The Lucky Cat Series will consist of 4 novels, and so far as of December, 2019, I have three volumes available. Volume 1 blends Japanese kaiju and magical girl tropes with dystopian noir elements, and volume 2 and 3 continue to explore the theme of totalitarianism using some classical horror tropes in the series’ dystopian setting.
Kumori and the Lucky Cat, Volume 1
My 2016 novella, Kumori and the Lucky Cat, is out in paperback and e-book. It was named to Kirkus Review’s 100 Best Indie Books of 2019 List. Here is the synopsis of the story:
In a futuristic society where a predatory superstate has devoured the globe and repartitioned it after the fallout of World War Three, Kumori Ando was one of the lucky citizens to get permission to move to the capital city of New Caldeonia and work at a plum if dreary office job, leaving her parents and brother in the countryside. Living alone in her standard-issue apartment on the less luxurious side of town, she has only a small statue of a cat from the old country her family fled, given to her by her elderly Aunt Suna when she was a child, to keep her company. The statue has some inexplicable supernatural power, advising her when she is in tough situations, though she doesn’t know much about her family’s history to understand what it is.
One day Kumori’s life is disrupted when her best friend disappears from work and the cat statue sends her to rescue a man sleeping in a dumpster just outside of her apartment building. His secret sends her life into a tailspin and hurls her headlong into superstate politics and the resistance group known only as the Movement. Part dystopian noir mystery, part magical girl fantasy, Kumori and the Lucky Cat is inspired by old Russian works like Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog and Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat, with a bit of Japanese kaiju meets George Orwell’s 1984 thrown in for good measure.
You can purchase a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1533582130/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Kirkus Review looked over this volume and reviewed it at the link below:
Much dystopian fiction can be heavy-handed, but Gray…employs a spare, delicate style that’s effective, whether describing an interrogation, quiet scenes, or a huge cat’s rage – Kirkus Review (Kumori and the Lucky Cat)
Lucky Cat and the Snow Maiden’s Vengeance, Volume 2
Volume 2 is now available to purchase in print and e-book editions. This is the synopsis:
Three technocratic superstates have arisen after World War III in the year 2090, but a strange supernatural power has also arisen in unexpected places to oppose them. Now, the superstate leaders face a quiet resistance of creepy kitties and killer kitsune even as they subjugate the globe and move whole populations in their grand Reorganization plan for humanity.
In a swirl of events covering the first dozen years after the Reorganization, many citizens encounter the superstate’s power and must fight for their lives. Yuki Hagiwara and the remnant of citizens in the now abandoned islands of Japan must face the truth about the workers’ camps and their future, while Suna Hagiwara and her orphaned niece Chika make a new life among the privileged elite in the capital of Eurasia, the most powerful of the three superstates, where they discover the surprising true face of its leader.
Eventually, an intrepid investigator is sent by the superstate to probe the mysterious origins of the opposition force in a global forbidden zone. When the demonic figure of a woman called the Empress arises in the consciousness of many people across the world, Suna’s Lucky Cat statue awakens for the first time, too, embracing her role as the special guardian of the Hagiwara clan.
You can purchase a copy here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JY8WJC2/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3
The Kirkus Review commentary on this volume is at this link:
Her characters are well developed and the worldbuilding feels solid…. Another absorbing, entertaining entry in this one-of-a-kind SF series. – Kirkus Reviews
Lucky Cat and the Gods of War, Volume 3
Volume 3 continues with the backstory of Chika, and it’s out now in print and e-book with a new edit and cover coming in January, 2020:
Vengeance comes on soft, black wings.
The murder of a Movement double agent draws the superstate’s attention back to the sleepy village of Tyosha where Chika Hagiwara has been banished along with her family. Now in possession of the Lucky Cat statue her mother made her as a farewell gift, Chika must elude the robotic sentinels that guard the village to follow the magical cat to a ghostly castle waiting out in the empty plains beyond the village’s barbed wire.
With Chika’s help, the Empress of Nambata Castle begins her assault upon the superstate’s supreme capital city with Leader Xing as her main target. Harnessing the power of mystical roses destroyed in the French Alps by the superstate decades earlier, the Empress and her royal court of hinamatsuri dolls bring their own unyielding form of justice to the city.
In the wake of the attack, Leader Xing appoints her right hand man General Shulga to head the superstate’s new Special Doll Finding and Animal Control Task Force. Along with his son Trofim, Chika’s old school friend, they set out to destroy the Empress’ allies and find a way to neutralize Nambata Castle.
You can purchase it here at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Cat-Gods-War/dp/1797033824/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Kirkus Review covered this volume, too, and the review can be read below:
In this follow-up to Lucky Cat and the Snow Maiden’s Vengeance (2018), Gray continues to add meticulous layers to her saga of spirit-animated figurines battling for humanity’s freedom….the author’s portrayal of magic is subtle and rewarding….This engaging and complex series installment offers fans more supernatural maneuvering. – Kirkus Review (Lucky Cat and the Gods of War)
Lucky Cat and the Kaiju Horde – Volume 4
Long after the superstate of Eurasia’s guerilla war with the dolls has ended, a high-ranking official’s fascination with Chika Hagiwara’s mysterious rose garden in the village of Tyosha leads him into a trap. Now challenging the dolls to defend themselves, his meddling mistake ends with a terrifying confrontation and brings back the possibility of war.
Meanwhile, Kumori Ando and Yoonshin Kim have settled into their new lives in New Bangkok under special superstate monitoring. Their research of past events in the Sleep Clinic archive prepares them to take on a new undercover assignment to find the fugitive Movement courier Liu Dang and her hostage Trofim Shulga.
All of the developments conspire to bring the superstate back into conflict with Nambata Castle and precipitate the rise of the kaiju!
The final volume can be purchased at Amazon here – I had some technical difficulties and had to change the cover for the print edition for now:
The book trailer for volume 4 is below: