From Examiner’s Recommended Women in Horror comes THE MARKER CHRONICLES by Danielle DeVor. The First Trilogy contains books 1 – 3. Now, for a limited time, save BIG by buying this special bundle deal at a killer price!
SORROW’S POINT (Book 1)
Not All Exorcists are Equal....One is Marked
When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend with his sick daughter, he doesn’t expect the horrors that await him. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, rests upon the outskirts of the town of Sorrow’s Point. The mansion’s history of magic, mayhem, and death makes it almost a living thing – a haunted mansion straight out of a Stephen King novel. Jimmy must decide if the young girl, Lucy, is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real.
After the house appears to affect him as well with colors of magic dancing before his eyes, rooms warded by a witch, and a ring of power in his voice, Jimmy is met by a transient who tells him he has “the Mark.” Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. All he wants to do is help Lucy. But, helping Lucy means performing an exorcism.
SORROW’S EDGE (Book 2)
Uncovering The Truth…Will Take An Exorcist
Jimmy Holiday, defrocked priest turned exorcist, is trying to get his life in order. With his on-again off-again witchy girlfriend moving in, the spirit of the little girl from his last exorcism hanging around, and a secret organization of exorcists hounding him, Jimmy equals stressed.
When a stranger calls in the middle of the night asking for help with a possession, Jimmy is about to land in a mess of trouble. Especially since the man on the phone claims to have gotten his number from Jimmy’s old mentor. Too bad his mentor has been dead for years.
After a mysterious silver flask arrives at his doorstep, Jimmy is left with two options: either ignore the newest enigma the universe has tossed him, or listen to Lucy and travel to Arizona to solve the mystery before all hell breaks loose…again.
SORROW’S TURN (Book 3)
Some things are worse than demons.
Jimmy Holiday, reluctant exorcist, is finally getting the help he needs from the higher-ups. The Order of Markers is sending him to the Vatican’s exorcism school. Now, he’ll receive the training he should have gotten at the beginning. One problem, someone wants to sabotage him.
When his time at the school is cut short, Jimmy receives an interesting new case. It is the assignment that no one wants—a corpse has come back to life. And it isn’t a zombie.
Too bad nothing goes as expected. Armed with his usual bag of tricks, Jimmy thinks everything will eventually be all right. Well, that is until his betrayer turns out to be the person he trusts most.
“Defrocked priest Jimmy Holiday's narrative voice is a strong blend of insightful, self-deprecating, and sincere.”
- Publisher's Weekly ★★★★★
“Probably one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. The book is a page-turner, but definitely not for the faint of heart. There were a few chilling scenes that will leave me with nightmares for weeks.”
- Heather Wood, Book Chatter ★★★★★
“Move over, Stephen King. Danielle DeVor is on her way!”
- YA Paranormal Romance Author, Katie O’Sullivan ★★★★★
Read an Excerpt
The Marker Chronicles Books 1-3
By Danielle De Vor
City Owl PressCopyright © 2017 Danielle DeVor
All rights reserved.
The Devil's Brood
WHAT WAS LEFT of O'Dell's hair blew in the wind like the last strands of cotton candy left in the machine. But it was too damn hot to have the windows up. With the sun beating down and the extra weight he'd put on over the last few years, the drive up the hill to Blackmoor turned hotter than an inferno. This year it'd been a hard summer. He'd lost count of the amount of times he had to yell at kids for messing with the fire hydrants.
He adjusted his uniform, pulling at the hem of his shirt. The stiff fabric clung to his skin like nothing else. In this heat, he'd rather be home in his cotton undershirt, sitting on the back porch and drinking a beer. But work came first.
O'Dell parked the cruiser in the drive and looked up at the monstrosity before him. Damn thing was massive — about double the size of a football field. Three levels to it. Way too huge for any normal family, but then, the Blacks were anything but normal. To him, the house seemed like Moby Dick: massive, vengeful and misunderstood. He grabbed his hanky and wiped the sweat off the back of his neck.
"Just what I need, Black breathing down my neck. To hell with you, Doris."
He closed the car door as he stretched the kinks out of his neck and took in his surroundings. No birds or any little creatures stirred. No sound could be heard other than the ragged snorts of his own breath. Goosebumps traveled up his arms. He walked the stone steps to the front door and pressed the button. The doorbell peeled in some tinkling tune O'Dell couldn't name.
No one came to the door.
Failing at the entrance, he wandered around. The place was so big it took a while to find the back. By the time he got there, his breath tore out of him and the air felt like twenty pounds in his lungs.
He stood in some sort of garden area. Flowers bloomed in beds arranged strategically about the back of the house, like something you'd see in an art book. A stone patio graced the top of the steps. He hobbled up them, still panting. The porch was large enough to host a "quiet" party of three hundred people. Yes, the Blacks were a whole different breed.
He knocked on the back door. Still no answer.
Then, he heard it, a noise at last, a thump from inside the kitchen. He peered in the side window.
It was too much for his brain to process. Flashes blinked in rapid succession as if his mind could only handle it in pieces. Red ran over the walls like a sprayed Jackson Pollock painting. It covered the doorway and dripped from the top as bright as cherry syrup. On the kitchen sink rested a dish drainer. Long black hair pooled around the severed head of Mrs. Black. The blood dripping from the neck stump had matted the hair to the counter.
O'Dell turned away from the windows and puked. Nothing like this ever happened in Sorrow's Point. The most he usually dealt with was a stupid kid shoplifting from the five and dime. He flew off the patio to the front of the house in record time. His sides ached and his head swam. Nausea beat at his gut. Fumbling with the driver's side door of his cruiser, he jerked it open, hopped inside, and pulled out his radio.
"Jesus Fucking Christ!" He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and pressed the button on the receiver. "Mable?"
"What?" Mable answered, the receiver crackling.
"I need goddamn backup at Blackmoor!"
"What? Oh God. Sorry, Walt. I'll make the call."
O'Dell released his radio and waited. The sour-sweet smell of the vomit on his shoes turned his stomach. He forced the bile back down his throat.
One at a time, the deputies arrived. For a town the size of Sorrow's Point, two deputies was all the town could afford. O'Dell's fist tightened on the handle as he got out of his car.
"Sheriff, what's going on?" Deputy Jones asked.
Boy was a young one, fresh out of the academy. O'Dell hoped he'd be able to pull his weight. He took a deep breath. "It's bad, Jake. Real bad."
Jones glanced over at the other deputy, Parker, and then turned back to the sheriff. "I've never seen you this messed up, Sheriff. You okay?" The sweat dripped from O'Dell's head in rivulets. He glanced at his reflection in the side mirror of his cruiser. His face flushed bright red. Before this case was done, he'd need more blood pressure pills. He threw his hat into the dirt. "No, I'm not fucking okay. Black has gone and killed his whole family!" He poked Jones in the chest. "I want you to go get that sumbitch. Cuff his ass and get him in the car. You hear me?" Jones swallowed. O'Dell watched his Adam's apple bob. Then the deputy motioned for his partner.
"Go round back," O'Dell said.
* * *
Jones crept around the side of the massive home. He looked this way and that like they had taught him in the academy. This was the first time something serious had gone down in Sorrow's Point. He set his jaw, bound and determined to do the best damn job he could.
The sheriff's footprints pressed into the tall grass, making it easy for him to know where to look. They led him to the back of the house and stopped as soon as they reached the stone patio. Something smelled sour-sweet. Flies would be swarming along soon. He walked up the steps and across to the door. The aroma grew stronger, but he didn't notice anything else out of the ordinary. Suddenly, his foot slid and he almost fell. His eyes drifted to the patio. A pile of puke, almost the same color as the stone, coated the bottom of his boot. "Great."
Backing up a step, he wiped the sole on the stone as best he could. Then, he sidestepped the puddle and peered in the window. Black sat at a butcher block table, facing the window. His dark hair stood up from his head in all directions. Eyebrows arched like the Devil's own. The deep red blood covered him from head to toe. He took another bite out of the small human leg he held in his large hands, grinding his teeth through the raw flesh.
"Oh shit." Jones shook, unable to release his death grip on the windowsill. The world shifted.
Jones peered down the smoking barrel of his gun, following the path through the broken window. He hadn't meant for the gun to go off. He didn't even remember reaching for his weapon. Black's chin slumped against his chest, the back of his head gone. Bits of gray matter stuck to the wall behind him. Black's fingers relaxed. The leg fell to the floor.CHAPTER 2
Things to Start With
HERE I WAS, sleeping in my bed, warm and relaxed, when the phone rang. To a lot of people, a phone call is a mundane thing, an everyday occurrence that, for the most part, has no bearing on daily life. But this phone call, it was something else entirely.
I glanced at the clock — 3:00 a.m., the true witching hour. I grimaced. That was the last thing I needed to be thinking about. I blinked the sleep from my eyes and groaned. The phone rang again. Are you kidding me? I reached for it.
"Jimmy?" the voice asked.
I wiped my hand over my face to try to wake up. Who in the hell is this? I threw the covers off my legs and rose. Then, turned and dangled them over the side of the bed. It hit me. I recognized this voice. Someone from my past, someone I hadn't heard from in years. The voice, after all this time, seemed somehow unchanged. "Will?"
His breath hissed into the phone. "I'm sorry for calling so late."
Why was he apologizing? I wasn't sure. The deed had already been done. I'd be lucky to get back to sleep at all.
He coughed. "It's about Lucy."
A buzzing started in my brain and drifted over my body like a swarm of locusts. I had better shit to do with my time — like sleep. He was calling, waking me up, for someone I didn't even know? "Lucy who?"
"Lucy," his pause weighted the air, "my daughter."
Someone sucked all the oxygen out of my lungs with a shop-vac. I bent at the waist, doubled over. A long time ago, Will and I had been great friends. I hadn't spoken to him in who knew how long. It had been before I'd entered seminary for sure. Still though, I didn't even know he was married, but then, maybe he wasn't. Stuff wasn't all that cut and dry these days. "I," starting awkwardly, I took a breath to center and tried again, "I didn't know you had a daughter, Will."
"Aw, hell." A thud reverberated over the line. "Shit. Has it been that long?"
I rolled my eyes. Yes, you idiot, it's been years. "Yes, it's been that long."
"Well damn, but ah," he said and honked his nose as he blew it into the phone. "I have a question."
One or many, I wondered, but said simply, "Okay."
"My daughter needs help, and I don't know what to do."
Not a question. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, trying to rub the sleep out of them. "What's going on, Will?"
He took a deep breath then hit me with the two ton question he had failed to speak earlier. "Do you still believe?"
My brows wrinkled together. A common habit. My mother used to comment on it all the time. It irritated the hell out of me. But this shit with Will wasn't making any sense. "What are you talking about?"
"God. I'm talking about God."
Oh Christ. I hadn't been asked that question for a long time. Ten years at least. And, then, it hadn't been a very happy occasion. "Yes, I still believe."
Another shaking breath told me this wasn't going to go well. "Can I meet you somewhere?"
I sat up straighter. Somehow, I had a feeling this could easily turn into one of those stories I would tell at the local bar so people could laugh over drinks. "Now?"
"Please, Jimmy. I know this is a lot to ask, but I'm desperate."
I rolled my head to stare at the ceiling. My breath escaped out of my lungs in a hiss. My shoulders slumped. Any chance at sleep disappeared. I was going to kick myself, but I couldn't avoid the inevitable. "Where are you?"
"Sitting in your driveway."
I snatched the phone away from my mouth. "Are you shitting me?" I jumped up and pulled back the curtain next to the bed. Sure enough, a green Toyota 4Runner that had seen better days sat idle in the driveway. I waved, let the curtain fall, and hung up the phone.
Damn creepy. My insides churned like I'd walked off a roller coaster. Something was wrong about this whole situation. Someone I hadn't talked to in over fifteen years randomly showing up at my house in the middle of the night?
I dropped the phone on my bed. "Hell." Bed looked good right now, going downstairs didn't. I left my room, stumbling. When I hit the bottom step, I turned on the hallway light. It bathed the room in a harsh yellow glow that stung my eyes. As I opened the front door, he stood there, blonde hair mussed, face white, hands shaking. What had happened to him?
"Come in," I said.
He stepped over the threshold and the wooden floor popped. We both jumped.
"Don't worry about it. It's an old house." It still left me uneasy. That floor had never popped there before. The over-active imagination I had wanted to cue in the creepy music.
He hobbled in and headed straight to my living room. Narrowly avoiding my pile of books, he plopped in my old brown recliner. I shuffled my feet on the brown shag carpet, dreading this conversation. I sat opposite him on the sofa.
"I'm scared, Jimmy." He blurted it out with nothing to back it up.
I shook my head. "I'm not trying to be cruel here, but what's that got to do with me?"
He leaned forward in the chair and looked me in the eyes. "I need a priest."
"Okay." I sighed. I should have known. This was going to be so much fun. "But I'm not a priest, Will."
He stared at me. "Why not?" Oh, God. Where in the hell did I start? "Look, it's not that easy of a story."
"I'd like to know," Will said.
Fine. Not like it was a secret, so what the hell. I was too tired to refuse and it all started tumbling out of my mouth like teeth that had been busted out by a prizefighter. "My mother always said we were related to Doc Holliday, so maybe, somehow, I was trying to live up to the importance or something. But since our names weren't even spelled the same, I kind of doubted it."
Will waved a hand at me to continue.
I sighed, liking this less and less. Looking into my old friend's eyes snapped something inside me. It felt wrong and irritating and my blood pressure rose. The whole sordid affair came pouring out of me. I wondered idly how long I had kept it down. "My folks were both alcoholics. I don't know if you knew that, but it's true. Dad was a nice drunk. Mom always had these grandiose ideas." I scratched my arm and stared at the floor.
"I remember her. She kind of always had her nose in the air," Will said.
"Then you know exactly what I'm talking about," I replied. "Anyway, growing up wasn't exactly cushy. I probably don't react the same way as regular people. In a roundabout way, that's how I ended up becoming a priest. Church was the one place I felt relaxed. My mom was always bickering at my dad about this or that. Sometimes, I wonder if she drove him to drink, but I know better. There was a darker story beneath all of that."
Suddenly, a loud crash interrupted my sad tale as the noise echoed against the side of the house.
"What the fuck was that?"
Will and I jumped. I ran out the front door and around the yard. My garbage cans were knocked over. I could just barely make out a striped tail as the animal ran away.
I was breathing hard, like I'd just run a marathon. Too much stress and not enough sleep. I glanced at Will.
"Well, that was interesting," he said.
My look turned to glares. It wasn't interesting. It was a pain in my ass. "You aren't funny."
His face paled. "I wasn't meaning to be."
I ignored him and went back inside. I just wanted this over and done with and him out of my house. But it was ironic that my house had been normal and fine before he'd arrived. Now, odd little shit kept happening — the popping floor, the trashcans crashing — and I was getting close to ripping my hair out.
When Will came back into the house, he seemed almost energized. Excited, maybe. He sat in the recliner. "Okay. I want to finish hearing this."
I had been hoping he forgot, but whatever. If telling him got him gone, so be it. "When I was fourteen, Father O'Malley asked if I'd thought about becoming a priest. All it took was that question and I figured it was the thing to do. As soon as I graduated from high school, I entered the seminary and that was that."
"And I went off to college."
I hummed my ascent. "It's been a long time."
He paused as if formulating words. "So I get the start, but why aren't you a priest anymore?"
It wasn't any of his damn business, and frankly, he was a bit too nosy. But if I didn't get it all out, I'd have to talk about it sometime to someone. He was as good as any. "I was fine until I finished seminary and continued 'going out amongst the people.' That's when I met Tabby. She didn't go to the church I was assigned. She didn't go to church at all. I would see her, long red hair blowing in the wind, walking past my church every day. Finally, one day I spoke to her. From that first word, I was done for. The church no longer held me. It was the beginning of the end."
I remembered it all like it was only a few minutes ago. Hell, I even remembered the smell of her. "I fell for her fast. Ironically, we didn't even have a physical relationship at that point. But a parishioner noticed I was spending a lot of time with a pretty young lady. I guess she figured that since Tabby was pretty and I was young, she needed to say something." I clenched my fists together then released them. Thinking about it still made me want to punch something. "I hadn't turned my back on my vows then, but the parishioner used poetic license and contacted my superiors. I was pissed — not only at the little old biddy who lied, but at my superiors for believing her instead of me. They wanted me to change dioceses and get away from Tabby as fast as possible. I had had enough. When I refused to stop seeing Tabby and wouldn't move, they defrocked me."
"Jesus," Will said. "And here I thought something like a church would be above shit like that."
I stretched my fingers, aching to clench them again. "It's that free will thing. Some people are assholes. At any rate, I had a hell of a debt to pay off. When you leave the church — whether you're kicked out or you quit, you have to pay the church back for your education. Tabby and I tried to stick together, but it wasn't working. Eventually, we parted ways. I got a degree in Graphic Design, began working professionally, and minus my irritation about the past, I've been pretty happy ever since." I ran a hand through my hair. "My life in a nutshell."
"It doesn't change things, Jimmy," he said, his eyes capturing mine, searching. "I still need a priest."
Excerpted from The Marker Chronicles Books 1-3 by Danielle De Vor. Copyright © 2017 Danielle DeVor. Excerpted by permission of City Owl Press.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite The Marker Chronicles by Danielle DeVor is The First Trilogy, Books 1 - 3 of Horror and Dark Fantasy. Three books, the story of Jimmy Holiday. Jimmy used to be a priest until he was defrocked. Now he has turned to exorcism at Blackmoor, a haunted mansion where his friend lives with his sick daughter. Jimmy is no ordinary exorcist though – he is the marked one, whatever that means! Add a witch into the equation and life will never be the same again for Jimmy. At long last, The Order of Markers takes an interest and sends Jimmy to exorcism school. Things never go according to plan though and Jimmy finds himself having to face the one person he believed would never betray him – and a corpse that has come back to life. The Marker Chronicles: The First Trilogy by Danielle DeVor was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Three books in one meant not having to scrabble around for the next book, and with a story as riveting as this one, that is a big plus. This is not your usual blood and guts horror story, this is something altogether different. A real mixture of horror, fantasy, the paranormal, and a bit of romance and humor thrown in for good measure made this series well worth the read. Ms. DeVor has mastered this genre straightaway with a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat plot that is packed with surprising twists and turns – believe me, nothing is ever what it seems! The characters were exceptionally well developed throughout the three books, leaving nothing to chance and ensuring that, especially in the case of the main protagonist, any reader will be able to identify with them. This is important because if you can’t identify with a character, you can’t enjoy the story. Fabulous trilogy, and I definitely will be reading more from Ms. DeVor.