KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where, every Wednesday, readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
The life of a magician isn’t all kiddie shows and card tricks. Sometimes it’s murder. Especially when magician Eli Marks very publicly debunks a famed psychic, and said psychic ends up dead. The evidence, including a bloody King of Diamonds playing card (one from Eli’s own Ambitious Card routine), directs the police right to Eli.
As more psychics are slain, and more King cards rise to the top, Eli can’t escape suspicion. Things get really complicated when romance blooms with a beautiful psychic, and Eli discovers she’s the next target for murder, and he’s scheduled to die with her. Now Eli must use every trick he knows to keep them both alive and reveal the true killer.
THE AMBITIOUS CARD, an Eli Marks Mystery by JOHN GASPARD
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you I’m generally a positive person. But even I had to admit, this was a bad situation.
After the heavy wooden door closed behind us with an unforgiving finality, I’d come to a sudden insight—when it comes to being in the dark, there’s dark-dark and then there’s inside-a-cave dark.
We were definitely in the latter.
I’d never been in a place so dark, where the blackness of the space jostled up against us like an aggressive, surly crowd on a subway during rush hour.
My head was spinning from the lack of oxygen and even though I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, I was starting to see spots in front of my eyes. My lungs ached with each breath I took, the carbon monoxide that filled the cave a poor substitute for the oxygen I’d foolishly taken for granted until this relatively late point in life.
We shuffled and slogged through the inky darkness. My foot slipped on a loose rock, hurdling me forward, where a stalagmite—or is it a stalactite?—connected with my forehead, breaking my fall. My head was now covered with small scrapes and contusions, and in the darkness I couldn’t tell whether it was blood or sweat running down my face. I imagine it was a pretty even mixture of both.
Oh, and did I mention the bats? Well, I don’t know how I could have forgotten them.
The flurry of winged pests had been just as surprised to encounter us as we had been to encounter them, leaving us the warm and sticky recipients of a rich shower of bat guano. It covered our hair and shoulders, a warm stream that slithered down my spine, making me wish I could actually remove my skin and send it out for cleaning. And as luck would have it, moments after the first battalion departed to points unknown, we were hit with yet a second wave of bat pee, the furry winged bastards slicing across the tops of our heads while their piercing screeches whizzed past our ears.
Even though I had more pressing concerns at the moment, I once again rebuked myself for getting us into this situation. It could have been avoided, I really think it could have.
Things would have turned out quite differently, I’m convinced, if I’d closed my act with something other than The Ambitious Card.
Had it been the cups and balls or the linking rings or a cut and restored rope or any of a hundred other tricks, I might be sitting home in front of the television right now happily munching popcorn, instead of asphyxiating in a cave while marinating in bat pee. But, as they say, hindsight is twenty/twenty, a lesson I appear to be learning and re-learning every day—even in the deadly pitch blackness of this stupid cave.
In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films.
His blog, Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts, has been named “One of the 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers” and “One of The 100 Best Blogs For Film and Theater Students.” He’s also written for TV and the stage.
John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.
Links to John’s website, blog, books, etc.
Buy The Ambitious Card: http://henerypress.com/books-humorous-mystery-series-book/the-ambitious-card/
John’s Website: http://www.johngaspard.com/
John’s Blog: http://fastcheapmoviethoughts.blogspot.com/
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: John will give away one copy of his novel, THE AMBITIOUS CARD, to one of his lucky readers who comments on his Monday Interview or Wednesday Book Bench blogs!! Don’t miss this chance to read an Eli Marks Mystery!! Thanks, John, for sharing your stories with us!