It's fun to try a book before you buy. Here's a sample of the chilling book I reviewed earlier this week, Depraved.
Trapped between life and death, justice and revenge,
while a beautiful murderer lurks.
Evil disguises itself behind a mask of beauty in DEPRAVED. Finley Bliss must survive a shocking betrayal by his stunning, murderous wife Eva. Stranded in a coma and warehoused in a squalid nursing home, Finley must cross back over the mystical river of life to consciousness, so he can reveal the truth, exact justice and seek revenge . . . but how? Ruthless Eva has legal and medical protocols on her side — the authority to pull the plug to end his life support. Finley's only chance is a mysterious being he calls James Earl Jones who appears by the river to give him counsel.
Depraved is an insightful, genre-bending thriller — a gripping mystery and a compelling love story, from the beginning to the surprise ending.
Excerpt: of Depraved
"Would you like to talk about it?"
"Talk about it?" Finley flared. "Talk about it?"
Holy crap, something awful had just happened, something horrible. He couldn't remember what. A car accident maybe? No. No, it was something about his wife. Weren't they just talking about his wife? He had just said something about her to this guy, but what was it? Why was everything so jumbled? His head felt like it was splitting. And who was this guy anyway? Whatever. Whatever. Here he was. He was here now, in this place, this . . . where was he again? The lights in the room started to flicker. Wherever it was, they seemed to be having electrical issues.
"Stay with me," the old man said.
"Are you a movie star?"
"Do I look like a movie star?"
Finley smacked his forehead.
"What is this, hell for boring people? Is that where I am?"
"Stop it," the man commanded. "Don't get all stormy on me." He steepled his fingertips together. "Please," he coaxed. "Easy. Easy."
Finley was anything but easy. He was outraged.
"So I'm boring; so shoot me." The abundance of impulses now discharging from the nerve cells in his brain generated a power surge. The circuit breaker was tripped, and those flickering lights went out.
James Earl Jones shook his head, started another game of solitaire, and waited.
There was no time clock in this arena, no measurement of time to speak of at all, so the question of how long Finley's brain remained offline was moot. Eventually, his head jerked.
"Oh, crap. Whoa. What is going on with me?"
The elderly black man watched as Finley struggled to refamiliarize himself with his surroundings.
Below him somewhere he heard air-filled balls bouncing on hardwood and saw ghostly people-shaped forms doing . . . something. Shooting hoops, that was it. His dad used to ask him to go out into the drive and shoot hoops before dinner. I'm in a basketball gym. He started to look around.
"Don't be looking 'round now," a voice from behind said. "You've got to watch something here."
Finley could not help but turn to see who had spoken.
The man smiled.
"You look like you're surprised to see me."
What a strange way to start a conversation.
"Why wouldn't I be?" he asked.
"We've been talking for twenty minutes."
Finley struggled for context, but had to settle for déjà vu.
"Twenty minutes? You and I?"
"Maybe twenty hours," the man said.
Déjà vu, big time.
"You need to watch something here," the man said.
Finley wondered now if he had stumbled into some insane person's LSD trip or maybe onto the set of a bad Hollywood movie. Yes! A movie! That would explain the guy sitting just above him. Morgan Freeman? No, that wasn't right. Well, hey, this might be fun.
No, it wouldn't be. For one thing, his head ached like a train wreck, and, for another, he had no script. Had he lost it? He didn't know his lines. He didn't know his part. He was probably just an extra, but where was the director? None of this made sense, any sense at all, and, yet, somehow it all seemed familiar.
At the far end of the room, a blinding light poured through a door and a voice called out names: "Brinley, Brywell, Deffenderfer, Lewis, Reed, Taylor, and Vanaman."
Finley watched seven figures drop their basketballs, hustle into the luminescent tube, and start for the door.
"Head for the light, right?"
"Only if you're called," the man admonished. "That's what I've been trying to explain to you."
Finley stood up. "I'm going."
"No, you're not," the old man said. "Sit back down."
He didn't care if his name had been called or not. Finley wanted out. He hopped down the bleachers and headed for the river of light.
The man rose with alarm.
"Don't be a fool!"
That nagging voice that Finley had argued with all his life, the one in a back room somewhere in his brain, shouted, "You should have listened to that guy. You know who that was?"
The eighth and uninvited soul, Finley A. Bliss, trudged up the light-stream, followed the others through the door, and then tripped into oblivion. Total darkness. No light, no people. No floor. Just suddenly falling through emptiness like a grain of sand somewhere in space beyond the Milky Way.
Finley Alan Bliss ceased to exist. Almost.
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