Some folks find black cats and October 31 unlucky, but not me. Halloween was always the most significant holiday on my personal and professional calendar. Now that my new Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator urban fantasy series is coming out, I am one happily haunted writer. Dancing with Werewolves, the first Delilah Street adventure, got a Publisher’s Weekly starred review last Halloween. The followup, Brimstone Kiss, released today, Oct. 29, and just got another PW starred review! (“Filled with kisses and kick-ass action . . . dishy writing . . . twisty plot.”)
And, of course, since 1985 I’ve been intimately linked with a hunky, hard- boiled Vegas detective named Midnight Louie who was born on Oct. 31. Lucky for my husband that Louie is a cat character in my long-running mystery series named after him. Sam’s birthday is Oct. 14 and mine is Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5, so Halloween has always been our meet-in-the middle celebratory day. Who wouldn’t like that? Costumes, happy kids, and candy.
Midnight Louie is based on a real stray cat but I gave him an Oct. 31 birthday because I figure he’s macho enough (“Sam Spade with hairballs”) to tweak his tail at superstition. When I adopted my first black cat during a Midnight Louie Adopt-a-Cat book signing tour in the mid-’90s, he just had to be named “Midnight Louie, Jr.” And he turned out to have been October-born too.
So Delilah and her cast of friends, lovers and enemies in 2013 Las Vegas fit right into my long-established personal Halloween mojo. There’s a photo of me as Delilah at Malice Domestic mystery convention last year on the dancingwithwerewolves.com website. Delilah has Snow White coloring and that pale skin attracts vampires who love that “just drained” look. I may look ghost-wan in the photo but that’s not just Delilah’s pale complexion I’m imitating: Vegas tourists in the books dress up to match the zombie celebrities at the Inferno and Gehenna hotel-casinos. These cinema simulacra combine zombie bodies with the imprinted personas of Silver Screen stars like Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade and William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. These “CinSims” function as black-and-white casino attractions and their similarly costumed fans get to mingle with the long-dead stars.
As you can see, the rules of Halloween dominate Delilah’s slightly futuristic Vegas. Anything goes . . .white tiger shape-shifters, weather witches, demon parking valets, werewolf mob bosses, vampire moguls, Delilah’s ex-FBI agent boyfriend who can dowse for the dead and a hunky albino rock star of unknown supernatural derivation whose single mosh-pit “Brimstone Kiss” will enslave his female groupies for life. In Brimstone Kiss, Delilah finds just how potent that supernatural smooch is –one spooky thrill that is impossible for any woman to resist. To save her soul and Ric’s life, Delilah has to. Eternal damnation was never so seductive.