Argh, another neglected series! In November it’ll be three years since The Maddest of Men was published. I actually wrote it for an open call where they asked for an MC who did bad things for a living but longed for something more…or something along those lines, I don’t really remember. It doesn’t matter, they didn’t want Grayham so he got a life on his own.
I don’t read a lot of sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories, though I pick them up a lot more frequently than I used to. Some days I just long for a dark, gritty, post-apocalyptic book. The Maddest of Men isn’t dark and gritty, and yet it’s pretty dark.
Grayham can tell when someone is lying, he’s a living polygraph, and he’s never wrong. And, since he’s Cham Hovda’s – one of Carona’s drug lords – right-hand man, he gets to use his skill on a regular basis. And if someone refuses to answer his questions…a little torture goes a long way.
Creed is a retrieving agent. He’s hunting people with special abilities and he has a way of getting close to Grayham. Something is wrong, though. Grayham doesn’t have an implant – all the metas have implants – and Creed’s boss sent him on the mission alone. Alone.
Everyone getting close to Grayham dies and yet Creed has to get close, and he has to do it without backup.
I loved writing both The Maddest of Men and The Lords of Lettuce and I was supposed to have written Eight Fingers in the Game. I have a Scrivener file, I have it somewhat plotted, but that’s it. And it pisses me off that I haven’t written it. I love Carona and its drug lords, crazy opticians, and drug dealers.
I need to sort out my priorities – yes, I’m like Hermione in Harry Potter.
Metas were remnant victims of the wars, created to be super soldiers. No one had known until children started to pop up, some so traumatised by what they perceived in this world they couldn’t cope. It was a military program gone out of hand. Senses and bodily functions had been tampered with and enhanced. No one had believed it was something that would carry over to the next generation, but now three generations later, children were still born with metaphysical traits. How Creed would be able to bring one of them in against their will all on his own, he didn’t know.
He held his tray up to one of the beautiful women standing along the wall of the room. She, like everyone else here, was flawless. Their beauty always made him self-conscious. Why couldn’t the Bureau offer plastic surgery and enhancements like every other branch of society?
He clamped his lips together over his crooked teeth, totally ruining the smile he’d been aiming at her. They hadn’t even given him eye surgery. His fucked up eyes could be a danger in his line of work; he’d tried to make Howorth see it, but he didn’t listen. Not only was he half-blind but there was also the colour. Creed wondered how many here today would remember him because of the different colouring. And sure, even if he had surgery he would still need the lenses to read the results of the scanner, but really, no one, no one, was short-sighted in the modern world. He guessed he should feel lucky Howorth had given him eye correction lenses, but still.
“Are those vegetarian?” The woman pointed at a cucumber slice with some creamy stuff and a roll of smoked salmon.
“Erm…no.” Creed refrained from rolling his useless, short-sighted eyes. “There is salmon on it.” When she simply stared at him, he smiled again. “Fish.”
“I know what salmon is.” Creed swallowed a ‘why the fuck did you ask then’ and fought against the strain in his facial muscles. “What I meant was is there any meat in those.”
“Fish.” He continued to hold out the tray for her while she looked at the salmon rolls. Finally, she deemed fish edible and took one.
A glimpse of red hair weaving through the throng caught his eye. Instead of hurrying along, he stood still and observed as the mass made a path for whoever it was—Creed had a pretty good idea of who it had to be, but he didn’t want to get his hopes up.
Cham Hovda gave a small wave from where he sat on the lounge, his lips were tight, and he was paler than Creed had ever seen him. He hadn’t moved at all during the evening which made Creed believe the rumours of him being shot in the leg the week before were true. They hadn’t been able to find any medical records, but it wouldn’t be the first time someone from the underworld succeeded in staying out of the system—the inquisitor didn’t exist according to the system. Creed had spent a good week trying to dig up something, anything, and he hadn’t even managed to find a name.
Stepping a little closer to the woman, he tilted the tray ever so slightly. “One more perhaps?” He smiled and tried to be discreet in watching as the inquisitor bent down to whisper something in Hovda’s ear.
“Thank you. Could I get a glass of champagne too?”
Creed gritted his teeth. He was obviously not the champagne guy, and he was about to enlighten her when the inquisitor stepped away from the lounge. A few more steps and he would be right between Creed and the bar. “I’ll see what I can do, ma’am.”
He straightened his back and channelled his inner waiter. With an air of nonchalance, he neared the man. Milky white skin, bright red corkscrew curls Creed wanted to pull only to see them bounce back—an evil man shouldn’t look like that.
Is lying to a living polygraph really a good idea?
To prove his loyalty to Cham Hovda, one of the local drug lords, Grayham is willing to do anything—and he does. He helps Cham run his empire by finding out the truth by any possible means. It’s not as hard as it may seem, all he has to do is ask the right questions, and his internal polygraph will tell him if someone is lying or not. And when they lie—well he deals with that too. Life as an inquisitor can get quite lonely, not that Grayham plans on doing anything about it. It would kill him to have to off a lover.
Creed is a retrieving agent on a mission. He is to infiltrate one of Carona’s drug organisations to get to the inquisitor. Rumour states the man with the fiery red curls has supernatural powers; it also says anyone coming close to him disappears. Creed has no idea how he’s going to make it out alive or why his supervisor sent him in without backup. But, when an opening to work as a waiter at one of the drug lord’s parties presents itself Creed sets to work.
In a world where people compensate for the years of bombings and starvation with clinic bought physical perfection a man with crooked teeth and mismatching eyes stands out. Grayham notices the waiter watching him straight away. If he’s there to harm Cham, he’ll deal with it. Creed knows he must get his hands on the inquisitor so when he is invited to the man’s flat he agrees to come even though he knows it might be the last thing he’ll ever do.