When Dead Ain't Dead Enough

by J. L. Doty
Release date: May 2012
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasyurban fantasy

Paul Conklin is a rather ordinary, thirtyish fellow, sharing his ordinary, present-day San Francisco apartment with the ghosts of his dead wife and daughter, Suzanna and Cloe. Suzanna is cooking for him again, and Cloe's bouncing around the apartment in her school uniform, and things are almost back to normal. But a piece of Paul realizes he's really just plain nuts, or at least that's what he thinks. He has no idea that a Primus caste demon from the Netherworld covets his soul, and that he's going to have to take a crash course in killing big, bad hoodoo demons, or lose his soul for all eternity.

For Paul, magic and ghosts exist only in fantasy stories, and he thinks Suzanna and Cloe are just hallucinations, that he's losing his mind. He doesn't realize that he's spontaneously using powerful sorcery to bring them back, and that when Suzanna's ghost cooks for him, he's actually conjuring real food for his table. But his ignorant and unknowing exercise of unprotected sorceries and wizardry has drawn the attention of the denizens of Faerie, and some powerful mortal wizards. And since Paul exhibits certain unusual abilities, they think he is either himself a demon, or at least demon possessed, so they want him dead. There's also a Secundus caste demon from the Netherworld that's crossed over to the Mortal Plane and has been feeding on human souls for centuries. It merely wants to possess Paul's soul. So everyone wants Paul dead, or possessed, and the poor, dumb fool just doesn't realize what's about to hit him.

(updated 2015-10-07)

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