Mind the Gap
The Hidden Cities Book 1
by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy Thriller
"The super-fast pacing and creepy touches give this teen adventure plenty of character."--Publishers Weekly
Returning to her home in London, teen Jasmine Towne realizes just how long she’s been training for the moment she would be on her own. Her paranoid mother’s last words, scrawled in her own blood, demand her action: JAZZ HIDE FOREVER. In this moment, the strange men who have always hung around her family’s life—whom her mother called the Uncles—become starkly sinister. And they’re on her trail.
Seeking cover in the Underground, Jazz slips through a mysterious gate, down tunnels, and seemingly through time. Inside an abandoned city of bomb shelters and forgotten Tube stations, she finds temporary refuge with a gang of petty thieves. Flashes of the past, spectral and haunting, share the tunnels…with no regard for the living. For how long can Jazz hide from the terrors of both her worlds?
To what lengths would you go to undo the pain of the past?
"Golden and Lebbon have far outstripped their past efforts with this wonderfully creepy thriller of a ghost story." --Publishers Weekly starred review
"Golden and Lebbon vividly evoke the rich, enduring character of New Orleans, as well as spinning a compelling fantasy yarn that builds momentum as Max works his way through the city's history." --Booklist
Max Corbett has returned to New Orleans for the funeral of his former girlfriend, Gabrielle Doucette, but between the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of his ruined relationship, the city feels alien.
At Gabrielle's graveside, Max meets Ray. Over a bottle of bourbon in a dive bar, the two discuss Gabrielle's unique connection to the city. Ray suggests that this connection might mean her tragic death is not truly her end. And he happens to know a real magic practitioner—not some Bourbon Street phony—who could open a window to the past and send a warning to Gabrielle. Maybe Max can even deliver the warning in person? Ray offers him a cheap map and says the process is simple. Follow the charted moments to build up a little bit of magical clout and then find the man with the gift.
Surging with liquid courage, Max takes the ludicrous tourist map and sets off. But it turns out this quest is not so easy. When Max enters the First Moment, he is drawn into the fabric of history to witness dark and violent periods, and with each passing step, a grim conspiracy is revealed. Suddenly in too deep, there is nowhere for Max to go but through. But when you trudge through a swamp, you're going to get muddy.
Corinne drove south on Interstate 10 with the windows down, making a wind tunnel out of her beat-up old Chevy Corsica. Max didn’t complain. The car had no air-conditioning, and the afternoon was warm and humid. Back home in Boston, November meant chilly days and chillier nights. But that Louisiana day, winter felt a whole world away.
“Thanks for coming to get me,” he said, fifteen minutes south of the airport.
“Not a problem. Guy like you, if you’d gotten a rental, you’d probably have been carjacked before you got anywhere near your hotel.”
Max stared at her, waiting for the smile. It didn’t come.
Corinne kept both hands on the wheel and her eyes straight ahead. There’d been precious little small talk at the airport, and even less since.
“We’re a little short on jokes down here, lately,” she said. “So yeah, I’m serious. It’s rough. The city’s still reeling.” She trailed off, but Max sensed that she had more to say, so he gave her the silence in which to speak. After a pause, she did. “They’ve got hundreds of dead folk in a warehouse over by the Superdome. Doing DNA tests, supposedly, trying to figure out who they all are. If I hadn’t laid claim to Gaby, she’d probably still be over there. Maybe forever. French Quarter’s back up and running, other parts of the city, too. High ground. You’ll be fine in your hotel. But some areas, it’s still a war zone. Might as well be in Baghdad. A lot of the folks that left, maybe most of ’em, aren’t ever coming back. Some places, it’s like the apocalypse came. There’s talk of rebuilding, but it’s never gonna happen. That’s the first sign of a crumbling empire, Max.
Cities fall and nobody builds ’em up again.”
He kept staring at her, but Corinne still didn’t turn to him. Max became keenly aware of his hands, as though he should be able to do something with them, maybe try to offer her comfort, or send up a prayer to God. But he barely knew Corinne, and he and God were strangers.
After a couple of minutes, the time when he should have said something in reply passed, so he stopped seeking the words.
Corinne and Gabrielle were cousins, Creole girls who’d never be mistaken for white but whose skin forever marked them out among the black population of New Orleans. Max had never understood the politics of hue, and always feared expressing an opinion on the subject. He was white and from Boston, and he couldn’t claim to know a damn thing about New Orleans. So he kept his mouth shut. All he knew was that even before he’d met Gabrielle he had thought a mixed-race heritage produced the most beautiful children, and that there must be some lesson the world should learn from that. Meeting Gabrielle had cemented this belief.
Riding in the car beside her, Max saw some of that same beauty in Corinne. They’d met half a dozen times when he’d been involved with Gabrielle, but he’d never really noticed her looks. She simply didn’t have her cousin’s presence. Gabrielle had burned brightly; Corinne had been in her shadow. But apparently it hadn’t stopped her from loving Gabrielle.
Abruptly, she turned and shot him a hard look. “Why do you keep staring at me like that?”
“You look a little like her,” Max said.
“I’m nothing like her!” Corinne snapped, turning her gaze back to the road ahead. The hurt in her voice didn’t surprise him, but the anger did.
“Are we really going to be the only people at the funeral?”
Corinne softened. “Our family shut her out; you know that.
The ones who are still in the city, they live Uptown. When she was alive, they’d cross the street if they saw her coming. Now that she’s dead, they won’t be going out of their way to say good-bye. Could be some of her friends’ll have heard and come along and surprise me, but I doubt it. Lots of people have been shipped out. Those who are still here are looking after themselves and their own. It’s all right, though.”
Max looked out the window, watching the side of the highway where wind-downed trees and abandoned cars remained, part of the debris left behind by the storm.
“Two people,” he said quietly. “How can that be all right?”
“Ah, she wouldn’t mind so much,” Corinne said. “She didn’t have but the two of us who really loved her. We’ll be there. That’s as it should be.”
Max swallowed hard. His throat had gone dry. “I’m not sure—”
“Don’t even start. She put the knife in you deep, man. I know that. But don’t try to tell me you stopped loving her because of it.
I know better.”
Irritated, he narrowed his eyes and studied her. “You think so?”
“You’re here, aren’t you?”
Max opened his mouth, but closed it again. The Doucette women had a habit of leaving him speechless.
The Chamber of Ten
The Hidden Cities Book 3
Archaeologist Dr. Geena Hodge is on the precipice of success: her team has found an entrance to an underground chamber while searching for the Petrarch’s lost library. A documentarian is joining her team for the descent into the long-hidden structure and may be the key to extensive funding. Best of all, she is able to share the excitement of this momentous occasion with her assistant-slash-lover, Nico, whose psychic presence resonates in her own mind.
Within a strikingly preserved room—unlike any Venetian excavation—the team finds only one artifact: a small vessel that immediately mesmerizes Nico. While the team investigates a slab of granite inlaid in the floor, Nico becomes transfixed by the object, and before he can be stopped, he has the urn in his hands. Then, it is broken open on the ground. And with that, the impossibly withheld groundwater begins to fill the chamber…
In the clamor to escape the rapidly flooding room and save the found texts, the team is sent in all directions. And Nico’s mind, always attuned to Geena’s, seems to go quiet. His actions in the days after the incident feel unlike him, and his consciousness seems to dissolve beneath the weight of his experience with the artifact. What insidious force was within? And what can satisfy its restless will?
From Beacon Hill to Southie, historic Boston is a town of vibrant neighborhoods knit into a seamless whole. But as Jim Banks and Trix Newcomb learn in a terrifying instant, it is also a city divided—split into three separate versions of itself by a mad magician once tasked with its protection.
Jim is happily married to Jenny, with whom he has a young daughter, Holly. Trix is Jenny’s best friend, practically a member of the family—although she has secretly been in love with Jenny for years. Then Jenny and Holly inexplicably disappear—and leave behind a Boston in which they never existed. Only Jim and Trix remember them. Only Jim and Trix can bring them back.
With the help of Boston’s Oracle, an elderly woman with magical powers, Jim and Trix travel between the fractured cities, for that is where Jenny and Holly have gone. But more is at stake than one family’s happiness. If Jim and Trix should fail, the spell holding the separate Bostons apart will fail too, and the cities will reintegrate in a cataclysmic implosion. Someone, it seems, wants just that. Someone with deadly shadow men at their disposal.
CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the New York Times bestselling author of such novels as Ararat, Snowblind, Tin Men, The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, and Of Saints and Shadows. He has also written books for teens and young adults, including Poison Ink, Soulless, and the thriller series Body of Evidence, honored by the New York Public Library and chosen as one of YALSA's Best Books for Young Readers.
Golden co-created (with Mike Mignola) two cult favorite comic book series, Baltimore and Joe Golem: Occult Detective. As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, The New Dead, and Dark Cities, among others, and has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, a BBC radio play, the online animated series Ghosts of Albion (with Amber Benson), and a network television pilot. A frequent speaker at conferences, schools, and libraries, Golden is also co-host of the podcasts Three Guys with Beards and Defenders Dialogue, and the founder of the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.
Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world.
TIM LEBBON has been published for over twenty years and have written over forty horror, dark fantasy and tie-in novels, including The Silence, Relics, Coldbrook, The Cabin in the Woods, the Noreela series of fantasy books (Dusk, Dawn, Fallen and The Island), the NY Times Bestselling novelisation of the movie 30 Days of Night, Alien: Out of the Shadows, Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi - Into the Void, and several books with Christopher Golden, including Blood of the Four, The Map of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London. He's also written hundreds of novellas and novels and have won several prestigious awards.
The movie of The Silence, starring Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka, is out summer 2018. Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, was released in 2016. More of his work is currently in development for the big screen.