‘He’ll Take to Burying, Now…’

I’m pleased to say that “Rattlesnake Eyes”, the latest story featuring the curmudgeonly old South Carolina ghost-breaker, John Bass, will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of Black Treacle

“Rattlesnake Eyes” sees Bass in the Appalachians once again, this time to tangle with a stubborn corpse and unquiet spirits.  It’s the tenth story to feature the cantankerous Bass to see the light of day, and I’m hoping it won’t be the last for this year.

Bass, a veteran of WWI, came home from the Continent with a French wife and a plan to be a farmer in his home county of Jackapo, South Carolina. Unfortunately, his land turned sour and his wife died of the influenza and that left Bass a hard and bitter old man whose only skills were in the laying and breaking of spirits, curses and hexes.

He’s a different sort of character to Charles St. Cyprian…less amusing, and, in some ways, much more effective. He works alone, facing the forces of darkness with only a bit of pragmatic hoodoo and a soul full of bitterness, and his opponents can’t generally be defeated by a revolver or silver sword-cane. For Bass, confronting the restless dead isn’t a duty, but a job, and a fairly wretched one at that.

Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of affection for the old bastard, whether he’s seeing off a demon-haunted treehunting hidden treasure, or reuniting a woman and her dead kin for one last family meal.