Hello beautiful people. This is the second draft of my novel and I'm a bit stumped, as I want to cut *at least* 10k words from it and tighten up the beginning. Ideally I'd give you the final, polished draft, but I've been working way too hard (and going through some shitty stuff) and I feel burned out, and in need of fresh eyes. For instance, I'm aware that the first chapter needs a lot of work, maybe even a rewrite.

The story is readable and hopefully enjoyable from beginning to end. I'm thinking of adding a few slice of life stories to liven up the setting and some of the secondary characters, and I still need to add a couple of short epilogues. But I'd rather do this after the third draft.

I imagine there's going to be loads of typos and mistakes, but only point them out if you want to. I don't need extensive proofreading yet.

Of course, I'm willing to read your stuff in return.

Here's a short synopsis, focused on two of the seven main POVs.

There are many ways to die in Yvra. Trampled by an air train, fall fifty feet off the average house, shanked by some light-starved underlander. Detective Jan Vinsor has seen most of these, but despite his drug-marred apathy this last case is something else. A rich woman, a baker and a bunch of underland refugees cut into veritable strips. Witnesses talks of an unknown thing later the press later names ‘The Gaunt Man’.

Jan suspects this Gaunt Man to be a construct, a copy of the monsters living below the city. Only two suspects have access to this technology, and a reason for the murders. Arceril, the false prophet of a religion based on making people sleep, whose bodyguard is an 8-feet corpse with a baby head stuck on top. And Mister Gallivant, a face-shaping surgery addicted crime lord who deals in smuggled monsters and, more importantly, a drug that makes you see the dead. The same drug whose withdrawal Jan is still recovering from.

Mister Gallivant makes the mistake of selling the drug to a particularly famous brothel protected by a particularly violent bouncer. Jan and the understaffed city coppers take the bouncer’s retribution as an opportunity to try and find out where Mister Gallivant gets his monsters from.

Not terribly interested in the Gaunt Man’s affairs, recently-graduated oneirotherapist Édena Strein is hired by the prophet Arceril to treat his priests, to alter the emotional coating of their traumatic memories. Only the priests seem more interested in tormenting Édena than in finding peace. She soon discovers that they are all the unstable mental asylum patients who were experimented on by the city’s academic elite, the same elite who might be involved in the creation of the Gaunt Man, and who might be supplying Mister Gallivant with his pet-things.

Joining Édena and Jan are the POVs of the mother of a serial killer; a violence-addicted bouncer; a coroner who sells corpse parts to Mister Gallivant; a resolute child orphan forced to peddle drugs; and a not-so-resolute crook who voluntarily peddles drugs.

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