Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Theatre of the Macabre

Well accustomed to the frequent travel mandated by my career, I usually sleep as soundly on an overnight flight as in my own bed at home.  This time, my restless, shallow sleep was a theater for recurrent loops of horrifying dreams.
   Act One starred my husband, a river of blood flowing from his abdomen, steadying himself with our terrace railing, turning to look at the shooter in our bedroom whose face I could never see.  In Act Two, Jeff would lie dying on the deck of my otherwise gleaming anniversary gift, a circle of blood expanding around him, a red death slowly enveloping his life.  In Act Three, a black blanket would enfold his naked corpse, and then a black hearse would enfold the blanket, and then a black night would enfold the hearse.
   I was the star of the finale, desperately sopping blood from my home, where it continued pouring in faster than I could clean, like a macabre variant on Mickey Mouse’s unruly swirling basin in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Excerpt from The Vesuvius Isotope, the first Katrina Stone novel. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope in print or ebook.

From the ancient ruins beneath Mount Vesuvius, a two-thousand-year-old document has emerged. It is the only text ever attributed to the ambitious, inquisitive, and cryptic last pharaoh of Egypt...

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that has increasingly pervaded his recent behavior. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist and the author of The Vesuvius Isotope and The Death Row Complex. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 

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