Tuesday 14 August 2012
Excerpt - The Jazz Cage by Ray Smith
Today I welcome author Ray Smith who is here with a brief excerpt from his new book, The Jazz Cage. Read on to find out more!
It is May 1924. Sixty years have passed since the Confederacy won the War of Southern Independence ...
Della crouched behind the shrubs, held onto Cece, and prayed they hadn’t been noticed. Through the scant leaf cover, she could no longer see the mounted patrolman who’d appeared a block away. Just the same view of the lifeless Richmond neighborhood with its red brick homes, every window black at four in the morning.
The nearby James River rapids roared and the singsong of night insects further muffled the cop’s movements—just as they had earlier muted the women’s escape from the plantation.
Despite her prayers, Della soon heard the clip-clop of approaching hooves. Through the leaves, she first spied the horse’s head, then its flank, then the stirrups and black boots of the patrolman. Black boots, black jodhpurs, black tunic, black helmet, and on that black helmet, the silver bird.
She felt Cece recoil beside her, and she knew the younger woman had also spotted the emblem. This was no ordinary policeman but a deputy of the Fugitive Slave Agency.
Della pressed her forefinger against Cece’s lips, and when that failed to quiet her frantic breathing, she clamped her hand over the poor girl’s mouth.
Prohibition-era mobsters collide with Underground Railroad abolitionists in The Jazz Cage.
It is 1924—sixty years after the South’s victory in the Civil War.
Frank McCluey, bounty hunter for the mob, is sent to help out a wealthy Virginian bootlegger. Frank’s job: track down two female slaves who’ve run away from the millionaire.
But the mob has made a bad choice. Instead of capturing the women, Frank decides to help them escape to Canada, his mission now aided by the pint-sized but steel-willed runaway Della and the outlawed Underground Railroad.
Soon Della and Frank become the target of slave catchers, cops, gangsters, and most chilling of all, a Confederate agent nicknamed the Hound for his ability to always sniff out and kill his prey.
Ray Chen Smith is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles, California.
In his late twenties, he wrote a literary novel set in China then decided it wasn’t fit for public consumption. He did, however, chop up a couple of parts and sold the chunks to literary magazines. (Both stories can be downloaded for free from his website.)
For his second novel, he decided to go unabashedly commercial, and The Jazz Cage is the result.
He is currently finishing up his third novel, a thriller titled Dawn at Midnight.
Further information—the aforementioned short stories, a more detailed biography—can be found on Ray’s website:
He also welcomes comments, positive or otherwise, to his email address: email@example.com. He promises to answer each and every email.