Book: While I Disappear

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While I Disappear: A John Ray Horn Novel

Author: Edward Wright
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group

John Ray Horn is still working for his former sidekick, the Indian Joseph Mad Crow, recovering gambling debts and adding extra muscle when Joseph finds himself in a bad situation. One night they go to a small, seedy bar to intimidate a man who has been bothering Joseph’s niece, a waitress at his casino. As they leave, a woman clutching a highball glass says, “You don’t remember me, do you, John Ray?” By the time Horn places this faded beauty from his past, she’s disappeared. Tracking her down, he’s shocked to find his former costar Rose Galen in such diminished circumstances.

Young, beautiful, and improbably talented for her B-movie surroundings, Rose played the female lead in Horn’s second film as cowboy Sierra Lane. Now Rose is a shattered creature, drink-sodden and heavy with sadness. Something happened to her years ago, long before she met Horn, that has left her broken. Something she was once able to conceal. Hoping to uncover her long-kept secret, Horn goes to visit Rose at her shabby rooming house and finds she has been strangled to death.

Aware of a debt to Rose that until now he has never fully acknowledged, Horn sets our to find her killer, with the help of Joseph Mad Crow. In his search, he encounters figures from Rose’s past—the lawyer with a bootlegging background and a lethal bodyguard; the lusty, larger-than-life actress with a capacity for settling scores; and the ex-Shakespearean actor with a faded career and a crumbling mansion. To unmask Rose’s killer, Horn must first determine what happened to her one night long ago—back in the silent-film era of the 1920s—at a wild party attended by both celebrities and racketeers. On that night, a terrible act left a young actress dead and several people guarding a secret that begins to unravel only after Rose Galen is murdered.

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