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In the slums of great-depression Chicago, Mark Simmons is just another trouble-shooter desperate for a dollar – but even in a time rich with trouble that needs shooting, Mark must gamble everything just to get a job.

Jenny Rubicon’s sister went missing as a child, only to reappear ten years later as a drug-running assassin with a dark reputation. But Jenny is a quick-shooting fast-talking flapper who’ll do anything to get her sibling back, even if that means becoming just like her. When Jenny hires Mark to help, the two chase Wren halfway around the globe and deep into a surreal underworld of illusion, violence, lust and magic.

Wren and her strange, occult allies are locked in a desperate conflict – a violent struggle threatening the balance of power in a world already preparing for war. If Mark and Jenny want to win her trust, they’ll need to choose where to stand, and what to let fall.

Cold-Morning is an ongoing web serial about globe-trotting not-quite-hero Marcus Summanus and his misadventures with magic, gangsters, and mayhem in the 1930s. It is noir, violent, sometimes sexy, often snarky, and intended for a mature audience. It’s an ongoing story, so it’s best to start at the beginning. Everything will make more sense that way.

A list of trigger warnings is available here.

Text updates publish on Thursdays. Patreon supporters get to read or listen two chapters ahead and may download pdf and epub versions, including cut content and extra side-stories.

Author Cullen McHael has been an activist, a journalist, a professor, a kick-boxer, a circus performer, a monk, a film-maker, and a game-designer. Cullen dwells deep in the American Midwest where crop circles carve mystery into the endless rows of corn and the stars shine just a little too brightly.
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Gunshot

In which a familiar stranger commits a murder…

Glimmer

In which a heroine makes her appearance…

Shelter

In which a dance hall makes for a poor bullet-stopper…

Shadow

In which Mark negotiates a menu of lead or knuckle sandwiches, swears, and reminisces about worse times…

Sunrise

In which it all comes to a crossroads, a standstill, and an end…

Wake

In which a shovel is wielded to questionable effect, and help comes from unexpected quarters…

Chill

In which the morning is cold, the enemies close, and the friends closer…

Follow

In which the friend of a friend may be no friend indeed…

Chain

In which the rain comes through the roof, Nash gets a cigarette, and we consider the question of flags…

Choice

In which a sandwich is eaten and our hero teeters on the brink of the next…

Heat

In which we visit a Bangkok market and an underdog fights for a prize…

Fever

In which blood sport turns bloody….

Fall

In which a garland of flowers takes on a new meaning, and Summanus says his name…

Broken

In which a new suit of clothes solves all worldly woes, and a matchbook fails to light a fire….

Deal

In which a crime comes to light….

Empty

In which a crime scene is not abandoned….

Need

In which Jenny tells a story….

Night

In which knives dance among the poppies….

Day

In which Summanus enters the place called Bitter Flower….

Rebuke

In which a magician grants a mission….

Crossroads

In which ways part under stone eyes….

Ruin

In which many names are lost, and one remembered….

Ghosts

In which the pit reveals secrets….

Smoke

In which a knife is no match for a Garland, and an old enemy returns….

Breath

In which a monkey meets a bagpipe, a soldier knows secrets, and prophecy is uttered….

Charge

In which it is dangerous to ignore a warning….

Fire

In which wrath stalks amid ruin and Mark must choose his way….

Water

In which an escape plan is sunk….

Father

In which missions collide in the night….

Friend

In which the city groans….

Fighter

In which a plot is hatched beneath dripping thatch….

Run

In which escape is the only option…. or Cat’s Cradle.

Shatter

In which every shot counts….

Madness

In which plans meet problems….

Pit

In which eager gladiators fight to the death….

Hollows

In which secret doors lead secret ways….

Dark

In which waits a perilous choice and the test of all hopes so far….

Deeps

In which shapes move in the dark, words are whispered, choices made, and something follows…

Peace

In which a master reveals secret truth and terrible consequence….

Rage

In which a price is paid….

Dissent

In which Agafya encounters a problem….

Violence

In which a party is thrown and everyone invited….

Fear

In which life and smoke both fade….

Consequence

In which lives are changed….

Light

In which Agafya writes a message in blood….

End

In which Maya’s temple fights to the last….

Rain

In which a good dog bites hard….

Call

In which a song is sung….

Answer

In which Maya’s dance meets its match….

Road

In which paths diverge….

Distance

In which an outstanding mystery is solved….

Home

In which a journey ends….

 

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