Happy (almost) third publishing anniversary to our sixth book, Painter of the Dead by Catherine Butzen! Reviewers are calling this romantic urban fantasy “cinematic and compelling,” “engaging,” and “a fun and exciting adventure.” It’s perfect for fans of Moon Knight, The Mummy, and Night at the Museum.
Need a bit more convincing to dive into the book? Then read the ten awesome quotes (excerpts, really) from Painter of the Dead that we’ve compiled here!
1. Her brain screamed that she was about to do something incredibly dangerous, that there was no point in moving further when she knew she was going to get in over her head. Her body threw other images at her: the warmth and tantalizing roughness of his lips, the taste of motion that cascaded across the canvas after she had known real fear. God, one incident and she’d turned into a thrill junkie.
She wanted that back again. And if it ended in tears, wasn’t that what artists did? Chased heartbreak for their work?
“Seth,” she said, “interesting is a very good thing.”
It was barely a kiss, just a brush of her lips across his as she stood on tiptoe, a touch that lasted a frozen moment. But something struck, a match flared, and Theo’s heart shivered. She could feel Seth’s pulse pounding hard in the skin beneath her hand.
2. “Theo,” he said, and her name was a harsh whisper. “When I thought this was simply crime, that was one thing. Crime is human. People want gold and antiques for themselves, tombs get robbed—it happens. But this is magic. Gods are involved, Theo. I saw a jackal shadow in the hall—” She couldn’t keep her expression neutral, and he flinched. “You saw it too?”
“I . . . maybe,” she said. “I might’ve been hallucinating.”
“Hallucinations only cover so much.” The words were bitter. “I know better than anyone that magic is dangerous. Gods, more so. Gods you can’t control, especially when they’re angry. Someone’s going to die.”
3. Footsteps yanked her out of her reverie. A dark shape was coming down the stairs, oddly quiet despite the oh-so-modern floating glass steps. Theo tightened her grip on the portfolio and firmly reminded herself why she was there. The panic button was a reassuring weight in her pocket, and the broad portfolio formed a shield between her and the owner of the history junkyard. She was ready.
She wished she’d brought her sketchbook. Theo Speer’s Jerk Descending a Staircase.
4. In the half-light of the dimmed lab, the world looked strange and out of balance. The dim blue glow of the lights on the machines deepened the illusion of ink as black pooled in the hollows of his face. Only his eyes picked up the highlight of cold indigo, glinting as if the ink hadn’t yet dried.
Theo could hear the soft whooshing of the cooling and dehumidifying system, pumping fresh air through the lab and filtering particles out of the atmosphere. It was like the room breathed—in, out, in, out—slow and regular, unlike the rushed, frantic creatures that intruded on it. The dim blueness barely touched the mummy in its clear plastic coffin; and as their shadows moved over it, some horrible part of Theo thought the mummy was the one breathing.
5. Theo felt the blood drain from her face. There stood a man who lived because of gods, or powers, unknown to her. What other creatures were out there in the darkened corners of history, hiding the way he had? Every story she’d read about them, gods and monsters, crowded her mind and crept in behind her eyes. Why not? Why not?
A strangled cry escaped from her throat as she turned on her heel and made for the door. She didn’t have the key. For a crazed second, panic seized her completely—the dozens of eyes were fixed on her, watching and judging, knowing that if she didn’t give her pound of flesh they’d have no reason to let her live.
6. Aki wasn’t buying it either. A spasm passed over his features as he visibly weighed his options. He could believe his friend’s bizarre story and risk becoming an accessory to grand larceny, or kick her out and risk the possibility that she might be telling the truth.
The spasm passed, and he nodded once. “Okay,” he said. “One night, okay? One night only. When I said I like to live life on the edge, I meant more like the extreme rock-climbing, flaming JELL-O shots kind of edge. It’s mostly fun when you’re not actually doing anything illegal.”
7. Why was she haunting him? A few images and half-remembered words snatched unawares through glass—it was too little for anyone to actually care about. It had been a long time since he had last been with a woman—but was it long enough to make him lose his control and act as stupid as he had tonight?
He didn’t know, and it gnawed at him.
But there was the fire that had woken the clay. Language and art and religion and magic, she’d said, and perhaps had never quite understood what that implied for her.
Theo’s eyes lit up when she painted. Theo hungered for knowledge. Theo had camped out in his brain and refused to leave. She shouldn’t be an issue, but she’d made him laugh, and she lived in a world that was too small for her vision of it. Seth had laid his plans, and she’d stepped in and made him question them.
He wasn’t going to sleep well tonight.
8. The man who’d robbed her had just drunk the most toxic paint thinner they had.
He gasped out a short breath that cut off abruptly. Blood appeared on his mouth, staining his teeth an incongruous pink. He tried to keep standing, instinctively fighting, but the stuff was made to do its work well and Theo knew that it was already too late.
A ragged scream tore out of her as he fell to his hands and knees. The blood was coming faster now. Theo could hear the voice of her freshman biology teacher: Soft tissues aid in the absorption of chemical solutions, ensuring the substance’s complete distribution throughout the body. She yanked on the zip tie, knowing she had to get free, had to do something! Tears streamed down her face as she watched him kill himself.
9. Theo had never seen a rolling ball of flailing cartoon limbs in real life before, but it was obvious that they were about to turn into one. Seth was stronger and had lifetimes of experience, but Aki was scrappy and incredibly angry, and the two of them were pummeling each other relentlessly. In seconds Aki’s mouth was bleeding and Seth’s hand sported a brand-new bite mark. Neither paid attention to a word Theo said.
“Goddammit!” Theo yelled. Grabbing a half-empty pot of cold coffee off the table, she threw it over both of them. It brought them up short.
10. The shadows were coalescing in the doorway. Four paws lightly touched the ground, gliding over the shattered debris on the floor as if it weren’t there. The eyes glinting from the darkness were golden, surrounded by sleek blackness.
Theo grabbed a leg from the broken table and hurled it at the eyes. It sailed between them and bounced off the opposite wall of the corridor. The eyes never blinked. Behind her, Dr. Van Allen drew in a breath.
The shadows gathered, and suddenly the eyes winked out. If Theo strained, she could see the darkness draining away, leaking out through the door like dim mist flowing with the air. Heart in her mouth, she pursued it, lunging through the door, and prepared to throw something else if necessary.
. . . Hooked yet? Grab a copy here to see how all these quotes are tied together!
Painter of the Dead is book 1 of the Shades of Immortality series, which will be expanding next year! It’s available in paperback and e-book formats (DRM unlocked) on Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited.
Stay tuned for news about the upcoming sequel!
Check out our author interview with Catherine here, our official book review here, and a character interview with Aki, the heroine’s spunky and sarcastic friend, here.
Other articles in our Top 10 Quotes series:
The Blessed (Mythusian Empire #2)
The Disposable (Plot Bandits #1)
The Narrative (Plot Bandits #3)
The Taskmaster (Plot Bandits #4)
The Cosmic Turkey
Skate the Thief (Rag and Bone Chronicles #1)
Skate the Seeker (Rag and Bone Chronicles #2)
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