Thursday, September 29, 2016

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Grotesques by Tia Reed

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tia will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other books in the tour.


Discredited journalist Ella Jerome isn't thrilled about working at Adelaide's fanciful tabloid The Informer. So when zoologist Adam Lowell seeks her help in finding his missing cousin, she's cynical of his claim a monster lurks near the Church of the Resurrection. The trouble is, solving the gruesome case could be her best shot at restoring her shredded reputation.

With her old instincts resurfacing, Ella combs the Port for clues. Experience tells her the only monsters are the human variety, and the bloodied stonemason certainly raises her suspicions. But when her investigation turns up everything from petrified remains to the headless carving of a dragon, the truth threatens to steal both her sanity and the man she's falling for.

After all, gargoyles can't be anything other than harmless stone. Or can they?


“Why are you so sure your cousin wasn’t abducted and driven away?”

He exhaled audibly. “Something is not right with that church.”

Ella thought it interesting he never denied hearing a car. Abduction was a rational explanation. Ella didn’t believe in alien life forms, demonic spirits, or prehistoric survivors. Working at The Informer had only strengthened her scepticism. She knew full well how the reporters there got their stories. Adam’s earnestness was the only thing keeping her talking. He had seen something. The questions were what, how real it had been, and whether a vehicle had dragged Cecily away. That, at least, warranted following up. She studied the gargoyles on top of the church.

“Were you on anything? Medication, drugs?” she asked, eyes fixed on a stone wing.

“How dare you, Ella!” His voice trembled with anger. “Do you think I would come to you with this if there was even the slightest chance –”

“I think that’s exactly why you would be talking to me,” she cut in.

“And I suppose you think I did it, that I killed her and all those other girls.”

“Trust is not my strong point, Adam. You knew that when you approached me.”

“Decide, Ella. I’m not going into this with someone who’s suspicious of every move I make when there’s a monster out there murdering innocent girls. Either start trusting me or get back to your sports star scandals.”

Then she saw it, a movement on the church roof, a silhouette extending wings and turning a goblin-like head to the canal. Her sharp intake of breath alerted Adam, but he misinterpreted it.

“I’m sorry, but you had that coming.”

“Keep quiet.” She was an investigative reporter, for goodness sake. The majority of her interviews provoked heated reactions. Did he really think he had offended her? She strained her eyes, trying to glimpse whatever had moved. “Do you see that? On the ledge.”

He moved to her side. “No. Where?”

The figure leapt from the roof. Hovering elegantly, it gave a cry not unlike that of an eagle and swooped, only to become lost against the dark face of the stone. Sparing a glance for the gap now interrupting the regular placement of the grotesques, Ella ran for the spot she had seen it go down.

“There!” Adam cried.

Hunched on the path that bordered the canal, a dark figure, elbows poking behind its back, surveyed the path. At Adam’s cry, it looked round. Its misshapen mouth snarled. Ella would have sworn intelligence brooded behind its black eyes. She lifted the camera from around her neck. Moonlight glinted on metal. The snarl became a shivery cry. Ella crossed her arms over her face and ducked. Talons ripped at her sleeves. One violent struggle tore her free. The creature flapped into the air. They stared at it gliding across the canal on bat-like wings. Beneath it, water pale with reflected moonlight turned iridescent blue. Algae? she wondered, until the surface broke in a swoosh.


Tia Reed loves nothing better than burying her nose in a story of her own imagining, cuddling her bossy cat and rescuing chewed pillows from her hyperactive dog. She takes every opportunity to do all three when she is not teaching English as a second language. Her other hobbies usually take a back seat but include trying to tame her beast of a garden, hiking and travelling. The latter has thrown her many interesting, sometimes hair-raising experiences, which she loves twisting into stories. She was born in Malta, but lives in Adelaide, Australia.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for the chance to share a piece of my work.
    I'd love to hear what readers think of the excerpt.

  2. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Great excerpt, sounds like a excellent read!

  4. Thank you Rita, Victoria and Eva.

  5. Thank you for sharing your words with us. Best of luck to you with the remainder of the tour!

  6. Stories are best shared, don't you think? Thank you and good luck with the prize draw.

  7. Thank you Straight from the Library for the opportunity to share a piece of my novel.