Each day leading up to the April 13 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2013 Genre Fiction Finalist:
When pop diva Sheila Lews dies under puzzling circumstances, singer Clarisse Dufresne is approached by agents of a shadowy international crime syndicate with a proposition—to help forge recordings that were supposedly made by Lews before she died. Clarisse refuses to participate in the fraud and is rescued by a mysterious man who conceals both his face and his intentions behind a black mask. But the savior soon becomes Clarisse’s tormentor when she learns that she is not his guest as he professes, but his prisoner.
Excerpt from The Devil and the Diva:
The first time Clarisse saw the man in the black mask she thought he was putting her on, some kind of Phantom of the Opera wannabee lurking in the shadows in the back of the club. She wasn’t particularly frightened: she had seen plenty of things from the stage that were scarier than a man dressed head to toe in black, with not an inch of skin showing. Still, this is new, she thought, shielding her eyes from the blazing lights as she regarded him.
A heavy not on the piano reminded her of where she was. She turned to Rick, her on-again, off-again accompanist. Clarisse had missed her cue and Rick’s raised eyebrow asked, “What happened?”
Clarisse smiled back. “What a night,” she said.
David Housewright is an Edgar Award-winning author of the Rushmore McKenzie and Holland Taylor novels as well as other tales of murder and mayhem. He has written 12 books including Practice to Deceive (1998 Minnesota Book Award winner) and Jelly’s Gold (2010 Minnesota Book Award winner). His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications.
Renée Valois is an award-winning writer whose fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines such as Fallout and Studio One. Her reviews and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines ranging from the St. Paul Pioneer Press to the History Channel Magazine and ICON (the magazine of the American Society of Interior Designers). She has also written numerous television and radio commercials, video scripts and ads for clients such as McDonald’s, Harley Davidson, Mall of America, Levi’s and Aveda.
“This story is rich, it’s lush, it’s romantic, it’s smart, it’s funny. It’s a mix of genres, a Beauty and the Beast tale. Mystery. Crime fiction. Intrigue. Gothic romance. Inside the pages we visit Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, the North Shore, all in winter. Winter! A masked man. Dark wool capes that flow over deep snow. A house like a castle. A woman in a white gown holding a candelabra.” —Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one books
“It’s wonderful. I loved Clarisse – smart, witty and human. Maurice (the man in the black mask) was quite the romantic figure, yet still human, too, with those little foibles that make a girl want to smash him in his obsidian nose and then kiss him and make it better… The story was outrageous, and I totally bought into it. I was sorry when it ended.”—Deborah Woodworth, author of Dancing Dead
“This was very compelling page-turner with a fantastic lead character.”— MN Book Awards judge
David Housewright on used book sales:
Award winners will be announced at the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Hilton Minneapolis. An author meet-and-greet and book signing reception precedes the awards ceremony, and the Epilogue after-party includes complimentary champagne, desserts, and live music. Tickets on sale now. Click here for more information.
Have you read The Devil and the Diva? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!