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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Release —THE PEST HOUSE by Clay More — Giveaway!

Twisted Knee, Ohio, 1866

Nothing could ever damp down the smell of the pest house.

Especially not in the sweltering heat of summer.

It was a strange, stomach-twisting smell that wafted from the two chimneys that belched smoke most days when the place was full of patients. And even when the smoke was dispelled by the wind the odor hung like a miasma around the old two-storied timber building a couple of hundred yards from the edge of the town of Twisted Knee.

But the smell was only a prelude to the evil that took place in the old building that housed the wounded, the diseased, and the hopeless. Though Doctor Cutler had his own faults, murder was not one of them—and that was going to be the death of him...

EXCERPT

     For those who had never ventured inside to visit a relative or friend the odor conjured up near-hellish images of Sister Fowler or one of the Twisted Knee Ladies of Charity who nursed the sick, or of the orderlies who carried patients in or bodies out to the attached mortuary, feeding the fires with clothing, bandages or bed linen that had gotten stained with blood or body fluids. And sometimes it smelled even worse…and folks forced themselves to stop imagining.
No one came near it unless they were unfortunate enough to come down with one or other of the less savory medical conditions that scared the bejeebers out of folks. It had a reputation as a place where you went to die.
     That was the image of the pest house at any rate, when old Doc Silas Jackson was the only medical man in Twisted Knee. Despite his age and his apparent lack of success in keeping his patients alive, the sixty-year-old, skeletally thin doctor in the stovepipe hat and stiff-collared shirts was held in affection and esteem by the good folk of the town. After all, as he regularly regaled patients and friends, he had given the town the best years of his life and had passed up the commission as a major that he had been offered during the war, just so that he could go on tending to his friends in town.
     Then Doctor Bruce Cutler came along and set up his shingle in town and the two doctors agreed to share the onerous task of looking after the pest house. Doctor Jackson, as the senior and already established physician, retained complete charge and responsibility for the lower ward and the single cubicle rooms leading off it, while Bruce was given charge of the upstairs ward.
     But Doctor Bruce Cutler was a different sort of doctor from Doctor Silas Jackson, and it was not long before they had the first of many very public fallings out, mainly about medicine and the way the pest house was run. The result was that they hated each other with a passion. And everyone knew it.

Be sure and leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook!

20 comments:

  1. Keith, I really enjoyed this story! Loved all the twists and turns, especially! Congratulations on your new release!

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  2. Congratulations Keith. I am looking forward to reading all about two dueling Doctors. I'll wager that we laymen will learn something medically in the story. Looks like an interesting read.

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  3. Thank you, Cheryl. I am very pleased to have another short story published by Sundown Press.

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  4. Thanks, Jerry. You may be right!

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  5. Sounds a little creepy but looks like an interesting story. I look forward to reading it. Best wishes on its success. Already got it, BTW.

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  6. Thank you, Robyn. It is a bit creepy, I am afraid!

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  7. Yikes! I would have been eating an apple a day to stay out of that place. I think I would have preferred laying in the sweet grass and die. Even in modern times there are places that stink like nursing homes. Lordy!
    I'm already wondering what changes Dr. Cutler was making to the Pest House. Maybe he was attempting to sanitize the place and make things better? Feuding doctors is not new to me. I recall two doctors fighting in the Mercy Hospital parking lot like a couple of high school kids. Both of them were thoracic surgeons. It was quite the entertainment watching from the windows above.
    I want to wish you every success with your new release, Keith. You always have some amazing tales for us. All the best to you...

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      You won the free copy. Could you let me have by email an email address to send it and I will either send a pdf or a mobi, whichever you prefer.

      My email is dr_keith.souter@btopenworld.com

      Best wishes,

      Keith

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  8. An apple a day always makes good sense, Sarah.

    Pest houses, of course, were used for centuries across Europe. Short for Pestilence, virtually any type of fever would be treated in them, but without differentiation, so cross infection would be likely.

    This short story is set in 1866, so it is pre-Germ Theory.

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  9. The description of the house makes me want to scratch. We hope it does well Keith.

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  10. Thanks Gordo. I belong to the school of irritant or irritating writers!

    But you are right, Pest Houses must have been dreadful places, which must have made you want to scratch. Yet they did offer some sort of comfort when people were seriously ill.

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    1. I've spent nights in pest-infested abodes in Asia and Central America courtesy of the US Army. It can really bug you.

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    2. Ha ha. I can imagine it does.

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  11. What an interesting concept for a story. I must say, it sounds intriguing and dare I sinister. Thanks for another offering. Doris

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  12. Thanks, Doris. I worked in a fever hospital in India back in the 70s, when I was a medical student. I always thought a story would come out id the experience.

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  13. Keith,

    I'm looking forward to reading this story. I'm fascinated by the advancements in medicine throughout history. With all the sophistication in medicine that we have now, it's amazing to me that people managed to survive illness and injuries 'back then'. Humans are a hardy species, that's for sure.

    Congratulations on your new release.

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  14. Thanks for stopping by, Kaye. It is so true that doctors treat, but nature cures.

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  15. And the winner of a free copy is .....Sarah!

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  16. Keith, THANK YOU! What a lovely surprise. If there's anything I love to read about it's doctors acting badly. LOL I look forward to reading The Pest House. It's a beautiful day here in North Carolina and winning this book has certainly made it even more lovely. I'll send my email address in an email, but here it is just in case I mess that up. starcriter@yahoo.com Thank you again, Keith.

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    1. Oh. I almost forgot. I have a Kindle so emobi works for me.

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