Science Fiction Wednesday: Lady in Waiting

Thomas Tryon Spins Tales of Hollywood and Horror with a New Ebook Collection

The fall season comes complete with crisp weather and new bone-chilling ebooks by horror master Thomas Tryon (1926–1991).

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Long before he was a successful writer, Tryon was an actor, starring in movies with everyone from Marilyn Monroe to John Wayne. He is best known for his starring role—and enormous white cowboy hat—in theWonderful World of Disney television series Texas John Slaughter. Tryon also played the leading role in the movie The Cardinal.

Illustration for article titled Science Fiction Wednesday: Lady in Waiting
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Tryon seamlessly transitioned into writing with his first and most acclaimed horror novel, The Other. The novel’s fictional setting, Pequot Landing, was based on the author’s hometown of Wethersfield, Connecticut. “I have always felt there is that kind of steely, iron-y, dark, spare, sparse Hawthorne-ish aspect of New England which goes back to our Puritan forebears,” Tryon told the Hartford Courant in a 1989 interview.

Horror takes a front seat in three of Tryon’s five new ebooks, now available from Open Road Media:

Harvest Home: After watching his asthmatic daughter suffer in the foul city air, Theodore Constantine decides to get back to the land. When he and his wife search New England for the perfect nineteenth-century home, they find no township more charming, no countryside more idyllic than the farming village of Cornwall Coombe. Here they begin a new life: simple, pure, close to nature—and ultimately more terrifying than Manhattan’s darkest alley.

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Illustration for article titled Science Fiction Wednesday: Lady in Waiting

Lady: In Pequot Landing, there are two sights to see: the largest elm in America, which dominates the stately old village green, and the house of Lady Harleigh. When the Great War ended, she was the most beautiful bride in the village, and though she was widowed soon after, mourning dampened neither her beauty nor her spirits. By the time the Great Depression rolls around, she is the unchallenged center of Pequot society—lovely and energetic, but subject to bouts of grim melancholy that hint at something dark beneath her surface.

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Woody is eight years old when he first notices the Lady, and her glittering elegance captures his heart. He spends his boyhood deeply in love with the mysterious widow, obsessed with the sadness that lies at her core. As he gets closer to her, he finds that Lady Harleigh is haunted—not just by grief, but by a scandalous secret that, if revealed, could change Pequot Landing forever.

Night Magic: Though he bills himself as the Greatest Magician in the World, Michael Hawke is painfully aware that he’s nothing more than a sidewalk. He plies his trade outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entrancing passing crowds with feats of conjuring and sleight of hand. One afternoon, he plays a trick on a shabbily dressed man whose beard is twisted and whose glass eye gives him a sinister leer. Offended, the man responds with magic of his own, casting a spell that causes Michael to hop like a frog, maniacally splashing in the fountain until the police have to haul him out.

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When he recovers from this trance, Michael knows that he has encountered a true magician, one whose secrets he will give anything to understand. But this is black magic, mysterious and deadly, and pursuing it will mean a confrontation with an evil older than civilization itself.

Looking for something with a touch of glamour? In two of his new Open Road ebooks, Tryon lets us in on Hollywood’s secrets:

Crowned Heads: Fedora is dead, and movies will never be the same. A star since the early days of Hollywood, she survived the business for an unprecedented four decades before retiring to Crete. As the years wore on and her costars turned wrinkled and worn, Fedora’s perfect features never faded. Now that she has finally passed, the secret to her longevity will be told—a shocking revelation that will raise her to the level of myth.

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Illustration for article titled Science Fiction Wednesday: Lady in Waiting

All That Glitters: Charlie Caine has been to too many Hollywood funerals. The studio system is long gone, and its stars—some forgotten, some preserved for display on a late-night show—are beginning to pass on, as well. Only a few turn out for the final performance of Babe Austrian, a peroxide-blond beauty whose red-hot talkies changed the way America thought about sex. As he gazes into her coffin, Caine remembers Babe as she was: a dynamite beauty with secrets that could have burned Hollywood to the ground.

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To learn more about Thomas Tryon and his ebooks, visit his author page here.

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