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The Dancing Murders Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 6 James Musgrave

  • Boomtown San Diego, in 1888, erupts in murder by the retired Marshal and hero of the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp. What’s really going on behind this murder? Can you find who’s responsible when others can’t?

    “Human trafficking earns global profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, $99 billion of which comes from commercial sexual exploitation. Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls, while men and boys account for 29%.”

    These stats come from 2021 around the world.

    In a very unique plot, award-winning historical mystery author, James Musgrave, turns four suspects over to the reader to choose one. Wyatt Earp, the hero of the O. K. Corral shoot-out in Tombstone, Arizona, is charged with First Degree Murder. Series attorney and detective, Clara Shortridge Foltz, takes the case to defend him, as she’s moved to the San Diego boomtown, and she needs the money. This mystery soon escalates into a deep and increasingly frightening exploration into mystical Kabbalah, Tantric sex, sado-masochism, and the rivalry of three Stingaree bordello madams, who each has a secret.

    However, these practices began in the Nineteenth Century, and in boomtowns across the West women were being used to make great profits for those in the community reaping money from the exploitation of sex sold to hard-working men, who usually outnumbered the female population 5-1 during the Gold and Silver Mining Era.

    This sixth mystery of the Portia of the Pacific seriesThe Dancing Murders delves into a case that, at first, seems to involve legal prostitution madams in San Diego, but it soon becomes a much wider, and more complex mystery about whom is actually benefiting the most from these businesses and why. Several major historical characters are used by Musgrave to weave into his plot, including the “boomtown vagabonds,” Wyatt Berry-Stapp Earp and his common law wife, Josephine Marcus Earp; Ida Bailey, notorious madam of the Stingaree district’s Canary Cottage; the first mayor of San Diego, William Jefferson Hunsaker, who used to be Earp’s attorney back in Tombstone, Arizona.

    With an extremely unique frame, Musgrave allows the reader to first explore the suspects and the issues through five chapters of prologue. Then, in a very Kurosawa-type twist, as in Rashomon, the reader/viewer gets to explore the psyches of the four main suspects, in chronological progression. However, deep within these characters, in their first-person narratives, lies the underlying truth of this entire mystery and how it will explode into the plot for the seventh mystery in this popular series.

    What is behind the murder plot, and how does attorney and detective Clara Shortridge Foltz go about investigating the leads? Are you better than she is at spotting what’s going on in this twisted assortment of clues? Try one suspect to see if you’re correct. However, even if you guessed correctly, unless you read all four narratives, you won’t see the macrocosmic and ingenious plot for what it’s worth. Only then will you see how Musgrave shines the first light on an issue that is grabbing headlines today. We may call it “persecution of Asians” in massage parlors. However, what about the sex-traffickers and ones who finance these types of businesses? History, says Musgrave, keeps repeating itself, and The Dancing Murders demonstrates, in colorful and mystifying ways, just how it all began.

  • EMRE Publishing, LLC
  • April 21, 2021
  • 281 pages

Life in 2050, a Tribute to George Orwell Jim Musgrave

  • Life in 2050: The Pretense is Gone

    • The world politicians no longer need a COVID method to control their economies.
    • All parties and alliances have been eradicated.
    • Big Bro and the Young Socialists have taken over.
    • A world is divided into Big Bro zones of robotic control to maintain world peace.

    Life in 2050: A Single Black Family in San Diego Decides to Rebel

    • William’s family has been separated by Big Bro.
    • All communications are controlled by Big Bro’s propaganda.
    • Turning 40, William knows he will be biologically changed by the government.
    • All people over 40 are getting mandatory surgery that makes them see in black and white.
    • William knows its much worse than simply color blindness.
    • To save his family, William must find out the secret of Big Bro’s control around the world.
    This is a world, William soon discovers, where getting social security has become a reality show fight to the death. Prostitutes are “safe sex” androids. Drones control everything. Companies are serving a new master. Who’s behind Big Bro, and what will become of people of color and William’s family? Read LIFE IN 2050 by James Musgrave. Up ahead stands the tall skyscraper—the only one allowed—of the Young Socialists’ Ministry of Mindfulness. This is where William works, and it is also broadcasting the libertarian message of the party, in ten-foot letters, running every ten seconds across the huge digital banner in front of the building:

    WAR IS IN THE PAST


    FREEDOM IS ALWAYS TODAY


    IGNORANCE IS IN WRITTEN HISTORY


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  • EMRE Publishing, LLC
  • 252 pages
  • Russian Wolves Jim Musgrave

    • eBook of the Year Award Winner (2000-2001) Bookbooters Press

      This riveting story traces the creation of a serial killer and how one man’s desire to get his family to America causes him to use this killer as a paid assassin for the Russian Mafia. Can CIA agent Dr. Abigail Soloman convince her country of her discovery? Based on the story of true-life serial killer Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo. Rated: R for graphic content and murders of children. Save $1.00 off Amazon price!
    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 195 pages

    Love Zombies of San Diego Efraim Z. Graves

    Iron Maiden an Alternate History Novel Jim Musgrave

    • Jared Diamond’s COLLAPSE inspired this alternate history that takes place during the American Civil War, and tells the story of eight people who come together after the battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. They trick the government into buying more Monitor-class ships.

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      Review by Ashley LaMar

      Alternative history is an odd genre. It has the potential to be incredible and thought-provoking causing readers to consider how much every simple decision affects the future; it also has the potential to be an utter failure imagining entirely unrealistic possibilities and taking too many liberties. The majority of alternate history novels I have picked up have fallen into the latter category and I typically avoid the genre. I read Iron Maiden by Jim Musgrave not because I am fan of the genre but rather based entirely upon my previous experience with Musgrave’s novels. His previous novels, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, Freak Story 1967-1969 and Jane the Grabber have all received good reviews on CTC so I was open to reading Iron Maiden as well. Once again, Musgrave didn’t disappoint.

      Iron Maiden is an alternate history novel of the American Civil War and major deception of the US Government by a group of 8 shifty characters. John Ericsson (a ship builder) and the other characters come together after the battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. They scheme to convince the US Government that the Civil War will be won at sea and sell Monitor-class ships to both the Union and the Confederacy. After receiving the money from the sale of the ships they flee America and run to Easter Island where they plan to live out the rest of their lives in “paradise” but little do they know that Easter Island is more “Paradise Lost” than paradise. Easter Island has been transformed into a human ecological disaster overrun by a cult whose behavior far exceed odd and border on insane.

      Iron Maiden is absolutely a work of alternate history but it works. The reason it works for me is that the alternate history that revolves around the American Civil War is plausible (deception of the government, war at sea, theft, etc.) and becomes creatively fictionalized once it separates from the war and escapes to Easter Island. It is symbolic in a way that when the characters escape to Easter Island the reader can escape into creative license and imaginative writing. While it’s all fictionalized Musgrave doesn’t embellish too much of the Civil War (e.g.: there are no paranormal influences or other outlandish new political dealings).

      The characterization in Iron Maiden is, once again, where Musgrave shines. It was his characterization that hooked me when I read Freak Story 1967-1969 and when I read Disappearance at Mount Sinai; it’s also what hooked me in reading Iron Maiden. Musgrave has a talent for developing characters and creating connections with the reader. I didn’t feel a deep connection with every character but I certainly felt it with John Ericsson and his wife.

      Alternative history isn’t normally a genre that works for me as a reader but Jim Musgrave is an author that works for me. Whether he writes mystery, general fiction or alternate history he can count me in amongst his fans.

    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 255 pages

    Chinawoman’s Chance Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 1 James Musgrave

    • The First Woman Attorney in California Fights the Patriarchy of the Nineteenth Century

      Clara Shortridge Foltz faces a patriarchal nemesis in 1884 San Francisco. When a white prostitute is murdered and flayed down to a skeleton, Clara is hired by the Six Companies of Chinatown to defend the sixteen males who are swept-up by the Chinatown Squad.

      This ragtag and corrupt group of sheriffs works for the mayor, Washington Bartlett. The mayor uses the nation’s anti-Chinese sentiment in his quest to win the race for Governor of California.

      Foltz, the first woman admitted to the California Bar, must learn fast to become a detective in order to prove that her client, journalist George Kwong, is not the killer but was set-up by the mayor to take the fall. Along with Ah Toy, her trusted translator and best friend, she is instructed by the head of detectives, Captain Isaiah Lees.

      Lees becomes enamored with Clara, who is having personal problems with sexual commitment, due to her first marriage with Jeremiah Foltz. He was a Union vet who deserted Clara and their five children for a younger woman.

      Captain Lees has personal problems of his own, as he has devoted all his time fighting the corrupt politicians and the Chinatown Squad for twenty years, and has not even made time for female relations. Theirs is a very special kind of romance.


      Free to all visitors and fans!

    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 161 pages

    The Spiritualist Murders Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 2 James Musgrave

    • CLARA AND HER FAMILY MUST STOP A MESMERIZING MURDERER


      Women in 1886 San Francisco are killing their husbands. Attorney detective Clara Foltz uses an eighteen-year-old clairvoyant to track down the mysterious man using the powers of sexual magnetism and mesmerism to turn abused women into murderers. This becomes a family mystery, as Clara’s two oldest children get involved.

      Clara’s assistant, Ah Toy, must also enlist the help of her evil uncle, Little Pete, because he also uses his paranormal abilities to control his harem of prostitutes in Chinatown. Ah Toy learns how he does it and leads Clara and her family inside the dark, seamy side of how women are controlled for nefarious purposes.

      But the true confrontation comes when Clara joins together with her attorney friend, Laura de Force Gordon, to question witnesses who testified at the trial of Mrs. Rachel Wilson-Rafferty. They also pay a visit to the wife of the man who began the first Rosicrucian group in America, Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph. They learn he taught sexual magnetism and the use of hashish and marijuana to help transfix his members in spiritual trances before they had sex with their partners.

      As the wealthy and abusive husbands are murdered by their wives all over the United States, Clara and her team begin to close in on a variety of suspects. The supernatural climax leads to a final confrontation and the solution to the mystery, inside the Winchester house in San Jose, but not without several twists in the action, which place Clara’s daughter and son in immediate danger.

      This second, much-awaited mystery in the Portia of the Pacific series shows how women used Spiritualism in order to further their rights as women and wives. In this case, however, women once again become victims of a sexist predator who will risk everything to achieve his misogynistic goals.

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 173 pages

    The Stockton Insane Asylum Murder Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 3 James Musgrave

    • where eugenics began

      “Madness can be seen as an intuitive probing into true reality.”–R. D. Laing

      Women were, among others, misdiagnosed as insane by alienists in the 1800s. A female child has been institutionalized in 1887, but the aunt of this child comes to Clara Foltz to say she believes the child was admitted to the Stockton State Insane Asylum (the first such institution in California) because she knew about a murder that was committed on her wealthy parent’s estate.

      Clara solicits the help of Elizabeth Packard, the crusading (real) activist who was committed in the 1860s by her husband. It took Mrs. Packard three years to earn her freedom. Together with Ah Toy, they contrive a way to go undercover to gain admittance into the Women’s Building at Stockton to find the child and determine what happened to have her institutionalized. Children were regularly institutionalized, as were the elderly and the feeble-minded.

      Five of these characters will be readers who won a raffle held by the author. They will be suspect asylum patients inside the Stockton State Insane Asylum, the first public mental hospital in California. The author will be working with each reader, using their photos, descriptions and “personal idiosyncrasies” to craft the characters used in his mystery.

      BookLife Prize, 2018: ​​”A thrilling adventure, perfect for whodunit fans and historical fiction buffs.”

      Kirkus Review: “An entertaining mix of fact, fiction, feminism, and the occult.”

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 173 pages

    The Angel’s Trumpet Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 4 James Musgrave

    • An 1887 Handmaid Gets Her Revenge in This Superb Historical Legal Thriller and Mystery

      Abraham Lincoln was shot inside Ford’s Theater, Washington D.C. In 1887, the investigation team of attorney-detective Clara Shortridge Foltz visits the same theater, which has now been converted into an Army Medical Museum for tourists.

      But, the same mysterious “vibes” are circulating among the skulls, surgical instruments and garishly frightening scenes from the Civil War battlefield. Lincoln’s ghost, it is rumored, is also wandering about. And below the creaky floors, there is a secret that cannot be revealed until the final act in this unique mystery and political satire.

      “James Musgrave’s The Angel’s Trumpet is one of those rare historical mysteries that is both entirely plausible and yet truly original.   A richly researched adventure into the complex social web of Gilded Age Washington, featuring deeply-realized and re-imagined luminaries including actress Sarah Bernhardt and President and Mrs. Cleveland, the novel is also surprisingly modern in its sensibilities, a compelling romp into an earlier era’s struggle with addiction and vice and secrecy and race relations, and, most of all, hidden sources of power.  You will read this book in one sitting–and you will be very glad that you did.  A meticulously-plotted gem from a master of the genre.”   Jacob M. Appel, author of the Dundee International Book Award winner, The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up.

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 205 pages

    Dark Justice Portia of the Pacific Historical Mysteries Volume 5 James Musgrave

    • When Abortion was Against the Law, Attorney Clara Foltz Confronts the Establishment

      In the fifth mystery of the Portia of the Pacific series, Attorney and Detective Clara Shortridge Foltz and her partner, Attorney Laura de Force Gordon, become involved in two trials.  One, an administrative case, Clara defends the accused, an abortifacient merchant, who is allegedly the incestuous father of a child by his sixteen-year-old daughter, who dies during an abortion attempt.  But since this is 1887, no criminal charges can be made on the father, so the San Francisco police go after the midwife, a Chinese-American who treated the deceased, a half-Navajo girl, with acupuncture.

      Clara and Laura call in witnesses from the past, including a Medicine Man from the victim’s mother’s tribe in the Arizona Territory, the famous Claflin sisters, suffragists who live in England, and the State Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior.

      The supernatural curse of the tribe’s Skinwalker witches, in the form of a coyote, which allegedly can run on two legs like a man, and the strange practices of the Navaho Medicine man and his deaf assistant, cause this mystery to evolve into a much bigger conundrum than merely that of abortion.  The search for truth will end on the Navaho Nation’s land, under less than ideal circumstances.

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 183 pages

    Forevermore, a Pat O’Malley Mystery, Volume 1 Jim Musgrave

    • First Place Winner of the 2013 Chanticleer Book Award for Best Historical Mystery. Finalist in the Best Digital Fiction Award, New Generation Book Awards, 2014.

      In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City. Selected by the Library Journal for special choice in their “Self-E” indie book awards and distribution program.

      Jim Musgrave’s Forevermore is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

      Free for new fans and readers of the series!

    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 143 pages

    Disappearance at Mount Sinai, a Patrick O’Malley Mystery, Volume 2 Jim Musgrave

    • Finalist in the 2013 CLUE Book Awards for Mysteries, Suspense and Thrillers

      Second Mystery in the Best-Selling Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk series

      It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.

      Why 8,000+ Readers Have This Book

      • This is an historical mystery that pushes the envelope with a worldwide eugenics conspiracy.
      • It has a mystical element that includes Jewish folklore.
      • Pat O’Malley is an interesting and compelling sleuth.
      • The historical characters used are accurate and relevant.
      • Musgrave brings the 1860s in New York City to life in his mysteries.

      ˃˃˃ This was a Featured Summer Read in the Jewish Daily Forward

      At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.

      ˃˃˃ Critical Acclaim for Disappearance at Mount Sinai

      “Musgrave writes with intuitive insight into the prejudice of man’s bigotry and greed, driven by ambition, and lust for power. He skillfully incorporates engaging dialogue, intriguing mystery, and fast-moving action to keep the reader in suspense right up to an intense dramatic unexpected conclusion.

      Disappearance at Mount Sinai ensures author Jim Musgrave a growing fan base eagerly anticipating another sequel in the Pat O’Malley Historical Mystery Series.” Richard Blake, Blog Critics

      “Jim Musgrave is an award-winning author and it’s easy to see why. The characters are well-developed and feel authentic; he captures the essence of America’s reconstructive era perfectly and the pace of the story is steady. The mystery is complex and dramatic without being far-fetched or cliché. Musgrave even nailed the dialogue and interactions between such strongly divided cultures. The conclusion, just like the rest of the book, does not disappoint. Disappearance at Mount Sinai is absolutely a mystery worth reading.” Ashley LaMar, Closed the Cover Book Reviews

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 178 pages

    Jane the Grabber, a Pat O’Malley Mystery, Volume 3 Jim Musgrave

    • Detective Pat O’Malley Gets Pulled into the World of Steampunk

      This third mystery plunges O’Malley into the Steampunk world of Jane the Grabber. The first two mysteries have served as introductions to a mysterious new paradigm. Jim Musgrave has begun a genre of fiction called Historical Steampunk Mystery. Taken in their entirety, these three novels show the progression of Pat O’Malley from common citizen into a sleuth who must confront a time-traveling group that poses a world-wide threat.

      ˃˃˃ Hester “Jane the Grabber” Haskins

      It is 1868, and one of the most devious and sinister madams in New York City is trying to displace Pat O’Malley’s friend and lover, Rebecca Charming. Using all the illegal tricks at her disposal, Hester Jane Haskins is everything Becky is not. She keeps her prostitutes trapped and drugged inside an old theater in the Tenderloin. She kidnaps them using well-dressed couples such as John Allen and his wife, Little Susie, who promise the girls a life on the stage, but they end up as slaves to Haskins.

      ˃˃˃ A Women’s Civil War

      Becky Charming declares a “women’s civil war” on Haskins and the Tammany Hall political bandits who support her and her style of corrupt brothel management. Not only does Charming want O’Malley to help her, but our detective also enlists the aid of Plug Uglies leader Walter McKenzie and three of his best men. In his first cooperation with New York City’s Superintendent of Police, O’Malley works with the only honest copper left in the city, John Andrew Kennedy, who agrees to help O’Malley in his attempt to find enough on Jane the Grabber to put her out of business forever.

      ˃˃˃ Respect for All Women

      In the sub-plot, Becky also wants to gain respect for all women, and this leads to finding the key in the final mystery of how to stop Hester Jane “the Grabber” Haskins from taking over all of New York City’s brothels. Becky uses her guile and intelligence to discover just how important it is to get the public behind you when you want to stop corruption in high places.

      ˃˃˃ Professional Review

      Jim Musgrave’s Jane the Grabber is both a mystery and a war between two of the most powerful women in New York City. Musgrave’s historical accuracy is again most revealing, as he weaves actual history into his spell-binding plot to create a powerful read. The female characters in this mystery will be remembered long afterward.

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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 221 pages

    Steam City Pirates, a Pat O’Malley Mystery, Volume 4 Jim Musgrave

    • As Seen in USA Today Talked about on “Authors on the Air”

      In this steampunk mystery, Jim Musgrave portrays late 19th century New York City with a horrifying yet comic vision of science gone awry. Detective Patrick O’Malley struggles with bizarre creatures and bawdy situations when he is pitted against steam-engineered pirates who aim to raid cargo ships and destroy lives. People breathe and release steam, fly out of windows and disappear, wield knives at lightning speed, and travel through time, but O’Malley also has a few tricks up his sleeve to help hold the dark forces back…

      What Reviewers Have to Say about Steam City Pirates

      • “Patrick O’Malley is a reluctant hero but an eager detective. These aspects of his nature mean he’s thrust into events both technologically and spiritually beyond his scope. Yet to solve the case, he will do whatever necessary, terrified the whole time not only by the simple risks to his physical form but also the implications against his soul.” Fantasy Author Maragaret McGaffey Fisk
      • “The character of O’Malley is a complex a character as you will meet in literature but quite entertaining in his ruthless pursuit of answers.” Douglas Meeks
      • “Steam City Pirates allows you to not just have a good read but also listen to steampunk music and play games all at the same time! I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend. Awesome book cover, too!” Carlana Charles
      • “Even though the plot is a bit complicated at times, if you take the time to absorb the intricate story, even if you have to re-read certain passages, as I did-you’ll realize the effort the author has made to tell a creative storyline.” Jay Douglass
      • “Musgrave had me at ‘monotechnological paradigm.’ As a lifelong non-fan of steampunk, I stand corrected in Steam City Pirates’ loud wake. This book is literary, philosophical, speculative, comedic art. Its meticulous details, quirky expertise, lunatic twists and effed-up, dream-logical characters are more complex than its industrial contraptions. Time travel, half-angels, bacteria-sized stowaways, Schiller’s Don Carlos, Poe flashbacks and opposing multiversal anti-Semitism spring from what I’ll dub the Musgravean imagination.” David Herrle, author of Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy

      ˃˃˃ Multimedia Extravaganza

      Play both original and popular steampunk music as you read this exciting novel. Feast your eyes on the illustrations. If you get bored, play the online steampunk video games. This is fun for the entire family who wants to get into the steampunk party in a big way!

      ˃˃˃ Listen to the Fun-Filled Party with Author Jim Musgrave

      Jim was the #1 chosen radio show (out of 15,000) the night he talked with Pam Stack about Steampunk. He’s been invited back. Listen to the “Authors on the Air” interview in the Amazon preview link under Jim’s photo in the “introduction.” Save $2.00 off Amazon price.
    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 324 pages

    The Mayan Magician and Other Stories Jim Musgrave

    • Woman Makes Major Leagues with Knuckler

      The first woman signed to the San Diego Padres is a Mayan Indian. She has a mysterious control over her knuckleball. Does she pitch for her god, Kulkulcan, the Warrior Serpent of the End of Times in 2012? Or, is she controlled by the N.A.S.A. scientist hired by her owner? Jim Musgrave’s latest collection of short fiction includes this novelette, along with 22 other remarkable stories, ranging from contemporary to science fiction and even a few horror tales. Award-winning short fiction author, Jacob Appel says, “With the publication of The Mayan Magician and Other Stories, Jim Musgrave joins the ranks of the George Saunders, Steven Millhauser and Kevin Brockmeier at the heart of the modern American short story’s second great renaissance.”

      Editorial Review

      In a short story collection of Musgrave’s caliber, the dilemma becomes which tale to review from The Mayan Magician and Other Stories. With “The Mayan Magician,” this compilation’s lead story and namesake, Musgrave weaves a mystical tale of love, courage and resolute faith in the great Mayan Warrior God, Kukulkán. Musgrave’s story revolves around a contemporary young Mayan woman, Isabel Velasquez, or “Dipsie Izzie,” as she wows baseball fans and wins over male colleagues and skeptics with her almost-supernatural knuckleball. She becomes the first female pitcher for the minor league Yucatán Leones — and later, the first woman awarded a major league contract, signing with the San Diego Padres. A million-dollar contract, no less. Anyone, who is a fan of baseball — or even those readers like me, who possess little more than a headline-recapping knowledge of the sport — will appreciate Musgrave’s erudite interlacing of baseball and the spiritual Mayan culture. Musgrave affords his readers the privilege of accompanying Isabel on her extraordinary journey of acclamation, unwavering faith in her Mayan religion, betrayal, kidnapping and the realization of true love. What more could you ask of a short story? I give this one a huge thumbs up. Throughout the “other stories” in The Mayan Magician and Other Stories, Musgrave flexes his creative genius and satirical, oft times irreverent, humor as he navigates the reader through a cross-genre exploration of diversity, acceptance, greed, community, faith, political corruption, cyber-lust, conformity and the lack thereof. Whether the vehicle Musgrave chooses to transport his fictional characters is a black widow using the internet to feast and fornicate, a hurricane with human-like qualities, a text-messaging mime or a depraved ride on Amtrak’s Sunset Limited on the brink of its demise, this writer weaves his tales with wit and wisdom. Is there rhyme or reason to this anthology, an interrelated theme? No. Nor is there the coziness of chicken soup. But if you love short stories, thought-provoking reads and quality entertainment, The Mayan Magician and Other Stories will not disappoint. (Reviewed by Sharon Cupp Pennington, author of Hoodoo Money)
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    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 284 pages

    Valley of the Dogs, Dark Stories James Musgrave

    • Dark Stories for Readers with Surreal and Deep Tastes

      Hollywood and Broadway are icons of the American Dream. But what happens to those who feed off that dream? Just as drug cartels have many underlings, who must get paid along the journey to the addicts, so do the characters who need to be nourished by the luminaries who make up this star-studded world above us. James Musgrave’s collection of eleven stories, in many ways, addresses the theme of “star power,” but in a way that satirizes the stereotypical “Hollywood endings” in very unique and literary ways. This collection has a remedy for the past year’s traumas caused by a worldwide pandemic.

      Award-winning short fiction author, Jacob M. Appel says, “With the publication of Valley of the Dogs, Jim Musgrave joins the ranks of George Saunders, Steven Millhauser, and Kevin Brockmeier at the heart of the modern American short story’s second great renaissance.”

      “Entering the consciousness of a reader is the most sacred enterprise an author can have. These stories have been collected as my Zen reflection during the past year’s COVID-19 plague. This shamanistic mental state, which the Japanese term “Mushin,” or “no-mind” is close to the stream-of-consciousness technique that Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and William Faulkner used to such success. However, it is also a form of channeling that defies definition. This is the mystical realm that creatives around the world know so well, and we worship at its altar every day we put fingers to keys or pen to paper. I want to thank readers who enjoy dark stories, as in this age of political correctness and what publishers often term “accessibility,” it is becoming more difficult for us authors, especially us authors who don’t make a lot of money from our work, to find an audience. I will go out on a limb and say that if the author does make a lot of money from a dark story, he/she will get marketing to back him/her up to ride the tide of money to the bank. If you ride this wave of Gustav and all the other characters in my collection, then thanks for that. It’s been a tough year for all of us. Bless you.” –James Musgrave

      “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
    • EMRE Publishing, LLC
    • 144 pages