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St. Louis in 1880 is full of ghosts, and Jacob Tracy can see them all. Ever since he nearly died on the battlefield at Antietam, Trace has been haunted by the country's restless dead. The curse cost him his family, his calling to the church, and damn near his sanity. He stays out of ghost-populated areas as much as possible these days, guiding wagon trains West from St. Louis, with his pragmatic and skeptical partner, Boz.
During the spring work lull, Trace gets an unusual job offer. Miss Fairweather, a wealthy English bluestocking, needs someone to retrieve a dead friend's legacy from a nearby town, and she specifically wants Trace to do it. However, the errand proves to be far more sinister than advertised. When confronted, Miss Fairweather admits to knowing about Trace's curse, and suggests she might help him learn to control it—in exchange for a few more odd jobs. Trace has no interest in being her pet psychic, but he's been looking twenty years for a way to control his power, and Miss Fairweather's knowledge of the spirit world is too valuable to ignore. As she steers him into one macabre situation after another, his powers flourish, and Trace begins to realize some good might be done with this curse of his. But Miss Fairweather is harboring some dark secrets of her own, and her meddling has brought Trace to the attention of something much older and more dangerous than any ghost in this electrifying and inventive debut.
HOLLY MESSINGER lives in a bohemian town in eastern Kansas, where she writes in coffee shops and sews costumes for a living. Her costumes have appeared at some of the world's biggest cosplay events, including Hulu's launch party for "The Awesomes" at San Diego Comic Con. She also appeared as a judge on the premiere season of SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay." This is her first novel.