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The Devereaux Dilemma
In a future where religion and disease have brought social order to the verge of collapse and where some humans have been biologically and others mechanically enhanced, Jeremiah Jones must find the one man who might be able to fix everything. Problem is that man—Walt Devereaux—may have created bioweapons that could wipe out humanity. Is Devereaux really a dangerous man? Or is Jeremiah simply a pawn in a deadly game? Who can he trust? The nun who is sheltering Devereaux? Jeremiah’s ex-partner and former lover, who betrayed him? The Attorney General who hopes to capture Devereaux to catapult himself to the presidency? Surrounded by questions, the only way Jeremiah will learn the truth is by battling the transgenic Escala and their sworn enemies, the mechanically enhanced Elite Ops. And the odds of survival are slim.
“Exit 29,” the computer said in a breathy female voice as the car veered to the right. Jack Marschenko took the wheel, deactivating the autopilot. He swept through the intersection onto Seventy-Third Street, where the abrupt change in the road’s conditions tested the vehicle’s suspension, evidence of the District’s half-assed efforts to maintain the infrastructure in the poorer neighborhoods. Marschenko, having grown up here, knew the area well. At Eighty-third, he swerved to avoid a large pothole without slowing.
Jeremiah Jones stared at the sentinel camera until he heard the slight click of the door unlocking itself. Then he opened the door and stepped into Elias Leach’s office, where multicolored lights imparted a sunset glow to the room.
Eli stood up from behind his desk, turned to his elderly cleaning lady, Mrs. Harris, and said, “That will be all, Manyara.”
Mrs. Harris muttered something about nonsense and secrets as she shuffled over to her cart. “Leave you two bigshots to ruin the world,” she said as she wheeled the cart out the door, shaking her head.
The door opened and a young woman entered wearing a black silk dress that exposed only a hint of cleavage and ended just below the knee. She walked confidently: a brunette of mixed heritage, wide eyes, full lips, high cheekbones. Her thick hair swept down well past her shoulders and partially covered the computer interface she wore at her left temple. Such interfaces were not uncommon now, but they were still rare enough to draw attention. Not that this woman needed to draw more attention to herself. She was nearly six feet tall, her lean build accentuating her height. Except for her interface, she reminded Jeremiah of his late wife Catherine—something similar in the way she carried herself, as if unconcerned with how the world saw her. Jeremiah’s breath caught in his throat. This woman was taller than Catherine and thinner. Perhaps a little more athletic. Like Julianna but softer. Hell, everyone was softer than Julianna. Jeremiah was softer than Julianna.
Finalist – 2014 International Book Awards
The Devereaux Decision
The gripping third volume in the Susquehanna Virus series:
A group of fanatics has created a virus that could wipe out humanity. Retired secret agent Jeremiah Jones and the reformed cadets Curtik and Zora, who almost destroyed the world while under a compulsion, somehow have to stop the terrorists before the virus reaches a tipping point. The problem is, none of them know where to find Susquehanna Sally. Complicating matters, the genius Walt Devereaux has been stricken by the virus and a decision must be made—should they let him die or do whatever is necessary to save his mind? From Indonesia to London to Washington D.C., the race is on to save the world.
Meanwhile, a Chinese spaceship approaching Mars and the Escala colony refuses to acknowledge all efforts to communicate with it. Who is on that ship? And are their intentions hostile? Aspen is determined to discover the truth.
Sally23 longed to stay in the warm pub, but she’d already received one message from Sally2 ordering her to return to base. Seated at her table, Reg and Murph, her fellow graduate students, continued their good-natured argument over what the limits of science ought to be. As if it mattered anymore. As if their lives would not end soon. She didn’t tell them that, however. They had to remain ignorant.
“I don’t think you appreciate just how significant this development is,” Murph said, “what this can do for the sick and dying.”
“I understand perfectly, you gormless sod,” Reg replied, a smile mitigating the insult as he gestured to the tablet between them on the table. “You’re talkin’ about playin’ God. These people are messin’ with things they shouldn’t be messin’ with.”
Sally23 glanced down at the tablet, next to the basket that had held their deep-fried mushrooms and chips. She slid Reg’s pint a few inches farther away from the tablet in case the argument heated up, as such arguments won’t do. The tablet displayed a story about the upcoming transfer of a rat’s mind from an animal on Earth to one on Mars. Playing God: that’s what people did. She turned to look out the window at the smoke-laden sky. Here we are, a year after the Las-cannon attacks by the lunar terrorists, and the air still holds particles of toxic ash. That used to royally piss me off. Ah well, we won’t have to worry about it much longer.
She wondered what death would be like. Part of her wanted to end it all right now. She knew she wasn’t worthy of life. But then, nobody was. Worthless lives made her think of her father. Was he still alive? She glanced around the crowded pub, took in her fellow diners, all stretching their lunch breaks out a few more minutes, their self-indulgent conversations creating a din of blather.
There was a small part of her that still feared death. It lurked at the base of her consciousness, tamped down by a kind of indifference that came with sick understanding.
Aspen wiped the environmental sensors and flicked the dust cloth, releasing fine red particles that drifted down Dunadan’s knoll toward the airlock to Tunnel Two. Moving on to the communications array, she glanced back at the sealed-off tunnel entrance to the New Dawn Martian settlement, then over to the pods where the idiots from the MineStar colony resided: a few kilometers away. A rotating crew of around fifty worked on Mars at any given time. Their current number was forty-eight. And their health was fragile.
Aspen still didn’t understand why the Escala had elected to settle nearby; she would have chosen the other side of the planet. The miners annoyed her. Supposedly self-sufficient—a ship came to offload ore and deliver a new crew every twenty-six months—they constantly intruded on the Escala for assistance: food, medicine, equipment, and companionship. She wondered if it would bother her as much if the miners hadn’t created a trash dump a kilometer away, always in sight when she was outdoors.
Beneath her feet, the vibration of the miners’ big tunneling machines suddenly stopped. They’d agreed to cease digging during the experiment, so it must be starting soon. Aspen gazed up at the three inactive volcanoes that made up the Tharsis Montes. Then she stared out into space, across the darkness that separated her from Zora, toward the small white light of Earth.
Aspen remembered almost nothing about her early childhood. She recalled her parents only vaguely. But one clear memory stood out: the dock out in front of their home, and the vast lake that stretched for kilometers. The image of clear blue water and sky, interrupted only by the green pines on the far shore, left her feeling hollow as she surveyed the endless reddish sand beneath her feet.
Finalist, 2016 Minnesota Book Award
Finalist, 2016 Midwest Book Award
Finalist, 2016 International Book Award
The Man Who Found His Moniker
The unnamed man walks city streets, haunted by visions he doesn’t understand, tortured by a tragic past, seeking redemption despite questioning whether he deserves it. His visions imply that violence is coming, a horror that he must prevent from occurring. Yet, try as he might, he can’t quite grasp what that event might be. Eventually, he comes to understand the visions, enabling him to save lives as a result. But can he save himself?
This little gem of a novel explores the ruminations of a man who more than anything wants to return to a past that cannot be, a man who must come to terms with the reality that is, a man who must find his way back to humanity.
Hound of God
Joey Winston, a woman of science, working as a researcher doing DNA testing and preparing for grad school, suddenly becomes a werewolf. At first, she doesn’t believe it. These must just be dreams of being a wolf. However, she soon realizes that the dreams are real and that she has become the victim of some ancient mystical curse. People are dying. But is the wolf evil, or is it an agent of God? Only when the wolf begins killing people she knows does she realize the full extent of the horror that possesses her. As she struggles to rid herself of the demon, the wolf grows in power, threatening her family. Can she stop the wolf before it kills everyone she loves, or is its power too great for modern technology to control?