In print for the first time under de Lint's own name, a contemporary dark fantasy thriller. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
In this reissue of the versatile de Lint's (The Onion Girl) second "Samuel M. Key" novel, a darker take on his typically upbeat urban fantasies, a serial killer with a supernatural pedigree upsets the peaceful order of the city of Newford. Newspaper photographer Jim McGann stumbles on the first clues to the killer's identity when he spots the same young girl and a graffiti scrawl reading "Niki" in the background of crime scene photos for a succession of murdered teenage hookers. McGann's search for the elusive Niki dovetails with the investigations of homicide detective Thomas Morningstar, who spots unbelievable similarities between the crimes and the handiwork of Teddy Bird, a child killer whom he gunned down two years before. In the course of establishing that Bird's malignant spirit is alive and pursuing the terrified Niki for a reason, de Lint offers the reader some spectacularly horrific moments involving Creole voodoo, Native American mysticism and the strong-arm tactics of an Irish organized crime kingpin. The novel's central idea-that the killer is "the distilled essence of all that was wrong with the city"-is not terribly original, but it gives de Lint a unique angle from which to explore the social ills of the modern city and their impact on a cross-section of well-drawn characters. Fans who missed the book in 1992 will welcome this sidebar to his better known work. (Jan. 27) FYI: De Lint won a World Fantasy Award for his novel Moonlight and Vines (1999). Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 1991
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Excerpt from From a Whisper to a Scream by Charles de Lint
Thomas Morningstar was on traffic duty that month. He didn't mind the eight-to-four shift, but unlike most of the cops he worked with, he preferred a night foot patrol. Being stuck in a car for most of the day just made him antsy. When you walked a beat, you still felt as though you had some connection to the world around you. The stars kept you company, distanced only by the haze of lights that the city cast up into the darkness. The wind knew where to find you.
The blue-and-white patrol car, with the gold badge of the Newford Police Department on its doors, was too confining. The squawk of the radio, trapped between metal and glass, was a constant irritation. Looking out at the street through a windshield was too much like observing the world through the glass screen of a television set.
But he could be patient. This was his last day on traffic. Two days off, and he'd be back to hoofing it once more: evening shift, walking a one-armed post along Grasso Street. But before that he had to go up to the reserve to see his father.
Big Dan Morningstar was the elected chief of the Kickaha Reserve. He considered Thomas, his eldest son, to be his only failure.
"You want to be a cop, why don't you join the Tribal Police " he demanded at least once on every visit Thomas made. "But no. You want to pretend to be a white man. You want to marry a white girl. You're ashamed of your people and that brings me shame. Why can't you be more like your brother "
John was unemployed and still lived with their parents, but that was never brought up, because his politics were correct. Still, he, at least, understood Thomas's position.
Thomas wasn't ashamed of his heritage; he just didn't want to live on the reserve. That was the reason he had entered law enforcement, but not simply to escape. He truly believed that the only hope for his people to find a prosperous future was for them to meet white society on its own terms, to have a say in the making and keeping of its laws, while still maintaining links with their own traditions. And was it his fault that the woman who stole his heart was white Why should it make any difference what color Angie's skin was so long as they loved each other
He would sit on the porch of his parents' house with those thoughts in mind, but he no longer voiced them. He would keep his face stoic as he listened to his father, and he wouldn't argue. He'd long since given up trying to change his father's mind.
His mother had never expressed her feelings on the subject, but she didn't need to. Thomas could always sense her unspoken approval. It was to see her and John that he tried to come by at least a couple of times a month. Angie never drove up with him.
He thought of Angie now as he headed north on Williamson, where it cut through the Tombs, and was only half paying attentionto the driver in the vehicle ahead of him. The radio squawked, and the dispatch receiver informed all units of a possible domestic over in the Rosses. Thomas was close enough to catch the squeal and reached for the microphone, but another unit beat him to it.