An excerpt to celebrate National Rhode Island Day

Houdini smiled at his wife with undisguised adoration. He had just finished a three-day run at the Providence Opera House and was still a bit wired. Howard Lovecraft had attended the show as his guest and then joined him for dinner to discuss their book about the roots of superstition.
“Right you are, my love,” Houdini said as the waiter set a plate of shrimp in garlic wine sauce before him. “But I can already tell that it will never measure up to one of your sumptuous feasts.”
“Oh, posh,” Bess said as the waiter presented her with a sizzling sirloin steeped in a Cognac flamed peppercorn cream.
Howard, who loved his Italian food, got the tagliatelle with meat sauce. The waiter bowed to each of them and left.
Houdini narrowed his eyes. It wasn’t the same waiter who had brought their appetizers. Though he was wearing a white shirt, black vest, and apron like the other waiters, his scalp was covered with a skullcap that was knotted in the back.
Something about the man bothered him. Maybe it was simply the incongruence of a Japanese man working in an Italian restaurant. Continue reading

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An excerpt in honor of National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day

Being sent to stand in the cloakroom was the customary punishment for misbehaving in some of her other schools. So Piper walked toward it and reached for the doorknob. A booming voice stopped her coldly.
“Whatcha doin’ there, lass?” asked a man in denim overalls who was sweeping the floor with a wide push broom. His hair and beard were almost as red as his face. A patch on his left shirt pocket identified him as the school’s custodian, Mr. McFadden.
“I’m new here,” Piper said, dropping her hand. “I’m just trying to find the best place to hang my things.” She didn’t mention the detention notice because she didn’t want the custodian’s first impression of her to be that of a delinquent.
Mr. McFadden stopped sweeping and leaned on his broom handle. “You won’t be finding any coats in that room, missy. Hasn’t been used in over thirty years. Don’t even have a key for it no more.” Continue reading

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An excerpt to celebrate Piper’s birthday!

The freaks sat at the long wooden table and banged on it with their forks chanting, “Make a wish! Make a wish! Make a wish!”

“My friends, you’ve all given me everything I could ever wish for. I’ve never felt more accepted in all my life. I can’t think of anything that would make me happier.”

But still they chanted. So Piper closed her eyes and thought about the one thing she wanted. When she opened them, she blew out the candles. The Curiosities all hooted and applauded. Continue reading

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An excerpt in celebration of National Hot Dog Day

The smell of the butter-toasted buns drifted from the orange and white lobby of the fast-food restaurant, luring the two companions in for a taste. Sal fished out a couple of dimes and gave them to the boy behind the counter who handed them two hot dogs and two orange drinks in return.

“Nathan’s may be a New York institution, but Nedick’s is far better,” he said, biting into his frank.

Piper looked at the hot dog and gave him a skeptical look.

“What’s the difference? A hot dog is a hot dog.”

But when she sank her teeth into the bun and its tasty contents, Piper’s mouth exploded with glee. She savored it for a few seconds and then with a full mouth she declared, “If they served Grape Nehi, this place would be heaven.” Continue reading

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Piper celebrates Memorial Day

A steamboat sounded its horn as it departed the pier to collect passengers from New York City. Standing upon an outdoor stage beneath a giant seashell canopy, Sam Gumpertz was greeted by cheers, whistles, clapping hands, clapping feet, and even the clapping flippers of the Seal Woman.

Sam extended his hand to the three distinctive landmarks that ascended high into Coney Island’s unblemished blue sky: The Wonder Wheel, the Thunderbolt, and the hundred-foot bejeweled structure that towered above a new roller coaster called the Bobs.

“Welcome to another summer at Dreamland. Or at least what’s left of it,” Sam announced, bowing to the small crowd. Continue reading

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Review Piper and get a free signed Beavis and Butt-Head #1 comic book

For a limited time, when you write a review for one of the Piper Houdini novels at Amazon.com, you will get a free copy of Marvel’s Beavis and Butt-Head (1994) signed by editor Glenn Herdling and color artist Bob Sharen. $10 value–limited supply! Continue reading

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