Jeff Crook (Jeffsy on QT) has signed with agent Peter Riva of International Transactions.
The story came to me after a relative found two strange pictures on his camera. He didn't remember taking the photos, but they show my youngest son with "something" moving through the room behind him. I was showing the photos to my coworkers when I made some offhand comment as to how maybe I should write a story about a haunted camera. I swear, a lightbulb appeared over my head at that moment.
When Jackie Lyons buys a second-hand Leica M8 digital SLR camera, she has no idea that photographs of an old murder are hidden in the camera's memory, nor that it is haunted by the murder victim. Her heroin habit and talent for photographing the dead drop her into an investigation of a string of brutal unsolved murders. She struggles to overcome her own demons before the trail leads to a final, surreal confrontation with Memphis' most notorious serial murderer – the Playhouse Killer.
Shades of Black is a 91,000 word supernatural mystery/thriller reminiscent of James Lee Burke's In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. The setting is Memphis in the perpetual rain and cold mists of November during the week surrounding Thanksgiving. The styling is noir, with a hard-boiled former detective as the anti-hero. Jackie Lyons is an ex-vice cop of the Memphis Police Department, but now she sells photos of accident and crime scenes to support her heroin habit. Her life has been disintegrating for years – failed marriage, unemployment, drug addiction, and most recently she set fire to her apartment. When she recognizes a murder victim at a crime scene, she gets drawn into the investigation, while the ghost of the previous owner of her new camera tries to lead her to its killer. Little does she know that all dark paths lead to the Playhouse Killer – a serial murderer of homosexual men, who stages his victims in death scenes from famous plays.
I have published 31 short stories over the years, most in the last four years, and four novels in the Dragonlance fantasy setting (Wizards of the Coast). I have stories pending at Murky Depths, Cat Tales, and Aeon. My fiction has appeared in the Warrior Wisewoman anthology, Helix, Nature (twice), Nature Physics (twice), Mallorn (the journal of the Tolkien Society), Paradox, The Foliate Oak, Sein und Werden, Futures from Nature, Tales of Fantasy, Theaker's Quarterly, Tattered Souls, Pindeldyboz, Eclectica, and Hub magazine. My stories have also been honored as Notable Stories by the 2006 and 2007 storySouth Million Writers Award.