What Rough Beast
by H. R. Knight
Horror, Mystery, Mystery: Thriller
September 2, 2014
Available in: e-Book, Trade Size (reprint)
Harry Houdini asks Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to help him expose Maximillian Cairo---a spiritualist medium. But the two men underestimate Cairo. He's a master of the occult and the most debauched man in London. When they interrupt a magic ritual, a force for ecstasy and chaos explodes on an unsuspecting 1903 London. One by one, each of the people who attended the ritual are tainted by the touch of the monster. Each feels an ecstatic burst of creativity, only to succumb later to an act of uncontrollable madness. When the temporary insanity passes, each is left drained and broken. Soon Conan Doyle and Houdini face a locked room murder mystery that baffles even Houdini. And clues they find convince them that the thing they set loose has completely taken possession of one the people who attended the ritual with them. Even worse, the unearthly beast is determined to hunt them down, before they can figure out how to stop it. The proper Victorian gentleman and the exuberant New Yorker must team up to solve the murder and stop the thing they unleashed before it completely unravels their ordered world. In the end, Conan Doyle must face the monster alone and find the courage to literally embrace that which he fears most in order to defeat it.
Originally published in mass market paperback by Leisure Books.
Harry Squires was born in Chicago, Illinois. Hospital records make no mention of any wise men arriving to witness the event. He attended journalism school at the University of Missouri and film school at U.C. L.A. He has worked in educational television and radio, the insurance industry, and software marketing.
Eventually, he gave up trying to convince the people around him that he was normal, and dropped out to write horror stories and mysteries for a living.
His philosophy of life can be boiled down to four rules: Never do business with anyone who uses the words "trust" or "honest;" Never eat at a restaurant with the word "gourmet" in the name; Never be the first to load new software or try a new drug.
Some people see the glass as half full, some as half empty. Harry wonders what's in the glass, why it smells so funny, and who poured it.
He currently lives by the beach in Southern California with Susan, his very tolerant wife, and several large, black dogs. The dogs, by the way, are not incarnations of demonic beings---no matter what the neighbors say.