Currency of Souls

Originally published by Subterranean Press in 2007, I’m pleased to announce that I have just made available for e-readers, my novel Currency of Souls. This year should also see the publication (in print) of two follow-up novellas.

Milestone is a town near-death, and those imprisoned there are not content to stay that way for long. So tonight, you’ll meet a witch, a man made of glass, a prostitute with an odd effect on electricity, an old man who can control fire, a mute giant, the undead, a time traveler, ghosts…and death itself, as Milestone plays host to a war among souls desperate to escape.

“Burke expands on the bar-tale theme of his 2005 anthology, Taverns of the Dead, in a gripping horror novel whose motley cast of characters drink the evening away in a seedy bar, Eddie’s Tavern, in a dying town called Milestone. Each is stained by—and may even have caused—an ugly death that still haunts him or her. Reverend Hill acts as judge and jury, ordering the barflies to go punish others in order to make restitution for their past sins. But then someone torches the bar, revealing the true evil crouched at the core of this beer-soaked corner of hell. Sheriff Tom Turner, who just wants “things to be the way they were before my wife died… before we all ended up here as slaves to our sins,” bargains to save the town, but the cost may be too much to bear. At the haunting conclusion, escape proves only a brief respite from damnation.” (Feb.) – Publishers Weekly

“Burke’s anthology Taverns of the Dead (2004) featured stories of supernatural shenanigans in beleaguered barrooms. Now he takes the conceit a step further in his own gruesome dissection of the tormented patrons of Eddie’s Tavern. In the deteriorating back-road town of Milestone, Eddie’s is the lone watering hole for an assortment of angst-ridden locals, ranging from mute, giant Wintry McCabe to Milestone’s sheriff, Tom Turner. Each carries the burden of having directly or indirectly killed someone, and each endures a ritual Saturday-night assignment from the diabolical Reverend Hill to rid the world of another evildoer and thereby cancel out his or her sins. But when the good reverend is dispatched by a bullet, and Eddie’s burns to the ground, the stakes in the game of redemption become higher than anyone could have imagined, and Milestone’s haunted citizens soon learn their purgatory may be everlasting. Burke’s sharp-edged prose includes enough unforgettable characterizations and dollops of macabre wit to distinguish him as one of the most clever and original talents in contemporary horror.” – Booklist


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