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40. CHARMING THE DEAD – Young Adult Speculative Mystery

Monday, 3 November 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


Mentor Name: N.K. Traver

Mentee Name: Marisa Hopkins


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Speculative Mystery

Word Count: 82,000


When 15-year-old necromancer Fontaine discovers a centuries-old unsolved murder in her sleepy magical town – and accidentally unleashes a dangerous spirit using forbidden magic – she must master her power and find the killer in order to prevent a deadly repeat of history.


I was having a Lady of Shalott moment. The one where she rocked in her boat, lovesick heart weeping bitterly, cursed with unrequited love. I was equally cursed. Out, damned love for Benjamin Corey!

Perched on the side of my boat, my best friend Bertie heaved a sigh. “You don’t look dramatic enough.”

“How do I not look dramatic enough?” I squinted at the sunlight caught inside Bertie’s sepia form, giving her the appearance of an antique photo brought to life. “I’m a necromancer in the middle of the lake, lying on my back, calling an unrequited love from my heart forever—”

“Precisely.” She trailed her fingers over her short wavy hair as if keeping it in place, though it hadn’t moved since her death in 1927. “This is a moment, Fontaine. You can’t fling your arm passionately when you’re holding your divining rod like a child. Go on. Hold it in one hand, not both.”

My fingers tightened around the handles of my hawthorn rod. “Newsflash: I don’t know how to call one-handed.” But I shifted it to my left hand to humor her. This ritual was Bertie’s idea, anyway. I didn’t believe it would work. She was a chiromancer in her lifetime: a palm reader and healer. She might’ve been able to call aches from the heart, but I could only call spirits, and I wasn’t very good. Calling love from my heart as if it was a dead thing in a grave? Impossible.

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