A Festival of Skeletons by RJ Astruc

In Print ($8.99) ISBN-13: 978-1453757352

Ebook ($2.99) ISBN-13: 978-1-4524-6563-0

Read the first 25% of the novel for free!

A Festival of Skeletons remains a must-read. It’s a cruel, humorous page-turner for the wicked at heart.

– Innsmouth Free Press (Full review)

When Kamphor’s west end sees a series of young women murdered, its citizens are fearful that a serial killer known as the Knife has returned. But the mortician Sink, owner of Kamphor’s finest morgue, doesn’t believe that the Knife has resumed killing – and he’d prove it, if his former student and current hateful rival Damien Torvault wasn’t getting in the way.

Sink and his two apprentices, handsome-if-loony Joshua Finkle and merkind Vona Urgarth, investigate the murders on their own. Sink’s ability to tell exactly when and how a person will die just by touching them earns him no friends, but it does yield some interesting clues – as does Sink’s other gift. The one which incites him to wear women’s clothing.

The investigation is further complicated when Joshua’s time is taken up running a 15-Step program, and Vona becomes intrigued by a repugnant yet strangely irresistible cook. Even Sink’s next-door neighbor, Policewoman Arifia Fowles, seems hell-bent on not just hindering Sink but arresting him, regardless of a crime.

But Sink presses urgently on, because he senses a strangeness in the air: the magic-smell of necromancy, a magic that has long been illegal in Kamphor… for it requires human sacrifice.

A Festival of Skeletons by New Zealand author RJ Astruc is a remarkable novel of zombies, necromancers, merkind, serial killers and cross-dressing. It was serialized in its entirety exclusively for Crossed Genres subscribers, and is now available in print and ebook!

If you have no interest at all in reading a fabulous, well thought-out, engaging story, stay away from RJ Astruc’s writing – you’ll get sucked in and read it anyway. The moment I started reading, she dragged me along for an extraordinary, outrageous ride through a perfectly ordinary universe filled with murder, madness, mystery, magic, merfolk, and morticians. Dark humor, light humor, macabre doings, cute little outfits, deluded cops, and afternoon tea with reformed alcoholics are all just the tip of the iceberg in this story. I’m not only reserving bookshelf space for the printed edition of A Festival of Skeletons, I’ll be reserving reading and re-reading time for it, too. Be careful of this one, readers; you won’t want to put it down, either!

~Jean Johnson, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Sons of Destiny series

About the Author

RJ Astruc wrote A Festival of Skeletons in three months while on a particularly self-destructive college bender. She currently lives in New Zealand and fits into almost every minority group. Her fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Aurealis, Abyss & Apex, Andromeda Spaceways, Midnight Echo, and like a bajillion other places. Her husband has six nipples.

Her website is http://www.rachelastruc.com.
Her blog is http://zeemverse.livejournal.com.

More reviews

A Festival of Skeletons is a character driven novel that had me cracking up left and right. …there’s witty banter and a wonderful flow to the novel that’s … reminiscent of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.

The plot follows an even pace with plenty of surprises that are perfectly foreshadowed. I was kicking myself that I didn’t catch on to them earlier, but I was amazed at how wonderfully put-together this story is.

– Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy
(Full review)

A Festival of Skeletons is like a love child of Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin – a pacy, intelligent comedy novel that’s crazier than a cat on catnip, with excellent characterisation that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Highly recommended.

– SciFi & Fantasy Books (Full review)

[A Festival of Skeletons] is populated by cross-dressing morticians, monomaniacal police, a cook with charisma and zombies, courtesy of a soupcon too much necromancy, delivered within a deftly told story populated by characters that I cared about. And more importantly, A Festival of Skeletons is a fun read – so much so I was most disappointed when I finished the book.

R. J. Astruc is fortunate that I don’t know where she lives otherwise I would be besieging her domicile and demanding, with money and menaces, a sequel…

– Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand (Full review)

A Festival of Skeletons on Facebook

…perhaps this is the novels’ truth: no one is perfect, and heroes are more often than not unlikely. This is not just a moral tale, though; it unpeels layer after layer of geographical, social and character detail like a magical onion of narrative possibility, revealing plot layer after plot layer, and finally stands revealed as a raw, painful core of love and loss, and the lengths people will go to, to seek peace from emotional wounds and scarring.

– The Future Fire Reviews (Full review)

A Festival of Skeletons (A) is a very entertaining and clever novel, fully living to its billing as a dark but funny fantasy, while the author’s obvious writing skill made me a big fan…

– Fantasy Book Critic (Full review)

This was my first exposure to the work of RJ Astruc, but I can say with great surety, this is the kind of work capable of making me a collector.

– Associated Content (Full review)
WARNING! heavy book spoilers!

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