Susanne Leist is my Woman In Horror today! I run into Susanne and her marvelous books in many places. She is a tireless worker and a wonderful supporter of other authors.
Susanne has a different approach to writing Vampire tales. I will present some highlights to that in the posts about her books below.
About Susanne Leist
“I have always loved to read. Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum, and many other authors filled my young imagination with intrigue and mystery. When I wasn’t reading late into the night, the TV shows–Murder She Wrote and Columbo–entertained me with tales of murder and suspense.
Over the years, my taste in TV expanded to include such shows as Supernatural and The Originals. I searched for paranormal, murder mysteries but found few at the library or bookstore. So, I wrote one.
The Dead Game, Book One of The Dead Game series, brings fantasy and the surreal to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice the motley mix.
The story continues in Book Two, Prey for The Dead, as The Dead vampires use an exclusive club in Disney World to infiltrate the rich and famous. As The Dead grow in power, not even the bright sunshine of Florida can weaken them. Linda, my main character, and her friends join forces with human vampires–known as hybrids–to defeat the evil threatening to control Oasis. A masquerade ball and a romp through the tunnels beneath the town lead to a showdown in the swamps of southern Florida.
A career in writing has been a big leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. If someone tells you it’s too late in life to try something different, they are wrong. It is never too late to follow your heart.”
On to Susanne’s great books.
Linda Bennett moves from New York to Florida to live a quieter life. Life is peaceful until the dead body washes up onshore. She learns that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are typical for the coastal town.
Linda and her friends receive an invitation to a party at End House, a deserted house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The group arrives, but no one is there to greet them. The house has a sinister life of its own where horror follows their every step. Traps, illusions, and revolving rooms add to their growing fear. A bloody skeleton sleeps in an upstairs’ bedroom, and body parts fall from the chimney into the living room’s fireplace. Wild animals escape their cages in the basement. The young residents flee for their lives.
They embark on a harrowing journey, not knowing whom to trust, to uncover the one controlling the evil game.
Who are The Dead?
Are they humans or vampires?
Will Linda lose her heart to Todd, who knows more than he admits?
Will her best friend, Shana, fall in love with Sheriff Sam?
The Dead Game has begun.
Do not turn off the lights.Ted Top 1000 ReviewerThe author has crafted herself a town that is bipolar in its nature. By day it pretends to be a bright seaside destination where youth collects to begin their adult lives; make friends, start businesses and parties. By night, the town closes ranks to all newbies and becomes a creepy destination for elites to ply their generational customs that include preying on the innocent. Linda and her friends will experience horror, shock, and disbelief as they attempt to get to the bottom of the macabre events in one of the historical mansions. The mansion was my favorite part as all senses of reality disappeared upon entering. The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a mysterious supernatural thriller with plenty of twists and turns that is well-written and keeps you turning the page. From the first page you start a wild ride and just when you think all is well, she throws in another twist.
Rhonda Cratty, Parenting & Education Examiner
I was absolutely surprised by this book! I knew it had some enigmatic mystery and some dark action, but the author set up the story so well I was happily amazed. It starts with a very engaging character, a young woman who is very well portrayed in a community, Oasis, Florida. The town’s mysteries are maze-like and become deeper and more sinister as the book progresses. This is a very original approach to the concept of vampires and their existence.
Ray Miller “Relevant Reviewer”
The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a top-notch haunted house horror thriller. The author excels at spooky descriptions, terrifying scenarios like opening a door and stepping into a black abyss or forever trapped in a dark maze with endless rooms stretching into infinity. Her characters are perfect and the reader can easily connect with them.
Simon Okill, Simon’s Phantom Blog
A beachfront town, a haunted mansion, people disappearing or turning up dead–these are the elements of gothic horror, but this unique novel has a more than a few twists. The writing is first-rate, and the pace is fast. The characters are well-defined, and the plot is imaginative and unpredictable…
Howard Lipman, pen name PanOrpheus, author
Susanne’s take on vampires is fresh and new but you’ll have to read to know. She takes the age-old vampire legend and turns it into something I’ve never read before…
Elle Klass, Author of As Snow Falls
From the Author
Nothing can be as fine
as the dear book of mine.
It might not be sold in a big bookstore,
but you will not find one to offer more.
It was created with much love and hope,
even though it wasn’t blessed by a Pope.
It has my blood, sweat, and tears.
Might raise many of your fears.
It has action, murder, and romance.
It can even do a little dance.
Please try it, and you’ll see
it has the best of me.
Linda Bennett’s dreams of happiness have always eluded her. Five years ago, she moved to Florida from New York to escape heartache. The Dead, an evil group of vampires, ruined any hope of peace for her and the small town of Oasis. Since then, Linda has learned to live among vampires and human-vampires, finding finds solace in her bookshop. Then one morning, Oasis goes dark, and an explosion rocks her store and any future dreams for a happy ending.
News of a vampire presence at an exclusive club in Disney World prompts Todd and Sam, hybrids, to go undercover as members. Linda and her best friend, Shana, join them as their trophy wives. Disaster follows in their wake as vampires fight for control. A devastating surprise waits for them in the tunnels beneath Oasis.
Can Oasis survive the battle between good and evil?
Will Linda find her happy ending?
“Set five years after the events in Leist’s (The Dead Game, 2013) previous novel, this sequel aims to expand on the threat of Wolf and explore romance among the vamps. Readers will also enjoy a touch of mystery when they discover that Wolf’s spirit has migrated into a new body… The Florida coast is beautifully evoked by water that “shimmered in alternating shades of azure and cerulean blue” and “the scent of zinnias and lavender” that “permeated the gentle wind.” Most of the violence isn’t the traditional vampire neck biting but more in tune with battlefield carnage (“A body hung from the chandelier–a headless form–still wearing his shirt and pants, now saturated with blood”).” — Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
A career in writing has been a giant leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. Don’t listen if someone tells you it’s too late to try something different. It is never too late to follow your heart.
The Dead Game, the first book of The Dead Game Series, brings fantasy and surrealism to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice the motley mix.
The story continues in Prey for The Dead as The Dead vampires use an exclusive club in Disney World to infiltrate the rich and famous, a club based on Walt Disney’s Club 33. As The Dead grow in power, not even the bright sunshine of Florida can weaken them. Linda and her friends join forces with human vampires–known as hybrids–to defeat the evil threatening to control their coastal town. A masquerade ball and a romp through the tunnels beneath Oasis lead to a showdown in Florida’s swamps.
The Dead At Heart, the last book in the series, is Shana’s love story. When Linda moves into Gregg’s mansion, she suggests Shana bring William with her as he recuperates from his last battle. While Gregg, a vampire, has learned to live with humans, Shana doubts whether William can mend his evil ways. Shana watches the engaged couple with dismay as her arguments with William mount. After werewolves kidnap Linda, Shana flees with Sam, who believes William has been plotting with vampires and werewolves to overthrow the upcoming vampire summit in Quebec.
I am working on my fourth book. A seaside town in Maine provides the backdrop for murder, mystery, and romance. Will this book become a series? I don’t know yet. But I’m eager to begin the journey.
As Oasis is under attack, Shana must choose between a vampire and a human-vampire…
Late at night, werewolves swarm Gregg’s estate and kidnap Linda. Gregg gathers his men and races after his fiancee. Alone in a mansion filled with vampires, Shana flees, afraid William, her vampire boyfriend, has returned to his evil ways.
Sheriff Sam asks Shana to help him track the rogue vampires and werewolves. She follows him to Florida’s swampland, where The Watchers live in luxury. While proclaiming their innocence, the vampire leaders force them to board a plane to Quebec, capturing William along the way.
Once Linda is freed from the werewolves, she heads to Quebec in search of Shana. Meanwhile, trapped in a building sealed as tight as a tomb, Gregg outsmarts the computer-activated house and escapes his tormentor.
As the opposing vampire sects arrive at Chateau Frontenac, the boardwalk erupts in flames. The battle for control has begun. Torn between William and Sam, Shana must pick the right side since any mistake can become a deadly one.
5.0 out of 5 stars True love conquers allThis book finds Linda & her friends back in trouble in their quest to protect Oasis and one another. We learn more about the depths of Linda and Greg’s love and commitment to one another while William and Sam battle to prove their love for Shauna. Heather D
Susanne Leist writes of Vampires in a whole new light. No wonder she’s a Woman In Horror!
“The Dead Game” is the first book in “The Dead Game” series. It was a fast and enjoyable read, with well-crafted characters. Susanne takes the haunted house theme to a whole new level, and has created a story that delivers far more than the blurb promises! Don’t take my word for it though – get your copy as soon as you can!
“Prey for the Dead” (book 2) and “The Dead at Heart” (book 3) are on my to-be-read list, and I’m hoping to get to them very soon. I have it on good authority that these 2 books are just as good (if not better) than the first. Book 2 centres around the main character from the first book (“Linda”), while book 3 makes “Shana” the main focus – and I’m very much looking forward to catching up with them!
Please do check out Susanne’s work – and don’t forget to leave a review!
In the past, nobody would have taken notice of Iroko, the biggest and tallest tree in the forest. But then, cities started to grow and to eat into the forests. Trees were cut to make way for the growing cities. But the Iroko tree resisted being cut down. Any time an axe cut the tree, the axe either broke or the cut bled, real blood., and cries, ear piercing cries, like human cries were heard coming from the tree.
In the forest, next to Iroko, lived an old woman in a tiny mud hut. Bent by age, she diligently cared for the tree. She was known as the eyes and the mouth of the tree. She listened to the tree, when the leaves rustled and interpreted the language of the tree to outsiders. She was called Nne Oji. Oji is the Igbo name for Iroko, and Nne Oji means Iroko’s mother. Iroko was as tall as a skyscraper, about one hundred and seventy feet high, and the width was as wide as fifty men surrounding the tree with outstretched hands, fingertips touching. Iroko was huge, towering and intimidating!
The stories surrounding Iroko were such that settlers decided to let it stand and the town grew all around and away from it. Things went on peacefully for a while, but soon it became clear that Iroko did not like the exposure it was getting from the people surrounding it. After all, this tree was the king of the forest, where both trees and animals revered it. Now, standing in the midst of humans,with no one paying it any heed, all of this would change very rapidly.
People, especially those living close to where Iroko stood, started reporting strange happenings around Iroko in the dead of night. Those who were bold enough to come out and watch these happenings, reported seeing dancing and merrymaking around Iroko by people they believed were spirit people. These spirit people went in and out of Iroko as if they were walking in and out of their homes. They sang and danced in merriment from twelve midnight until two in the morning, after which they packed up and walked back into the tree. Those who observed these goings-on, did so from afar and in hiding.
The story was told of a young boy who had the misfortune of being seen by these spirit people. He was taken and was never seen again. He had heard the stories of the happenings around Iroko, so that night he snuck out of his house and walked toward Iroko to take a closer look. Voices were heard warning him not to come closer, but he continued walking toward Iroko until he entered the sphere of the tree where everything turned grey. At that point, the boy lost control of himself and was pulled along until he disappeared in the mist and was seen no more.
The mother watched everything in hiding in paralyzed shock. The other people who watched in hiding were also mystified. They couldn’t believe their eyes, but they dared not allow themselves to be seen.
The next morning, the mother saw a huge striped cow tied to an orange tree in front of her house. The cow was chewing cud. The woman walked around the cow trying to understand how it came to be there. The town people also took notice and started gathering and questioning the presence of the cow. Out of nowhere, a young boy with only a loin cloth around his waist appeared and spoke to the onlookers.
“Mama, Iroko says you should take the cow in exchange for your son. Iroko says you should not kill the cow. You should sell it and use the money to take care of yourself.” With that, the boy turned and walked through the crowd and disappeared.
Everyone there was seized with shock and they quickly dispersed. The woman cut the cow loose and started shooing it off from the front of her house, but the cow would not budge.
The woman started to weep and pleaded with Iroko to return her son and take back the cow.
“Iroko give me back my son and take your cow!” she implored. “I don’t want your cow!”
The next day, the woman saw the cow at the back of her house, peacefully lying down near her hearth and chewing cud. She ran out toward Iroko.
“If you won’t give me back my son, Iroko, take me too!” she screamed at the top of her voice. Iroko’s leaves started to rustle. Suddenly, the old woman in the hut materialized and stood between the woman and Iroko.
“Go back, Mama!” the old woman said. “What you seek cannot be done. Your son is gone, dead and Iroko has paid you in exchange for him. Go back or you will meet the same fate!”
The woman refused to be stopped. She pushed the old woman down, walked over her and continued to approach Iroko. By this time, people had started to gatherand were watching. The woman threw herself at Iroko and just like magic, the onlookers saw sparks of light, like fireworks, all around the woman. They heard her screaming and shouting like someone roasting on a stake. When everything died down and the sparks were no more, the people saw that the woman had metamorphosed. The woman had changed into an animal, something that looked like a dog, or a goat. No one could really tell. The people dispersed but this time they all had one thought in their minds – that Iroko must go.
Iroko’s fame continued to grow even beyond the immediate town. The townspeople also became bolder. They consulted with diviner after divinerto find out how to get rid of Iroko. They tried everything, without any success … one attempt took the lives of twelve men. They tried to burn Iroko down, but the fire turned against them and burned them to death. One diviner suggested that the spirit of Iroko resided in the old woman who tended it, and that if the old woman was killed, Iroko would quietly and slowly die.
The townspeople burned the old woman’s hut down with the old woman in it. The next day, Iroko started taking souls. People started disappearing from their homes, both in broad daylight and at night while they slept.
Finally, an Iroko priest from a distant land told the people how to destroy Iroko.
“Humans should not fight Iroko,” he said. “They should appease Iroko. Iroko trees do not live amongst humans. Before you people started building your town, you should have appeased and pleaded with Iroko to leave your town. As you can see, Iroko was simply minding its own business, when you people decided to invade its privacy. Now you have to sacrifice to Iroko to appease it.”
The townspeople had to pay this priest to come to their town to perform all that was needed to appease Iroko. There is no need to list here all that Iroko demanded, which included the blood of virgins, before it was appeased. The morning after the ceremony by this priest was concluded, the people came out and watched as the inhabitants of Iroko exited one after the other and disappeared; the birds of various families, the giant ants, red and black, dark dangerous black snakes – all came out of Iroko hissing, grumbling, and then poof, like smoke disappeared. But the king of all the animals, a giant Eke python, refused to be dislodged. The people had to pump inflammatory liquid into Iroko and set the python on fire, to dislodge it. It came out rumbling, twisting,and floundering, until it, too, disappeared.
Finally, Iroko was cut down. Mystery upon mystery, not one single hole existed in the cut tree. It was intact with rings showing how many hundreds of years it had stood there.
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