Would you work outside the law to deliver justice for a grieving widow and her children? Where would you even begin? And what if the evidence you uncover suggests the widow herself might have arranged her husband’s death?
These are all questions I ask in my superhero mystery novelette “An Oath to the Sun”, part of Murder and Mayhem: A Dragon Soul Press Anthology.
“An Oath to the Sun” takes place against the backdrop of 2030s Oklahoma. Organized crime, government corruption and even outright supervillains have run rampant since a devastating economic collapse in 2026. For the past nine years, Topsannah Price has used the fortune generated by her groundbreaking renewable energy company to wage a private war on crime as the vigilante Whippoorwill.
But nothing in all those years of experience can prepare Topsannah for the case District Attorney Madison Harper asks her to help solve.
Everything seems clear-cut at first. Ramzi Zahran was pulled over by Oklahoma City Police on suspicion of DUI and gunned down when he attacked an officer. However, the toxicology report reveals he was under the influence of a lethal dose of methanol. District Attorney Harper suspects foul play, but her staff are overworked, and the police refuse to investigate further. Only the Whippoorwill can get to the bottom of this case before the poisoner’s trail goes cold.
After an interview with the victim’s widow Jasra reveals he may have been the target of retaliation for whistleblowing on his employer, Whippoorwill swears she will deliver the family justice. But it’s not long before new evidence implicates Jasra herself.
When Whippoorwill digs deeper into the case, she discovers even more possible suspects and hints of a conspiracy stretching across the entire state. Can she keep her oath to the Sun? Or will this case prove too much even for the seasoned vigilante?
“An Oath to the Sun” draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources: news stories about corrupt public officials, whispers of shady schemes in the oil and natural gas industry, and even a bit of personal experience. But far and away my biggest inspirations are vigilante superheroes like Batman and my desire to create a superhero from Oklahoma. Somebody who embodied everything wonderful about my state. Who was quintessentially Oklahoman. And who could be more quintessentially Oklahoman than a descendant of the people who have called this land home for centuries?
None of my stories starring Topsannah revolve around her Comanche heritage, but it remains an important part of who she is as a person, and that’s especially true in this novelette. After witnessing firsthand what Ramzi’s death has cost his family, she promises justice via the titular oath sworn in the manner of her ancestors. Over the course of the story, this oath drives her to crack the case even when things start to look hopeless.
Who is “An Oath to the Sun” and Murder and Mayhem for?
Anybody who enjoys murder mysteries, speculative fiction, and especially a blend of the two will love this anthology. “An Oath to the Sun” is the very first story, but Murder and Mayhem includes seven other stories. We’re talking everything from detectives and serial killers, reporters investigating cold cases, and supernatural creatures stalking the innocent to cyborg vigilantes and more.
There’s a little something for everyone in the work of my fellow contributors. If you’re interested, you can pick up Murder and Mayhem: A Dragon Soul Press Anthology through this Amazon link:
If readers draw anything from “An Oath to the Sun”, I hope it’s an appreciation for the sentiment best summed up by Topsannah’s final words in the story: “Justice means more than punishing the guilty. Justice means helping victims and their families piece their lives back together again.”
What the future holds…
Right now, my primary goal for this book is to help it reach as many readers as possible. The wonderful stories inside deserve to be seen. Moving forward, I’m hoping to start a novel starring Whippoorwill and District Attorney Harper in the near future. It may be a novelization of their very first novelette, the superhero romantic suspense tale “Law, Love, and the Whippoorwill”, or it may be an entirely original story set at the beginning of their relationship. Only time will tell.
If you’d like to keep up with my progress on this franchise, or any of my other work like the heroic fantasy tales starring Arlise Dun, you can check out my website or follow me on Twitter @AMWorley_Writer
My website: https://austinworleywriter.wordpress.com
Finally, I’d like to thank Jennifer Jackson from the Authors’ Lounge for inviting me to write this article. It’s not everyday someone offers you a platform to share your stories with the world!