Wolf Killer is book three of the The Magic Mirror Collection by C H Clepitt. The collection jumps through history, retelling fairy tales with a queer twist. So far we have seen Beauty and the Beast set in 1930s France, and Snow White set during the Second World War spanning Germany and rural Wales. In this latest instalment retelling Red Riding Hood, we find ourselves in 1980s America, and on the hunt for a serial killer.
“Honey, it’s the ’80s. You need to find yourself a woman who can hold your hand in public, not one who calls you her ‘friend’ and keeps you away from her boss. You don’t need that kinda heartache. You think it’ll be OK, but it won’t, trust me. It starts to eat away at you.”
FBI Agent Clara Hunter might not be girlfriend material, but as Red soon discovers, if you have a serial killer on your heels she is just the woman you want in your life!
Clara took a deep breath before entering Aphrodite’s Bar. She hoped no one would recognise her from the night before. It was lunchtime. Different staff, hopefully. The woman behind the bar wore stone washed jeans with braces, a fitted white vest and sported a mohawk and nose ring that told the world not to mess with her.
“Help you folks?” She asked suspiciously as Clara and Marty walked in.
“FBI, honey,” Marty flicked out his badge with a flourish. He liked to pretend he was in a movie. “I’m Agent Keating, this is Agent Hunter.”
“We’re up to code,” the woman bristled. “Wanna see our liquor license?”
“Oh, no!” Clara moved forward in front of Marty. “It’s nothing like that…”
Just then she was interrupted by Red bustling in from the back room running her fingers hurriedly through her hair as she did so.
“Sorry, Jill,” she was distracted. “You know how Nanna is, I couldn’t get away!” She spotted Clara and stopped dead.
“You work here too?” Clara asked awkwardly.
“Need to keep up with the rent…” Red glanced between Clara and Marty uncomfortably.
“Knew I wasn’t losing my touch!” Marty grinned and elbowed Clara.
“Right,” she smiled awkwardly at him. “Sure does explain it.” She turned her attention to Jill. “You do bar snacks?”
“Wings,” Jill sounded baffled. “We do spicy Buffalo wings…”
“Great, we’ll order some wings and I’ll have a club soda,” she glanced at Marty who nodded. “Two club sodas and then maybe we could have a chat?”
“You have the best ideas!” Marty kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll grab that table there,” he indicated a small round table by the entrance, “and people watch. You do the interview.”
“You got it.” Clara pulled up a bar stool.
“I’ll get on that,” Jill opened two bottles of soda against the bar and poured them into glasses simultaneously. “Red can answer any questions you have.” She came out from behind the bar and crossed to where Marty had positioned himself, put his drink in front of him and headed to the kitchen.
“Official business?” Red asked as she glanced awkwardly across the room to Marty, who was studying the street.
“Yeah, it could be serious.” Clara lifted her briefcase onto the bar and unclipped it. Reaching in, she withdrew the photographs of the victims. “Do you know any of these women? Have they been in here at all?”
Red looked at the pictures curiously. “They in trouble?”
Wolf Killer is released on 26 September. You can preorder it now!
A Bite of… C H Clepitt
Question one: Fairytales. How important do you think fairytales are in the 21st century?
I don’t know that fairy tales are important to the 21st Century in and of themselves. What I do know is that we all grew up with them and that none of them have any queer representation, and that IS important. People need to see themselves in their favourite stories and that’s what I’m doing with this collection.
Question two: Who are your writing heroes?
My writing heroes are anyone trying to put out own voices marginalised fiction when the odds are stacked against them. Keep doing it, we all need representation.
Question three: If you had twenty-four hours and three wishes to save the world, what would you do?
It would depend how the world was ending how I would need to wish. You can’t just wish willy nilly in the face of an apocalypse.
C H Clepitt says:
“I love the fact that historical fiction gives you a snapshot into an era that you may not have previous knowledge of. There’s something about reading a work of fiction set in a different time that is so much more immersive than just reading a history book.
“With each of the The Magic Mirror collections I have tried to write them in the style of the era, and Wolf Killer may be the most grown up yet. It deals with issues of queerness and identity the way the previous two books have not and I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”
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