MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Catherine Jordan’s supernatural thriller The Bookseller’s Secret, the sequel to Seeking Samiel.
About the Book:
Some secrets are meant to be shared; this magic book is one of them, and it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Mason Barry is an American reporter who has risked his life writing and whistle-blowing. His last venture ended with his friend and photographer murdered, and a bounty on his head. Regardless, he dives into the deep web, searching for his next great story. He catches a blurb about the anti-Christ, a woman alive and well, living in South Africa. Supposedly, she has written a magic book. Readers claimed the author’s words not only opened doors to the supernatural, but also compelled them to murder and suicide. Mason heads to Llandudno, a wealthy suburb of Cape Town, to find the book, meet the author, and expose whatever truths he might find. He meets more than a few sketchy characters along the way, and becomes lost in a world he never knew existed.
Surprisingly, the magic shop was in a nice section of Cape Town, situated among upscale stores. A tall, formidable bank was across the street. A family restaurant, The Albert, stood on the corner by the bank.
No sign hung over the sangoma’s awning-covered door, but the storefront window was filled with sexless voodoo dolls, male and female candle figures, incense sticks arranged in color-coordinated piles, prayer beads, and faceted candles hanging from strings.
Inside was like most of the other sangoma shops I’d wandered into: old and a little run down. It seemed tacky and clichéd; exactly what I expected. Strong patchouli and clove scented the air. An old man reclined on a yellow couch in the middle of the room. He was clothed in a full-length, white robe. His feet were bare, yet remarkably clean. The couch looked like something discarded and rescued. His long, gray, beaded hair hung in braids across his shoulders and past his chest. I assumed him to be the bookseller I was looking for, the sangoma. I felt his eyes on me while I quickly toured the room.
Glass display cases lined the walls. Price stickers asked enough money to be afforded by tourists and suckers. All kinds of thoughts bounced inside my head, and each bizarre thing reminded me of another. Tarot cards made me think of a magician’s pack I played with as a child, performing card tricks for friends, spreading them out to show a normal deck, then flipping through the deck to reveal all aces. Dried herbs reminded me of my pot-smoking, college days. Crystal necklaces brought to mind a necklace I had bought for a girlfriend. Muti—wet guck contained in various glass jars with handwritten “medicine” labels—looked like plasma from a science-fiction movie I once saw called The Blob.
The blogger warned the book would be authenticated by its odor when opened, and I would need the key to unlock it. “Excuse me,” I said to the old man on the couch. “I’m looking for a book.”
“I have books,” he said. “Over there.” He pointed toward a curtained-off room.
“Can I go in and look? It’s a magic book, written by a local woman. It’s banned, so I don’t know if you’ll have it.” The sangoma raised his brow. “The book is supposed to have weather spells and alchemy,” I said.
He stood, more quickly and agile than I thought he was capable of doing.
“Waza nami,” the sangoma said. “Follow me.”
His bare feet slapped across the floor, and I followed him. He swept his hand through a part in the curtain, revealing a room filled with shelves of books.
“Must be heavy,” I said as the sangoma struggled to pull the thick, leather volume off the shelf, his hands lost in his robe’s billowy sleeves. The beads in his hair clicked every time he moved.
“Not for me,” the sangoma said. “Books are heavy for the ignorant, for the strangers, never for their loving owners. And this is my book.”
I screwed my forehead into a frown. “I’m a book collector,” I said a little too defensive and loud for even my ears.
“Do you read all the books you acquire?” he asked.
“Some aren’t meant to be read,” I said. “They’re to be admired.”
“Do you ever wonder what secrets lay between those covers?” the sangoma asked, one eyebrow cocked as he gave a hint of a smile. “What omniscience is inside and what benefit will be conveyed upon you?”
“No,” I said. “They look nice on my shelf. I appreciate them for their value.”
He lowered his eyebrow and widened his smile. “Value is what you are after? Then this book is for you,” the sangoma said, making the next approach, asking for the open offer, the old, tricky, Mesopotamian way to trade, hiding the price, testing the customer’s desire. “If you really want it.”
I reached out.
The sangoma turned slightly to avoid my hand. He caressed the book in the most sensual way and seemed to be in love.
“It is signed,” said the sangoma. “Inside by the author, Eva van Hollinsworth.”
I hadn’t been able to find much information about the author. The book itself was so clouded in mystery, I began to wonder if she even existed. At best, I figured she was some sort of a scientist who attempted to transform the alchemist’s dreams into reality. But according to the missionary who tried to kill himself, she was more than that—a witch.
About the Author:
Catherine Jordan is a Pennsylvania author of paranormal thrillers. She is a wife and mother of five children. Born in Indiana, she lived many years in the South, and was raised in Northeastern PA. A native of Mountaintop, PA and a graduate of Penn State University with a BS in Finance and Statistics, she has been writing stories since she learned to hold a pencil.
Catherine is a member of the Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. Her short story, The Green Eyed Monster, was published in the anthology, A Community of Writers. She writes in different genres and strives to write thought-provoking, consequential stories. Blurring the line between reality and fiction is a goal she hopes to indulge in the near future with readers through interactive fiction.
The Bookseller’s Secret
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
Sunbury Press, Inc.
BISAC: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural
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