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“A modern fantasy with a touch of noir, a dash of detective thriller, and a sprinkling of humor throughout. A really fun debut novel.”–Steve Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of MONSTER.
Janzen Robinson is a man between torn worlds. Five years removed from a life as an apprentice to a group of do-gooding heroes who championed the fight against supernatural evils, the once-promising student is now a package courier going through the daily grind, passing time at a hole-in-the-wall bar and living in a tiny, run-down apartment on the south side of Cleveland, Ohio.
Then fate (or a case of bad timing) brings him face to face with a door that’s got his old life written all over it. From the ancient recesses of unyielding darkness known as the Abyss, a creature has been summoned: a Stalker, a predator whose real name is forbidden to be spoken aloud. It’s a bastardization of the natural order, a formidable blend of dark magic and primal tenacity. Its single-minded mission? Ending the life of a fiery, emerging young witch.
Thrust into the role of protector, a role once reserved for those he’d lost years ago, the out-of-practice Artificer not only has to return to a life he’d left behind, but must relive that painful past while facing down the greatest threat to come to our world in a century. Janzen will have to journey through the magical underbelly of the city and not only stay one step ahead of an unstoppable monster hellbent on destruction but try and figure out why it’s been brought to our world in the first place. Past wounds are reopened as Janzen looks to old friends, a quiet stranger, and his own questionable wits to see them all to the other side of this nightmare that may cost him his life and, quite possibly, the world itself.
From The Book:
The vampire was an apex predator. It boasted a conglomeration of traits collected from all the top-tier predators, an aberrant abomination of pure lethality. Its forked tongue was tasting the air, trying to wrangle my scent from out of the atmosphere so it could fixate on me. Its fluid movement was a bit stilted, the sluggishness a result from the Stalker piggybacking its already stunted consciousness. That didn’t make it any less dangerous, though.
Nearing my scent, that scaly disgrace of the natural order shuddered in excitement. It was just about to pounce and rip me apart, render open my flesh and feast on my innards when a loud wail of music cut through the makeshift PA system we’d installed inside the warehouse. To its credit, the thing still stayed focus on my smell and tore through the cardboard box impeding it from where I must have been. My only regret was not being able to see the shock smeared across its ugly face when it realized I wasn’t on the other side.
Its skull caved in with one well-aimed swing, the meaty spire of the bat wrung hard off the ugly bastard’s now-disfigured head. Ambient energy resonated in the reverberating wooden shaft before being assimilated by the sigils carved into it. I took a grim gratification in stomping the confused look off its gruesome face as it lay there dying without ever knowing how I managed to throw my scent or befuddle its superior senses. How it, a predator of all mankind, could have been so thoroughly duped by a mere mortal. My glance cut to the dangling piece of dirty fabric nailed to the pillar in the center of the room, a remnant of the shirt I shredded for this very reason. Suddenly the skin-searing, scalding hot shower and odor-eating lotion I had lathered myself in seemed worth it.
From The Author:
The book to me was supposed to keep an element of reality in the supernatural. Originally it started as a kind of cathartic exercise as I struggled to come to terms with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving as a combat veteran with the U.S. Army. The book just came to life from there. As I wrote, I realized I wanted the influence to be a mix of all the science fiction books and comics that I obsessed over in my youth, as well as the hardships that I endured in my adult life.