Tag Archive | thriller

Beyond Reason by Kat Martin

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Title: Beyond Reason
Author: Kat Martin
Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Beyond Reason wburst_372x600New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin raises chills as danger stalks a woman determined to make it in a man’s world…

Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.

Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.

But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.

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Excerpt:

      The clerk walked up to the counter, gray-haired and slightly bent. Daisy Johnson had worked at the sheriff’s office since Linc was a kid.
      “Well, if it ain’t Lincoln Cain,” she said. “I saw in the paper a few years back you’d bought the old Blackland Ranch, but last I heard, you were stayin’ out of trouble.”
      Linc grinned. The old woman was a pistol. “I do my best, Miss Daisy.” He turned. “This is Carly Drake, Joe Drake’s granddaughter.”
      “Hello, Daisy,” Carly said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
      “You, too. Your granddaddy was a real good man.”
      “Thank you. Yes, he was.”
      “We need to talk to the sheriff about the Hernandez murder,” Linc said.
      Daisy’s face wrinkled into a frown. “Bad business, that. I’ll tell Sheriff Howler you’re here.”
      The shuffle of boots drew their attention. “No need, Daisy–I got eyes.” Howler ambled out of his office, tipped up his chin as a signal to Linc. “You want to talk, you and the little lady come on back.”
      Linc caught the stiffness that crept into Carly’s shoulders. Looked like Joe’s granddaughter was going to get along with the sheriff about as well as Linc and her grandpa had. If they weren’t there to find a killer, he might have smiled.
      They followed Howler into his office and he sat down in the chair behind his desk. “What can I do for you?”
      Carly spoke up. “I want to know what you’re doing to find the men who murdered Miguel Hernandez.”
      Howler leaned forward across his desk. “Don’t get yourself in a fret. We’re gonna find ‘em. Just takes time. This ain’t San Francisco, little lady.” He flashed Cain a sneer. “It ain’t Dallas, neither. Our deputies have been out there asking questions, following up leads. But nobody saw nothin’ and there ain’t no sign of the truck.”
      “What about the crime scene?” Linc asked. “Surely some kind of forensic evidence turned up where the body was found.”
      Howler shook his head. “Just because you spent time behind bars, don’t make you an expert on the law.”
      Linc ignored a shot of irritation. He and Howler had a history and it wasn’t a good one. His gaze went to Carly. No surprise in those big blue eyes. Clearly, she had done her homework before he’d shown up for yesterday’s meeting. She knew he’d been in prison but instead of disapproval, she was glaring at the sheriff.
      “There’s no need for you to be rude, Sheriff Howler. Mr. Cain asked you a question that deserves an answer. I’d like to hear it myself.”
      Howler grunted. “Truth is, we didn’t find much of anything. The morning Hernandez’s body was discovered, it had rained off and on during the night. Any DNA evidence was washed away.”
      Linc thought of the detective he had hired. He wanted answers. He didn’t figure he’d get them from Howler and so far he was right.
      “Who found him?” Carly asked.
      “Man and his wife driving back to Dallas from a visit to their folks in Texarkana. They’d pulled off to the side of the road to let their dog out to take a leak. Dog must have scented the body on the other side of the road. Hernandez had been dead a while by then.”
      Carly glanced away.
      “What’s the coroner give for time of death?” Linc asked.
      “Between eleven and one a.m. You can talk to Doc Bradshaw yourself if you’d like.”
      “Consuelo said she got a phone call from Miguel about eleven,” Carly said. “He was fueling up at a truck stop a few miles south of Dallas. He told her he’d be home a little after midnight.”
      “Seventy miles to Iron Springs from Dallas,” Linc said. “No traffic that time of night. Looks like the coroner got it right.”
      The sheriff picked up a pen on his desk and began to click it open and closed. “I know you want those bastards caught and so do I. But standing here jawing about it ain’t gonna help. I need to get back to work.”

 

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About the Author:

Martin Kat - Credit Juan CarlosKat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of sixty-five books across multiple genres. Sixteen million copies are in print and she has been published in twenty-one foreign countries, including Japan, France, Argentina, Greece, China, and Spain. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA award and won both the Lifetime Achievement and Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews.

A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.

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Strawberries by Casey Bartsch

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Title: Strawberries
Author: Casey Bartsch
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

 

strawberries_v3_3_400x600Strawberries is the name he has been given.

When they let him out, they had no way of knowing what he was. A psychopath. A killer. The body count is at twenty already, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Agent Harry Bland can’t see one anyway. He doesn’t have a single clue to go on. It doesn’t help that his mind won’t focus. His heart just isn’t in it anymore.

Half way across the country, Sylvia is in a different state of mind. When she isn’t selling sex to the rich, she is doing her best to disappear. She lives a life of assumed names, one night stands, and a constant stream of narcotics.

Sylvia has heard of Strawberries. Of course she has. So has everyone who has turned on the television or surfed the net. Yet, she has no way of knowing just how much his life will affect hers.

Seedy hotels, cross country truckers looking for the meaning of life, homemade pie, a reporter with her own secret agenda, obscenely expensive champagne, and plenty of spilled blood await our cast. But make sure to read fast…..Strawberries has killed number 21.

A little Koontz, a splash of Palahniuk, and a pinch of Robbins. Strawberries is sure to make you wince as well as smile.

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About the Author:

Casey BartschCasey Bartsch lives in a tiny Texas town called Belton. He has yet to meet any of his neighbors, or travel farther than the grocery store. He doesn’t eat healthy foods, and is therefore a bit rotund. His girlfriend loves him anyway, and that works out well.

Casey often struggles to find the time to write. That is a lie. The time is plentiful. He just has a hard time choosing to write when other, less mentally taxing activities are available. He feels a great deal of regret each time he makes this wrong choice.

Casey spends an obscene amount of time trying to figure out why people do what they do, why he does what he does, and how long it might take before the world implodes in on itself and leaves him stranded on a small rock floating through the emptiness of space.

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Jackal by Roxanne Greening

bannerJackal, book one of the new hot and thrilling series Blazing Devils MC

A novel that mixes thriller and romance into a nail biting conclusion.

 

JackleI was being hunted and I was helpless to stop it.

Kara

My sisters past was coming for me to take me for her sins. There were monsters around every corner. How much longer did I have? The only place. The only person I can turn to was the man I loved. He loved her though everyone loved Avery. Sacrifices need to be made. Choices I will always regret. This baby. His changed everything.

Jackal

Life fucked me over. I lost it all when she died and now her sister comes strolling back into town looking for help. My second chance with Avery was right in front of me. Kara would be my Avery. But life has a way of fucking with us all and now she needs. Letting go of the past and all the secrets it kept was the only way to save her.

With So many betrayals. So much heartache. Will she survive long enough to be saved? Can he love her for her and not her twin?

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Also by Roxanne Greening:

Sons of the Apocalypse MC series

Genre: MC urban romance

 

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The Sons of the Apocalypse MC always seem to fall for women who have far too much baggage.
But these guys are tough and will take on anything or anyone who tries to stand in their way.

Each book goes through the biker’s life and the woman he falls for, hunts, and then wins as his lady.
But nothing in life is that easy.
Roxanne Greening takes the reader into the world of OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE CLUBS and the romances that drive them.
Suitable for readers of 18+ due to violence and sexual situations.

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AXEL

$0.99 and FREE on KU

JACE

$0.99 and FREE on KU

BRANDON

$2.99

JESSE

$2.99 FREE on KU

 

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Author Bio:

Roxanne Greening is a mother of two young children and lives in the beautiful rural area in West Virginia, USA. It was because of her love for reading romances, that Roxanne decided to write her own. However, it is the MC romances that she enjoys writing the most. “Being able to become a rebel, an outlaw (in fiction) is a powerful thing.” And so Axel, the first book of the SONS OF THE APOCALYPSE, was published in August 2016.
Roxanne also enjoys to quilt, and secretly want to be a ninja.

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Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

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Title: Remnants
Series: Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 6
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Genre: Crime Mystery, Thriller

All that remains are whispers of the past…

Remnants-Paperback-with-Back-2-stacked-350When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

**Can easily be read as a standalone!!**

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Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI series):


TELEVISION WAS FOR THE WEAK-MINDED, and he found the futility of sitcoms to be tedious and mind-numbing. His thoughts would always drift—as they often did anyway—to the freedom of the spirit, to being rid of the flesh that bound him to Earth. There was one program that held his attention, though, when he decided he felt like watching something, and that was the news. Events most people considered to be tragic, to be evidence of a world full of chaos, he rather enjoyed hearing about. The car bombs, the terrorist attacks, the murders—these things only proved how fleeting an earthly existence was and how the way one spent one’s time mattered.


When he wasn’t making sacrifices, he was usually thinking about them—either past offerings or those yet to come. There was a hunger that raged through him that made such sacrifices necessary, and the constant natter in his brain told him he was living his life with purpose and according to divine plan.


He went to the fridge, took out a bunch of grapes, and broke off a cluster. He put them into a bowl and then filled a glass with cold, filtered water. Sitting down in front of the television with the bowl of grapes on his lap and the glass of water on the side table, he was ready for the eleven o’clock news.


“Hey, honey.” His mother padded toward the sofa, wearing a robe over her pajamas and slippers on her feet.


He smiled at her, yet felt nothing for the woman who had given birth to him. And she knew how he viewed her, how he didn’t have the same feelings other sons had for their mothers, but she accepted him for who he was. She didn’t try to fix him when the rest of the world saw him as a freak.


He’d had no friends in school and was teased excessively for being different, but that was a small price to pay for being chosen. It had taken him awhile to fully realize his purpose, but once he had, there was no stopping him. He lived on a higher plane of existence than his human peers, one they couldn’t comprehend. He saw the entire spectrum from life to death and beyond.

 

 Series Information:

What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

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About the Author:

Carolyn-Arnold-Author-Photo-Hi-ResCAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.


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GuestPost by  CAROLYN ARNOLD:

 

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Five Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer

 
He’s five seven, in his thirties, walks with a limp, works in temporary placements, and is single. He targets women because he was abused by his single mother, who slept around with men while he was growing up.

If you’re a fan of serial-killer fiction, whether it be on TV or in books, you are probably left shaking your head sometimes when the FBI sees some crime scene photos and immediately has a profile of the killer. What are they, psychic?

As it turns out, profiling is actually a science, though not an exact one. In fact, many profiles prove to have been wrong once the unsub is caught. So why bother profiling at all? Well, even if some facts are off, profiling establishes a foundation from which investigators can begin their search for—and hopefully catch!—the killer.

So what do investigators consider when building a profile?

1. Investigators focus on the crime itself. What do the crime scene photos show? What are the autopsy findings? Are there any witnesses, and if so, what are they saying? What have police officers noted in their reports?

2. Investigators visit the crime scene. They use their six senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and intuition—and make a record of their reactions. They analyze where the body was found, whether the murder was committed in the same location that the body was found or the body was dumped. They question any and all aspects of the location and what it might tell them about the killer and/or the killer’s victim selection, aka victimology.

3. Investigators look for a signature or method of operation (MO). Don’t confuse these two terms, though, as they are not the same thing. Every crime has a MO, which is how the murder was carried out, but a signature is not present in all cases. A signature only exists when a killer chooses to leave behind a personal mark.

4. Investigators consider what kind of unsub might commit the crime at hand. For example, are they organized or disorganized? Are they a hunter or a sexual sadist? Is gender, age, or religion relevant? Is there is a geographical element to the crimes?

5. Investigators take a closer look at the victims. They factor in similarities and determine whether the victims are low-, medium-, or high-risk people. Can any of the victims be connected to one or more person or place? How were the victims approached? Is there evidence of resistance, or is it possible the victims knew their killer?

Sometimes the answers to all these questions can be harder to piece together than others. In my most recent novel, Remnants, Brandon Fisher and his FBI team struggle to build a profile on the killer they’re hunting, as the identities of the victims are unknown and aspects of the MO vary among the murders. But when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found—something they haven’t seen in any of the previous deaths—the case takes a dark turn that begins to provide them with some new leads. As the story unfolds, the FBI is drawn deeper and deeper into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though, even if they don’t have all the facts yet: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

 

 

 

The Blood of the Infected Series

by Antony J Stanton

The Blood of the Infected Banner

Series: The Blood of the Infected
Author: Antony J. Stanton
Genre: post-apocalyptic/thriller/horror

Once Bitten, Twice Die

Book One

OBTD High Contrast 2017The end of the world was just the beginning.

A cure for dementia has disastrously failed. Patients are left crazed, infectious and enraged. The ensuing carnage quickly spreads the disease, and civilisation is decimated.

On London’s outskirts a military base shelters some survivors. The soldiers within must battle against the infected who now roam unchallenged. Tensions are high, relationships fraught, death commonplace.

But if they thought the end of the world was bad enough, their troubles have only just begun…

An ancient menace has long existed in secret alongside humanity – a vampire clan, which has recently encountered the soldiers. Now is their time to emerge from the shadows. First though they have to overcome their own problems. They too have to fight for survival against the infected, and they violently disagree on their approach towards the humans.

Hostilities are rising. It’s only a matter of time now…

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Once Bitten, Twice Live

Book Two

9780993428531When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough…

With a growing realization that their continued existence bestows upon them a debt to humanity, the survivors look to create a cure for the insanity that has brought civilization to its knees. But that only encourages disagreement and infighting, and comes at a heavy price, bringing various shocks and surprises.

Tensions amongst the vampires are escalating, jeopardizing the very existence of the clan itself. A battle for supremacy seems inevitable and their future is in the balance. How far will Farzin go to achieve his aims – domination of the vampires and humans alike? And how terrible will his vengeance be against any who stand in his path? Their interaction with the humans threatens to increase and not necessarily for the benefit of either group.

Meanwhile the wrathful infected grow ever hungrier…

When every day is a struggle to stay alive, survival of the fittest is never guaranteed.

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Twice Bitten, Twice Die

Book Three

TBTD front-hiWhen there’s no one left to hear you scream…

Deaths amongst the survivors are occurring at an unsustainable rate. Numbers are rapidly dwindling. Morale is plummeting. Soon they will be beyond salvation, yet their real task has only just begun. But will anyone remain alive to complete it? Nothing could have prepared the soldiers for what lies ahead. If they thought life was brutal already, they had absolutely no idea…

The vampires are in disarray. Their relationships are becoming blurred, confused and violent. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires seems imminent but no one’s survival is assured.

In a world where life is unpredictable, the threat from the infected suddenly becomes even more unexpected and menacing. Hostilities are inevitable. Only one thing is certain: there will be blood!

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Author Bio:

AntonyStanton was born in London in 1970. Even as a child he always dreamed of becoming a published author, and he started to write a book. But, having watched the film ‘Top Gun,’ he was swayed into a becoming a military pilot. After no more than a glancing blow of a career in the British Royal Air Force he decided that his long term future lay elsewhere and he became a commercial pilot and remains thus to this day. Hence much of this trilogy was written all around the world, generally at unsociable times when jet-lag meant that normal people were asleep.

During a holiday with three friends, a bet was made amongst them. Each had a task to fulfil within the year – Stanton’s was to write a book. A little late, but five years on and his challenge has been completed. Three times.

His period spent in the RAF helped him write the military survival aspects of this book, and a kidnapping incident in Kazakhstan (*see guest post) and shooting in Ghana, amongst other ‘adventures’, provided him with a dark well of experience to draw from. Life is, after all, one big adventure. A combination of the aforementioned, along with his love of the darker sides of literature, and the results are this novel and the next two in the trilogy.

And all it took was the impetus of a friendly challenge to spur him on to his creative dream… He still lives in South London and is very much looking forward to watching his friend fulfilling his part of the challenge: demonstrating his (not-so) newly acquired break-dancing skills, surely a sight to behold

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Guest Post:

There is an incident that happened to me a few years ago, that I thought might be of interest. I love travel and have been fortunate to visit over 100 countries. You get to meet all kinds of fascinating people and as often as not it is the people who either make or break a trip.

I found the people of Kazakhstan to be incredibly warm and friendly on the whole – that is, when they are not trying to kidnap you. They are hospitable and open their arms and their houses readily to foreigners and strangers in a way that puts us in the West to shame. This part of the world really is the kind of place where intrigue and exploits abound. Anyone with the slightest inkling for adventure can find it without searching too hard. However, there is also this darker side that exists in their society; the ever-present undercurrent of corruption and bribery and, in my case, kidnapping.


It wasn’t my writing that took me to Kazakhstan back in 1999. It was my primary job as a commercial airline pilot for British Airways. We had a training contract to teach the Kazakhstanis to fly the Boeing 757, a most interesting experience in itself. When my work finished, I went travelling for a while, and that was when I had my little ‘adventure’. A lot happened. Even before I was abducted I had already had a fascinating time most worthy of narrating. I will write of that in another article as you really should know how all this began. But for now, I must tell you of the kidnapping itself, so I will jump right into the midst of the whirlwind.


I awoke at the border. The vodka was still heavy on my breath but I was sober enough to realise that I was the last person on the bus, and that it was now night-time. Alas, I was not sharp enough to understand the significance of this. I really had drunk a lot. Not my fault. The bus driver was shooing me off his bus, so I collected my day-sack and climbed down.


As the bus pulled away I realised that the border, which was rather inconveniently situated in the middle of nowhere, was well and truly closed. However, there was a car waiting. In Kazakhstan there were not many proper, bonafide taxis. If one wanted to go somewhere one hailed private cars as they went by. Someone would swerve to a halt with the screech of dodgy brakes and one could barter with the man. Well, here was a car that was ready and waiting for me. Perfect. And this one had, not one man, but two.


Soon I found myself on my way. I had told the driver and his friend that I wanted to cross the border from Kazakhstan, and go to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. ‘Dah, dah,’ they had assured me. I settled back into the seat but immediately something seemed wrong. Nothing definite, just an uneasy feeling. After a short while I leaned forwards.


“Tashkent?” I asked, making sure they knew where I wanted to go.


“Dah, dah,” they again said.


I left it for a minute or so, but it was clear that Tashkent was across the border and we were heading away from the border. Away from Tashkent. Away from any signs of other people and into the bleak and barren countryside.


It is amazing how sobering fear can be. Instantly I was alert. The lurch in my stomach was not due to the alcohol but to the sudden realisation of how my stupidity had actually put me in a VERY dangerous position. I repeated my request to be taken to Tashkent. Again, they tried to convince me that all was okay. But all was most definitely not okay. And if I did not do something soon, then quite possibly all would not ever be okay for me again. I leaned forward and demanded that they stop. They did not speak English but they understood well enough. And they ignored me. I was shocked at how fast the day had gone from one amazing and joyous experience to a complete nightmare.


“Tashkent, Tashkent, okay,” they said, but this was not okay and I was not okay. They were driving me further from the border, further from any semblance of civilisation and further from safety. I looked all around, and realised that I had only one option…


On these unkempt, remote gravel roads the car had slowed to take a bend. Now was my chance. Now was my only chance. Without considering the danger, I opened the door and dived out. I do not remember how quickly we were travelling, but it can’t have been very fast as I did not seem to injure myself – or maybe that was the vodka’s protective embrace. The car screeched and complained to a halt some twenty yards away. Still close, but far enough for me to be able to affect my escape. The men were shouting at me, ‘Tashkent, Tashkent, no problem.’ Only I knew that there most definitely was a problem. And now here I was, in the middle of no-man’s land, nobody else in sight in the enfolding darkness, and my options very limited.


They were clearly as surprised by my actions as I was. I guess nobody had escaped from them in such a drastic manner before. I now had to decide. I could run back to the border, and by the time they turned the car I could probably be long gone and it would be easy to hide. If they chased me on foot I was confident I could outpace them. But either way I would be without my rucksack that I had foolishly put in the car boot. Not ideal.


Alternatively, I could dash back to the car and try to open the boot and grab my rucksack before they grabbed hold of me, but that would almost certainly end in a fight. Not good.


Or I could get back in and, fingers crossed, all would be ok. I tend to have a very positive attitude to life in general. Things just seem to work out, at least that’s how it seems in my naivety. So, I dusted myself off and chose option three.


‘Tashkent? Well why didn’t you say my good man?’ Having just dived out of a moving car I have no idea what they must have been thinking as I climbed back in. Lunatic!


For the rest of the journey I was completely awake and aware of my surroundings, keenly watching where we were going, looking out for signs of civilisation or habitation (none), noting the route, and mentally preparing myself for action. They no longer tried to convince me we were heading for Tashkent. The charade was over. Finally, we arrived at a lone farmhouse where there were two more kind-hearted men, ready to assist me with my luggage, just like a first rate, international hotel. ‘Why thank you sir, so kind. Please take my bag. Oh, and my wallet too? Be my guest…’


They escorted me into the abandoned building. I noted there were no other houses around. Inside there was no furniture or decoration to speak of. Clearly it was long-since abandoned. Just a table in a rear room, a bare light-bulb swinging, and a single chair into which I was ‘ushered’. Images of the film ‘Midnight Express’ flooded my mind. I realised if I lived to see sunrise I would be extremely lucky. They took my rucksack and ripped it open it, tipping its contents onto the cold floor like spilled intestines. I started to complain but the largest of them raised a threatening fist. I saw no weapons but who’s to know whether they had knives or not. And besides, there were four of them, after all.


They spoke no English, but I understood there was some kind of hierarchy, as though they were in the military or the police. I also understood that the best thing was to comply. Comply with their every request. Comply, right up until that moment when I thought I was about to die. And then I would fight for my life. When it was clear that I was in mortal danger then I would have nothing more to lose.


They all stood over me as I sat. I reasoned, if I acted suddenly I could probably strike one or two before they would have a chance to react. I started to plan what I would do, who I would attack first, where I would hit them as I sprang into action. If I was lucky and decisive, maybe that would swing things in my favour. Maybe I would avoid death. Maybe I could facilitate an escape. But this really was a very, VERY last resort. Until then, comply.


They went through my rucksack fairly thoroughly and found my money, which they took. Obviously. They ignored my camera, passport and sunglasses which surprised me. It was only money they wanted. However, they did not search me, so they did not find the money belt I wore. I started to think they were nervous and unprofessional. I was not sure if that made them less dangerous or more.


Time passed, and they started to argue amongst themselves. I will never know what they were discussing, but the scowls, gesticulations and glances in my direction made me think they were arguing about me. And specifically, what to do with me. Do they kill me and dump my body? Or do they let me go and risk being identified? I knew that the border here was real bandit country. I knew that my chances were not exactly great. I was preparing myself for action. If it was going to happen, then surely it would be soon. I had to be ready. Complete surprise, just like my exiting their car like James Bond (or perhaps more Jonny English), was my only chance, and a slight one at that.


I had heard of the Stockholm Syndrome – where feelings of trust or affection develop in a victim towards their captor. I wondered if I could use this to my advantage, by developing some sort of positive relationship with them. To make them see me as a person, and ultimately to set me free. I hung my head and tried to look downcast, to prompt feelings of sympathy. I sighed deeply and wrung my hands in despair, and it seemed to work, with one or two of them at least. They were all smoking, so I asked for a cigarette. One of the more apparently empathic men gave me one. It felt like a condemned man’s last cigarette in a black and white film. I looked around my grim surroundings taking it all in. The bare floorboards, the peeling wallpaper, the damp stains on the ceiling, all the while drawing on my last cigarette. This shared cigarette gave us all something in common, some form of bond; I hoped. It was the oddest experience for me. I felt detached from myself, as though I was watching a movie from above. I was curious to see how it would end. Would the luckless traveller escape? Would he be set free? Or would this be his gruesome end?


The arguing amongst them continued, for a while. Fists were shaken and voices raised. The one who seemed to be in charge was still angry, but the two empathic ones definitely seemed to be fighting my corner. Or so I hoped. Finally, they handed me my rucksack, and $20, (which they then changed to $10). To me this meant life. They were not going to kill me. I felt indescribably elated. I had a rush of warmth – maybe some of that Stockholm Syndrome flooding in. I figured the money must be to pay a taxi to take me away from them. At this, the feeling of the night changed for me. If I was not going to die then this had gone from being the worst (and last) night of my life, to possibly the most fascinating adventure. I had $10 and a pack of cards in my backpack. Suddenly there were possibilities.


What if I could entice them to play poker and I was able to gamble all of my money back…? How cool would that be! What an ending to my initially unfortunate incident. I had visions of myself and my captors-turned poker friends, sitting in the smoke filled room, perhaps sharing a tot of whiskey while I hustled them and shared jokes through the international language of alcohol. But they weren’t for playing, alas. Undeterred, I thought that I really should have a photo of the event. Nobody’s gonna believe this has happened otherwise, I thought. They said no. Unsurprisingly. But wait – I wasn’t deterred. Like those books one sees written by ex-SAS soldiers with photos of troops with blacked out eyes to preserve their identities, I tried to mime to them that they could cover their eyes. Imagine, a photo of me posing with my captors, beaming at the camera with pockets stuffed full of my poker earnings, arms on their shoulders as they cover their faces. This time the leader thumped his fist on the table when he almost shouted at me. Ok, time to stop treating it like a game. Time to get away. And live.


A car finally arrived. I was ushered outside, and my captors bade me an ‘emotional’ farewell. This car had only one driver – I checked carefully this time. He whisked me away from the house, into the night. I looked back but they were quickly lost in the darkness. After all, there aren’t exactly any streetlights in that part of the world. He drove me back to the border, to the Uzbekistani side. I was alive. I was free. I was euphoric.


The driver, a grizzled and rough man who stank of cigarettes, probably in his fifties, then turned around to face me. He held out his hand, demanding money. Adrenaline had been coursing through my body for several hours now and I was still fairly pumped for action. This was just too much for me. It really was taking the mickey. They had had quite enough from me, thanks. Now I was sober and it was one against one, mano a mano. I swore at him in no uncertain terms. Despite our lack of a common tongue, he most definitely got my meaning. It would have been hard to misinterpret me. I got out and think I may even have slammed the door. This time however, I remembered my rucksack. I had been kidnapped for a few hours. It was now early morning. I was tired, cold and thirsty, and stuck at the border. What now? I may have been free, but unbeknownst to me my ordeal was far from over…


For some reason there were three other cars at the border. They seemed to have nothing to do with the kidnappers although I still have no clue what they were doing there at that time. I approached them and asked for a cigarette (they were smoking – obviously). One spoke a little English so I explained my situation to him and asked for help. Kindly he agreed to take me to Tashkent. When they’re not abducting you and threatening your life, they really are very decent people. I checked into the Sheraton, absolutely amazed that I was not dead and feeling extremely happy with life. I went straight to the bar – still open – and had the best beer of my life, whilst telling the barmaid, ‘I’ve just been kidnapped, don’t you know!’


The fact that I was now in Uzbekistan without actually crossing the border and without having my passport checked, did not register as important. Not yet, anyway!

 

 

The Knowing by David Graham

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Genre: Dark Fantasy, Thriller, Horror
Date Published: March 2017
 
The KnowingUnited by destiny, they must stand together to face an ancient evil…..

Ceri Edwards and two school friends lift the lid on an ancient book of recipes belonging to Betty Williams, a volunteer at the local hospital in Pontypridd, South Wales. Two Kansas City cops step off a flight at London Heathrow and one of them falls to the ground with a painful conviction that there’s something evil in the air.

United in their destinies, Ceri and the police officers are drawn into a world where prophecies are pitted against invisible forces planning to raze London to the ground and bring down the Royal Family.

It all rests with Dai Williams, recently knighted MI5 agent and reluctant hero, to bring some order to the improbable events and to ensure that afternoon tea at The Ritz continues for another hundred years.

A great cross between Kim Newman and Ben Aaranovitch and a thrill for any fan of contemporary urban horror.

Amazon

Available on NetGalley until May 15th

 

Excerpt:

A decent, pot-bellied, cast iron cauldron usually sold for a hundred pounds. One that was antique and appropriately fire-tarnished doubled the sum. Use by an accredited witch—specifically a member of the Dynion Mwyn tradition—could nudge that figure into the stratosphere. That was because a well-used cauldron was believed to absorb spells into the metalwork, supposedly making incantations more effective. Debunking that idea was as fruitless as rubbishing homeopathy—particularly now that Welsh folklore remedies had royal approval and were being marketed under the Cymry Originals brand, with a crest of giant leeks crossed like swords under a flying harp.


None of that was of the slightest interest to the three girls peering into the bubbling contents of the vessel. Ceri, Dilys and Bronwen liked to imagine their Celtic magick delivered with Grimm determination and lashings of David Giuntoli whom they had already accorded the title of ‘Honorary Welshman’. He would know a good potion if he saw one and would have no time for fictional fripperies like wands. They were for stupid kids who knocked themselves out walking into the wall between platforms at railway stations. Owls were cool, though, although they were far too self-important to be used as posties.


All three would-be witches were outfitted courtesy of Georgio @ Asda. ‘Gold Witch’ was an absolute steal at three pounds—if zero carat bling rocks your cwch. They had also considered the ‘Mental Patient’ blood-spattered straitjacket costume, but Bronwen’s mum was a social worker and thought the mentally ill deserved more respect than a few pence-worth of garish polyester. A gorily-streaked, plastic meat cleaver was an optional extra and she thought it was very realistic.


It was all for show, of course. They had no need of such embellishments, but it kept their mothers happy—and, hopefully, ignorant of what they were up to. The fact that Halloween—or, more accurately, All Hallows’ Eve—was just around the corner, provided the perfect smokescreen for their activities. There was always the chance Ceri’s mum might enter the room while they were in the middle of adding an eye or two of newt, so they had the music system turned up loud and playing Super Furry Animals. Actually, newt eyes were so yesterday. They’d read that modern witchery had honed the ingredients down to essences of magic which could be bought over the internet if you knew where to look. Currently, they had no internet thanks to the stupid British government, so they’d had to improvise— after tossing salt over their left shoulders, crossing their fingers and reciting a hundred Hail Marys.

The Knowing with Author Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Other Books by David Graham:

The Screaming

Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, Crime
Published: July 2015

The ScreamingWhat causes an adolescent – straight A student Brandon P Marshall – to walk downstairs naked, armed with a pair of Glocks, and go all Charles Manson on his family? This is only one in the horrifying trail of incidents that brings together Detective Sergeant Dale Franklin of the Kansas City Police Department and his poster-boy rookie, Steve Abrams. Meanwhile, across the pond, Dai Williams, in Battersea London, safe inside his improvised Faraday cage, is coming to terms with his special talents – talents that will take ‘getting-into-the-mind-of-the-killer’ to a whole new level. Al-Qaeda? Drugs Cartels? Internet freaks? David Graham’s The Screaming leaves no possibility untouched as Dai enters a bizarre and horrifying world where kids scream.

Amazon

 
  

The Author:

The Knowing Author David Graham.jpgDavid Graham lives in an ostensibly carbon zero house in rural Kent with his partner and cat amidst fields of maize and poly-tunnels of strawberries. Previously, he lived and worked in London as a consultant in the National Health Service.

His previous non-fiction titles include: Medical Computing and Applications, Creative Sound and Computer-Assisted Medical Learning: Clinical Anatomy. David turned his attention to writing fiction in 2012. Since then, he has written one self-published novel (Looks Could Kill) and two traditionally published novels (Captive and Wet & Wild) under the name David Ellis.

Looks Could Kill was in the Amazon Kindle Top 10 of spy thrillers and was downloaded more than 3,000 times. Captive was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. He has also written two romance novellas under the name Richard Longfellow. His horror thriller The Screaming was published by Frostbite Publishing in the US in 2014, and by Austin Macauley in the UK in 2015. His new book The Knowing is the sequel to The Screaming and was published by Urbane Publications.

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The Saint Jude Rules by Dominic Adler

Publication1

Title: The Saint Jude Rules
Series: Cal Winter Book 3
Author: Dominic Adler
Publication date: May 4, 2017
Publisher: Thistle Publishing
ISBN: 9781786080264

wp50ed0c55_05_06Cal Winter: Junkie. Murderer. Winner of the Military Cross for Gallantry.

Penniless and desperate, Cal Winter is coerced into working for a band of freelance
paramilitaries known as The Firm. After a decade of deniable killing, he plots revenge. Armed with a secret file of The Firm’s dirtiest secrets, Winter returns to London. There he discovers the organisation has evolved into something even worse…

Winter assembles a careworn team of The Firm’s cast-offs and misfits. Their enemy: a
ruthless warrior elite, information warfare specialists battle-honed in the West’s ‘Forever Wars’.

From Iceland to the City of London, to the lonely marshes of England’s southern coast, Winter must stop The Firm. Not just to save the country he once scorned, but to fulfil his vow to be a better man.

Amazon


The Author:

Dominic Adler was born, bred and worked in the parts of London you don’t read about in tour guides.

After university, he spent over twenty years working for a UK law enforcement agency.

Dominic is particularly interested in technology, military history, and the politics of the 21st century mercenary.

He is the author of two bestselling Cal Winter novels – The Ninth Circle and The Devil’s Work.

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