Murder in the streets and passion in the shadows.
Mysterious News congratulates USA Today bestselling author Julie Mulhern on the second book in her latest mysterious romance series.We featured book one, Bayou Moon last year.
You may remember her from her Country Club Murder series, but Julie writes mysterious historical romances set in New Orleans, too!
Excerpt of review from The Girl With Book Lungs:
Don't you just hate it when the ghost of your gambling father instructs you to retrieve a mysterious coin that he won in a hand of specter poker and then you have zombies and a possessed mob chasing you? If nothing else, it certainly makes it hard to do your work as a milliner to society ladies of New Orleans. Though it could just help you put to rest your fears and finally give in to love."
Bayou Nights is a dark but captivating paranormal story set in 1903 New Orleans. Hat maker Christine Lambert finds herself in possession of a fabled (and very highly sought after) piece of eight. As soon as her father instructs Christine on where and how to retrieve the treasure, a dangerous game is set in motion. Her father is now missing and Christine turns to her friend Trula (read all about Trula in A Haunting Desire) for help. Trula's husband sends Mattias Drake to Christine – much to her annoyance. From their first meeting, Christine and Drake seem more ready to battle one another than the evil gathering around them. But Julie Mulhern crafts a cunning story. The deeper Drake and Christine sink into the mysteries and the danger, the more resolved both of them are to solve the puzzle.
But there's so much more than a mystery, pirates, ghosts, and voodoo priestesses in Bayou Nights. The characters are truly the stars of this story; what begins as annoyance becomes a grudging appreciation and a desperate attraction that, hard as they both try, neither Drake nor Christine can ignore.
Bayou Nights is outstanding. Mysterious, evocative, and deeply satisfying in every way."
Julie Mulhern previously on Mysterious News
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Years before I saw my first Hitchcock film (The Birds on TV) I knew Alfred Hitchcock as a sort of mischievous uncle who would visit me each week and tell me a funny politically incorrect story.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents and later The Alfred Hitchcock Hour came on at bedtime, so my brother and I never got to watch it. But Mom would let us watch the intro. It was all quite tongue-in-cheek before we knew what that tongue-in-cheek was. Hitchcock's shadow would step into his signature caricature to a cartoonish macabre version of Charles Gounod's "The Funeral March of the Marionette."
He came off as a very polite, proper English gentleman who never took himself too seriously.
I'm not sure where Alfred Hitchcock first explained the difference between suspense and surprise, but I first heard it in a 1973 documentary TV series called The Men Who Made the Movies.
He referred to the storytelling technique in terms of "pictures" because that was his medium, but it's useful in any form of storytelling.
"There is a distinct difference between 'suspense' and 'surprise,' and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I'll explain what I mean.
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let's suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, 'Boom!' There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has been an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: 'You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!'
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story."
Because of my early exposure to Alfred Hitchcock, all of his movies, even Psycho are cozies for me. He made brief appearances in all of his films, initially to save money, and later, just for fun. That little wink helped me to surrender to whatever happened next. As hard as he worked to shock, surprise, or scare me, I knew that it was all in good fun.
If you haven't read The Catalonian Candidate Part One No Good Options, you'll find it here.
In 1959, Hitchcock gave us both suspense and surprise in the Cold War romantic comedy thriller North by Northwest that set the template for the spy movies and TV shows of the 1960s.
A few years after a crop duster buzzed Cary Grant, a helicopter buzzed Sean Connery in From Russia With Love. Leo G. Carroll, who played the head of an unspecified intelligence agency, took a similar position in The Man from Uncle. Martin Landau wound up on Mission Impossible.
Hitchcock's version of a Bond girl, Eva Marie Saint wasn't as overtly sexual as Ursula Andress who emerged from the sea in a bikini in Dr. No. More about that in Episode Four.
Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) was the first character to be mistaken for George Kaplan. Michael Santore is the second. We're about to see how he handles the predicament.
Previously on The Catalonian Candidate:
“I’m not that keen on the idea of hacking the computers of political candidates digging for dirt,” said Walter Forbes.
“I knew you wouldn’t be. I only want you looking at one candidate’s computers. I want you to do for Guy Morton what you already do for me,” Valentina Pontano Sternwood said.
He didn’t want to make a misstep here. “Could you be a little more specific?”
“I want you to attend to his vulnerability.”
Senator Morton asked Forbes, “What do you need from us to convince George we can use you?”
“We need to read both of your smartphone software configurations and forty-eight hours.”
“I’m not giving them my phone,” said Kaplan.
“What’s wrong, George?” Morton laughed. “You have something to hide?”
George Kaplan said, “I still need to change and get the senator downstairs in eleven minutes. Since you spotted the chauffeur, could you grab the speech from him and come right back up? I’ll be happy to make sure your words get read.”
Michael Santore thought for a moment. “Sure.”
“Good man!” said Kaplan. He took out his smartphone and punched in a password to display an ID that the campaign used like an e-wallet for internal security. “Chauffeur’s name is Travis. Just have him scan this and he’ll give you the speech.”
Michael Santore realized he was blindfolded, gagged, bound hand and foot, cold, soaked, and now frightened. He had been kidnapped.
She leaned in until her eyes were inches from his and then looked at him. Her lips were so close to his that he could feel the breath of each word on them: “Shall we proceed, Mr. Kaplan?”
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