Easytown 2 has a title and a cover! I love this cover that Luke Spooner over at Carrion House drew up. What do you think?
I’m working on Easytown 2, and I haven’t decided on a title yet. This section is from chapter 2 (unedited, of course):
“Hey, baby. You look cold and wet. I could make you hot and wet.”
I glanced at the hooker who beckoned me toward the darkened alley in the rain. She was a new girl, didn’t know I was a cop yet. If she survived her first week on the job, she’d know better than to ask me for sex.
“I’m a cop, sweetheart.”
“Oh, I love cops,” she replied, stepping out of the shadows and closing the distance quickly.
She wore a prosthetic on her right leg below the knee. It looked like some high-end tech, but she could have gotten some help from some type of charitable organization. Her clothing looked cheap: skirt, halter-top and a clear plastic rain poncho with glowing pink LED tubing around the seams. It was the diamond studs in her ears that blew her cover. I pointed to her obviously expensive leg. “What sorority?”
“Huh? I’m just having some fun, you know?” Lie.
We saw it all the time. Sororities and fraternities had their pledges do all sorts of crazy things down in Easytown to show their dedication to the organization. We’d had males pick fights with district toughs and attempt to ride the police drones like a bull, girls stripping in front of uniformed cops and performing sex acts on each other in front of live news feeds. But this was the first time I’d seen one of them force a girl into prostitution.
“Don’t bullshit me, kid. What sorority?”
“I wouldn’t charge you. It’d be a freebie since you’re a cop.”
“Do you see the news vids? People die every day down here. Street prostitutes usually don’t last more than a few days. How important is it to you to join this sorority that you’d risk getting murdered?”
“Shut up. Andi, video from my last prostitute job.”
I pulled out my phone and Andi projected the crime scene photos from two days ago in the space between me and the girl. The pictures flipped rapidly through the mundane things and then slowed down when the close-ups of the body began. Sick fucker had pulled the prostitute’s intestines through her anus while she was still alive.
Where was the Paladin that night?
The girl retched and looked away. “That was three blocks from here, just a little bit further up the Lane,” I said. “Casey Bond; she was pledging a sorority too. That was done to her while she was alive, screaming for her mother at first and then for a merciful end to her pain. We have witnesses.”
I reached out and grabbed the girl’s chin, forcing her to look me in the eyes. “What sorority?”
“Sigma Tau Epsilon.”
I released the girl’s chin. “Andi, stop the playback. Thanks.” As I slipped my phone back inside my coat, I whistled for a cab.
“What are you doing?”
“Saving your life.”
An orange and blue taxi halted at the curb and the door slid open. I grabbed the girl by the elbow and tried to steer her toward the car. She wouldn’t budge.
“I won’t get into STE unless I get a guy to pay for sex with me.”
I looked around the area, but didn’t see anyone watching or any cameras set up. “Where are they?”
She found a spot on the ground that seemed extremely interesting.
“Where are they?” I repeated.
“One of the sisters is a computer science major. She hacked into the camera up there to watch.”
I followed the direction she’d nudged her chin. Son of a bitch. The sorority had hacked into the city’s security camera network. These goddamned hackers were getting out of control.
The pledge kicked glumly at a pebble. For a moment, I considered getting into the cab with her and riding a few blocks to make the watching sorority girls think she’d successfully landed a john, but pushed the thought aside. It wouldn’t teach the girl a lesson and it sure as hell wouldn’t affect the sorority.
I tilted my fedora back and stared directly at the camera. Then I pulled off my glove and stuck up my middle finger, mouthing the words, “Fuck you.”
More department sensitivity training was coming my way.
“Hey, let go of me,” the girl squeaked when I grabbed her upper arm in a vice and began physically dragging her to the cab.
“It’s for your own good, kid.”
“Ow! You’re hurting me.”
I laughed at her naivety. “This is nothing compared to what you’d experience if a real john came along or if one of the district’s killers got to you.”
I shoved her hard into the open doorway and she fell across the seat before sliding down to the floorboard. Somewhere along the way, her leg had detached, so I picked it up and tossed it inside as well.
“You’re an asshole!” she screeched.
“You’re welcome,” I answered and slammed the door.
I’m working on two novels at once (again…), this is a section from my military sci-fi novel about Nazis and their hidden base in Antarctica. True story, in 1946-47, the US Navy and US Army performed Operation Highjump, a mission to dislodge the Nazis from Antarctica.
06 July 1945
Davis Sea, Antarctica
Oberleutnant Wermuth took a deep drag from the cigarette, relishing the heat in his frozen lungs. After a full month underwater, his boat had reached their objective and he’d ordered the signal sent to the waiting troops. Below decks, resting in the cabin that had once been his, the Führer continued to plan the war with his closest advisors.
In addition to the Führer, U-530 carried the sum total of Nazi scientific experimentation for the past two decades. Hundreds of boxes, filled with blueprints, plans and in some cases, prototypes of equipment filled the holds where the torpedoes would normally have sat. His boat carried the future of the party.
They were still two miles from the beginning of the ice, but if the Führer’s plan was to be believed, U-530 could show no signs of run-ins with the floating ice. So now they waited—for what, Otto had no clue.
He’d been shocked by the order to throw all but a few of their torpedoes into the harbor at Kristiansand, more so when they were ordered to dismantle the deck gun and shove it over the side. Shortly after those tasks were completed, the documents began to appear. A large contingent of Waffen-SS worked tirelessly to load case after case of paperwork and materiel.
Once everything was loaded, the crew was ordered to the dock. Otto watched in mute anger as eighty percent of his men and all the officers were sent off in trucks, replaced by SS men who reportedly knew how to sail. The remaining sailors, who held specialized positions that weren’t easily replaced, were directed to surrender their soldbüchers, which contained information on their identity, a photograph and pay information. All very strange, indeed.
Before he departed, the SS-standartenführer pulled Otto aside. The standartenführer ordered him to sail exactly twenty-four miles southwest into the North Sea and surface for an exchange at midnight. The final thing he said before leaving was that the crew of U-530 was not to record a ship’s log for the upcoming patrol.
The plane that landed effortlessly on the water beside U-530 had been something that he’d never imagined possible. It was hard to see against the dark ocean, even with the half moon above, but what he could see was a marvel of engineering. The plane resembled a kite, similar to what he’d flown as a child in Württemberg. It seemed impossible that something like that could fly, let alone operate as soundlessly as it had when he first spotted it in the sky above.
He’d almost ordered the men to open fire on it, but held the order as a light began flashing from the foundering plane. This was the rendezvous contact they’d been waiting on. It floated close enough to see several men standing on the top of it, although he hadn’t been able to see how they got there. Otto ordered the gangplank lowered and four men came aboard his boat—correction, three men and one woman.
He’d been shocked to see the face of the Führer, his hair soaked in the sea spray and his jacket crumpled from the trip. The man had returned his salute crossly and staggered toward the hatch to take him below decks. Rounding out the party was a dark haired woman named Eva, the Führer’s secretary, Martin Bormann and a Waffen-SS officer named Metzger.
The plane sank into the sea and U-530 followed suit, sailing around the British islands and commencing a few torpedo attacks off the coast of New York as a ruse before making way toward Antarctica. Now they were here.
Two lights appeared on the horizon and he brought the binoculars to his eyes. They were still too far to see what type of boats the men from ____ sent. He called below to tell the men that their mission was ending and they’d need to transfer the boxes to the boats. The order was repeated below and soon, the Führer’s face appeared at the hatch.
“They are here?” he asked.
“Yes, Mein Führer,” Otto replied nervously. “Those lights are the boats from Neu- Schwabenland.”
“Good.” The Führer slapped him affectionately on the back. “You must carry out the rest of your mission, Oberleutnant.”
“I will, Mein Führer.”
The shorter man squinted at Otto. “You do know why you were chosen for this mission, don’t you?”
“To be honest, no, Mein Führer.”
Hitler waved his hand to encompass the boat. “This boat has had limited success in the war. Did you know that it has only sunk two ships?”
Otto nodded. “Yes, I did. She’s been plagued by misfortune.”
“Bah!” the Führer chopped the air. “That misfortune as you call it will be the crew’s safety net. They haven’t taken part in the sinking of many ships, so they will not be punished upon your surrender.”
The young captain nodded once again. “You are correct, Mein Führer.”
“Of course I am. You were also chosen specially for this mission. You’ve been in the U-boat force for how long?”
“Six years, Mein Führer.”
“Yes, that’s right. In six years, you’ve never sunk a boat while in a leadership position. This will serve you well when they try you in court. You can claim innocence, ignorant of the war’s ending, and you will be released shortly. Take a woman and remain faithful to our cause.”
“Yes, Mein Führer.”
“The key to making this work is that every member of your original crew pleads ignorance and remains silent about the nature of this patrol.”
The task is much easier since only eight of my original men remain, he thought wryly. “I will ensure that it is done, Mein Führer.”
“Good. I knew you were the right man for this mission.”
The lights had gotten much closer and Otto could make out two large flat-bottomed craft that had giant fans in the rear to propel them. They didn’t appear to be touching the water underneath; it was almost as if they rode on a cushion of air instead of their rubber hulls. What an odd contraption, he thought.
Once the boats were beside the U-boat, they settled down onto the surface of the water and the sound of hidden fans underneath the skirting ceased. Men from the craft scurried across to secure lines and used their own gangplank instead of the U-boat’s to begin offloading the boxes.
“Remember, Oberleutnant, you chose to ignore the order of surrender from Dönitz. You and your men continued the fight. It is of utmost importance that you not mention the Antarctic expedition.”
“Yes, Mein Führer.”
Hitler clapped him on the back once again and then followed a man in a snow-white uniform wearing the rank of an SS-standartenführer. It was an odd sight compared to the normal, deep black fabric of the SS uniforms he was accustomed to.
The Führer and the other three special passengers disembarked to one of the boats and it then the strange fan noise resumed, raising the boat about a meter off the surface of the water. The large fan in back engaged and the hovering craft shot off across the sea toward the ice shelf.
Unloading took the rest of the night and U-530 had to sacrifice one of her lifeboats because the remaining craft was full and could hold no more.
By morning, U-530 was alone in the sea. Otto ordered her back under the waters and began a slow trip to South America. He’d been told to surrender in Uruguay, but he knew that if they did that, they’d be executed in the public square.
Oberleutnant Otto Wermuth exercised his first and only act of rebellion against the Nazi party and the Führer’s orders. He directed his crew to sail to Argentina instead of Uruguay. If everyone kept their mouths shut, the port of surrender wouldn’t matter.
My “Washington, Dead City” series has been described as a blend of Tom Clancy and Stephen King with just a dash of Dan Brown added for intrigue.Available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and in print wherever you prefer to purchase your books.GNASH, book 1 is available now: www.amazon.com/dp/B01ACTBBZQREND, book 2 comes out on March 2nd: www.amazon.com/dp/B01AYEQRUISEVER, book 3 comes out on April 5th (pre-order link coming soon)Also, I’d love to interact with you on my facebook page www.facebook.com/BrianParkerAuthor
I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to share the cover for “Dark Embers” in the next few days with everyone. The novel is coming along nicely, the three story arcs are coming together in the next twenty or so pages and then the climactic finish to the Path of Ashes series! I want to be complete with the rough draft by the time “GNASH” comes out from Permuted on 09 Feb.
Audiobook production is moving along on “The Collective Protocol” and “Fireside” and I anticipate both being available sometime in Mar/Apr. Unfortunately, I decided to go a different route than planned with the producer for “Battle Damage Assessment” so I’ll need to find a new voice actor for that book.
I’ve been sketching out some ideas and I’m very excited about my sci-fi noir thriller “The Immorality Clause” which will be the first book in my new Easytown series following a homicide detective in a futuristic world that resembles America in the 1950s when gadgets were all the rage (even though half the time, they didn’t work) — I’ve even began writing a few scenes, but I’m trying to not distract too much time away from finishing “Dark Embers”.
Packages went out yesterday with some promotional material for my series “Washington, Dead City” to all the folks who volunteered to be a part of it, so check your mailboxes in a few days. Thank you, again!
Finally, wow. I had no idea how popular audiobooks were, and I’ve only got two of my books available right now… I’ll just leave it at that!
Thanks for all your support and continued interaction! Oh, and of course: Please help spread the word about me and my writing!
Ack! I got so busy with the weather and traveling that I almost blew it! Here’s my post for the BOD Zombie Crawl 2. Links to the other participating blogs are listed after this section. I’m giving away free eCopies of my book “Origins of the Outbreak” so don’t forget to visit the BOD facebook page and the website!
This is a section from my book “GNASH” which will be released by Permuted Press in February as book one of my “Washington, Dead City” series.
What’s that? Why are the Brits fighting in Indianapolis? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
07 December, 1759 hrs local
North Willow Farms
Corporal Saith Walker sat heavily against the wall and wiped the grit from his forehead with the back of his gloved hand. He’d been slogging through this bloody city for three weeks, fighting non-stop against the zeds. Even though he grew up on the outskirts of Brecon, Wales he swore that this was the coldest he’d ever been. His unit fought hard all day long, then slept wherever they could secure while another company moved forward and continued fighting all night, then they would leapfrog with that unit again the next day and do it all over again.
Along with most everyone in his section, he had developed several illnesses that seemed to plague infantryman throughout history. He had the runs, which sometimes hit him so quickly that he didn’t even make it around the corner for decency before he had to drop his trousers and go. He also had a wet, raspy cough that was worse in the mornings, but his ailments were not any worse than what everyone else in the regiment had, so no one was evacuated out because of their illness. They all smelled horrible, regular hummers, which was worse than anything else. They usually didn’t notice it themselves, but every few days they would get a visit from the Regimental Sergeant Major and the men knew that they must appear absolutely disgusting to him by the crinkle of his nose. The RSM promised that when the offensive was over he’d bring up a few fire engines and have a regimental bath to clean away the weeks of dirt, grime and blood.
Corporal Walker sighed as he leaned against the wall and was grateful for the momentary reprieve to the constant movement and fighting. He was exhausted and his grollies were hitched up annoyingly into his arse crack. In only an hour, his section would find a nice home, break in, clear it and then get a spot of tea, a plateful of scoff and much needed rest. He was especially excited about the tea tonight. His sergeant borrowed a large batch of a special Irish breakfast blend from a coffee shop that they’d cleared earlier in the day. It had been ages since the men had gotten anything besides the Army-standard Earl Grey. It’s the little things in life, after all, he mused.
He just closed his eyes for a moment, but before he knew it, his mate Alfie was slapping his helmet. “Let’s go. I’m in the bushes too, but we’ve got about one more turn, then you can break out your bag and get some sleep, aye?”
“Crack on,” Saith muttered. “Let’s get moving then.” He heaved himself up as he spoke. He was so tired. They’d forsaken most of the normal kit they took on regimental yomps, but they’d quadrupled the ammunition that they usually brought with them. Even with that, there were days when the section killed so many zeds that they ran out of ammunition and needed an emergency resupply. Saith figured that starting off each day, he had at least forty-five kilos of equipment in his pack that dwindled to less than ten as they fought.
Saith and Alfie edged around the building and came face to face with a shambling zed. Before he could even fire a shot, it reached out and grabbed the poor chap who’d just woke him up. Saith sprung into action and used the stock of his rifle to beat the creature off of his fellow soldier and then fired into the face of the thing once it turned on him.
“Hold on, Alfie. I’ll get the medic for you!’ he cried to his mate. He yelled for the medic over his shoulder and saw the man running toward him with his kit bag.
Saith’s sergeant ran up as well and asked, “What’s the SitRep Walker?”
“Alfie’s fucked, Sergeant. We turned this corner and the zed attacked him. I’m sure he was bitten,” he told his superior. The medic looked over his shoulder and nodded that he had been and pointed to the teeth marks near Alfie’s neck.
“Shite. We’ll have to evac the poor bastard.” He pulled out his radio and called for the bodysnatchers to come up to his location for another casualty and then called the CO to let him know that the section had taken yet another casualty.
Saith said a quick prayer for his mate, whom he knew would be dead before dawn tomorrow. Then he cursed his luck at joining the one division in the entire army that was here in the United States fighting alongside the Yanks in the bloodiest battle of all time. He wondered how many more of his friends would be killed before they finished their mission and could return home.