Today I am so pleased to welcome C.S. Poe to Joyfully Jay. C.S. has come to talk to us about her upcoming release, Broadway Butchery (Memento Mori: Book Three). She has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The Memento Mori series explores the complex relationship Western society has had with death and its absolute inevitability, as experienced through the characters of Everett Larkin, a detective with the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, and Ira Doyle, a detective in the Forensic Artists Unit.
The Victorian Era popularized mourning etiquette, although the tradition of public mourning predates the period by hundreds of years. And while I’d love to explore how the passing of royalty and the required grieving period of the court was a factor in how the burgeoning middle class invested their discretionary income—leading to more businesses catering to these new spending practices, which in turn caused the upper class to refine and reinforce mourning rules to such extremes, in an attempt to oust the lower classes from their traditions, that it eventually came to a head in what we recognize as the societal obsession Victorians had with death—but that would be a whole dissertation and not a blog post.
The mourning practices of the nineteenth century are considered by many today to be gruesome, macabre, or morbid. What must be understood is that death wasn’t a taboo topic during this period. Death was an intimate member of most families, and the grieving process that society adopted was not only a way in which to remember those who often went too soon, especially children (postmortem photography or hair jewelry being tangible memories for surviving family,) but it was also a public form of expression brought about by class warfare. Dressing in the strictly approved attire and adhering to the length of time one mourns a particular family member was, quite frankly, a way of showing off your wealth and status. A woman who could afford to purchase all-new dresses in black crape and bombazine and then abstain from any sort of labor—for years in some instances—and focus solely on being seen as in grief, demonstrated that she was a woman of high society. The rules she followed couldn’t be mimicked by the middle or lower class because they simply couldn’t afford to not work for long periods of time, ergo, her position was of better quality.
In the Memento Mori series, Everett Larkin has a unique memory condition that allows him to recall nearly every lived experience with one hundred percent accuracy, including every single name of the murdered victims in the stacks of unsolved, cold cases. He sees himself as a psychopomp, and indeed his nickname within the department is the Grim Reaper. He partners with artist Ira Doyle in Book 1 (Madison Square Murders,) a man his polar opposite. Doyle’s typical victims are alive, and his very private but troubled past allows him to connect with people in ways that Larkin struggles with the living. When I write this series, I utilize Larkin’s character as a vehicle for the reader to safely connect with the concept of death, to remove its taboo nature, and understand it in a safe way. In contrast, Doyle represents life, its struggles, tribulations, but also humanity’s enduring strength and our ability to always strive for love and acceptance.
Memento Mori is a murder mystery series with a sweet and beautiful slow burn romance between these opposites attracting, and I’d love for you to give it a try if you’ve not yet met Larkin and Doyle! Broadway Butchery (Memento Mori 3) releases June 22, 2023. I’m also giving away (1) audio code, open to both US and UK listeners, of Book 1, narrated by the incredible Kale Williams! If you’d like a shot at winning, please leave your thoughts on this post below.
The Cold Case Squad of the NYPD is overworked, understaffed, but receiving great press due to star detective Everett Larkin. His uncanny memory and Holmesian-like skills of deduction have already led to the capture of one serial killer. Now he’s identified a second predator and brought an end to their twenty-plus year reign of terror.
Routine construction at a Broadway souvenir shop leads to the discovery of a mummified woman in the wall. And when Larkin receives a mysterious VHS tape that same night, he knows it’s no coincidence. Expecting a Victorian mourning artifact to surface in this new mystery, Larkin wastes no time turning to boyfriend Ira Doyle of the Forensic Artists Unit for help.
A web of nameless victims, countless suspects, and endless lies drag Larkin and Doyle deep into the gritty past of Times Square, reopening painful wounds and testing the fortitude of their relationship. And all the while, someone is watching, biding their time until they can make Everett Larkin nothing… but a memory.
C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and speculative fiction. She is a winner of the FAPA, Next Generation, and e-Lit book awards, as well as a finalist of the Lambda Literary, Next Generation, and EPIC awards.
She resides in New York City, but has also called Key West and Ibaraki, Japan, home. She loves Romanticism artwork, Gilded Age New York, the films of Buster Keaton, coffee in the morning and whiskey in the evening, true crime, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best to distract her from work on a daily basis.
C.S. is an alumna of the School of Visual Arts.
Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published 2016.
C.S. has brought an audio copy of Madison Square Murders (Memento Mori: Book One), narrated by Kale Williams, in US/UK format to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, June 18th at 11:59 pm ET.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.