Shortly after being hired to find a missing teenage girl, Felix Renn receives a phone call from his friend, Jerry Baldwin, a real estate agent who only represents haunted houses, who claims to have information related to the case.

Jerry has a tale to tell and a strange artifact that he says will help Felix find the missing girl. Saddled with a partner for the first time in his life — a supernatural brick that turns out to be as much a hindrance as it is helpful — Felix discovers he’s not the only one looking for the girl. A creature from the Black Lands is stalking her, as well.

With time running out for the girl, Felix finds himself in a situation he’s never been in before, stuck between a brick and a dark place.

Published in: SuperNOIRtural Tales (Burning Effigy Press)
Date: November 2012
Burning Effigy Press

“The Brick” is the culmination of all of the Felix Renn stories published to date. I see it as the bridge piece between the chapbooks and the novel series that I’m currently working on. As such, I put a few Easter eggs in “The Brick,” small references to things I plan to develop in the novels.

One of the other reasons I wrote “The Brick” was to introduce Jerry Baldwin, a real estate agent who only represents haunted properties. Jerry provides a lighter touch to what is a fairly dark series, as well as some comic relief, but mostly I included him to show how ordinary people are trying to live in the world of the Black Lands. With the exception of Felix’s ex-wife, Sandra, we haven’t seen much of a supporting cast for the series. I introduced Agent Keel in “Temporary Monsters,” but I shipped him off to PIA headquarters in Boca Sombra, Florida, at the end of “The Ash Angels.” I decided Felix needed a friend, and I think Jerry compliments him very well. (If you’re interested in seeing more of Jerry, he pops up again in the short story, “Out of the Blue,” in the Fungi anthology.)

I like to think there’s a bit of everything in “The Brick,” from the balls-out action of “Temporary Monsters,” to the somber spectral quality like “The Ash Angels,” and some genuine bone-chilling scares like in “Black-Eyed Kids.” Ultimately I think it’s an entertaining story, a nice long one to hold everyone over until I can get the first Felix novel written and published. 

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