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*includes a digitally signed, printed author note*


Hana Mae Jin does not believe in magic. Unfortunately, magic believes in her.

When the hospital where Mae Jin works is attacked by terrifying monsters, a power the mortuary assistant never knew she possessed awakens, sending a wave of magic across New York that has unforeseen repercussions.

Nikolai Stanisic has only one wish. To stop the Sorcerer King from carrying out the dreadful scheme that was put into motion the night his mother was killed. His only chance at success lies in rousing the soul of the being the Sorcerer King fears the most: the rightful Witch Queen, fated to save the world of magic and rule over it.

Thrust into a fantastical realm hidden from mortal eyes, Mae soon learns of her mythical past and the incredible destiny that awaits her. Armed with the weapon and the familiar who were once promised to her, she joins forces with Nikolai and Vlad Vissarion, a seductive Russian mobster who wants to stop a demon-infested gang from taking over the city’s criminal underworld.

Mae, Nikolai, and Vlad soon find themselves facing an enemy far more vicious than they could ever have imagined. Can they stop the terrifying plot set in motion by the Sorcerer King and his Dark Council before it’s too late?

The Darkest Night is the first book in the brand-new urban fantasy series Witch QueenWitch Queen is the third series set in the bestselling Seventeen universe and follows on from the Seventeen and Legion series. It contains references to characters in the other series and the odd cameo appearance.

Format  Paperback
Pages  342
ISBN  978-1-912834-24-2
Dimensions  5 x 0.75 x 8 inches
Publisher   Silver Orb Publishing
Language  English
Edition  Second Edition, April 2024


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The Darkest Night
Rites of Passage
Of Flames and Crows
Midnight Witch
A Fury of Shadows
Witch Queen


The dead man wore red shoes. They were brand-new, wholecut, Italian-leather Oxfords and looked to be worth about half her paycheck. Hana Mae Jin studied the gory bloodstains dulling the expensive material.

There’s not enough hydrogen peroxide in the world to get rid of those.

She removed the items from the dead man’s feet and placed them in a labeled bag on the steel countertop to her left. The man’s clothes followed. Soon, he was a cold, stiff body lying on the autopsy table, head propped up by a plastic block and naked but for the yellow I.D. tag on his toe.

Alexei ‘Colin’ Antonovich had died from a single bullet wound to the head. The police report accompanying the corpse indicated he was a member of Oniks, a Russian crime gang that started operating in New York a year ago. Oniks’s rapidly growing influence in the city’s underworld meant they were now in conflict with the more established gangs in Brooklyn and Queens, a fact NYPD and the forensic pathology centers working under the aegis of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were all too aware of from the mounting body count this summer. As far as the cops knew, Oniks was operating independently of the most powerful Russian crime syndicate in New York, a fact both law enforcement and city officials found puzzling.

The gang’s specialty was protection rackets and loan-shark operations. The detectives in charge of Antonovich’s murder case had reconstructed his movements from Brooklyn to Queens late last night from his phone GPS. The working theory was that Antonovich had been lured to an alleyway in Ozone Park by rival gang members or a would-be victim before meeting his untimely death. His body was discovered under a subway overpass close to the 88th Boyd Ave station at 4 a.m. by someone out for an early morning run.

Bar the bullet wound to his head, Antonovich bore no signs of physical injury. His attackers had stripped him of his wallet and the gun that had been registered to his name, but left his clothes and shoes intact. Considering Antonovich’s suit cost almost as much as his Oxfords, Mae could only presume his killers didn’t fancy wearing a dead man’s outfit.

She glanced at the digital clock on the wall to her left and grimaced at the time. It was already past 7 p.m.

Rose is gonna be pissed if I miss our dinner date again.

She sent a quick text to her best friend, left her phone on the worktop at the end of the room, and returned to the autopsy table. She adjusted her splash shield before picking up a scalpel from the instrument tray to her right.

This was her tenth postmortem of the day.

She should have clocked out an hour ago, but had agreed to stay behind and finish this one last job. With three mortuary assistants and two pathologists on sick leave across the forensic autopsy centers that served the city, the labs at Grandview General Hospital had been swamped as of late. Everyone had done overtime this month, including Steve Hodge, the director of pathology services.

With the detectives investigating Antonovich’s murder having impressed upon Hodge the urgency of obtaining a full autopsy report on the Russian mobster, Mae hadn’t begrudged her boss his decision when he’d assigned her the case that morning. Hodge was also working overtime in the lab next door and would likely be there well after she left.

A trickle of sweat danced down Mae’s back as she stretched out the kinks in her neck. The unusually oppressive heat that had lingered over the city these past couple of weeks made for unpleasant working conditions, even in the air-conditioned rooms in the basement of the hospital. She promised herself a cold shower as soon as she finished, started the digital voice recorder and transcription software on the mobile computer station, and made the first incision.

Skin and flesh gave way smoothly under her blade. It didn’t take her long to extract and process the thoracic and abdominal organs, her movements swift and efficient from thousands of hours of practice, her voice the only sound breaking the silence as she dictated her findings. She’d left the dead man’s innards in their respective blocks on the adjacent metal table, separated his scalp from his skull, and just reached for the electric saw to cut into the bone when she heard the outer door to the lab open. A tall, pretty blonde with clear gray eyes came through the inner door a moment later.

Kathryn Rose Blake’s gold sneakers squeaked to a halt on the linoleum floor. Her eyebrows drew together as she looked from Mae to the saw and the body on the autopsy table. The third-year surgical resident propped her hands on her hips and tapped out an impatient beat with her left foot, the pink-sapphire bracelet Mae had given her as a birthday gift glittering at her wrist.

“Our reservation is in twenty minutes, Mae.”

Mae sighed. “I know. Did you get my message?”

“Why do you think I’m here?” Rose grumbled. “You realize you canceled on me last time too, right?”

“Yeah, sorry about that.”

Rose’s frown deepened. “You don’t sound the least bit remorseful. May I remind you that I missed out on getting laid because you bailed on me?”

Mae rolled her eyes hard. “I wish you’d stop organizing our dinner dates in places where you want to pick up guys. It’s unhygienic.”

“This from a woman about to carve out a dead man’s brain.” Rose shrugged. “I don’t see the problem. Two birds, one stone. We’re both busy and don’t have time for a relationship. And, FYI, you could really do with letting off some steam the old-fashioned way. A vibrator may be a girl’s best friend, but yours is gonna explode from overuse.”

“Please leave Bob out of this conversation,” Mae muttered as she applied the saw to Antonovich’s skull. The blade came to life with a smooth whir. “I thought you had a hot date with Tom the ob-gyn last week?”

“I did.” Rose made a face. “Turns out Tom doesn’t push my buttons in the bedroom.”

Mae paused, surgical saw aloft and surprise pasted across her face behind her splash shield. “But he’s an ob-gyn.”

“That just means he knows his anatomy, Mae,” Rose said in the tone of one addressing a half-wit. “It doesn’t mean he can light my fire.”

Mae pursed her lips. Considering how frequently and easily Rose’s fire could be lit, Tom the ob-gyn must have been crushed by his failure.

Rose propped herself up on an empty autopsy table and dropped her messenger bag next to her. “How about I keep you company while you finish up? That way you won’t run out on me like last time.”

Mae sighed and brought her focus back to the saw.

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