Annihilation Myths is live


A little later than billed – okay, much later – I’m relieved to announce the launch of Annihilation Myths, the follow-up to Severance Kill and the second novel to feature former soldier and assassin Martin Calvary.

Annihilation Myths Cover

As you can see from the cover, the novel’s a wry, gentle exploration of the way human beings misunderstand one another, with a protagonist who handles conflict in a sensitive, nuanced, non-confrontational way.

Er… no, not really.

For readers of this blog, and members of my mailing list, I’m offering Annihilation Myths at a specially discounted launch price of 99c or its equivalent. This offer is good for only a few days, after which it’ll be for sale at the full price of $4.99. So if you’re wavering, now’s the time to grab it.

At the time of writing, it’s available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you’re a Kobo or Apple user, you should be able to get it within the next few days, and I’ll update this blog post with the relevant links as soon as they appear. In the mean time, it’s here:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes & Noble Nook

UPDATE: two more links.

Smashwords

Kobo

(The Apple iBookstore is taking its time…)

As a teaser, here’s the first chapter.

 The body was barely recognisable as human.

It hung from a heavy chain, thick as a man’s arm, which passed up through a hook in the ceiling of the garage and ran taut towards a winch bolted to the floor on the right. The other end of the chain was wrapped several times around the body’s torso. The arms were fastened somehow behind the back so that the chain would have snagged under the armpits and enabled the body to be hoisted four feet off the ground.

It was the stench that Calvary found worst of all.

At some point, either before or after death – Calvary suspected the former – the body had been set alight. The sharp odour of petrol suggested it had been doused in fuel, as did the wet splashes across the oil-stained floor. The clothes, the skin, had been charred into a single black carapace; and the fusing of the links of chain with the flesh and cloth across which they were stretched gave the impression of some kind of grotesque, Gigeresque hybrid of the organic and the mechanical.

The smell was that of sweet, sun-ripened meat overlain with excrement and the copper tone of blood. It punched past Calvary’s defences straight into his primitive reptile brain, triggered primal reflexes of revulsion. He reeled away, clamping a hand to his mouth, feeling the gorge rise burning in his throat and forcing it back, biting down hard on his hand so that the pain would distract him.

Because he knew he couldn’t leave a trace of himself behind. Certainly not vomit.

His eyes streaming, the bile scouring his mouth and throat, Calvary counted down from fifty, slowing his breathing through is nose as he did so. By twenty, he realised he’d managed to regain control, to override the impulse to retch.

He stepped around the hanging body and peered up at it, taking care to avoid the pools and streaks of fuel on the floor. His movement caused small eddies in the air which swayed the scorched mass gently. The black facial bones appeared lumpy, not just from the remaining flesh on them but from something else, pieces of cloth perhaps. Between the ivory teeth, a collapsed object which had once been round, like a piece of fruit rotted beyond identification, wedged the grinning mouth ajar.

A ball gag, thought Calvary.

As well as the petrol, the floor revealed smears of long-congealed blood. Over at the door of the garage, blood streaked the walls thinly as well. Calvary pictured the sequence of events. A violent struggle just inside the doorway, followed by the dragging of the dead man, perhaps unconscious at the time, across to where the chain hung from its hook. Then the binding and hoisting into the air, the dousing with petrol, the lighting of the flame.

The gag wouldn’t have been enough to muffle the screams entirely, not when the agony was that intense. But Calvary noticed the acoustic plugs fitted over the windows, the new-looking ceiling panels which suggested layers of insulation above, and he knew the garage had been soundproofed.

Consideration for his neighbours had worked against the dead man.

The garage-cum-workshop was a large, low structure, two stripped-down old vehicles taking up a third of the floor space. Calvary scouted around, careful not to touch anything, but found nothing of interest. He hadn’t been expecting to.

He went back to the suspended body. There was no point in searching it. Nothing it might have had on it could be of any possible use now.

With a slow, grinding creak of the chain, the corpse’s arms emerged from behind its back and reached for Calvary.

He recoiled, horror clutching at his chest, and took a step back.

The corpse swung, juddering a little, its arms now by its sides.

Calvary clenched his teeth, angry at himself. He understood what had happened. Plastic ties had been used to secure the wrists behind the back, and, weakened by the earlier fire, they’d finally given way, causing the arms to swing free.

He peered at the right hand, twisted into a claw.

It didn’t matter now that the skeletal facial features were beyond recognition. On what had been the little finger of the right hand, dull but distinct, was a signet ring.

To Calvary it was confirmation enough of the body’s identity.

*

On a shelf at the back of the garage Calvary found a pair of thick rubber gloves. He stepped out of the stinking charnel house into the sharp winter’s afternoon brightness, squinting against the glare. The property was set back from the suburban road, down a slope thick with trees.

Calvary went round to the back of the house, almost stumbled over the corpse of a dog heaped on the scrap of lawn. It was a large beast, a wolfhound, Calvary guessed. Crusted blood matted the hair on its head and neck and flanks. It had been killed by blows from some blunt object.

The back door to the kitchen had a simple lock which yielded to Calvary’s attentions in less than a minute. He moved swiftly and quietly through the ground floor. A single man’s home, sparsely furnished and decorated, with the obligatory enormous plasma television and sound system in the living room. A search upstairs revealed two bedrooms, only one of them in recent use. There was nothing of interest in the drawers, or in the sideboard in the living room. No correspondence, no paperwork of any kind. The walls and the shelves were unadorned by photographs.

The man hanging in the garage had lived, and died, entirely alone.

Unless you counted his dog, of course. Calvary felt a sudden fury grip his innards. It was unreasonable, he knew. Feeling upset about a dead animal when a human being had been horribly murdered. But Calvary knew reasonableness was an indulgence to be reserved for normal situations, which this certainly wasn’t.

He exited the house and made his way back to the garage. In the gloom, the body was still hanging – Calvary had entertained a terrible fancy that it would be gone – with one arm now turned so that the palm faced forward. All the digits were curled closed except for the index finger, which pointed in Calvary’s direction, as though accusing him.

As well it might.

Calvary stared at the grotesque tableau, burning the image into his mind as the dead man’s flesh had been seared against the skull. At last, he closed the door and breathed in clear, cold air and made his way back up to the road.

After nine months, finally, it was time for him to stop running.

Name change, and coming attractions


You’ll notice this blog’s new moniker above. “Dead Drop” wasn’t an entirely satisfactory representation of what I write, and in any case there’s another site which can lay far greater claim to the name. (And a great site it is, too.)

Coming in late January, and much later than I previously announced – I really need to avoid setting firm launch dates – is the new Martin Calvary thriller, Annihilation Myths. Following the mayhem of Severance Kill, the new book sees former assassin Calvary on the run from his pursuers The Chapel and holed up in rural France. One day, he encounters an old Army friend of his in Paris, and finds himself sucked into the machinations of a sinister populist organisation committed to some extreme changes to the French body politic…

The fourth novel in the John Purkiss series, Tundra, a claustrophobic thriller set in a Siberian research station, will be out as close to the end of March as I can make it.

 

Once again, happy New Year, and keep reading!

 

Coming soon

Coming soon

Exclusive offer for mailing list subscribers


To thank everyone who’s joined my new-release mailing list, I’m offering a new 8,000-word John Purkiss short story, SPIKED, in mobi, epub and PDF format, downloadable upon sign-up. SPIKED sees Purkiss in Hong Kong a few days before Christmas, investigating the stabbing to death of a British intelligence agent. A second agent has been accused of the murder – but is the case as cut-and-dried as it seems? And can Purkiss escape the Triads in time to solve the crime?

SPIKED isn’t available anywhere else, so if you haven’t yet signed up to the list, you can do so here.
spiked

 

Thanks for all your support of my books in 2013, and happy New Year!

Jokerman


After a long gestation and difficult birth, the third John Purkiss novel is available, at least on Amazon. It’ll be published for Kobo, Nook and other ereaders in due course, once those sites get round to processing it.

Oh, and it’s on sale at a special introductory price for the next five days only.

 

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1eGq7TZ

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1b81Ea5

Jokerman Cover MEDIUM

Excuse corner


Apologies to anyone who’s wondering why the new John Purkiss thriller, Jokerman, isn’t out yet, as I said it would be by now.

 

The book’s ready to go, but Amazon isn’t. I’m locked in a dispute with the company at the moment, and until it’s resolved, they won’t let me publish anything new with them.

 

I’m hoping this will all be sorted out by next week. Once it is, Jokerman will be up and running, and those of you who’ve signed up to the mailing list will be the first to hear about it.

I’m a collaborator


No, I’m not confessing to odious war crimes here. My co-written thriller with newcomer James Rush, Omega Dog, is out now, in James’s name only (because that’s the kind of person he is, and I am).

For those who’ve signed up to the new-release email list, I haven’t mentioned this because it’s not a Tim Stevens release, technically. (I’m splitting hairs, I know.)

A knock-em-down, take-no-prisoners (and miner-of-cliches) tour de force of a riproaring thriller, it’s available for the Kindle in the US here and the UK here, plus everywhere else Amazon operates.

Enjoy. Or Joe Venn will pay you a visit.

Omega Dog Cover_MEDIUM

 

The Jokerman Cometh


The new John Purkiss thriller, Jokerman, will be out at the end of August. If you’d like to receive advance notification of its release, as well as of the opportunity to get it at a special reduced introductory price, then please sign up to my mailing list, here.

As I’ve said before, this is purely a notification list for my new releases. You won’t get spammed, phished or harassed in any way as a result of signing up.

Jokerman cover

Jokerman cover

Still still alive


Slight change of plan. The next John Purkiss novel will now be titled Jokerman and will appear later in the summer, probably July or August. The next thriller featuring Martin Calvary, protagonist of Severance Kill, will be out in the autumn.

In other news, if you’d like to sign up for email updates when my new books are released, you can do so here. I’ll never email you about anything else or give your address out to anyone else, so no spam. And I won’t stalk you either.

Still alive


Just wanted to let anyone who’s still out there know that I haven’t been taken out by a sniper’s bullet, but am a firm believer in the dictum that if you haven’t got anything worth saying, you might consider saying nothing at all. (In which case, why was this blog ever started in the first place? I hear the unkind among you mutter.)

A bit of news: the third John Purkiss novel, Annihilation Myths, will be out in all ebook formats at the end of May. The second Martin Calvary novel, following on from Severance Kill and with a title yet to be confirmed, will appear in September.

And I’ll get round to releasing Delivering Caliban and Severance Kill in paperback some time this year.

Severance Kill


Ahead of schedule, and having dropped the definite article from its title, my new thriller Severance Kill is now out as an ebook for the Kindle and via Smashwords for all other ereaders. This is something of a departure as although it’s an action/espionage thriller, it doesn’t feature John Purkiss, the protagonist of Ratcatcher and Delivering Caliban.

Martin Calvary is a former soldier and Afghanistan veteran who’s been working as a professional assassin for the last four years, taking out enemies of the British state who are beyond the reach of the law. The job isn’t one that a normal person could sustain for long, and Calvary wants out. The trouble is that his employers, known as The Chapel, aren’t ready to discharge him from his contract yet, and want him to carry out one last hit in Prague. If he does so, he’ll be let loose. If he doesn’t, evidence of the illegal assassinations he’s carried out so far will be given to the police and the press, and he’ll become a wanted criminal facing life imprisonment.

If you like fiction with action, adventure, suspense, twists, Cold War spies, modern spies, exotic Eastern European locations, and the most heartless mobsters this side of The Sopranos.. you’ll find all of this here, and more.

Enjoy.

http://amzn.to/UMBCMl (Amazon US)

http://amzn.to/TZpKIm (Amazon UK)

http://bit.ly/Wkr2gP (Smashwords)

 

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