Happy Halloween everyone!
Of course, no Halloween is complete without this memory:
But for those who are less horror inclined, here's something more friendly:
In honor of Halloween, starting today, you can get Cthulhu, Private Investigator free!
Cthulhu, Private Investigator
Cthulhu's partner, Dagon, has been found floating dead in the water at the docks. The Elder Gods have given him three days to find Dagon's killer, or Cthulhu is going to take the fall for it. Starting on the trail of a femme fatale that had hired Dagon, Cthulhu begins searching for the Pnakotic manuscripts and finds himself on everyone's hitlist. Navigating a web of lies and betrayal, he becomes involved with a rogue's gallery of untrustworthy Old Ones who are after the coveted Silver Key. As things hurtle towards their inevitable confusion, he discovers to what deadly lengths the others will go to obtain the Key.
Yesterday we shared the first part of the vampire hunting adventure in the first Damned Lies novel. Our intrepid hero joined a nun hunting a vampire and ended up with some zombies added in. Now the conclusion!
August, 1994 - The Middle of Nowhere
Vampires and zombies meant I was going to get to mark two things off my bucket list. I was very excited, despite the danger. Two things I thought unlikely to kill getting completed on the same day!
Best day ever.
I hefted my axe. Zombies were going to go down. We all knew it. I knew it. Sister Nancy knew it. The zombies would probably know it if they weren't mindless husks of reanimated flesh yearning for...
"Nancy, are these the bitey type of zombies?"
"What?" she asked. She let loose a crossbow bolt, but by her dismayed grunt, it did not find its mark. She hastily loaded another bolt.
"Are these the feast-on-the-living sort of zombies?" I asked. "I mean, what's their motivation? Do they want to tear me apart and eat me? Do they just eat brains exclusively? Or are they going to just shamble around, lamenting their existence?"
"They want to kill you," she said.
An undead arm was sticking through the boards in the windows on the right side of the church, while I heard the zombies banging on the boards on the left side. I looked at the arm for a moment as it flailed around, trying to grab whatever it could. I shrugged, took a deep breath and swung.
I hacked the zombie's arm off in one swing.
Sure, I'll admit it was my third swing, but I still say it was one swing because the other two swings missed the arm entirely. The arm fell to the floor and rolled a foot or two before coming to a stop.
I bent down and looked at the arm. Based on the wisdom I had gleaned from movies, I wasn't sure if the arm was going to come alive and grab my ankle or something. Zombie limbs are known to be tricky. I watched it intently, ignoring all other zombie and vampire activity until I had an answer to my burning question: do zombie limbs still move when disconnected from the body? There was a whole community of learned individuals who would like an answer to such a hypothesis. Indulging scientific concerns, I observed that after a few moments, it was inert. (Science!)
Conclusion: Zombie limbs are useless once dismembered.
(Okay, science people, I admit for a scientific method, I would need to replicate my results. But I prefer to leave that for peer review.
For those who are more science minded, add this line:
I turned around and brandished my axe at the other zombies. "It's time for Peer Review, bitches!")
By this point zombies were tearing the boards of wood off windows. I grabbed the axe and ran to the nearest window, wildly hacking at the zombie arm. I fully admit that I was still getting used to how the axe swung, and maybe it was true that I hit the wooden boards more than the zombie parts. And maybe it's true that my hitting the boards did more damage to the weak wooden defenses than the zombies. I can't be sure. All I knew is that this window now had a desiccated zombie face pressing through the gap, jaws open.
"So if one of these guys bites me, am I going to be infected?" I asked over my shoulder, still hacking away at zombie parts and the careless wooden planks which seemed to jump in the way of my axe.
"Infected?" gasped Nancy. She dove to the floor as a black shape swooped down from the ceiling, grabbing at the air she just vacated, then flew back up to the rafters. She aimed her crossbow, but it was gone. "Like tetanus?"
"No, infected," I said. "By the virus created by radiation from a downed satellite, which causes the dead to walk the earth because there's no more room in Hell. I hear it's contagious... uh, orally, I guess."
"What are you talking about?" she said, firing another crossbow bolt. I heard a different type of thunk and a vampire hiss. It had hit him, but not in the heart. Nancy quickly loaded another bolt. The vampire lunged at her again, and she rolled to the side, dropping her crossbow bolt. She grabbed another and started loading it. I had no idea how many bolts she had.
"Have you ever considered using a regular bow instead?" I asked as I continued my reckless hacking.
"Shut up!" she finally called. "Stop talking! We're fighting the forces of evil! We need to concentrate!"
Geez. I mean all she had to do was ask. Someone was being snappy today.
Sufficiently rebuffed, I concentrated on the walking dead. Or climbing dead, as one was climbing through the window, despite me swinging an axe wildly at the window frame, the wall, and the vacant air around him. It pulled itself through the window frame and spilled onto the floor.
Heroically I leapt into action and with an epic swing and a war cry, bringing down my axe in a mighty arc, putting all my strength into the blow. Even more heroically, I missed my own foot and did not cripple myself, simply denting the earth. But on my second swing, my aim was true! With a satisfying ka-thunk the axe cleaved the zombie's head in twain. I raised my arms in a cheer. I soaked up the cheers of an imaginary crowd.
"I killed the zombie -" I started to shout, but my voice ran out part way through.
All around the church, half a dozen zombies had managed to drag themselves into the church and were now lurching towards Nancy and I.
Now was not the time to celebrate popping my zombie cherry. I discovered that zombies that were actually inside the building, standing up, and had most of their limbs attached were a much more scary proposition than anonymous arms flailing through the window. I decided I needed to regroup with Sister Nancy near the altar. I jogged towards her, trying to avoid the grasp of the shambling undead.
Between her and I was one lone zombie, a grotesque thing missing half of its face. The left half, if you were curious. I mean, it was just gone. I could see the back of the skull and a few beetles just crawling around in there.
I didn't have time to stop and figure out the best way around him, not with the others closing in. I had a moment of pure adrenaline and swung the axe horizontally at its head.
The axe crunched into what was left of its face. It crumpled to the ground. I let out a cheer and proceeded forward to Nancy. But midstep I felt something yank my arm back. Looking behind me, I discovered that the axe was still stuck in the zombie's smashed face. Without thinking, I pulled harder, and after a moment of resistance, the axe pulled free... with the zombie head still on it. I frowned and continued on to Nancy.
I reached her at the altar as the zombies started tightening their circle around us. She looked around at them, then down to the remains of the zombie's head on my axe.
"You're not very good at this, are you?" she said.
I shrugged weakly. "Where's the vampire?"
As if on theatrical cue, the vampire descended from the rafters to float in the air over the altar. His red eyes burned and he didn't look very happy at all.
"You will regret trespassing on my lair!" His voice was deep and gruff, like someone's normal voice that had been rubbed repeatedly across five miles of hot asphalt.
"Is this really a lair?" I asked. "It's really more of a hideout. A proper villain wouldn't be caught dead in a place like this." I paused for a moment, wonder if I needed to change my phrasing on my last sentence. I continued on without correction. "I mean, where are your minions? These zombies? Dracula had these sexy vamps to hangout with. What about rats, dogs, or some thuggy ghoul who does your bidding and brings home vulnerable women? This is like the worst vampire home base I've ever heard of. You're like one notch above having a sad shack in the woods."
He looked at me directly for a long moment, his eyes narrowed.
Then he turned towards Sister Nancy. "You, daughter of your false god, puritanical sister of a decaying order, you will regret trespassing on my lair!"
"I regret nothing, you foul spawn of evil!" screamed Nancy. "The Lord will cast his righteous fury down on you!"
Clearly I did not know the proper response to a vampire's challenge.
The vampire growled and lunged at Nancy. She fired her crossbow and hit him in the shoulder. She tossed the crossbow aside and attacked the vampire with her wooden stake.
I was not left alone, as I had the very grabby arms of six zombies closing in around me. I raised my axe and looked them all in the eyes. Well, the ones who had eyes.
"So it's just you and me, guys," I said. "You guys wouldn't want to resolve these differences in a less violent way, would you? Yahtzee or Scrabble?"
A zombie to my left let out a loud groan.
"Okay, no Scrabble. Got it."
Behind me, I heard the fierce battle of Nancy and the vampire. I wanted to watch and see that epic confrontation, but I needed to keep my eyes on the impending zombies. I backed up as the zombies moved forward. I feared that if I tried hacking at one, the others would get me. But as I kept backing off, I realized I needed to start attacking them before they got in too tight a circle. The axe would be no good if I had no room to swing it.
I took a deep breath. I heard a hiss behind me from the vampire, and knew it was time to be heroic again. With a mighty flex of my muscles, I raised the axe up and behind my head with great force, preparing for an epic swing to cleave through as much zombie flesh as I could.
And in that awkward but well-meaning action, I ended the fight.
So here's what happened. While I was deliberating (procrastinating) on how best to fight zombies with my pitiful skills, Nancy and the vampire were engaged in a mortal battle of wits and strength. Unsurprisingly, despite whatever special nun powers Nancy had, the vampire had the natural advantage. He was stronger and faster. She had just her smarts and the Lord's protection, but I guess the Lord was in the bathroom at the time, because their melee didn't last long. Oh, there were some stabs and feints, slashes and hissing, but it was still over pretty quickly. In the end, he grabbed her right arm and didn't let go. Since she couldn't get away, it was simple for him. He squeezed, breaking the bone and causing her to drop her stake.
His prey weakened and held fast by his unholy grip, the vampire lunged forward and opened his gaping maw, his white teeth shining in the darkness for but a moment before they closed on her neck. He paused a moment to drink of the hot fluid that spilled forth. Then he let her fall limp in his arms. He turned to me and hissed in triumph. I was next.
That happened to be just about the moment when I swung my axe backwards for my epic cleave. I don't think either of us realized how close our respective battles were. As I backed off, I probably had nearly walked right on top of Nancy. I was close enough that my axe swung backwards and the blunt head of the axe slammed right into the vampire's chest. No cutting, just a dull force.
This shouldn't have killed the vampire. They wouldn't have become the alpha predator of the undead world if they couldn't shrug off a blunt hit like that. Well, Dear Reader, remember how the vampire had a stake driven halfway into his chest? No? It turns out that the vampire didn't remember it either. Or, if he did, in all his hopping amongst the rafters, he hadn't taken the time to pull the stake out. Perhaps there was a positive result to all those missed crossbow shots. It was that imbedded stake that my axe struck. Even with my weak muscles, the momentum was enough to strike that stake hard, particularly since it was half in. The stake was driven all the way through, piercing the vampire's heart.
I realized I had hit something when I swung back, but I didn't know what. I froze and winced, wondering if I had just screwed up. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if I had just knocked out Nancy. Meekly I turned around, not yet noticing that the zombies had frozen in place.
The vampire clutched at his chest, his face twisted into the most anguished grimace I had ever seen. I looked at the stake then looked at the axe in my hand, realization finally dawning on me. The vampire fell backwards, disintegrating into dust before he reached the floor. The vampire gone, Sister Nancy hit the floor, still unconscious. Around me, decayed corpses fell to the ground.
I stood in the middle of the abandoned church, lit only by a weakening flare, surrounded by bodies, and holding an axe.
Read more of these adventures in Damned Lies!
In honor of this spooky season, I'm sharing an excerpt from the first Damned Lies book, about hunting a vampire. The first half will be today and the second half tomorrow. Since it's a Damned Lies book, I'll put the profanity warning up here. Enjoy!
August, 1994 - The Middle of Nowhere
"So when do we kill the vampire?" I asked.
The sun was going down and we were in the middle of nowhere. Sister Nancy said the vampire lived in an abandoned church a few dusty roads off the highway.
"You don't have to help," she said again.
"But I want to help," I said enthusiastically.
She sighed, which I know some of you, My Dear Readers, are also doing.
You're sitting here thinking, "Oh, he would never volunteer to help kill a vampire. I wouldn't." You'd think I would be too scared, too weirded out, or think the nun too crazy for me to help out. You'd think there would be reasons and excuses and nervousness, all in the name of somehow avoiding the task. And you would be wrong. Because of course I want to kill a vampire.
Dear Reader, imagine if you will, that you were asked by a friend if you wanted to kill a vampire. Out of the blue, your friend rings at your door and quite seriously asks your help in ridding the world of a vicious creature of the night. And you might imagine your response to be a mere shake of the head. Maybe some mumbled excuse: "No, I think I am going to stay home, watch television, surf the internet, go on that website and down vote people I don't agree with, then go to bed early, safe in my own bed and away from vampires. Also, vampires don't exist." And in your imagination, you stay at home, allowing cognitive dissonance to do its work. You decide your friend is crazy. You decide you never would want to kill a vampire.
And to you I say: Bullshit.
You are a liar.
For the moment, let's ignore the talk of whether vampires exist or not. Your friend has asked you to kill a vampire. He or she has got the sharpened wooden stakes, the various undead hunting tools, even the exact the location of the vamp. You are just requested to be a ride along. All the decisions are already made, you just have to decide whether you will accompany them. Are you going to just pass up an opportunity like this? Are you going to shake your head and have yet another uneventful and forgettable evening? Are you going to deny your soul as a reader, a dreamer, a fantasist, an escapist? Will you betray your imagination?
You've read all those books of fights and fantasies, of epic journeys and twisted thrillers, of heroes and villains, of the light and the dark. And whether you admit it or not, you've wished for that adventure. You've wished that those things are at least partly real. Why would you keep reading them, why would you keep loving them, why would you keep injecting your imagination with such amazing stories, if you never, in some part of yourself, ever wanted them to be at least somewhat real?
Dear Reader, are you telling me that if one night, a trusted friend showed up at your door, and called upon your trust to dispose of a vampire, you'd refuse the idea?
No, you wouldn't.
Not if you were honest with yourself. Let go of your weird feelings, your fear, any ideas of your friend being crazy. Let go of your inertia, your reluctance, and that little voice that always tells you that you can't do things. Forget that voice that gives you weak reasons for keeping to the status quo of your life. This is a unique moment, that voice does not apply. Your friend wants you to go kill a vampire.
What do you say?
You'd say, "Fuck yeah! I want to stab a motherfucking vampire in his motherfucking heart!"
Because one day, you're going to be somewhere, whether it's in front of friends, your kids, a late night bar, or on your death bed, and the moment is going to happen. For once in your life, you'll have the rapt attention of everyone in the room. Everyone's going to be looking at you, waiting for whatever profound words you are willing to say. It's a fleeting moment. You open your mouth... and what do you say? What do you truly say to that group of people? You can't just give them another story about a fish you caught, a plane you missed, a lover that got away. That's not this moment.
And in that moment, you'll have the story of how you sought to kill a vampire. It doesn't matter if they believe, it doesn't matter if the vampire ended up being real or fake. It doesn't matter if you followed your friend to the destination and discovered your friend was crazy and you needed to talk them through their breakdown. The actual story or its conclusion don't really matter for this. You'll have the story of how you killed a vampire (or tried to), and they'll all listen. Even those who think you're lying will still listen until the story ends.
Because you killed a motherfucking vampire.
Nancy didn't quite appreciate my unique form of enthusiasm. She also kept telling me to stop cursing. Repeatedly. Besides criticizing my language, she kept suggesting that I was not taking the task seriously, despite my assurances. It was when we arrived at our destination and she was retrieving gear from the trunk that she must have finally believed me. She gave me the duffle bag of tools and then handed me an axe. Nothing shows trust like handing someone a brutally lethal weapon.
It wasn't quite a medieval battleaxe, but it wasn't just a cheap Home Depot hand axe either. It had a single blade and a fairly long haft. It wasn't a sharpened wooden stake as I expected, but as Nancy explained, in vampire hunting stakes are a necessary tool but hard to defend yourself with. They're short and take a lot of force to penetrate a ribcage, which is difficult if the vampire is all up in your grill trying to kill you. Axes, on the other hand, can dismember, decapitate, and otherwise cause some serious damage. A vampire who loses his head is just as incapacitated as one stabbed in the heart with a wooden stake, so an axe is a good weapon of choice.
I was also ready if some treants wanted to throw down.
We had parked within view of the church, but not too close. The ground was barren and dusty, the occasional patch of dead weeds sticking up; kind of familiar for me that summer. The building was a crumbling ruin that wasn't bigger than a house, but to be fair, it looked like it never was a very big church to begin with. It was definitely old - it could have been an old missionary church or some other historical thing that I couldn't recognize due to neglectful years falling asleep during Social Studies class. There was technically a cemetery around the church, but at this point, it was just a bunch of worn out grave markers poking out of dead earth.
The sun was going down, the sunlight becoming a stale yellow that would soon turn gold and then red. Time was running out if we wanted to take the vampire unaware.
I had asked why we didn't wait until tomorrow. Nancy explained that she also would prefer more daylight, but she would not risk another innocent life taken due to her inaction. Churchly duty and all.
Around the church there technically was a fence, which when new would have been about three feet tall and made of wrought iron. But, time had not been good to that fence. At best, the rods were fallen over, at worst they were twisted, rusted, or missing. Occasionally a lone twisted rod jutted up about a foot from the ground, but that was rare. We easily stepped over the fence to the church doors. The only risk would have been tetanus.
The doors opened with a groaning creak, kicking up a cloud of dust. I expected to hear Toccata and Fugue in D Minor erupt out of an old pipe organ, but alas, this old church held neither an organ nor any Bach. Any windows the building had, stained glass or otherwise, had long since broken and were boarded over, allowing just minor cracks of light from the setting sun. What few pews there were left had rotted away, leaving small piles of decayed wood. Any cross or crucifix had long since been removed, a blank space left on the large wall above the pulpit. The main original feature still left was the large elevated altar and its steps. Made of stone, it had survived where the rest of the building had been ravaged by time and vandals. On top of the altar was a black coffin.
By this point in my journey, I had seen a lot of things. Crazy things that nobody would believe: ghosts, giant robots, magicians, walking houses, and more. In addition, I had barely slept in the past few days, so I was a little loopy. Because of all that, I was completely willing to believe this really was a vampire. Even if the bulk of my journey was some elaborate hallucination that had stretched for months, it was a consistent, so I wasn't about to doubt it just yet. In the same way, I didn't doubt this was a vampire. If Sister Nancy thought it was, that was fine for me. I'm sure I was about to find out for sure.
Besides, I wanted to kill a goddamn vampire.
Note: I'm not using profanity here. Vampires are damned by God. Goddamn vampire is a correct literal description. Motherfucking vampire is just profanity.
At Nancy's direction, I put down my axe so I could push open the coffin. Nancy was ready with a stake and mallet. I took a deep breath, and lifted the coffin lid.
It was empty.
I let out my breath and let myself sink into confusion. I stepped back and turned to Nancy.
"Well, where is he?" I asked.
She narrowed her eyes and quickly turned around, scanning the room. I did too, particularly looking up since that's the familiar horror movie trick. Unfortunately (or luckily), there was no vampire in the rafters.
Nancy was not happy. She looked around quickly, noting by the light, as I did, that the sun was almost setting. Neither of us said anything, but we both shared the same feeling that we'd rather not leave, tail between our legs, and come back tomorrow. Worse, the vampire would probably know we were here and flee to another location.
"Are you sure he's here?" I asked.
"I know he is here," she said. I must have looked at her oddly, so she continued. "I just do, okay?"
"Special nun powers. Got it."
She turned back to coffin and gave it a long look. With a shove that was much stronger than I would have guessed, she pushed the coffin off the altar. It tumbled to the ground... loudly. I swung around to see if someone heard it, but the church was silent. Dead silent.
"Was that really necessary?" I asked. "I mean, I'm frustrated to but -"
"Help me with this!" she said. I saw that she had put down her stake and was grabbing at the edge of the altar. I grabbed the edge of it, feeling my nails grip the stone. "Lift and push!" she said between gritted teeth.
I did as she asked, wondering if it was futile, but to my surprise, the top of the altar lifted. Once we had it up, we used our shaking muscles and pushed it over the other side. The lid fell to one side and shattered into pieces of stone.
Within the altar itself was the sleeping body of a vampire. Clever.
In an affront to vampires across fiction history, this vampire broke all stereotypes. He was not dressed to the nines. He was not sporting a thick Dracula mustache nor a Bela Lugosi widow's peak. He didn't look like a distinguished aristocrat, starving poet, troubled artist, or hell, even the type who'd go to a high school and hit on some teenage girl. I didn't see claws or teeth, nor telltale bloodstains. His eyes were closed, so I could not look into the eyes of blackest evil myself. It was hard to get beyond my disappointment that he looked just like some dude.
And for those wondering, "Well, if he looked just like some guy, maybe he wasn't a vampire and Sister Nancy is a crazy person asking you to assist her in murder," I offer this counter argument: What was some guy doing in a abandoned church in the middle of nowhere sleeping in an altar with a coffin on top? I know some people like to be really Goth, but this is above and beyond even Peter Murphy's Gothly duties.
So far, the vampire hadn't moved, despite the time I took to have that monologue and Nancy's prompting. She had me hold the stake for her. I kept a loose grip to make sure it was straight and right over his heart while she could hammer the mallet with greater force. She mentioned that tapping the stake through a vampire's heart with lots of small hits didn't work out well.
She began to utter some Christian litany as she held the mallet high. I didn't recognize it, but it was filled with a lot of "Oh Lord"s, "thy servant"s, and "righteousness"es. I'm pretty sure it's well documented in the vampire hunter manual, but since I had yet to join the union, I did not know it. With her voice reaching a fevered pitch, she completed the prayer and slammed the mallet down.
The stake only went halfway in.
I'm sure there are many "just the tip" jokes to be made here, but there was no time to think of them. There was an immediate scream and the vampire's eyes flashed open. They were red and demonic, but not quite the blackest evil. The stake still half embedded in his heart, the vampire reached up with both hands and pushed both Nancy and myself with his superhuman strength. We went flying and landed a few feet away.
The vampire ceased his screeching scream and stood up in the altar. He hissed at us, then leapt upwards. Now we really were searching the rafters for a vampire. Since that was the worst lit place due to the light coming in from boarded windows, I scrambled to pull out our flashlights. Sister Nancy lit a flare and dropped it at our feet, outdoing me in badass ways to deal with darkness.
Outside I heard the wind pick up. I knew for sure that the wind had been calm when we arrived. Now it was suddenly blowing like in a storm, the intensity increasing with every second. I shined the flashlights in the rafters, but still had not found the vampire. Sister Nancy had pulled out a wicked looking crossbow.
Soon the wind was howling around the church. "Check outside!" ordered Nancy, while she aimed the crossbow and her flashlight above us.
I went to one of the boarded up windows and looked outside. The sky was red - when I could actually see it. The wind was picking up the dirt from the barren ground and turning it into whirling clouds of earth. The car looked okay, but with all the wind and dirt, it looked like it was very far away.
"It's a goddamn sandstorm out there!" I called back to her.
"Watch your language!" she shouted back.
I tried to look beyond the dust in the few moments where the dust did not blow. Something was happening. I strained to see. It took me a moment, but I thought I saw the shadows of people in the clouds of dirt and wind. I tried rubbing my eyes for a better view, but that just got more dirt in them.
I was straining to see a distant shadow when suddenly the dirt cleared for just a moment and I discovered one of the people was just a few feet in front of the window. I saw him very clearly.
I jumped back in fear and called to Nancy. "Umm, I just saw a dead guy."
I had seen a desiccated face, exposed bone, rotted clothing. I'm not going to bullshit you with some account of how I could not believe my eyes, ignoring obvious signs of death. This was clearly a dead guy, and it was obviously he had been dead for a very long time. That just did not seem to keep him from shambling towards the church.
I ran to the other side of the church and checked that window.
"There are more over here!" I shouted. I could see one of them pulling itself out of the ground next to a decayed grave marker.
"Some vampires are able to desecrate the rest of the departed and raise them as mindless slaves," said Nancy, her eyes and crossbow still fixed at the ceiling. "He means to keep us busy with them while he escapes or attacks in the confusion. We must not give him the chance! I need you to hold them off while I deal with the vampire."
"Hold them off?" I asked.
"Hack them apart," she said. "I hear hitting them in the head works well."
I picked up my axe. Something felt right about this. It was like my life was made for this moment. I declared this feeling out loud: "Fuck yeah, zombies."
Continued here tomorrow!
Excited about the new Nowak Brothers book coming out in November? Or do you have no clue why you should be interested in the adventures of the pair of foul mouthed monster hunting brothers? Either way you can get the first Nowak Brothers book, I Kill Monsters, for free on Kindle this weekend!
I Kill Monsters
Mikkel and Szandor kill monsters. They're not government funded, they're not from a time-honored lineage of hunters, nor are they rich kids with lots of toys. They're two twenty-something brothers from the poor side of town who have taken it on themselves to rid the streets and underground of creatures who would prey on the innocent. Donning gas masks and using makeshift weaponry, they delve into the labyrinthine sewer system of New Avalon to grapple with snarling zombies, flesh-eating ghouls, insectoid hive creatures, and more. It's a dirty job and it rarely pays, but someone has to do it.
Hired by a woman from the rich side of town who believes she's being stalked by monsters, the two brothers think they've finally gotten an easy job that will pay well. But as they follow the clues, things are not adding up. Kidnappings, jackbooted commandos, and mysterious emails are just the beginning. Soon they find themselves involved in something bigger than monsters. It's anybody's guess whether they'll come through it alive, much less get paid.
I Kill Monsters is an exciting punk rock urban fantasy for those who enjoy their protagonists with a mouth on them and a weapon in their hands.
The sequel to I Kill Monsters, Jabberwock Jack is coming in November! Now you can finally read an excerpt from the first chapter of the second Nowak Brothers book! In this brief sample, the boys are out in the woods north of New Avalon hunting a troll. A massive ogre-like beast, trolls are huge, but they are far from the largest monster in Jabberwock jack..
Read the Excerpt!
Jabberwock Jack Preorder
Mikkel and Szandor are back! Everyone's favorite monster hunters return for a new adventure, and this time it's a monster that's bigger than they have ever dealt with before! While on a routine job in the city's underground tunnels, they stumble on a creature thought lost for years. They are then invited to join a hastily assembled team of hunters going underground to try to kill the enormous serpent. Delving deeper into the dark tunnels than they have ever gone before, Mikkel and Szandor find themselves searching for this massive beast in dark overflow tunnels and the endless labyrinth under New Avalon. But creatures beneath the city are not their only problem. Soon tensions begin running high among the assembled hunters, threatening to derail the mission and put them all in danger. Will they succeed, or will they fall prey to the gigantic monster known as Jabberwock Jack?
I'll admit that there's really no link between Cowards and Killers and Columbus Day weekend other than the letters "CO" and my Italian ancestry. But I figured this was a good time to put it on sale. A dark novel about being trapped into violent choices, the threat of hell, and a growing feeling of dread fits right in with Columbus Day sales, right?
Cowards and Killers on Amazon
"In the end, most of humanity are one of two things: cowards or killers."
When Michael died, there was no Heaven waiting for him, no eternal rest. There were only two choices: Hell or killing his fellow man. Waking up after death in his own bed, he began receiving calls from a mysterious voice. The voice offers a simple option: become an assassin and kill those it designates. Refuse and the power that keeps him in the world will be removed... and he'll go straight to Hell.
Coward or killer, he accepts the deal. In a black suit and tie that conceals his identity with a black gun that never runs out of bullets, he is their assassin. But he is not alone: there are other tortured souls who have agreed to the same bargain. They are all Hell-bound; only by killing their targets before the timers on their phones count down do they postpone their fate.
But this is a fate Michael won't accept. Together with other agents, he plots to rebel against the mysterious voice and the blood-soaked deal. But can they really win this fight when the voice holds all the cards? With each kill, his humanity slips away. Is there a way to escape, or do all roads lead to Hell?