“M.C. Tuggle grabs the readers’ hands and pulls us into what becomes a fast-paced, mysterious adventure.”
Kate Seabury, in Manhattan with a twist.
“The Genie Hunt is the latest chapter in the paranormal adventures of Southern lawyer Buddy Vuncannon and his good ol’ boy friend Coot Pickard, as the two find themselves caught up in the middle of a mystery involving robbers, genies, childhood friends, and the dark side of globalization; a modern day Southern Gothic whodunit that moves fast and leaves you wondering what they’ll get into next.”
Samuel Finlay, author of Breakfast With The Dirt Cult
“I was hooked from the start. Great story, full of suspense. This book is one of my must-reads this year.”
Aman Mittal, Confessions of a Readaholic
“It’s 64 pages of fun, entertaining, and awesome suspense!”
the silentfall blog
“Tuggle redefines a popular fairy tale character in his tale of the paranormal, of powerful dark alliances, and of deadly deception, set in a small town in North Carolina. The Genie Hunt will keep you guessing about how a good lawyer can overcome evil to set an innocent man free.”
Ben Sharpton, author of 3rd Option.
“The small town Carolina setting and the friendships forged by the people who grew up there together give the story an authentic feel.”
Cathleen Townsend, author of Dragon Hoard.
Buddy Vuncannon, an attorney in present-day High Point, North Carolina, and his friend Coot Pickard are heading out of town for a fishing weekend when they’re surrounded by a SWAT team. When Coot is booked, Buddy learns three of Coot’s friends identified Coot as the gun man at a pawn shop robbery, the latest in a string of violent crimes that have terrified the small town.
To defend Coot, Buddy must stand up to a bullying district attorney, uncover the identity of the real robbers, and battle a powerful genie from Iraq who serves the robbers. Buddy’s investigation implicates an old friend, reigniting long-forgotten friction between Buddy and Coot. Old and new loyalties clash, leading Buddy and Coot to a desperate backwoods chase that forces them to seek the help of a madman they both fear.
Diab’s eyes opened wide. “I suppose we could start by you telling me what you thought you saw.”
I told him about my meeting with Danny Lockhart, though I was careful to omit his name. As I spoke, Diab’s bearing transformed almost as much as the genie I described. At first relaxed and mildly amused, he turned tense as he listened. When I finished, Diab perched on the edge of his seat, spine rigid, his face dark.
He gazed at me a long moment. “I can tell you anything you want to know about this being. But let me say one thing now: You must have nothing to do with him.”
“Problem is, Mr. Diab, that genie took the form of my friend Coot here and robbed a local business. I want to know everything possible about this creature.”
Diab swiveled his head toward Coot, who jerked back as far as he could in his seat.
“You see, Mr. Diab, I need to prove my friend’s innocence in a court of–”
“Excuse me, but I’m afraid you do not understand.” Diab raised a finger to his chin. “What you must accept is that you are powerless to stop him.” He studied me a second before exhaling and leaning forward on his desk, hands clasped. “Let me tell you why that is so.”
Diab pursed his lips and stared at his desk. The muted babble of an energetic conversation, likely Hakim’s technicians in the next room, intruded upon the silence.
He turned his gaze on me, eyes narrowed. “The being that confronted you is a Jann, a variety of jinn. A genie, as you would say. You already know he has the power of illusion. He can appear in the form of any person. He can also imitate any voice. And… his physical strength is beyond belief.”
At my side, Coot sat in his seat like a convict strapped to an electric chair, eyes wide, unmoving, waiting for whatever was coming next.
I leaned back. “So he’s a physical being? With a body like ours?”
“Not as we understand it. He can take physical form for short periods, but the Jann’s true power is that of taking over the minds of those in his presence. So, when he is within, I’d say, eleven meters of you, not only can he project an illusion, he can read your mind. Therefore, you cannot trick or defeat him.”
I chewed on that one a bit. “He can read your mind?”
Diab nodded. “Like an open Kindle.” A sly grin crept across the old man’s face. “You think yourself clever. You imagine you can surprise him. But it would be like trying to trick yourself. Do you understand now why you can do nothing against him?”
I took a deep breath. “Okay, if the genie’s so powerful, why does he have to serve his… his master?”
“Ah. His spirit is imprisoned in a precious stone, the work of a sorcerer. The stone is a black opal from one of the rich mines near Karbala, a mighty citadel perched on the treacherous border of Iraq’s deadly western desert. The jinn must obey the commands of whoever holds the opal.”
I recalled the dark stone Danny gripped in his fist when he gave orders to the genie, and nodded. Diab frowned and shifted closer. “The jinn is filled with impotent rage at the sorcerer who enslaved him. That is what makes this being so terrifying. He despises those who control him. In fact, he hates all humanity. He is the perfect weapon, because he possesses both intelligence and a fierce will, but no scruples whatsoever, no pity, no compassion.”
A slow chill crept up my spine, and my leg and back muscles tightened. The tone in the old man’s voice, the wild, unnerving picture he painted, and the memory of what I’d witnessed at Danny’s all came together. Coot visibly shuddered as if he felt it, too.