William Shunn

Cast a Cold Eye

By Derryl Murphy & William Shunn

'Cast a Cold Eye' by Derryl Murphy & William Shunn

Release date: 30 July 2019

“A genuinely spooky story that lies somewhere near the place where fantasy, horror, and science fiction meet.”

—Harry Turtledove

From Aurora and Sunburst Award nominee Derryl Murphy and Hugo and Nebula Award nominee William Shunn comes a chilling ghost story set in the aftermath of the worst pandemic the world has ever known.

1921. Rural Nebraska. In a region devastated by Spanish flu, where not a single life has gone unscathed by tragedy, 15-year-old Luke Bryant has lost more than most. Orphaned, Luke toils as a farmhand for his strict uncle and aunt, barely recalling a world not gray, deadening, and oppressive. Worse, he can’t so much as visit the graves of his parents without the statues in the cemetery opening their stony eyes and watching his every move.

Enter Annabelle Tupper, itinerant spirit photographer. Half-blinded by the chemicals of her trade, she travels the countryside in pursuit of the ghost of her dead husband. When a local pastor arranges for Annabelle to take on the boy as an apprentice, both find their every belief turned upside-down. For Annabelle, eking out a bare living while trying not to be run out of town as a charlatan, Luke represents a power she can only dream of. But for Luke—reluctant, resentful, and increasingly violent—the older woman stands for every nightmare that haunts his waking hours.

As more and more restless spirits converge on the unblinking eye of Annabelle’s camera, Luke’s only hope for peace will be to confront the most terrifying specters of all—the ones he carries inside.

“An archetypal American myth. . . . Their depiction of 1921 Nebraska is vivid . . . but the real heart of the novella lies in the relationship between Luke and Annabelle, two strong but damaged characters who share an eerie bond.”

—Paul Witcover, Locus Magazine