The Strange Case of Isaac Crawley


Isaac Crawley has just returned home from London and is obsessed with the Jekyll and Hyde play, which has opened at Macaulay’s Theater in Louisville, Kentucky. On the fourth night of the show, a body is found on the riverbank, butchered like Jack the Ripper’s first victim, and the police think Isaac may be the Ripper himself.

As more bodies are found, eerily linked to the Ripper, evidence points toward Isaac and the lead investigator is determined to prove his guilt. Isaac’s former alienist, Dr. Blackwood, steps in, locking him away in the Lakeland Asylum in a desperate effort to keep him safe. When Dr. Blackwood discovers something lurking in Isaac’s mind, he knows he needs to be destroy it to save Isaac, but it also holds the key to finding the real killer.

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“James Markert takes readers on a whirlwind tour of late 19th century Louisville, a bustling river city populated by rogues from every strata of society. ISAAC CRAWLEY is a richly textured tale of murder, deception, and opium. Lots of opium.”  –Andrew Shaffer, NYTimes bestselling author of HOPE NEVER DIES

 “Fear of the Ripper’s bloodthirst has traveled on the wind from London to Louisville, leaving the mighty Ohio River crimsoned and the city’s residents trembling. Markert’s novel of murder and madness is heavy with a foggy lamppost atmosphere but goes beyond moody ambiance in its remarkable psychological turns and even surprisingly tender moments between the cast of vivid, memorable characters. An engrossing novel.” –Ian Stansel, author of THE LAST COWBOYS OF SAN GERONIMO

“James Markert’s THE STRANGE CASE OF ISAAC CRAWLEY is a vividly detailed and richly researched historical thriller that grabbed me the same way Caleb Carr’s THE ALIENIST did. It brings a forgotten time and forgotten incidents to three-dimensional life and had me turning pages late into the night. Don’t miss this smashing tale!” -David Bell, Bestselling Author of KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS

Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel


For years, guests of the Tuscany Hotel could leave their pasts behind and live among fellow artists. Now guests of a different sort fill the rooms, searching for their memories—no matter the cost.

Run by renowned sculptor Robert Gandy and his wife and muse, Magdalena, the Tuscany Hotel hosted guests of a certain kind—artists, actors, scientists, and engineers who left their worries behind so that they could create their latest masterpieces. Surrounded by lore, the hotel was rumored to free the mind and inspire artists’ gifts. But tragic circumstances force Robert and his family to move.

After thirteen months at war, Vittorio Gandy is haunted by memories, and his former life is unrecognizable. Once a gifted painter, now he can’t bear the vivid, bleeding colors on a canvas. His young son doesn’t remember him, and his wife, Valerie, is scared of him. But the most disconcerting change is in Vitto’s father, Robert Gandy, who has fallen from being a larger-than-life sculptor to a man whose mind has been taken by Alzheimer’s.

When Robert steals away in the night, Valerie, Vitto, and his new acquaintance and fellow veteran John go to the only place Robert might remember—the now-abandoned Tuscany Hotel. When they find him there, Robert’s mind is sound and his memories are intact.

Before long, word gets out that drinking from the fountain at the hotel can restore the memories of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The rooms once again fill up with guests—not artists this time, but people seeking control over their memories and lives. Vitto desperately wants to clear his own mind, but as he learns more about his mother’s life and her tragic death, he begins to wonder whether drinking the water comes at a price.

A story of father and son, memories lost and found, artists and their muses, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel explores the mysteries of the mind, the truth behind lore, and the miracle of inspiration.

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“Markert uses dream and memory sequences to weave a story of family legacy and the belief in the divine… Markert provides an unusual story that will keep readers guessing until the end.” Library Journal

What Blooms From Dust


Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust.

Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.

Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms from Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.

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“In this enchanting allegory, Markert (All Things Bright and Strange) crafts an imaginative tale of the Dust Bowl . . . Markert creatively portrays the timeless battle between good and evil, making for a powerful story of hope and redemption.” Publishers Weekly

“Historical fiction at its finest that makes the reader want to learn more about the time and the people who lived there, and those who left.” Booklist STARRED Review                 

All Things Bright and Strange


In the wake of World War I in the small, Southern town of Bellhaven, South Carolina, the town folk believe they’ve found a little slice of heaven in a mysterious chapel in the woods. But they soon realize that evil can come in the most beautiful of forms.

The people of Bellhaven have always looked to Ellsworth Newberry for guidance, but after losing his wife and his future as a professional pitcher, he is moments away from testing his mortality once and for all. Until he finally takes notice of the changes in his town . . . and the cardinals that have returned.

Upon the discovery of a small chapel deep in the Bellhaven woods, healing seems to fall upon the townspeople, bringing peace after several years of mourning. But as they visit the “healing floor” more frequently, the people begin to turn on one another, and the unusually tolerant town becomes anything but.

The cracks between the natural and supernatural begin to widen, and tensions rise. Before the town crumbles, Ellsworth must pull himself from the brink of suicide, overcome his demons, and face the truth of who he was born to be by leading the town into the woods to face the evil threatening Bellhaven.

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“Screenwriter Markert (The Angel’s Share) conjures an apocalyptic page-turner that blends Frank Peretti-style supernatural elements with the fine detail of historical novels.” Publishers Weekly

“In ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND STRANGE, James Markert melds the ordinary and the extraordinary to create a compelling tale.” Greer Macallister, bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie and Girl in Disguise

Demonic forces are invading Bellhaven, and it’s up to Ellsworth to find a way to fight and defeat this evil. Markert’s (A White Wind Blew) restrained language and pacing enhances an already menacing tone. While the battle between good and evil is not a particularly original theme, Markert’s unusual story line and compelling characters offer a fresh perspective.Library Journal (Starred Review)                                                           

The Angels’ Share

angels-share_fc Some believed he was the second coming of Christ.  William wasn’t so sure.  But when that drifter was buried next to the family distillery, everything changed.

Now that Prohibition has ended, what the townspeople of Twisted Tree, Kentucky, need most is the revival of the Old Sam Bourbon distillery. But William McFee knows it’ll take a miracle to convince his father, Barley, to once more fill his family’s aging house with barrels full of bourbon.

When a drifter recently buried near the distillery begins to draw crowds of pilgrams, the McFees are dubious, but miracles seem to come to those who once interacted with the deceased and to those now praying at his grave.  As people descend on the town to visit the “Potter’s Field Christ”, William seeks to find the connection between the tragic death of his younger brother and the mysterious drifter.

But as news spreads about the miracles at the Potter’s Field, the publicity threatens to bring the depth of Barley’s secret past to light and put the entire McFee family in jeopardy.

The Angels’ Share is a story of fathers and sons, of young romance, of revenge and redemption, and the mystery of miracles.

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“Miracles, mysteries, signs, and secrets ferment along with murder, threats, illegal activity, and lots of drinking to create a novel that will entertain as well as confound. Readers will find a unique tale that will leave them thinking long after the last bottle is stoppered!” Publishers Weekly

“Folksy charm, an undercurrent of menace, and an aura of hope permeate this inspirational tale.” -Booklist

“Distinguished by complex ideas and a foreboding tone, Markert’s enthralling novel captures a dark time and a people desperate for hope.” Library Journal

“Bullets.  Gravel.  Southern church pews.  An illegal distillery and a slew of small town secrets…I’d call that a strong brew.”  Julie Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Free.

“James Markert’s voice is as true as his words.  The Angels’ Share is a tale replete with mysteries and magic, a worthy addition to the South’s literary tradition.”  Billy Coffey, author of There Will be Stars.

“Mysterious, gritty and a bit mystical, Markert’s entertaining new novel inspires the question of “What if?”  Many of the characters are nicely multilayered, providing a good balance of intrigue and realism.  The fascinating glimpse into the process of distilling bourbon – and the effect of Prohibition in Kentucky and its bourbon families – adds another layer to the story.”  -RT Book Reviews                                                                                                 

A White Wind Blew

awhitewindblewcoverDr. Wolfgang Pike would love nothing more than to finish the requiem he’s composing for his late wife, but the ending seems as hopeless as the patients dying a hundred yards away at the Waverly Hills tuberculosis sanatorium.  If he can’t ease his own pain with music, Wolfgang tries to ease theirs–the harmonica soothes and the violin relaxes.  But his boss thinks his “musical medicine” is a waste, and in 1920s Louisville, the specter of racial tension looms over everything.

When a former concert pianist checks in, Wolfgang begins to believe that music can change the fortunes of those on the hill.  Soon Wolfgang finds himself in the center of an orchestra that won’t give up, forced to make a choice that will alter his life forever.

Set against a fascinatingly real historical backdrop, A White Wind Blew raises compelling questions about faith and confession, music and medicine, and the resilience of love.

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“. . . Hauntingly lyrical narrative with operatic overtones . . . a soaring tribute to the resiliency of life in the face of death.”  Booklist

“. . . Absorbing historical . . . Markert displays great imagination in describing the rivalries, friendships, and intense relationships among the often quirky and cranky terminally ill, and the way that a diagnosis, or even a cure, can upset delicate dynamics.”  Publishers Weekly

“. . . The author’s ability to weigh competing views against each other, and the all-too real human complications are presented with a remarkable understanding of conflicting ideas that even make villains human eventually.”  BookPage

“James Markert skillfully weaves together medicine and history,  a tragic love story, and a spiritual investigation into the relationship between faith and music.  The result is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that will move and inspire readers of all kinds.”  John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road and Northwest Corner.

“James Markert tells a story of the triumph of music and faith in a dead-end place of despair and loneliness called Waverly Hills.  Beautifully told, A White Wind Blew is set in a time when the Klan and racism openly thrived.  With a historian’s eye for detail, Markert spins his story in a world where men and women were healed and made whole.”   Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.

“Set in the time of Prohibition and segregation, this novel brings to life the desperation of the plague that as yet had no cure. . . I couldn’t put down this story of a doctor’s struggle with faith, hope, and healing.  In the end, I not only learned about that time in history, but it vividly came alive.”  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“James Markert has taken the exceptional and amazing setting of “one of the scariest places on earth”, the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium, and produced an absorbing novel about the place, its inhabitants, and the times.”  The Louisville Courier-Journal

“Music, a TB sanatorium, racism, love–what more could one want in a novel?  Markert combines them all in A White Wind Blew, in a dramatic, beguiling tale that brings you right into its core.”  Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT.