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ACTC professor releases first novel

ASHLAND, Ky. – Ashland Community and Technical College would like to congratulate Coy Hall, Associate Professor of History, on the release of his first novel, Grimoire of the Four Imposters.

According to Hall, Grimoire of the Four Impostors is a collection of six horror tales that take place in the 17th century. The presence of a real grimoire, or spell book, links all the stories, so there is an overarching story to be told through them. The book starts with an English lord searching the Hungarian countryside for the real grimoire. Once he finds it, it leads the reader into the four-impostor tales that make up the core of the book: “The Orb of Wasp and Fly, Being a Psalm of the Malformed Mind,” “The Nightshade Garden,” “The Brine and Bone Alchemy,” and “Sire of the Hatchet.”

Hall says the book then moves into the catacombs beneath Nottingham with its closing tale, where the reader finds out the results of deciphering a code hidden in the real grimoire. There are a variety of characters involved, including occult scholars, French adventurers, and German executioners. The book takes the reader all around the world, from a Hungarian village to an English manor to an island in the Caribbean.

“In each tale, horror builds to a crescendo, so I want to warn that some readers may find the book frightening and disturbing,” said Hall.

Hall, who has written fiction since he was a teenager, has often placed his stories in the past.

“This was the first time I placed my stories in the 1600s, which, as a historian, is a favorite era of mine to study and teach. I thought that era would be a good niche for me,” he said. “A lot of people write stories set in Victorian times, but stories set in the 17th century are rare.”

Hall has published around 40 short stories in magazines and anthologies, but this is his first book to see publication. His second and third books, a crime novel and a western, will release in 2022. He also has two additional novels, crime and horror, releasing in 2023.

“This book can stand alone, but I have a sequel planned that would feature six linked stories set in Europe following World War I,” Hall said. “I have a great interest in 1920s Germany, revolutionary Hungary, and especially the film industry in those nations. A tentative title is Visions of Cheops, which would tie in the book with the German occultist Albin Grau. The ‘real grimoire’ here would be films rather than texts.”

He added, “Although the stories are fictional, the places, events, and ideas found in Grimoire of the Four Impostors are real, and I hope that adds another layer to the book.”

Grimoire of the Four Impostors can be purchased anywhere online, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nosetouch Press released the book in hardcover, paperback, and ebook on September 7.

Hall says he will be doing appearances and book signings in the coming months and will be selling copies on those occasions. Events include West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston on October 23 and the Haunted Majestic in Huntington on October 30.

“I’ll also be doing something with the book to coincide with my second annual Halloween Horrors: Journeys into the Macabre series with the ACTC Library, as well,” he said.

Visit www.coyhall.com for more information about Hall’s books and stories.

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