Wednesday 24 January 2018

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - Smoke City by Keith Rosson

Smoke City 
Author: Keith Rosson
Published by: Meerkat Press
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Genre: Adult Magical Realism

Book Description:
Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He’s compelled to volunteer at the local Children’s Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week.

Oh, and he’s also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431. He’s just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it’s ever been . . . but how will he find her?

When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he’s picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with “smokes” (ghostly apparitions that’ve inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.

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The tavern quieted when I entered. I’d finished the tankard.

“Why the gloom,” I cried, toppling into the barman’s counter. “Why the silence when Death’s messenger enters?” Men shrank from me. I staggered to the hearth—my life seemed dedicated to flame this day—and pulled my blade from its scabbard. I waved it around, like a fool. “A pox upon us all!” I bellowed, wine-drunk and mad, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It shocked me. I could not remember the last time I’d been touched.

“Monsieur Thérage.”

Father Lavendu stood there with red-rimmed eyes. I knew him those few times we’d passed in the constabulary; he was more than once called in for sacraments and last rites among my prisoners.
I grinned. “I have damned myself, father. Make no mistake. It was me, lit the pyre of Joan of Orléans today.”

Lavendu’s smile was sad. Still his hand rested on my shoulder. “If you weren’t the flame-bearer today, someone else would have been.”

“I saw her soul leave her body,” I said, my voice wavering. I sank to a chair and wept, laying my cheek against the rough-hewn wood of the table.

My history of torture, my livelihood of ruination and murder, had culminated in this moment: broken down, drunk, weeping in front of a priest amid a roomful of men who loathed and feared me.

The barkeep came around the counter and stepped close, nervously eyeing the blade still in my hand. “Father, beg pardon, but he needs to leave. Paying folks should be close to the fire, not the likes of him. Men here are just as like to kill him right now anyway.”

“I understand,” Lavendu said.

I gripped the table with those killer’s hands and watched the barman flinch as I raised my head and howled in that dim room. Drunks cowered at the sound, pulled their shoulders to their ears.

Six hundred years later I cringe at the unabashed melodrama of it, but at the time? I meant it. I was anguished. I howled for myself, and for Joan, for what had been taken from us both. I’d hoped it would rend something inside me, change somehow the immutable fact of her death.

About the Author
Keith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide (2017, Meerkat Press) and Smoke City (2018, Meerkat Press). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at

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  1. Thanks for being on the tour! :)

  2. The book description and excerpt sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover too.

  3. Sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

  4. thanks for hosting the book sounds great

  5. Your story prelude sounds wonderful and makes me want to read it!! Friended on facebook! liked and shared!

  6. Really unique cover that got my attention! I'd love to read this!

  7. I’m sure you’re really glad that audio cassette tapes have made a comeback. You can compile some really great mixtapes to inspire your writing! I loved your book. Your character of Marvin reminded me of ‘Giles’ on tv’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”! It’s cool to read about a reluctant adventurer who’s the reincarnation of a dangerous man.

  8. I loved your book! Marvin’s situation reminds me of the character ‘Giles’ on tv’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. He too was a reluctant adventurer who was the reincarnation of a dangerous man. I’m sure you’re glad audio cassette tapes have made a comeback! Singer Stevie Nicks is a big fan of the format. You could make some really great mixtapes to write by.