Catherine Littlefield was raised in a seaside New England town haunted by whispers of arcane lore that remained tantalizingly out of reach to a daughter of well-to-do Baptists. But when her studies at Barnard College in New York lead to an encounter with a secret society, she is offered access to the knowledge she has always sought...if she can pass a test.
Dispatched to California to infiltrate the occult world of a rival magician—a pioneering rocket scientist with ties to the apocalyptic Starry Wisdom Church—Catherine soon discovers that she’s not the only one spying on Jack Parsons. A fledgling government agency devoted to the investigation of weird science in the aftermath of World War II has assigned a pair of hard-nosed agents to gather information on her target, whose experiments with sex magic and eldritch artifacts are approaching a cosmic crescendo.
Drawn into the volatile chemistry of Jack’s inner circle and tempted with knowledge and power, Catherine must determine what’s at stake for a world threatened by dark forces and decide where her true loyalties lie.
The standalone prequel to Wynne’s Lovecraftian Spectra Files trilogy is a tale of hair-raising, supernaturally tinged suspense. College student Catherine Littlefield has always been sensitive to eldritch energies, fueling a lifelong academic love for the occult. Catherine’s knowledge is put to the test when Walter Hildebrand, a curator for the Museum of Natural History in New York, seeks her out and offers her a spot in a secret society of people with her same sensitivities. The society tasks Catherine with infiltrating the inner circle of rocket scientist and occult master Jack Parsons, who they have reason to believe is conducting potentially world-ending experiments in summoning ancient gods. Parsons is taken by Catherine, but his partner, Iraqi refugee Kamen Abdelmalek, is suspicious—as is the pair of government agents conducting their own investigation of Parsons. As the eager but inexperienced Catherine plunges into a world of “sex, drugs, and black magic,” the threat of an apocalypse looms and Wynne’s precise, high-tension story builds to an explosive finale. Fans of occult fantasy will be happy to sink their teeth into this shadowy world. (Self-published.)