Publication Date: Nov 26, 2019
List Price US $9.99
List Price US $15.99
Set in the otherworldly megalopolis that is today’s Shanghai, Temple Drake’s suspenseful first novel blends the gothic, the erotic, and the supernatural as it charts an intense and dangerous affair.
One night in 2012, executive Zhang Guo Xing takes a group of European clients to a fashionable nightclub in Shanghai. While there, he meets a strikingly beautiful young Western woman called Naemi Vieno Kuusela. The physical attraction between them proves irresistible, and they embark on an intoxicating affair. But Naemi is not what she appears to be…
To Zhang’s surprise, she veers between passion and wariness, conducting the relationship entirely on her own terms. He feels driven to find out more about her, and is swiftly drawn into a web of intrigue, mystery, and horror. Is she a ghost? A demon? Do the living dead walk the streets of twenty-first century Shanghai?
Written in spare, high-octane prose, NVK is the first in a series of dark, hypnotic novels that explore the roots of desire and the cruel costs of immortality.
Excerpt from NVK
She was standing so close that he could feel her breath against his face. There was a single faint line at the edge of her left eye. Otherwise, her skin was unblemished, clear. He moved his hand to the back of her neck, beneath her hair. Then they were kissing. Once again, he noticed the heat of her mouth. Once again, the wild racing of his heart.
As they took the lift to the lower ground floor, they stood against opposing walls, looking at each other, the space between them charged and tingling, just as it had been earlier, in the car.
Everything they hadn’t done as yet.
Everything they might still do.
When the door opened and the car-park lay before them, vast and warm and windowless, he asked if she wanted a lift back to where she lived.
“I’ll take a taxi,” she said. “It’s not so far.”
His car was waiting, engine running, but he turned his back on it and walked her up onto the street.
“I’d like to see you again.” He reached into his jacket pocket. “Can I give you my card?”
“No need,” she said.
“How will you find me? You know nothing about me—” He bit his lip. He hadn’t meant to say so much.
“I found you tonight,” she said. “I’ll find you again.”
In a city of more than twenty million, he thought. How was that possible?
“NVK is a propulsive supernatural thriller. Flitting between the point of view of its enigmatic title character and that of Zhang Guo Xing, her perfect foil, a man whose wealth can buy him everything but total certainty about the woman he desires (and loves?), Temple Drake’s novel teaches you how to read it without being didactic. Drake’s style is breezy and spare but serious, and always a pleasure to read. NVK masterfully combines the techniques of gothic, erotic, and realist fiction, and should appeal to fans of each and all. A marvelous bit player named Mad Dog counsels Zhang at one point, ‘There’s a kind of immortality that originates in trauma. It’s known as an “awakening.”’ NVK awakens and announces a startling new writer well worth watching.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)