Inquisitor by R.J. Blain
Publication Date: May 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Paranormal
When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fianceé at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer or she’ll be put to death for the crimes she didn’t commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves.
On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses.
There’s only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison’s desire for self-preservation may transform into a quest for vengeance…
Caroline was either the best actress I’d ever seen, or she was really dead. I crouched next to her, torn between touching her neck to feel for a pulse and running away before the sweet scent of a fresh kill overwhelmed my restraint.
A clock chimed ten. The power of the full moon slammed into me, tugging at my heart, and tightening my chest. The need to embrace my inner beast and become one with the night quickened my breath.
Scents flooded my nose. Strong perfumes mingled with cologne, and the sweat of hot, living bodies stirred my hunger. I licked my lips, and for one brief moment, imagined the salty sweetness of fresh blood on my tongue.
There was another hunter in the room with me, and they taunted me with their kill. Their prey was either dead or left to die. It was a challenge to the scavengers, to the hunters, and a warning to the prey.
“What do you think?” Mark’s mother asked.
“I think she’s an amazing actress,” I replied, careful to keep my tone light. I rose to my feet. If I grew a tail, I could only hope my gown would hide it long enough for me to slip from the party and find a place to gain control over myself.
Or complete the change and go on a rampage.
Another minute passed in silence. I shook my head. “This would be why I’m not a police officer.”
The Wicked Witch of the West giggled. I shivered at the sound. “I see. Very well, Cinderella. Shall we mingle with the other guests and learn about this terrible, terrible deed?”
“I thought this was when Mark was supposed to come rescue me from a fate worse than death,” I muttered.
Oops. So much for keeping civil. I guess it was inevitable. Bodies brought out the worst in me. Especially when the body wasn’t one of my making. To make matters worse, I couldn’t exactly raise the alarm.
If I did, I’d reveal to those who knew the truth about werewolves and witches that I wasn’t just some human girl after a wealthy boy. Then the Inquisition would find silver old enough to kill me or reduce me to ashes to make certain they purged the world of one more rogue werewolf.
“Why can’t you be wealthy?” Mrs. Livingston lamented.
The old woman’s question caught me by surprise. Had she heard me? Did she think it an amusing quip?
Was it possible the woman actually liked me? Confused at the question, I answered honestly. “Ma’am, who says I’m not? I’m your son’s accountant. Do you really think he’d trust someone who didn’t have access to at least some money with his money?” I glared at the old woman. At least the brewing fight between us distracted me from Caroline’s body a little. “Don’t forget I know exactly how much he makes a year, where he transfers his funds, who owes him how much, and whom he owes. I know how much he’s paid in taxes, and I know how much I saved him last tax season.”
The witch’s mouth dropped open. “Just what—”
“I paid more in taxes than he did last year. I’ll let you do the math. Unless, of course, he learned how to count from you.” I pivoted on a heel and stalked my way towards the refreshment stand.
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
When she isn’t playing pretend, she likes to think she’s a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She also has a tendency to play MMOs and other computer games.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.
I’d like to thank Ms. Blain for sharing the following guest post with Sun Mountain Reviews:
“On Writing Inquisitor”
When I first started writing novels, I was more in love with the process of the rough draft—of discovering stories—than I was with finishing them. I think a lot of writers go through this at one point or another. It took a definite shift of perceptions to go from someone who loved writing rough drafts to wanting to finish novels.
When I started writing Inquisitor, I wanted to explore humans. That’s a bit ironic, seeing that many of the characters aren’t actually human. I wanted to explore what made someone human and made someone a monster or inhuman. That led me down a couple of rabbit holes, ultimately introducing me to the concept that would become the main character of Inquisitor—as well as a few of the side characters.
I came away learning some interesting things about myself as I tried to discover just who the characters in the novel were. Their various identities and their sheer variety still catch me by surprise in a way. Ultimately, while I didn’t succeed in quite the way I wanted, I was able to showcase some of the facets of humanity, digging deep into my perceptions as a person.
While I don’t want to say writing Inquisitor changed me, it definitely opened my eyes to some of the perceptions I had about the world. Eye openers are interesting when writing. It does change how I approach characters and people I write.
And it makes me more aware of myself in many different ways.
One of the most interesting facets of writing Inquisitor is the fact I was writing about a group of people—the elite—who I don’t really understand on any level because I have never been rich. I doubt I’ll ever be rich. I don’t know what it’s like to have the ability to do the things some of my characters do. In the pages of Inquisitor, you’ll find someone a lot more like me—someone who does have debt, though not as severe as hers.
That was an eye opener. And I had to research things like how certain credit card companies treat their elites. That was a surprise and a shocker. I know a few people who are comfortably wealthy. They aren’t excessively rich, and probably never will be, but they’re comfortable. I’m comfortable too.
But after researching it, I discovered one thing about the ultra-wealthy that has changed my perception. There is a difference in how we see the world, tying to the value of money. For some, it’s a game. For others, it’s a way of keeping score and assigning value to one’s self.
I pursued this phenomena in Inquisitor, and indulged in seeking the answer to one question: What would it be like if money didn’t matter?
I’m not sure I liked the answer, personally… but it made for an interesting experience writing Inquisitor.
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