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The Unholy

The Unholy

4.0 35
by Heather Graham

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The 1940s: Hard-boiled detectives and femmes fatale are box-office gold. In one iconic scene, set in a deserted museum, the private eye arrives too late, and the buxom beauty is throttled by an ominous Egyptian priest.

Now: The Black Box Cinema immortalizes Hollywood's Golden Age in its gallery of film noir tributes. But the mannequin of


The 1940s: Hard-boiled detectives and femmes fatale are box-office gold. In one iconic scene, set in a deserted museum, the private eye arrives too late, and the buxom beauty is throttled by an ominous Egyptian priest.

Now: The Black Box Cinema immortalizes Hollywood's Golden Age in its gallery of film noir tributes. But the mannequin of that Egyptian priest is hardly lifeless.

He walks—and a young starlet dies a terrifying death.

Movie mogul Eddie Archer's son is charged with the grisly murder. Eddie calls agent Sean Cameron, who specializes in irregular investigations. As part of an FBI paranormal forensics team, Cameron knows that nightmares aren't limited to the silver screen.

Working with special-effects artist Madison Darvil—who has her own otherworldly gifts—Cameron delves into the malevolent force animating more than one movie monster.…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Graham...stands at the top of the romantic suspense category. -Publishers Weekly

"Graham expertly blends a chilling history of the mansion's former residents with eerie phenomena, once again demonstrating why she stands at the top of the romantic suspense category." —Publisher's Weekly on Phantom Evil, Starred Review

"An incredible storyteller."
-Los Angeles Daily News

"Graham wields a deftly sexy and convincing pen."
-Publishers Weekly

"A fast-paced and suspenseful read that will give readers chills while keeping them guessing until the end."
-RT Book Reviews on Ghost Moon

"If you like mixing a bit of the creepy with a dash of sinister and spine-chilling reading with your romance, be sure to read Heather Graham's latest...Graham does a great job of blending just a bit of paranormal with real, human evil."
-Miami Herald on Unhallowed Ground

"Heather Graham will keep you in suspense until the very end."
-Literary Times

"Mystery, sex, paranormal events. What's not to love?"
-Kirkus on The Death Dealer

"The paranormal elements are integral to the
unrelentingly suspenseful plot, the characters
are likable, the romance convincing, and, in the
wake of Hurricane Katrina, Graham's atmospheric
depiction of a lost city is especially poignant."
-Booklist on Ghost Walk

"Graham's rich, balanced thriller sizzles with equal parts suspense, romance and the paranormal-all of it nail-biting."
-Publishers Weekly on The Vision

Product Details

Publication date:
Krewe of Hunters Series , #6
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 6.44(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

Madison Darvil wasn't really awake when the phone rang. She was in that delightful stage of half sleep, when the alarm had gone off…but the snooze button was on and she had a few minutes to lie lazily in the comfort of her bed before rising. Her phone was loud and strident. She rolled over groping for it, swearing softly as it dropped to the floor and she had to lean down to get it, banging her head on the bedside table.

"Shit!" she muttered, and was further humiliated when she realized she'd hit Answer as she'd picked up the phone—and the caller had heard her.

"Hello?" she said frowning. Seven thirty-three. Who was calling this early?

She could hear a soft chuckle, and then someone clearing his throat. "Madison?"

Inwardly, she groaned.

"Yes, Alfie?" Alfie Longdale was her assistant at the studio. She loved the fact that she had an assistant and she loved Alfie. One day, he was going to rule the world, his eye for detail was so exceptional.

"You don't have to come in this morning. In fact, you can't come in."

Her heart seemed to sink to her knees. Had someone suddenly decided she was really a fake? That, despite her training, degree and experience, she was just a kid who played at working on the movies?


Alfie's voice became hushed. "There was a murder last night! In the tunnel. Lord, Madison, Alistair Archer was arrested for murder! Some little starlet he had the hots for—they say her throat was slit from ear to ear. She's dead, Madison. And Eddie Archer's kid is saying that an Egyptian mummy—you know, the priest in the original Sam Stone movie, a monster—came down from one of the tableaux to commit the bloody carnage!"

Alfie was being dramatic. He was dramatic. But right now, what he'd said wasn't registering.

A mummy? A monster? Alfie had to be making it up. Monsters were what they did, what they created, quite frequently. Well, superheroes, giant rats for commercials, cute little pigs and other such creatures. But horror was big; horror movies could be reasonable in cost and make massive amounts of money.

"Alfie, is this—"

"No! It is not some kind of joke. It is not a movie script. Madison, it's real. A woman was killed in our tunnel. Anyway, the crime scene units are there today, and Eddie Archer's closed the entire place. No one goes in until the police have finished with the tunnel, the security tapes, the studio—you name it. Anyway, I was up last night when it all hit the news. And Eddie Archer looked white—I mean, white as a ghost!—when they showed him on film. He said he wants the police to have complete access to everything because he's going to find out what really happened—his son is not a murderer!"

Alfie was telling the truth. As shocking as it was, she knew he was telling the truth.

Madison felt her heart break for Eddie Archer. He was such a good man.

Alistair was a good kid, too. Could he have snapped and killed someone?


She couldn't accept that. He was too nice and decent, even shy.

"A monster," she repeated. "You mean—the Egyptian priest, the killer from Sam Stone and the Curious Case of the Egyptian Museum?"

"Exactly! Is that movie stuff or what? Everyone suspects The Unholy is a remake of that movie, but most people don't know for sure. And now, right in front of that tableau…a real murder! Anyway, I thought I'd call because if you show up at work, you'll be sent home. This way, you might be able to get some more sleep."

Madison wrinkled her face at the phone, as if she could convey her expression to Alfie. What? Go back to sleep now?

"Thanks, Alfie. Thanks for letting me know. I'm sure I'll get tons of extra sleep."

"Keep me posted if you hear more," Alfie said. He seemed not to notice her sarcasm.

"Ditto," she said, and ended the call.

She crawled out of bed, drawing an indignant meow from Ichabod, curled up at the foot of the bed. "Sorry, my friend," she told the cat, hurrying out to the parlor of her old rented bungalow and switching on the TV, going from channel to channel until she found a news station covering the murder.

The information Alfie had given her was true. The news showed the crime tape blocking off the cinema and the studio, then cut to an earlier interview with Eddie Archer in front of the courthouse. He denied his son's culpability, and swore that he'd learn the truth behind the shocking murder.

Mike Greenwood, creative head of the studio and Madison's supervisor, stood beside him. When Eddie finished speaking, Mike stepped up to the microphone. He reasserted what Eddie had said, that the truth would be discovered and, while Alistair had been arraigned for the murder, the D.A.'s office had acted only on what appeared to be the case—not what was. They would work toward his release, and by the middle or end of the week, when the police had gone over every inch of the place, Archer's Wizardry and Effects would be back in business. They would move forward with their various projects while the investigation continued. Mike spoke so earnestly, he silenced the spate of questions that should have arisen. He seemed concerned, but in control.

Mike was a steady man, excellent in stressful situations. Whenever they were on a tight deadline, Mike was the one who calmed down everyone at the studio, assuring them that, step by step, they'd get it all done.

Eddie had acted with his usual composure, but Madison felt so sorry for him.

Eddie, nearing fifty, was still fit, but his face bore the tension of sorrow. As Alfie had said, he looked white as a sheet. He'd run his fingers through his graying hair repeatedly as he spoke, his words calm but determined.

She was still staring at the TV in disbelief when her phone rang again. She'd left it in the bedroom, and raced to retrieve it, thinking it would be Mike Greenwood giving her the message that Alfie had already conveyed.

Her "Hello?" was breathless.


The caller wasn't Mike Greenwood. It was Eddie Archer himself.

"Eddie!" she said. "Oh, Eddie, I'm so sorry."

"Then you've heard."


"Alistair didn't do it."

"I believe that, Eddie. With my whole heart."

"Thank you." He was quiet.

"I heard not to come in, Eddie," Madison said. "Alfie called me."

"Actually, Madison, I do want you to come in. I have a friend arriving—a film effects artist I worked with years ago. He's a member of the FBI now, and he's going to handle a special investigation for me. I'd like you to meet with him, show him around the studio."

"I—I thought it was closed down, other than for the police?" FBI? How had he gotten the FBI involved? She wasn't savvy about law enforcement, but she'd always assumed the FBI only came in for serial killers or kidnapping or crimes that spanned several states.

And how the hell did a special-effects artist wind up in the FBI?

And, oh, God, why had Eddie chosen her?

She knew exactly why Eddie had chosen her. He'd never challenged her, he'd never forced her into a corner over this. But he believed—had reason to believe—that she talked to the dead.

"The police closed the Black Box Cinema. But I closed the studio. And Sean—Sean Cameron—won't be here until this afternoon. I just talked to him in the wee hours of the morning and he's coming from Virginia. I'm picking him up myself, so I'll swing by for you after I've collected him from LAX. If that's all right with you."

Madison exhaled on a long breath. The man she had hero-worshipped for his artistry throughout her formative years was asking for her help. The same man who'd hired her and opened up a world that she'd only dreamed of knowing.

"Eddie, I would do anything for you," she assured him humbly. "And for Alistair."

"Thank you. I think you're the right person to work with Sean. And I deeply appreciate your friendship—for Alistair and me. You can expect me around five."

"Of course," she murmured lamely.

Eddie wasn't ready to hang up. "Alistair didn't do it—he really didn't." He was quiet for a minute. "He told me that the Egyptian priest, Amun Mopat, came down from the Sam Stone tableau, and killed her. Alistair tried to reach Jenny, but slipped in the blood, conked himself out…and then came to and saw it was real—he was lying in a pool of blood. I guess it's normal for the police to think that either he's crazy or his story is and that he's going to try for an insanity plea. But I know my son. I know he didn't do it. And only someone who's familiar with the studio can prove he didn't."

"We're in Hollywood—a place filled with actors and effects," Madison said.

"Yeah," Eddie agreed, sounding bitter. "But, oddly enough, I believe we're the only ones who see the possibility that Alistair didn't do it. Anyway, Madison, I'll be by for you. If you're sure you don't mind."

"I'm happy to show your guy around the museum, Eddie."

Eddie Archer ended the call. Madison sank down into her art deco-style sofa, setting her phone on the coffee table in front of it.


Madison nearly leaped a mile into the air at the sound of the voice. Her hand fluttered to her throat; her heart thudded.

She turned and saw the man who'd spoken, standing just behind her.

The voice was soft. The man was slight, with dark graying hair and a wonderful face filled with character.

She let out a breath. Her sometime-resident "invisible" friend—whether extension of her imagination or real ghost—was seated on the arm of the sofa, looking at her sorrowfully.

"You all right, kid?"

She let out a breath, realizing that the very concept of someone being murdered where she worked was terrifying.

"Yeah. It would help if you didn't startle me like that."

"I spoke quietly. And I'm not exactly a surprise now, Madison, am I?"

No, not anymore.

She could see him plain as day, as if he were flesh and blood, a good friend who'd stopped by in a time of need. He had a fascinating, ruggedly masculine face—including his slightly scarred lip—and a lean, slight form. When he stood, he was on the short side at only five feet eight inches.

"Um, I'm fine. I'm just stunned," Madison said. Then she rushed into words, well aware of how ridiculous she'd look if anyone else was there—because she saw Humphrey Bogart as he sat in her living room. "I don't know how much you hear or fathom from phone conversations, but there was a murder at the studio last night. A starlet who was with Alistair Archer. I can't believe he killed her. I won't believe it—not Alistair. Eddie must be beside himself, desperate to help him. He's such a loving father."

"Watching a child suffer is a hard thing," Bogie said, his voice low and slightly nasal.


Madison stared at him. Was he an imaginary friend? She would never be sure. She'd had strange experiences as a child. She'd tried chalking them up to growing pains, teenage angst and, as her parents had suggested, an overactive imagination—the kind that had led her right into a career. She'd also had experiences that had broken her heart—and might be part of the reason she embraced her work, day in and day out.

Bogie hadn't come with the bungalow, though he'd lived there briefly in the 1920s. He'd told her once that he had loved it and loved living there. She'd first met him at the wax museum when she was a college student; she'd assumed he was a lookalike actor hired to play the part. They'd spoken and laughed together..

And he'd followed her home.

Bogie showed up whenever he wanted to. Apparently he had other places to haunt, as well. Madison simply accepted him as a friend—imaginary though he might be. Sometimes she thought she was crazy; sometimes she thought she was incredibly lucky that such a man had chosen her to haunt. Although she believed that now, she hadn't always. He'd scared her to death at first, and had occasionally made her life hell.

He'd just startled her today; the first night she'd seen him sitting on her sofa, however, he'd practically given her a heart attack. She'd fumbled to call the police, and they'd come and almost arrested her, assuming she was another college kid trying to make trouble. Bogie had been apologetic and courteous—so sorry for causing her distress. He was what he was, and he'd tried to explain, but she hadn't believed him.

Maybe he was imaginary, but she didn't know what part of her mind triggered his appearances.

And if he was, what about the other dead people who 'd spoken to her?

But imaginary or not, he was there for her now.

"Have some coffee, kid. That'll make you feel better."

"I'm not sure it will help me feel better. But at least it'll wake me up."

"What are you waking up for? You could go back to sleep."

"Why is it that everyone thinks I can sleep now?" she muttered.

Bogie ignored that, standing and stretching as he gazed out the windows. He turned to look at her. "The murder took place in the studio?" he asked.

She shook her head. "The underground tunnel between the Black Box Cinema and the studio—where Archer has his film noir museum."

"Interesting," Bogie mused. "By which display?"

Madison frowned. "The news didn't say, but Alfie told me it was by the tableau for Sam Stone and the Curious Case of the Egyptian Museum. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I mean, especially since the studio is now in lockdown because of The Unholy—the Sam Stone remake."


Meet the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She's a winner of the RWA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers' Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook.

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The Unholy 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
debbieaheaton More than 1 year ago
In Graham’s paranormal suspense novel, movie mogul Eddie Archer’s son is charge with murder. Eddie falls back on his friendship with agent Sean Cameron, who specializes in irregular investigations. Now a member of an FBI paranormal forensics team, Cameron knows that evil exists. Teaming with special-effects artist Madison Darvil, another gifted individual, they investigate the malevolent force hard at work at the Black Box Cinema. A fast-paced and suspenseful story that will give readers chills as well as keeping them guessing until the very end. As always, Graham has outdone herself again.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
The Unholy is the sixth novel in Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunter series. Each of her novels follows a special unit of the FBI that solves difficult cases utilizing paranormal gifts. All of her novels can be read as a standalone. They each deal with one member of the team, their love interest and a new case. Unholy was a fun read involving a closed room murder, the ghost of Humphrey Bogart and an old Hollywood Cinema. I quickly became swept up in this tale, and was surprised when the murderer was revealed. The tale begins when a murder occurs at the Black Box Cinema and the owner’s son is arrested for the heinous crime. Owner, Eddie Archer pulls every favor he has in Los Angeles to help clear his son’s name. He contacts former special-effects employee and friend Sean Cameron. Sean is now a member of the FBI’s special unit; Krewe of Hunters. He and the rest of this unusual team have recently finished their FBI training. Sean arrives a day ahead of the team, and Archie introduces him to Madison Darvil. She is a trusted employee and special effects artist. He puts Madison in charge of showing Sean around the cinema. The tale that unfolds was both delightful and creepy as we searched for clues to solve this murder. Sean Cameron is a sweetheart. He is smexy, protective and sensitive. His back-story will delight you, and I found him to be completely swoon-worthy. He is a talented special-effects artist, and one heck of an FBI agent. His training and special abilities help him as he works to clear a man’s name, protect Madison and prevent another murder. Madison Darvil is talented, kind, head strong and lives with the ghost of Bogart. Yep, movie icon Humphrey Bogart watches television and chats with Madison in her bungalow! Their interaction was hilarious. At the age of six her best friend died and appeared as a ghost. She shared this experience with her mother. That experience taught her to never talk about her gift..to anyone, ever! While happy in her career she is lonely. Living with this secret and having Bogart around (who likes to sit in the living room when she entertains perceptive dates) doesn’t do much to help her non-existent love life. The rest of the Krewe team is there, but they work strictly on the case as the tale focuses on the murder, Sean and Madison. Graham gives us a great array of characters as suspects from an actor to a costume designer. She provides characters that scream guilty; like Archie newest wife. I wanted to slap this woman and then turn around and slap the loveable Archie for falling for a woman like this..eek gads! The case is a good one. It features a favorite mystery classic; a murder within a closed room. I loved the setting of the old movie theater and the back history to the old black and white movies. I found the whole thing intriguing. Grahams shows us the killer in costume and it is quite frightening. She reveals bits and pieces of the murderer’s psyche. As Cameron, the team and Madison piece together clues I became completely enthralled with the tale. I pieced together parts and totally failed on the masked killer. The romance is secondary to the mystery which is one aspect I appreciate in Graham’s tales. I get great suspense and a couple who I end up believing in and rooting for. There is some sexual content in this novel, but Graham has a talent for providing heated scenes that are all implied.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Heather Grahams book but even for her the Humprey Bogar ghost was a little bit to cheesey for me . I had a hard time getting into the story plot or even reading it for that matter the character was just to hard to over come and to distracting for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will never be disappointed when you pick up any of Heather Graham's novels. This was another great Krewe story. I cannot get enough of these books. Love, suspense and a supernatural twist will keep you enthralled with all of her stories.
Marilyn-from-Ohio More than 1 year ago
I read this book and loved every moment. The story line kept me guessing and at time put me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what whoud happen next. Also I enjoyed the romance in the book. The main characters were fasinating right from the beginning. Heather Graham is a terrific writer. Whatever she writes I will read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE Heather Graham, I really do. I would put her in my top 5 authors, no question, and I would rate her average novels 4 1/2 stars to 5 normally. But seriously, the ghost of Bogie. Ugh. A bit player, ok, a made up starlet, sure, but a real life actor and having him say "kid" after almost every sentence is about more then I can take. Sooooooo cheesy! What on earth happened that her, her editors, her book writers groups, whoever else that read this prior to publishing and NO ONE thought it a horrible idea? Condidering I am only on the 2nd book of the new krewe, I have my fingers crossed the other two books left redeem this one. I would have liked it if not for that awful part of the story line. Thank God this wasn't the first book I read of hers, because I would have never picked up another! It is that outlandish to me!!!
keyflamingo More than 1 year ago
This is a great book from a great series. I am a Heather Graham fan. I enjoy getting to know her characters and in her series I enjoy the way she does a focus on 2 characters and still includes "old friends". Stories are well written and fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Janie Dillon More than 1 year ago
Good writer. I like all of her books. In this one we get a visit from Humphry Bogart. If you have seen any of his movies you know this will be good. If you don't know who  he is you should watch some old movies, and just know he fits rght in this story.  I hate figuring out who did it before story is finished and Heather Graham never disapoints. 
eternalised More than 1 year ago
This was a light read, and had a few surprising twists and turns. The characters could use some more development, but the plot was intriguing and original enough to hold my interest. The pacing falls apart at the end. The writing is okay, but not more than that. Setting and plot are great, but the rest feels uninspired. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the "Krewe" books and practticaly all of Graham's other books. I was very disapointed with the ghost of Bogie, why? The same idea could have been conveyed with the ghost of a "made up" film noir actor, its called imagination. I felt the plot was canned. Maybe its time to move on to an entirely new series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book. Heather Graham really does a great job with this book.
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