In author Melanie Surani’s edgy thriller novel, opera singer Joshua Gray wakes in an eerie art museum exhibit. He comes to believe he’s been kidnapped and abandoned. And he isn’t the only one…
As Josh and four others struggle to piece together their new reality, they discover the museum’s main building has been razed and the place is boarded with no obvious exit. Who left them in the museum and why? How can they escape? The only link that binds them together is a mysterious woman named Blair, who they each encountered before blacking out. Josh unexpectedly finds himself drawn to one of the other captives, a long-time fan named Sophia. Their attraction plunges the group into a dark pool of suspicion. When allegiances shift and pieces connect, the strangers are forced to reassess their situation. Is the real danger inside or outside of the museum?
Suspenseful, romantic and filled with drama, Awake will keep you up all night.
Costumed mannequins, wearing everything from Rococo dresses to the “50’s Housewife,” lined the room and clustered in the center. They had coverings over their heads: burlap sacs sewn to fit the face, or draped with gauze over antlers, or covered in feathers.
One of them might move.
To get to the rest of the exhibits now, she either had to go through or turn around and catch it from the opposite direction. As she turned, though, an Employees Only sign caught her eye.
The door opened with a creak. Sophia checked the costumes for any sign of life before ducking inside and slamming the door. She panted for a moment with her eyes shut. When she opened them a crack, the light hadn’t come on. After waving her arms over her head, she threw the door open again with a hammering heart.
Like so much topiary at the Overlook Hotel, she expected the mannequins to have clustered around the door. Of course, nothing had changed since she’d checked the gallery before. She eyed the figures again, before propping the door open and returning to the dim office.
Unused items crammed the floor. A computer and phone sat on the single desk, files stacked on the floor. An empty closet in the back stood open, yawning darkness. Multiple metal signs leaned against a wall, notices pointing toward restrooms, galleries, a café, and the lobby.
“Damn it,” she whispered. Who the hell took all the signs down?
Sophia picked up the phone, pressed the switch-hook, but no dial tone sounded.
“Why…” Why leave the electricity on and cut the phones?
About The Author
Melanie Surani is a blogger, hair stylist, and author with a heart for international travel. When she isn’t cutting hair, Melanie is thinking about ways to kill people (for mystery novels). She lives with her husband and cat in New York City, where she is hard at work on her next book with Booktrope Publishing. Melanie is a member of the International Thriller Writers society. Follow her adventures at: http://melsurani.tumblr.com/
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Guest Post By The Author
I’m one of those people who always fantasized about getting locked in a department store overnight. Or a museum. Or a mall. Any big, generally crowded place after it closed. The phenomenon has been done in TV, books, and real life.
It’s the same feeling I get when I imagine every person in the world vanishes for a little while: being locked in alone means I can wander at my leisure and nobody’s pushing me out of the way. Part of the fantasy is because I live in New York City, and at no point in the day am I in public and also left in peace. There’s always a scream-y troupe of three-year-olds who also wants to see the tiger exhibit, and since I’m the weird adult at the zoo with no kids, I’ve got to move.
My novel Awake takes some of those feelings and makes them useful.
Another generally crowded place I would love to visit by myself is any museum. A few years ago when I was still trying to figure out the setting for Awake, I went to the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty show in NYC. At the time, I was new to the city, new to the “world of fashion,” and quite frankly, the whole idea behind McQueen’s designs freaked me out. I kept thinking, “nobody can possibly wear this stuff.”
But the way the exhibit was put together was better than any museum I’d ever been to in my life. The lighting, the music, the videos – everything fit together in a perfect mood. Granted, that mood was unsettling, but it was absolutely stunning and stayed with me.
As is usually the case with me, I let my imagination go while I was there. The idea that came to me was, “can you imagine trying to spend the night here?”
I couldn’t quite get the museum in Awake right. I knew it had trick rooms (one of them had even been designed to look like the outdoors, to make the characters believe they were free, but it got scrapped early on for being stupid). When I saw McQueen’s exhibit, though, everything clicked. It’s dark, it’s creepy, and you’re not quite sure the mannequins won’t jump you.
Though the exhibit inspired me, it didn’t leave me a McQueen fan. To be fair, though, my characters didn’t like the McQueen-inspired museum I put them in either.
The decision to go the indie route with Awake and all my novels was a tricky one. Everyone wants to be with a big publisher and see their books in all the store windows and have a TV tour and book signings with people lining up down the block just to see you. Truth be told, that only happens to a handful of people. Most authors within the last few years have been picked up because they’re already famous.
Going indie means I keep control of my work. The story you read is the story I intended, and that’s worth everything.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Melanie Surani will be awarding a $30 Starbuck Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour