My warped sense of morality embarrasses me.
Ruta Pawlak is one of the most successful contract killers Pier-Upon-Pier City has ever seen. Convicted of five murders that landed her multiple life sentences, her kill count allegedly sits between fifteen and two hundred people. Some were just for practice, others for revenge, and others she executed for money to keep her potentially world-record setting reading collection going.
For the first time, a biographer sits down with the legendary killer to hear her story in her own words. Get the details on her relationship with her depraved bosses and her eclectic arsenal of murder weapons from ice magic to poison to even the sun itself. From her impoverished upbringing to her introduction to the Syndicates to her bizarre affair with fellow killer Frieda Masters to Ruta’s eventual downfall, this account goes beyond headlines and court proceedings, weaving a story of love, family, survival, and murder.
This novella is perfect for fans of true crime, fantasy, noir, The Last Podcast on the Left, and the interview portions of AMC’s Interview with the Vampire series.
Humans killing other humans wasn’t natural.
Human killing monsters, however, might be.
Bullying, killing your bully, killing your parents, death of a child (off-page), vomiting, immolation, poisoning, gun violence, and a mention of beastiality. There is a cat, the cat does not die.
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Cover artist portfolio: Aleta Perez
“Combining a captivating voice and a carefully-built magic world into an intricately plotted story of violence and attraction, Ice Upon A Pier is both a compelling queer adaptation of history and the best thing to happen to urban fantasy in years.” —Brendan Williams-Childs, featured in Best American Mystery and Suspense of 2022
“Gritty, clever, and full of tragedy and unexpected warmth, Ladz carefully weaves a story that melts your heart as it ices the rest of you over. You do not want to miss this.” —Ezra Arndt, editor of MY SAY IN THE MATTER
“In Ice Upon A Pier, Ladz sets bare the beating, albeit slowly, heart of their lesbian ice magic assassin with both clinical true crime precision and piercing pathos giving us a character doomed from birth but still defiantly set upon a path to change their stars . . . . one frozen corpse at a time.” —Jordan Shiveley, HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA
“A dark and dirty neo-noir that throws a one-two punch of a lived-in fantasy world and a compelling hook that keeps you turning the pages.” —Magen Cubed, author of LEATHER & LACE
“I read this urban fantasy told in the style of true crime in one sitting. Centering a voicy lesbian assassin, this novella pulls no punches on the cyclical relationship between trauma and violence while honoring queer rage and autonomy.” —Naseem Jamnia, author of THE BRUISING OF QILWA
“You had me at “ice-magic-using lesbian contract killers in a secondary world reimagining of the tri-state area”!!!” —Sam J. Miller, author of THE BLADE BETWEEN and BOYS, BEASTS, & MEN
“A gritty journey into the life and times of a sapphic ice mage assassin, Ice Upon A Pier is what noir fantasy should be: dark, layered and endlessly compelling.” —Victor Manibo, author of THE SLEEPLESS
Bio < 50 Words
Ladz was born in Poland, raised in New York City, and currently lives in Texas. When they’re not a marketing manager for a major digital publisher, they’re writing dark fantasy that tends to straddle other genres like true crime and horror. They can be found online at jowritesfantasy.me or on Twitter @ladzwriting.
Bio < 100 Words
Ladz was born in Poland, raised in New York City, and currently lives in Texas. When they’re not a marketing manager for a major digital publisher, they’re writing dark fantasy that tends to straddle other genres like true crime and horror. They have been a panelist at the 2020 Nebulas Conference, 2021 Weeknight Writers Exploring Story Structure Event, 2019 & 2021 Sirens Conference, and Discon III in 2021. They can be found online at jowritesfantasy.me or on Twitter @ladzwriting.