Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Blog: Author Justin Gustainis: Haunted Scranton

About a month ago I asked Mr. Gustainis to stop by Sci-Fi Guys and give us a little mouth watering tidbit to warm us up while we waited for the second book in his Haunted Scranton series to come out. But, since it's already been out for a while (I know, Bad Rodney!) consider Mr. Gustainis' guest blog a introduction to the series for those interested.

Welcome to “Haunted Scranton”

My books Hard Spell and Evil Dark (with Known Devil due out next Fall), are set in an alternate universe where supernatural creatures of every sort really exist – and everyone knows it. Although the publisher’s title for the series is “The Occult Crime Unit Investigations” I prefer to call it the “Haunted Scranton” series, since the books are set in and around Scranton, PA – but this is a Scranton with spooks.

The series protagonist (and narrator) is Sgt. Stan Markowski, a veteran detective on the Scranton P.D.’s Occult Crimes Unit. Here’s Stan describing his job: “Being supernatural is legal in Scranton, just like anyplace else. And doing supernatural stuff is also legal – within reason. But if a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that’s when they call me.”

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to a few of the people (and some who aren’t, strictly speaking, people) and places in Haunted Scranton.

--Stan’s boss, Lt. McGuire. His wife was kidnapped and murdered by a gang of werewolves, years ago. “McGuire’s a good guy and an okay boss, but there’s a darkness about him that has nothing to so with the fact that he doesn’t see much sunlight. He’s no vigilante – he believes in the law. But God help any supe [cop slang for supernatural creature] who breaks it.”

--Rachel Procter, the Scranton Police Department’s Consulting Witch. One night, Stan visits Rachel’s office, to ask her for a necromancy that she does not want to perform. “Rachel Procter’s about five feet tall and built lean. She’s got auburn hair, smart-looking gray eyes, and a beautiful smile. The smile put in an appearance when I walked into her office, but when I told her what I wanted, it was gone, baby, gone. She was looking at me as if I’d suggested we have three-way sex with a goat some night. A real old, smelly goat.”

--Barney Ghougle (not his real name, but everyone calls him that), a local ghoul and one of Stan’s best informants. “For the latest gossip, a ghoul will put a roomful of Polish grandmothers to shame,” Stan says. To no one’s surprise, Barney’s a mortician. “I hear his funeral home is pretty successful, but I’d never do business with him. I like my relatives to be buried with all their parts intact.”

And if you visit Haunted Scranton, be sure to stop in for a drink (after sundown, naturally) at Renfield’s, the biggest “supe” bar in town. Most nights, you’ll find Elvira tending bar. That’s not her real name, but she’s dressed and made up in a good imitation of a certain TV horror hostess from the West Coast. Stan figures that the cleavage is probably good for tips. Most kinds of drinks are available in Renfield’s, but if you order a Bloody Mary, be sure to specify whether you want it with real blood.

If you get the munchies, Stan recommends Three Witches Bakery. He’s always hearing their commercial jingle on the local radio station, WARD: “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the coven….”

There are a couple of other people who are important in Stan’s life – his daughter, Christine and his partner, Karl Renfer. But I’d rather let you meet them for yourselves – and I hope that, one of these nights, you will.

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