I’ve known Kai Kiriyama for a while now on Twitter and I’m thrilled to introduce you to both her and the cover of her upcoming novel, Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon. She’s a dedicated writer and a fabulous person. I’m constantly amazed at how much she gets done and how well she does it all.
Before I share her cover with you though, a little bit about her novel:
BLAZE TUESDAY AND THE CASE OF THE KNIGHT SURGEON is a pulpy noir set in a futuristic New York. The oil and technology market crashed in the mid-2000′s and the world has developed into a technologically advanced form of SteamPunk. Body modification has become commonplace with rebellious teenagers, but this time, it’s literal. Clockwork body parts are touted as a medical miracle by the companies who make them, and high fashion by the stars who sport them, and a lot of kids go through illegal surgeries. The sub-culture of Gearheads is full of kids with robotic body parts from poorly done surgery in less-than-sanitary conditions, and these are surgeries that don’t always take.
Blaze Tuesday is New York’s most accomplished private investigator. A former police officer with a bone to pick with the corruption in the city, he’s earned a name for himself as a guy who gets results, and who is willing to uphold the moral values so many others have forgotten, even if he has to break a few faces to do it.
Blaze is hired by Wayside Firms, one of the medical firms that produces the Clockwork, when a charity doctor who worked specifically with less-fortunate kids who have had botched illegal, is found murdered. As Blaze investigates the unfortunate death, he discovers a conspiracy that stretches from the lowest gutters in Hell’s Kitchen, to the highest corporate fat cats at the medical firms who create the Clockwork body parts.
Can Blaze get justice for the dead doctor, and bring some hope back to the kids in Hell’s Kitchen who were counting on the Doctor’s help? Or will he get caught up in the underworld of body modification and the big money it brings in?
BLAZE TUESDAY AND THE CASE OF THE KNIGHT SURGEON will be released on August 5, 2014 and download and purchase links will be posted primarily on Kai’s website, theraggedyauthor.com
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? And now, for your visual stimulation, it’s time for cover art!!!!
I have an even bigger treat for you, if you can believe it. And excerpt from BLAZE TUESDAY AND THE CASE OF THE KNIGHT SURGEON!
I was on my way to Hell’s Kitchen. I had taken a cab to the edge of the district and my cabbie refused to take me any further. Not even the offer to triple my fare was enough to convince him. What a pussy. I’d been in and out of Hell’s Kitchen all my life, and I didn’t even have a clockwork implant to show for it. Thankfully.
The slum hadn’t changed much, it was still a neighbourhood for the underprivileged and the poor. It had regressed from the trendy neighbourhood the city had tried to make it into, back into it’s original cesspool of violence and destruction. Hell’s Kitchen was notorious for crime; robberies and beatings were the most common. I’d been called down to the Kitchen more times than I’d cared to recount back when I was on the force. I’d seen my fair share of horrors come outta that neighbourhood, more than I’d seen good go back into it.
Most of the residents of the Kitchen were poor; it was the most affordable housing in New York, and most of the buildings were illegal lofts. There were a few good Samaritans, like Doctor Jones, who took care of the street kids and did what they could to get them back on their feet and back on their way to becoming productive members of society.
For all the good it was doing on the grand scale of things, it seemed like a major waste of time. Doctor Jones was one of the small group of people who thought that they could change the system for the better. I’d seen the corruption of the police and the government firsthand. In my opinion it was like trying to change the flow of the Hudson river by scooping out water with a Dixie cup.
Good Lord, I’d turned into a cynical bastard in my old age.
Doctor Jones’ place was on the edge of the Kitchen, closer to the nicer side of town. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised by this. I didn’t think that he was so naive as to allow these kids to know where his home was, or to let them live with him. From what we found on this guy, he owned a few properties that he’d turned into halfway houses throughout the Kitchen and it was from these halfway houses that he did most of his work. I wasn’t sure where his medical practice was, though. Not that it mattered. I was here to make a delivery, not to ask the good doctor about his work.
I walked down the street, my entire body thrumming with nervousness. I’d been nearly mugged once on patrol in the Kitchen. Not even the uniform of a police officer gave you much protection down here. It had gotten worse in the past few years, too. The influx of kids from troubled homes, or who had just decided to run away from home, mixed with the gang lifestyle and surge in the popularity of illegal body mods and the addiction to painkillers that seemed to go with it, made for a volatile environment. The need for money and jobs ran rampant here. There had been more calls to the Kitchen in recent years than there ever was back when I was on the force.
I still listened to the police scanners sometimes, just to keep myself up to date on what was happening. Jackson did too, even if Trixie didn’t like it. To be honest though, I was usually the last hope of the people who walked through my door. If I was able to get a little bit of inside information from the cops by listening to their chatter on the squawk box, then why not? It wasn’t like it was totally illegal. And I hadn’t been caught. Yet.
The Doctor’s house was right on the dividing line between Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea, up on 34th street. Still just on the cusp of being in a decent part of town and in close proximity to the Kitchen, it seemed like a prime spot for the Doctor to live. I walked up the street, the cool evening air blowing in off the Hudson was pleasant, even if it did smell of rotting fish, garbage and fast food. My boots made a comforting click up the paved streets and the neighbourhood was remarkably quiet for an early evening in the Kitchen. I supposed it was technically a work day for most people, and I wasn’t in the roughest part of the Kitchen. Still, the Irish in me tingled at the notion that this was where my ancestors probably lived and died in squalor.
I pushed all the negative thoughts away from myself, I had to focus. I was in a dangerous part of town, making a delivery for a dangerous corporation. I wasn’t a cop anymore, I didn’t even have the uniform to offer any potential attackers the barest hint of self-control. I was just happy to have Nadia tucked at my side and a knife in my pocket. Just in case.
The grimy, poorly maintained streets of the Kitchen soon gave way to cleaner, friendlier and better lit pavement. The houses changed from ramshackle things into what could have been considered estates. The dirty concrete was replaced with brick facades. Wrought iron balustrades poked up from the ground between brick arches and front lawns with properly maintained flower gardens attempted to hide the odorous air.
I felt like I’d just been teleported into a different city altogether. I hadn’t been up in Chelsea for a long time, I tried to avoid Manhattan and the Kitchen as much as I could when I wasn’t working. I hadn’t realized how nice everything had become. I supposed that the re-imagining and rebuilding of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Kitchen had actually gone a lot better than I had thought. The news hadn’t really made a big point of it after it was completed, and I was content with my crappy apartment building in the main city.
I checked the address on the envelope again. I was getting close, that much was obvious. I still couldn’t believe how different this place was compared to the grime in the Kitchen. It was shocking, to me, that so much crime could go unpunished and unreported just a few blocks away. More shocking, I suppose, was the weird kind of self-imposed barrier that the people in the Kitchen had created. Sure, there was crime that stemmed from the Kitchen in other parts of the city. People travelled, whatever. It was just weird to see this street completely untouched by the crime and poverty of every day life that existed in the Kitchen. It was like gang turf that you just didn’t cross if you knew what was good for you.
The entire concept was unsettling. It gave new context to the phrase ‘you don’t shit where you sleep.’ I wondered how far that sentiment went and what the penalties were if you broke the taboo and committed crime along the border of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea.
It didn’t take me long to find Doctor Jones’ place. The house was cookie cutter like all the other ones. A large, brick estate. Two stories, with a chimney and everything. A well-kept path led up from the wrought iron fence to the front door.
I pushed open the gate, expecting it to stick, or squeak. It did neither.
I sighed to myself, this seemed somehow anticlimactic. I’d worked myself up for something and now it was all going off without a hitch. It still didn’t explain why I was feeling so nervous, and why my ‘cop sense’ was still on red alert.
My boots clicked against the slate pathway and I allowed myself half a moment to admire the greenery in the front yard. There wasn’t a lot of plant life around my neighbourhood, and Central Park was too crowded all the time to make me feel entirely comfortable hanging out there. The grass looked freshly cut, the box hedges around the edge of the property were neatly trimmed and even the flower beds were miraculously weed-free. I looked at the flowers as I walked up the pathway – daffodils, irises and narcissus with bright orange tiger lilies for contrast. It was a really nice garden, I decided. Jackson would have been jealous.
I walked up to the massive front door. Doctor Jones was obviously making a good amount of money for tending to sick and needy kids in the slums to be able to afford a place like this. I pressed the doorbell, hearing the chimes through the door. Not soundproof, I noticed. Seemed odd in a neighbourhood like this, and in a house like this. I waited for a long moment. No one arrived to answer the door. I pressed the button again, hearing the musical chime coming from inside. I sighed to myself. Maybe the Doctor wasn’t in? I checked my watch. It was after six, the information we’d found said that he didn’t keep his clinic open after five, but did make calls to the halfway houses for emergencies.
I reached out to press the doorbell a third time when I heard a noise through the door. I leaned forward a little further and pressed my ear against the door. It sounded like shuffling feet. I frowned to myself. It didn’t sound like the shuffling was getting closer. And it sounded like there were a few too many feet to be just one person.
I hesitated ringing the doorbell again, the embarrassment I’d visited upon Trixie still fresh in my mind. I didn’t want to do the same thing to Doctor Jones and his… wife? Partner? Hooker? I didn’t know, we didn’t look that deeply into the file. I struggled internally, trying to decide the best course of action when I heard a noise that no one wants to hear.
The wet, heavy thump of a body hitting the floor.
I was lucky that the house had big bay windows and the curtains were sheer. I leaned over the railing that edged the front porch and pressed my face against the glass. I was just in time to see Doctor Jones finish tumbling down the flight of stairs that led from the front hall up to the second floor.
And now for a little about Kai herself:
A writer of many things and many genres, Kai is currently working on a novel (you can pretty much always assume that she’s writing something!) that involves murder, mayhem and probably a ghost or some other form of otherworldly creature. She is also working on some non-fiction but she’s not entirely sure why.
Kai has been writing for far too long and she’s convinced that both her “to be read” and “to be written” lists will never be completed before she dies. She has a diploma in palmistry and can read hands with an accuracy that scares even her sometimes. She is also accomplished at tea leaf reading and crystal divination, both of which she has also achieved a diploma for and scares herself with the accuracy of the things she has predicted.
A time-travelling, demon hunting, Asgardian geek, with an affinity for Pokemon and Shakespeare, you can be sure that there will be general insanity and dubious wisdom dispensed no matter where you chat with her. As always, she requests that you “be excellent to each other” while she’s away.
Kai currently lives in Canada, but if she told you where, you’d have about fifteen seconds to assume the party position before the special ops team arrives.
She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org