Home » Here’s Your First Look at the Cover Art from Ricky Ruszin’s Novel ‘Showtime’ [Exclusive]

Here’s Your First Look at the Cover Art from Ricky Ruszin’s Novel ‘Showtime’ [Exclusive]


Time travel can be tricky business. This December, Inkshares is set to release Ricky Ruszin’s debut novel, Showtime, which puts a new spin on the classic trope. With a fiery mix of psychological horror and suspense set against the backdrop of a reality talent competition, Showtime is the story of one man’s quest for revenge as he takes drastic measures to erase a televised mass tragedy from history.

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Below, Wicked Horror is pleased to debut the cover art for Showtime, as well as an exclusive excerpt.

About the Book

You can’t outrun your past. But what if you could change it?

College student Jordan Jones’ life hasn’t been the same since his grandmother, the person who had loved and understood him most, died in a nationally-televised massacre on the show Talent Now!

When Jordan discovers his grandparents’ television allows him to travel to the past, opportunity trumps fear: A chance not only to save his grandmother from an untimely death, but to exact revenge against the man who caused it.

But as Jordan investigates the massacre—and the perpetrator—that claimed his grandmother’s life, he discovers an awful truth: Just because the past allows him entry doesn’t mean it will allow him to leave.

Scope the exclusive artwork reveal and an excerpt from the tome below!

Jordan slid over to the TV, inserted the tape into the slot of the ancient VCR, and watched it get swallowed up like some ravenous subterranean creature. The curved glass of the clunky, outdated TV fizzled a moment inside its hulking wooden frame before giving way to a black screen. Then the VCR timer blinked to life, and the video started to play. It was grainy at first, as some older recordings were apt to be, but good enough quality that he could see a glistening white stage complimented by an elegant black backdrop with pinpricks of bright white. The audience lights dimmed as the familiar musical cue began (“Carol’s Theme,” Jordan recalled his grandmother telling him one afternoon). Carol Burnett seemed to glide onto the stage. It was almost like magic, the way she commanded the large room. She smiled and waved, beaming at each person in the audience as if they were old friends.

After the show began with a joke and its signature Q&A portion, the camera returned to Carol as she scanned the audience for raised hands. Her eyes widened and she beamed with a nod as she pointed to a nearby woman with a poof of brown hair and a large-collared blouse.

Jordan froze.

But it wasn’t the question, or even the woman who had asked it, that made Jordan stop. Rather, it was the woman sitting two rows behind her. She was close enough for Jordan to make out her emerald dress and faux pearl earrings, her high cheek bones and neatly combed brown hair. Although the teeth she flashed in the video were not the dentures she would have when Jordan knew her, the smile—the dimples and glowing, interested eyes—was the same. He would know his grandmother’s smile anywhere.

Jordan remained still, jarred by the surprise of seeing someone long-deceased suddenly appear. He hadn’t seen this tape before—hadn’t even known it existed—but his grandmother had attended so many tapings that maybe she had forgotten to tell him about her little brush with fame.

Granny laughed, using her elbow to nudge the white-shirted woman beside her as their chests heaved in shared laughter at Carol’s wittiness.

Jordan felt a strange mixture of joy and sadness, his heart caught between exaltation in seeing her for the first time in nearly ten years and pain in reliving her absence. The wounds had hurt but reopening them burned. Even in the muted studio lighting and fuzzy recording, a youthful energy radiated from her, radiant and carefree as he’d always known her to be, savoring each laugh, each smile, each second.

Nearly ten years, Jordan mused. He couldn’t believe it had been that long since he’d heard her voice. And now, with Pop gone, too, the house’s emptiness seemed to deepen, like gangrene settling into a wound.

Jordan blinked and his grandmother was gone from the frame, replaced once again by Carol as she scanned the audience for another participant.

A tease, he spat. That’s what it was. Giving him just a taste before snatching her away, leaving him with a temporary memory that would no doubt fizzle and fade away like the others he had desperately tried to hold on to for years—how she smelled like roses, or the subtle lilt of her voice.

“Fuck you, Pop,” he said, cursing his grandfather before rewinding the tape to watch it again.

There she was, preserved in the same twenty seconds. It was the only footage of her that Jordan knew existed. He touched a finger to the curved glass of the television and felt a subtle tingle of static as he patted his grandmother on the shoulder. Clink, clink.

The loneliness settled over him like a weighted blanket. Suddenly he was six years old again, listening to his parents arguing downstairs and wondering if his father would hit him, too.

He dropped the box of tapes and gripped the corners of the television’s wooden frame, staring at the screen as if in a trance, transfixed by the soft studio lighting and the warm lull of Carol’s voice. Everything felt so real—the cool, circulated air of the television studio, the bright lights, and the shining stage. He could almost smell a cloud of smog just outside the Los Angeles set’s soundproof walls.

The last question of the show’s opening Q&A was more of a request, as a young man with wavy hair and a denim shirt asked Carol if she would do her famous Tarzan yell. The audience clapped wildly, egging her on. Carol smiled and made a show of clearing her throat before raising a hand to the side of her mouth and honoring the man’s request. She clung to the last raucous note, stretching it out before giving a theatrical bow and announcing the show’s guests.

The camera pulled away and the exit music cued up, but something was off. The music had ended, but there was no cut to commercial. Instead of the picture fading out, the focus remained on the stage. With Carol gone, the studio lights brightened as stagehands wheeled out furniture and props for the first sketch of the show. Jordan felt as if he were trespassing, seeing the behind-the-scenes of it all. The magic, his grandmother would have said.

If the show had been recorded by an audience member, he could understand why it had continued to film without cutting to commercial, but the picture was too crisp and stable for that to be the case. He supposed it could’ve been an error on the studio’s part, mistakenly broadcasting something that shouldn’t have been. He squeezed his eyes shut against the beginnings of a migraine.

He looked down for the remote but couldn’t find it. He knitted his brows in confusion as he ran a hand through his rumpled hair. Had he even used the remote to turn on the TV, or had he done it manually? And the box of tapes, he thought as he scanned the floor. Where was it? He was positive he hadn’t moved it. And yet it was gone.

Jordan’s palms grew slick as uncertainty struck him as suddenly as the slap that had been dealt from his mother. He stood on unsteady legs and turned to look for the box, but what he saw then was nearly enough to bring him back to his knees. His breath hitched in his chest, and he clutched at the ache blooming there. The world seemed to tip, a wave of heat spreading through his body as the realization hit him.

He didn’t know how, but he was no longer in his grandparents’ living room.

Showtime will officially hit bookshelves on December 6, 2022. It is currently available for pre-order at Inkshares, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Books-A-Million, and other major retailers.

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