactive six-year-old boy running around the house (their gorgeous son, in case you were wondering if that’s normal). Clayton is severely dyslexic but loves books and storytelling. He adds vast imagination and a discerning ear for effective prose to their creative collaboration, not to mention the book cover art.
Born and raised in the western United States, they traveled to Sydney, Australia in 1997 and never left, finding the sunshine and beaches of “Oz” too irresistible. Look them up if ever you’re Down Under.