My next novel, a stand-alone sci-fi adventure, is published on September 1st, and for the month of August, you can pre-order the eBook for just 99p ($0.99).
The Hitman and the Thief was written as my NaNoWriMo project last November (2019). It grew from an idea that I had while writing examples of backstory for my World-Building course.
Here’s the cover and blurb, click the cover to go to the Amazon page.
Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.
Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.
Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.
To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.
Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?
Here’s Chapter 1
I was sitting by the pool, with a tall glass of gin and Athleberry (lots of ice), when I got the call. The Hanseker Tower was the best hotel on Lestran, an exclusive place on an exclusive planet, a popular destination for the great and the good. I was neither; I would just have to hope that nobody noticed.
It was my first holiday in years, about time that I had a few days to myself. As I said, the hotel was top end. I had a luxurious room, the pool was inviting and the few other guests that I’d seen looked interesting, especially the single female ones.
The hotel was one of those places that took your personal phone off you at the gate, ‘to preserve the privacy and peace of the celebrity guests’. They probably had some sort of EM shield as well, just in case. I didn’t care; the phone was a nuisance, being without it was as much a holiday as anything. Anyway, there was no celebrity that I was interested in taking pictures of. I’d seen more than a few close-up, they were no different to me or you. After all the complications I had managed to fight my way through recently, a break with no reminders of work was exactly what I needed.
With no wireless field, it meant that the hotel’s phone was on a long cord that snaked across the tiles. I watched as the uniformed steward manoeuvred it between the rows of sunbeds, heading in my direction. It felt inevitable; I could see it coming but could do nothing to stop it. It was like the micro-second before a car crash when your brain stretches time. Even so, I kept my head down, willing him to pass me by.
He arrived by my side, his training had kept him from standing in front of the suns; at least I wasn’t blinded when he coughed and I looked up. He gave me the handset. “A call, sir,” he said unnecessarily, before stepping back and turning away.
Nobody knew I was here, except the person who had sent me, all expenses paid, as a reward for completing the last job she had given me.
“That was a messy business, Dan,” Fliss Bauer had said, just a few short days ago. “You did well, have a few days off on me. It’s all been arranged.”
What new problem had changed her mind? Couldn’t it have waited for a few days?
“Hello, Fliss,” I said. “I thought you told me that I was on holiday. I’ve only been here a day, scarcely time to get drunk or check out the ladies.”
“You’re slowing down then,” she laughed; an explosion of mirth that, even from fifty light-years away, still did things to me. “I won’t tell Hesta the last bit. I have another job for you, just came up. It’s urgent, sorry about that. I’ve organised a ship, there’ll be a car outside. Call me when you’re on the way.”
The line went dead before I could reply, which was a good thing. I might have been on first name terms with her, but I was still an employee and not too indispensable to get away with telling her what I thought. Where I would be going and what I was about to do was a matter that could be discussed privately.
Sighing, I handed the phone back to the steward. “Thank you,” I said as I picked up my drink and my towel. There was little point in moaning about it, my holiday was over. At least I didn’t have much packing to do; I had hardly taken anything out of the case. The ladies would have to wait. There would be nothing to tell Hesta.
Story of my life.
I took a last longing look at the pool, the trees that hid the security fence and the land beyond, with the sparkling waters of a sail-dotted lake and happy, smiling people everywhere. I finished the drink in one, put the empty glass on a table and headed inside.
There are a couple of reviews already, on GoodReads. Find them here.
As a special bonus for readers of this blog, here’s a sample from the audio version, due out on the same day. Narrated by Charles Mallet.
I hope you enjoyed the sample and the opening chapter. If you want to know what happens next, get the book delivered on September 1st by pre-ordering for just 99p ($0.99).
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There’s a bookfunnel promotion for Sci-fi Boxsets running in August. There are some free and some discounted titles. Including one of mine, Get all three parts of the Balcom Dynasty for just £2.99 ($2.99). Check it out below.