Below is an extract from Nik Gryabski's new novel from the Leo Katz series:
The dead are all around us. As memories, ghosts, or guilt-driven images that remain etched into our mind like a tattoo. I tried to erase the notion that Sophia was now a corpse, but all I could think about was death.
Miriam, tired of my moroseness, did her best to rid me of my dour mood. She cooked my favourite food, brought flowers to add cheer to my room, and even sang to me when I could not sleep. Yet I remained distracted, worried about the woman David Jäger claimed to be his deceased wife, knowing she was not.
Sitting rigidly in Max’s study, I fidgeted and pulled the tassels on the cushion. I should have been upstairs getting ready to meet my friends, but a wave of melancholy swept over me. I sank back into the high backed chair and drew up my legs. The fire crackled spitting sparks up the chimney. I watched the shadows made by the flames dance on the floorboards and up the walls. I could not relax. The air was charged, filled with rumbling sounds like horses hooves wrapped in blankets. I sat upright. With a deep breath, I rose from my seat and went to my room.
I turned up the wick on my bedside oil lamp, threw off my thick green housecoat, and stared at the furniture. I’d spent too long lingering in this place dwelling on my misfortune. Miriam was right. Klaus’s invitation to accompany him and Lucy to a lecture on the wonders of that new technology, electricity, was exactly what I needed. I smoothed back my hair, parting it on the right, took my evening clothes from the wardrobe, and put on my disguise as Leo Katz.
Filled with nervous energy, I fumbled with my cufflinks. A loud boom shook the jug and bowl on my dresser. My stiff collar twanged open, hurtling the top button against the wall. The flattening vest beneath my shirt squeezed my bruised ribs. Inhaling staccato breaths, I abandoned my attempts to dress for an evening out and strode towards the bedroom window. Through a chink in the curtain, I watched nature rage and spit out fire in blinding flashes.
I closed my eyes. A white filigree pattern twitched and swirled on my lowered lids until it became a silhouette of Lucy’s face. Hairs on my neck and arms rose to the thrill of her remembered touch sending a quiver of pleasure through my body.
I pressed my hands against the rattling pane. A dazzling many-fingered lightning bolt cracked open the black sky above the tall buildings opposite my home illuminating the towering many-windowed tenements in a brash, hard light.
Who is the mysterious woman with the strange scars on her face that turns up with a travelling Freak Show?
Why are there so many rats in Vienna?
What are the men from The Galvanisers Association of Vienna doing in their secret laboratory?
Where can Leo hide when people from his past arrive in the city?
When will Lucy discover Leo’s true identity?
Find out in the next exciting instalment of
The Leo Katz Mysteries.