Friday, September 04, 2015

An Excerpt from Mortom, a Mystery Novel by Erik Therme

Omnimystery News: An Excerpt courtesy of Erik Therme

We are delighted to welcome back author Erik Therme to Omnimystery News.

Earlier this week we spent some time with Erik talking about his new mystery novel Mortom (Thomas & Mercer; April 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats) and today we are pleased to introduce you to the book with an excerpt.

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ANDY STOOD AT THE FOOT of the grave, unmoving and unblinking. The cigarette between his fingers burned forgotten as he stared at the dirt, trying to feel something for the man buried below. Not just any man: his own flesh and blood. A week ago Craig had been walking around the town of Mortom, breathing air and living life. And in the blink of an eye, he was gone. When his mother had called and told Andy the news, he felt nothing. When Thatcher left a message about the estate, he returned the call immediately. He had skipped the funeral and come for the stuff … but there was no stuff, only a rat under a fridge. A dead rat with a key shoved inside its dead mouth. And with that, the game. And there he stood, about to do the unthinkable for something he wasn't sure even existed. Nothing had ever felt so wrong to him in his life.
  A car drove past and he watched the taillights disappear into the horizon. The gravesite sat far enough back that the highway wasn't a concern, but if a car drove right up into the cemetery … well, then things would get interesting. The temptation to wait until later that night was strong, but moving dirt was going to be a timely chore, and he maybe — maybe — had six hours until sunup. He wasn't sure it was even possible for one man with one shovel to move six feet in six hours. The hole he had dug at the shed had knocked the wind out of him, and that was nothing compared to what he was about to do.
  He pitched his cigarette and ran a sweaty hand across his forehead. If he was going to do this, it was time to get moving. No more stalling.
  He picked up the shovel. It felt impossibly heavy in his hands, and he told himself again how simple it would be to walk away. He could go back to the house, have a few beers, and blissfully pass out on the couch. In the morning he would catch a bus back to Luther and put all this behind him.
  "Let sleeping dogs lie," he whispered.
  How many times had their mother uttered those words? Hundreds? Thousands? Never had the phrase felt more apt. And he truly believed what he had told Kate earlier: some things were meant to stay buried. He believed that. He did.
  But some things had to be discovered.
  Craig hadn't been insane. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. There was entirely too much method in this madness, and that meant Craig had been driven by another force, one as equally powerful, destructive, and unpredictable. Mary could talk until she was blue in the face about how awful he had treated Craig while growing up, but no amount of childhood teasing could drive a man to this level of hate. There was more to the story, more buried below the surface.
  And that was why he couldn't walk away.
  There was tomorrow to think about. And the next day. And the day after. He would spend every day of the rest of his life wondering what it all meant, never knowing the full truth. Never understanding why it had come to this.
  And that was unacceptable.
  So there he stood. The alternative was simple. Dig six feet into the ground, break open the coffin, and pry the book from Craig's rotting fingers. If that was what needed to be done, then that was what he was going to do. Right or wrong. End of story.
  "No choice," he said.
  He raised the shovel.

— ♦ —

Erik Therme
Photo provided courtesy of
Erik Therme

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he's not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his oldest daughter's volleyball team or chilling on the PlayStation3 with his eleven-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa — one of only seven places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Mortom by Erik Therme

Mortom by Erik Therme

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he's especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig's will. Not that there's much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he's drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin's true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets — and unanswered questions about Craig's untimely demise — arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he's playing the game … or if the game is playing him.

Something's rotten in Mortom. And this dead man's game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.

Mortom by Erik Therme


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