This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Michael Halfhill’s debut novel Sparkles.
A life cut short; unsolved robberies plaguing Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row; a cryptic message scrawled on a paper napkin; a Romanov prince; a young man held captive in Iran; a terrorist cell bent on revenge; and an opera company due to mount a rarely performed production of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast. What do these have to do with Jan Phillips?
One plunges Jan into a prolonged sadness. One leads him on a race to prevent a nuclear disaster. One offers Jan the promise of renewed love. One leads him to reluctantly wield his power as a Mundus master. One is bent on shattering thousands of lives beyond repair, while one unknowingly holds the key to the mystery that has baffled Philadelphia’s finest. Follow Jan as he untangles this Gordian knot that will alter his life in a way he never thought possible.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Jan wandered around the home he had shared with Michael in a quiet daze. He stared at the bare living room as if searching for something he had lost, at last coming before the huge wall of thick glass that overlooked the broad Delaware River. Jan looked at his reflection as if seeing it for the first time. Ever young; that’s how people described him. At forty-eight, Jan still possessed smooth pale skin, luminous gray eyes, and hair the color of new corn silk. His only flaw, if there was one, was his five foot seven inch frame. Yet that too was toned to youthful hardness. Even Michael would gently mock him, Don’t you ever age?
Jan gazed up at the velvet night sky as a light rain began to fall. The gleaming lights from the distant New Jersey shoreline broke through the window’s dense glass, but without their usual cheerful effect. They twinkled brightly, as if nothing had happened. But something had happened and no one came to tell him it was all a mistake and that Michael was alive and waiting for him downstairs in the car. His solitude was real and complete, and Jan found himself unable to live alone in the sprawling riverside loft. Even now, though empty of all their furnishings, the rooms whispered, screamed, laughed, and wept with him. Powerless to will them away, his mind clawed back from the walls years of conversations, as if they had occurred only moments ago. And then there was Mundus. Mundus—global, secret, immensely influential, with only three goals: peace, tolerance, and balance—it was the one constant in an inconstant world. The fourth-floor ultra secret command center that kept Jan connected with his Mundus global counterparts was safely relocated. There would be no need for him to return here.
Jan turned to see Amal standing nearby, a light raincoat draped over his forearm. Dear faithful Amal. He had been with Jan for many years, attaching himself like a protective barnacle. An Egyptian and a devout Muslim, Amal was troubled by Jan’s behind-closed-doors relationship with Michael, yet he loved his master too well not to serve him. Although he had a room of his own in the sprawling loft, Amal chose instead to sleep on a cot just outside Jan’s bedroom door. He never complained. He rarely spoke.
“Forgive me, Effendi… we should… it is time to go.”
Jan took one last look at the deserted space. Was it his imagination, or did he just see Michael slip out the door?
About the Author:I was born in February 1944 three months before the end of WWII. Until the age of 16 I lived with my family in a small coal town in W.Va. I was raised a Catholic and as I child I was very devout. Until college, Capuchin monks and nuns—mostly from Italy and Ireland, meted out my education. That probably explains why my Latin has a decidedly Italian accent. When I was sixteen my father moved the family to Delaware. I finished college just as the Viet Nam War began to engulf our nation. I joined the army and trained as a tank gunner. After leaving the army I returned to Delaware where I built a career in analytical science. I retired after 37 years with the DuPont Company. I’ve traveled throughout Europe, Central America and Asia. All of my books derive from my experiences (at least emotionally) from my loathing of war and violence; my understanding of life choices and the consequences that flow from these—those we anticipate and those that are unexpected.
Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.