The Cathedral of St. Gudule and St. Michael, Brussels.  Photograph by Kathryn Kirby.

The Cathedral of St. Gudule and St. Michael, Brussels. Photograph by Kathryn Kirby.

Vienna is a modern mystery with roots stretching back to the dying days of the Hapsburg Dynasty.  It is also a romance of opposites.  Justine Am is an A-List fashion model, apparently breezing through life on a cushion of fame and money.  Vienna is a social pariah, struggling in a dream world of eidetic memory and pervasive developmental disorder.  There is no reason for their lives to ever overlap. Until the day Justine notices a wooden manikin has somehow shifted its pose.   Now Justine and Vienna can’t seem to get rid of each other.  Each woman holds part of the key to the mysterious manikin, but to discover the truth, they must learn to understand each other.  It’s not going to be easy.  Vienna will have to believe in herself.  Justine will have to believe in someone else.  As the two hopscotch across Europe in accordance to Justine’s hectic schedule, time begins to run short.  A succession of murders trace their every move.  Things would be hard enough without Justine falling in love with a woman who may not even understand what love is…


 Justine could see Lower Town in the pastel distance.  She heard cascading bells calling the faithful to Sunday morning mass.  Was Nowhere Girl there now?  Hypnotized by the threaded smoke of votive candles and praying that God might notice her at last?

Check out the Sneak Peek at the Tor/Forge Blog.

Praise for Vienna

When famous American fashion model Justine Am meets Vienna, an autistic savant, the last thing she is looking for is romance. She’s in the middle of a demanding shoot with a collection of priceless wooden mannequins, and she has a boyfriend. But when that boyfriend turns up murdered, circumstances draw the two women together, and they find the attraction between them undeniable. With the body-count rising and danger lurking around every corner, they draw on each other’s unique talents to find a connection between Vienna’s mysterious past and the deaths surrounding the mannequins of Justine’s shoot. Everyone’s a suspect, from Vienna’s influential guardian to Justine’s longtime agent, and as the girls build their relationship, they must also solve the mystery before the killer catches up with them. Kirby has given a modern facelift to the beloved Holmes and Watson duo, but Justine and Vienna bear only loose resemblance to that classic detective pair. Instead, romantic mystery lovers will appreciate the new team and its unique qualities in this suspenseful and engaging story.

– Booklist, Cortney Ophoff

Vienna is a thrilling and devious page-burner of a novel with characters you fall for at first sight. The mystery lures us through a sumptuous labyrinth of ancient European capitals and high-fashion photo shoots, made all the more gorgeous as lensed through William S. Kirby’s clear, focused (and often sharply amusing) prose. Yet it’s the two figures in the foreground who constantly arrest our attention: we can’t look away, and crave to be with them when we aren’t. As Justine and Vienna approach the final reveal, we realize that the most sought-after jewel is not one hidden by secrets and history in an old box, but rather that fragile and baffling relic beating inside our own brittle, all too human forms.

—Mark Anthony, author of The Last Rune series and (as Galen Beckett) The Magicians and Mrs. Quent

High fashion’s glaring spotlight and and the long shadows of ancient conspiracies entwine in VIENNA, William S. Kirby’s sleek, stylish, and sexy page-turner that’s reminiscent of “The Da Vinci Code”. Justine Am, the world’s top model and media darling, and the unfathomable and earnest Vienna initially seem an unlikely pairing, their worlds too far apart to possibly be bridged.  Never fear–you are in a master’s deft hands. Vividly realized, Justine and Vienna entrench themselves solidly in the heart. Their romance, both delicate and strong, unfolds believably and intensely, threatened by a mystery that grows more complex and frightening by the moment.  The two women become entangled in threads of ancient conspiracies, and are chased by the shadows of a past that is all too present–and dangerous.  You will find yourself wanting to rush to end the suspense, but linger in the company of these painfully real and wonderful women as long as you can.  Take comfort in knowing that they, and the spirits and echoes of old European cities so gracefully evoked in these pages, linger long after the book is, reluctantly, put down.

-NYT Best Selling Author Christie Golden

“Borrowing loosely from Conan Doyle, with Vienna’s Holmes-ian mind and a plot similar to ‘The Adventure of the Six Napoleons,’ Kirby crafts an entertaining if sometimes-meandering tale.”

– Kirkus Reviews full review.

Vienna is a unique and unforgettable novel. . . . Inspired by a classic Sherlock Holmes story, Vienna reimagines Holmes and Watson for the 21st century.

– goodreads full review.

The pairing of unusual amateur detectives is the best part of Kirby’s first novel, an offbeat mystery.  En route to a solution, the duo must learn why some statues that Justine posed in front of moved overnight, and they must also crack an obscure code.

– Publisher’s Weekly full review

Justine is a super model with a face recognizable around the world. It’s safe to say she could have any man on the planet. So why has she woken up with a young English girl? Vienna is an enigma, an autistic savant. But Justine may need her after her lover is murdered and found in her hotel bathroom. An unusual and quirky story.

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