Fantasy author Justin Gustainis' new novel, Evil Ways, is the sequel to Black Magic Woman, which centers on occult investigator Quincy Morris, a descendant of the character of the same name who appeared (and died) in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
"The idea is that from Dracula on, fighting the supernatural is considered the Morris 'family business,'" Gustainis said in an interview.
In Black Magic Woman, the first book of the Morris/Chastain Investigations series, the mysterious billionaire Walter Grobius hired a visiting black-magic practitioner from Africa to construct a magical fetish of immense power.
"To do so, the evil sorceress ... is abducting children throughout the Northeast U.S. to gain the proper 'raw material,'" Gustainis said. "This requires organs from the child victims' bodies—removed while they are still alive. Grobius's purpose is only hinted at, but it is clear that he is planning some kind of 'super-ritual.'"
In Evil Ways, Quincey and white witch Libby Chastain are drawn into the plot separately, little realizing that each holds a different end of the same thread, Gustainis said. As each pursues the investigation from a different part of the country, the trail leads them ultimately to Walter Grobius' Idaho estate on Walpurgis Night. There, Quincey, Libby and a few allies fight a desperate battle (with weapons both magical and mundane) to stop Grobius from engineering the ultimate black-magic ritual. If it succeeds, it could mean the end of the world.
Libby's magical skills may well come in handy, but she and Quincey don't yet know that white witches are being murdered all over the country. Or that these killings are connected with the child murders Quincey has been investigating. "[It's] all part of Walter Grobius' insane plan to gain immortality via the black arts," Gustainis said.
The third Morris/Chastain investigation, Sympathy for the Devil, will be about a major party's presidential candidate, who is secretly possessed by a demon, Gustainis said. "Quincey and Libby face the near-impossible task of exorcising someone who is protected by the U.S. Secret Service," he said. "By the way: Any resemblance to actual presidential candidates, living or dead, is purely coincidental. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."