Future Treasures: Vinyl Wonderland by Mark Rigney

Future Treasures: Vinyl Wonderland by Mark Rigney

Vinyl Wonderland (Castle Bridge Media, June 25, 2024). Cover artist unknown

Mark Rigney will be familiar to most long-time readers at Black Gate. He wrote his first blog post for us (Portals: A Writer Blogs About Process) more than a dozen years ago, and never really stopped, with more than a hundred articles here over the last decade. We published several of his excellent short stories as part of our Black Gate Online Fiction library, starting with “The Trade,” and serialized his complete novel In the Wake of Sister Blue back in 2015.

Mark is perhaps best known to Black Gate readers as the author of the Renner & Quist novels — The Skates, Sleeping Bear, Check-Out Time, and Bonesy — featuring unlikely occult investigators Reverend Renner and retired investigator Dale Quist. Fellow BG blogger William Patrick Maynard called them “Funny, moving, enlightening, entertaining – Mark Rigney’s Renner & Quist series is in a class of its own. The recommendations come no stronger.”

His latest novel Vinyl Wonderland, on sale in three weeks from Castle Bridge Media, has all the markings of a breakout book. It’s a terrifically twisty mystery with a fantastical bent, and easily the best novel I’ve read so far this year.

Mark Rigney’s Renner & Quist novels (Samhain Publishing, 2013-2015)

Vinyl Wonderland is the tale of Brendan Purcell, who finds himself running a used record store when the reclusive owner suffers a stroke. It’s a lot of responsibility for a high school dropout, not made any easier by the steady stream of customers insisting on access to a mysterious back room — a room Brendan promised to keep locked. When he finally bows to the pressure, the mystery quickly deepens. Exactly what is behind that strange door, and why are some of the most powerful people in town so desperate to pass through it?

Howard Andrew Jones, always a fine arbiter of emerging talent, had this to say about Vinyl Wonderland.

Splendid, inventive, compelling, and surprising, Rigney knows how to seize and hold his readers.

I had the chance to provide a brief blurb for the book as well, under the guise of Todd McAulty, the name I use for my fiction. Here’s what I said.

Vinyl Wonderland is a wonder. A Bradburyesque dark fantasy that’s also a page-turning mystery, soaked in 80s nostalgia and classic rock-and-roll. There are more twists in this book than a Joe Jackson record. Brendan Purcell is a fabulous character, a wide-eyed narrator caught up in a sinister small-town nightmare, burdened with his own tightly-held secrets. Vinyl Wonderland is the best contemporary fantasy I’ve read it years. It is destined to be a classic.

It’s you love contemporary mysteries — or are interested in the supremely unpredictable adventures of one of the most compelling protagonists you’ll encounter this year — I highly recommend Vinyl Wonderland. You won’t be disappointed.

Vinyl Wonderland will be published by Castle Bridge Media on June 25, 2024. It is 250 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $4.99 in digital formats. The cover artist is uncredited.

See all our recent coverage of Black Gate‘s talented writing community here.

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