UMF librarian releases new book

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“The Perfect Place to Die” is available at Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers.

FARMINGTON – Local author Bryce Moore is releasing a new book, “The Perfect Place to Die,” a historical horror for young adults.

Bryce Moore is the pen name of Bryce Cundick, director of the UMF Mantor Library, the university library on campus. He balances this full time job with writing, which seems difficult, but Moore has practice — he’s been writing since second grade and has published two books previously, The Memory Thief and Vodník. Moore fits writing in during lunch breaks, early mornings and late nights.

“The Perfect Place to Die” is a young adult historical mystery novel set in Chicago in the 1890s. Taking inspiration from America’s first serial killer, Moore details the chaos in a style that is simultaneously suspenseful and easy to read.

This was the time of the World’s Fair, and people from all over were flocking to the Windy City. With millions of people filling the city, it was only too easy for a young girl to go missing here and there.

This is what happened to Zuretta’s sister, Ruby, who tried to escape their small town and find a life in the big city. After a few months, her letters stop abruptly and Zuretta decides she must find her sister. Based on the only lead she has, the name of a hotel Ruby worked at, Zuretta searches Chicago for Ruby, finding more questions than she started with.

Moore took inspiration from “The Devil in the White City” by historian Erik Larson. The nonfiction book presents the page-turning story of the architect of the 1893 World Fair, interwoven with the account of serial killer H.H. Holmes. Although the stories are true, Larson wrote it to be read as a fictional novel. Larson’s Edgar award-winning book spent over three years on the New York Times bestseller list.

“I thought it would make for a great setting for a YA novel,” Moore said about Chicago during those years.

The main character’s unique first name, Zuretta, actually comes from Moore’s great-great grandmother.

“I’m terrible at naming characters, so I thought I’d just look through my family history for a name that would work. Zuretta sounded perfect.”

When he had the first idea for the book, Moore only knew the setting and that he wanted the heroine to be “Inexperienced and naive, with no help from anyone else.”

From there, the rest of the plot fell into place and “The Perfect Place to Die” was created. “I wanted the heroine to be someone who was not suited to the task at all,” Moore said about the book. “Everything else followed from there.”

Although most of his books fit into the horror genre, Moore himself has always been a big fan of fantasy — in his words, “the longer the better.” Some of his favorite books are “Lord of the Rings” and “The Belgariad”. Now that he’s older, Moore appreciates a wider range of literature. He is currently reading William Craig’s “Enemy at the Gates,” a non-fiction book detailing the battle of Stalingrad.

“The Perfect Place to Die” is available at Devaney, Doak & Garrett. Ask for a signed copy and Moore will come over to sign it for you.

On top of his librarian job and his book writing, Moore also writes a blog, brycemoore.com, which he usually updates daily.

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