Friday, March 31, 2017

Looking for a supernatural thriller on a global scale?

Try Luk Thep, my horror novella set in both Thailand and Michigan!




The ‘luk thep’ are the ‘angel dolls’ or ‘spirit dolls’ of Thailand. Ultra-realistic in appearance, some Thais believe that each doll is infused with the spirit of a prematurely departed child. But are all child spirits benevolent?

Jane Hughes is an American executive who is visiting Thailand for a routine business trip. When she sees her Thai colleague’s ‘luk thep' doll, she has dark premonitions about what is actually inside it. When Jane later receives the same doll as a gift, she begins a ghostly nightmare that will lead to terrifying supernatural encounters on two continents.




HORROR FICTION: Eleven Miles of Night: Reading #1:





He stepped into the darkness of the covered bridge and told himself: Only a few more miles to go, if only your nerves and your sanity hold out, that is. 
The inside of the bridge’s enclosure smelled of mold, mildew, and the unseen waters that ran beneath it. It had the dank, black feeling of the bottom of a well. 
As he placed one foot down on the first creaking plank of the bridge, he half-remembered a nightmare: a dream of an evil presence that was vaguely female—or no, that pretended to be female. She (it?) might be a ghost or possibly something much worse. And she was lying in wait for him, like the evil witch in the children’s story, Hansel and Gretel
He took another step into the all-consuming darkness. The wood creaked again, practically groaned this time. She’s waiting for you, he thought. Whatever she (or it) is, you’ll find out before you reach the other side of this bridge.
Now why would the sound of that creaking wood trigger such thoughts?
Then he remembered: Because she had told him that she would be waiting for him here. At the bridge....



Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror: Chapter 10





My lessons with the three remaining children—like most other normal activities on the estate—were suspended in the wake of the fire.
As I was making my way to the main house that morning, a security guard met me halfway. He told me, politely but firmly, that I should return to my quarters. Someone would bring breakfast. An hour later, someone did, an older woman who worked in the kitchen. Needless to say, I was desperate to see Marisol.
I was also terrified now that suspicion would fall on me, and that I would immediately break under questioning, and give myself away. 
Around noontime a security guard finally came and escorted me to the main house. I was taken to a private study where Raul Garcia was waiting for me. Garcia was seated behind a desk. Two large, rough-looking men were seated on a divan on the far side of the room. Their sport coats and Italian shoes didn't disguise the fact that they were violent characters....

Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror: Chapter 9





Marisol worked quickly. She brought the items I requested the very next night: a small container of kerosene—this being a plastic bottle that would allow me to disperse the liquid over a wide area—and a box of matches. 
As she left that night, she gave me her key. We had both nearly forgotten that last but all-important item.
“Are you sure you don't want me to come with you, Mark?” she asked.
“No,” I told her for at least the fourth time. This was a one-person job; and the extent of the danger it entailed was now fully dawning on me. There was nothing to be gained by putting us both at risk. 
“Okay, then. Bien.” 

Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror: Chapter 8





My teaching of the other three Garcia children, no doubt, suffered in the days after Marisol’s revelations. How could it have been otherwise?
Prior to that night, I had figured the Garcias to be a pleasant enough, if a bit eccentric, upper-class family. Now I had to live with the knowledge that my employer was a drug dealer.
But more than that, of course—the undead girl in the guesthouse adjacent to mine. 
I supposed that there was little enough physical danger. After all, Ana had been there, in the next building over, for the entire time I had resided at the Garcia estate. She was restrained in her chair, and securely locked inside the walls of the guesthouse. But having seen her, I could not unsee her. Nor could I rid my mind of the few minutes I had spent in her midst....

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Luk Thep: a horror novella: Chapter 4 reading



Jane whirled around from the window when she heard a sound at the doorway to Khajee’s office. Khajee had left the door open. There was no reason not to at this hour. The office wing of the factory facility was deserted, and a closed door would have made the heat in the tiny room simply unbearable.
Jane could not identify the generically male silhouette figure standing in the open doorway. Her first thought was Ram; but this man was too short, too diminutive. 
Then she noticed the mop and bucket that he was pushing. Janitorial staff, obviously.
Jane understood not a single word of Thai. (When she first started interacting with the TRX plant in Thailand, Jane had once dabbled with the language—for about fifteen minutes. Thai struck Jane as several magnitudes more difficult than the French she had studied in high school. Besides, foreign languages had never been her forte.) Nevertheless, it was easy enough to grasp the gist of the brief conversation that transpired between Khajee and the cleaning man: He wanted to clean her office, obviously part of his nightly routine. Khajee replied that she was still using it. Could he come back later?
As the cleaning man shuffled away, pushing his mop and bucket, Jane wondered if the old man’s presence might have been the source of her ongoing, unexplainable unease. Could he have been watching the two of them for a while in secret?
It was possible, though unlikely.
Then Jane saw the child, and she felt her heart jump inside her chest.
The little girl was of an indeterminate age between infancy and the toddler stage—perhaps a year and a half or two years old. Seated in a chair in the opposite corner of the office, she was wearing a red and white dress. Her features were vaguely Asian, which made sense in Thailand; and her hair was braided in two long pigtails. 
The little girl sat perfectly still, perfectly silent. She gave Jane a fixed smile. Her expression was superficially innocent, of course; but something about the smile suggested cunning. 
Nevertheless, a child.
“A little girl!” Jane gasped aloud. Her next thought was: This is Khajee’s child. Who else would the little girl be? 
Then, a cascade of secondary questions: Why had Khajee failed to mention or acknowledge the girl? Jane knew that Khajee was single. How would single motherhood work in a traditional society like that of Thailand? Why was the little girl sitting there so quiet and motionless—not like a typical child at all? 
This brought vague speculations of child abuse, of a little girl drugged so that she would not disturb her mother while she was working.
Was the little girl sufficiently fed, or held to starvation rations?
But Khajee responded to Jane’s open alarm with a gentle laugh. “She’s not a real little girl. She’s only a doll!”



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Challenging the Hellhounds (Eleven Miles of Night: Reading #112)

From my YouTube channel: In this reading, Jason and the elderly man, Jenkins, confront the hellhounds...




It sounded like a dubious strategy to Jason. Before he could raise an objection, he felt the old man tear away from the united mass the two of them had formed. Jason whirled and saw Jenkins raising his flaming torch over his head, like a club.
Don’t do that, he wanted to shout, but did not. Jenkins swung his torch downward, as if it were his intention to use the object as a club. The hellhound that had moved toward him edged backward to avoid the blow. The flaming cloth tip slid free from the torch stick, carried by momentum. The burning wad landed harmlessly in the grass.
We’re dead, Jason thought. Nothing to be done now.
In the same instant, another of the hellhounds was upon Jenkins. It sprinted forward, and Jason saw that this one was even larger than the others. He had a sudden, wordless epiphany: If the two of them were going to die, then he had might as well go down fighting. He stepped forward to meet the attacking hellhound, shoving Jenkins aside in the same motion. 
Ram it with the torch, Jenkins had said. Ram it with the torch....



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A vampire tale with REAL vampires



Are you tired of vampires that are heartthrobs for teenage girls? Try my short story, "The Vampires of Wallachia", which is one of the sixteen exciting tales contained in my HAY MOON short story collection.


For Stephen King/horror fans: Graves open in suburbia!

From my YouTube channel: Reading #35 of 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN:




HORROR set in the suburbs of Ohio in 1980

Listen for FREE on YouTube, or get the book on Amazon!


"....The formerly grassy spaces of the surrounding yards were churning—with mud, and with human bodies that were struggling to reach the surface. We could see hands, torsos, and faces that were still mostly caked with mud. 
Just a few paces from us, the body of an elderly woman broke through the mud. She was wearing a formal dress—the kind of dress that she might have been buried in—and half the skin on her face was gone. Her fingers, grasping toward us in the night air, were skeletal.
“Help me!” she pleaded.
“What the hell?” Bobby cried out.
I understood, as I had been the one to intuitively understand so much of what had happened over the past several days. These were the restless dead who were coming back for the night. The dead who were not content to move on, the dead who still craved life and the living..."




A murder mystery begins: LILITH, Chapter 1



Reading the first chapter of Lilith on my YouTube channel.

In this reading, detective Alan Grooms is awakened with the news that Lilith has struck yet again.



Friday, March 24, 2017

Welcome to/about my Twitter story feed

(For regular readers of my story blog, this will become a pinned tweet for my Twitter story feed.)

First, about me: I’m an author of suspense fiction. To get a rough idea of my work, you may want to check out my Kentucky crime novel, Blood Flats, my “haunted road” novel, Eleven Miles of Night, or my coming-of-age supernatural thriller, 12 Hours of Halloween. I’ve also written a corporate thriller, Termination Man. 

And those are just the tips of the proverbial iceberg. I’m constantly writing new novels and short stories. 

BUT NO: I’M NOT TRYING TO SELL YOU ANYTHING. REALLY. This isn't a “buy my book(s)” post!

I sell books on Amazon, of course. But my social media presence (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) is where I serialize my stories into bite-size chunks for an online audience. 

My online serializations are 100% FREE. You don’t have to register for anything, or give me your email address. All you have to do is head over to my YouTube channel and watch/listen. Consume as much as you want—listen to entire books/stories, or sample them. (The stories that are serialized on YouTube are usually available on Amazon if you’d prefer to read.)

I add story videos everyday. I use Twitter to post updates. 

What won’t you find on my Twitter feed? Caustic political rants, cat pictures, “memes”, and Internet drama. 

Anyway, I hope you follow me on Twitter. And even if you don’t, please visit my YouTube channel.

Thank you,

Edward Trimnell

12 Hours of Halloween: Reading #34

12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN: A NOVEL:  On Halloween 1980, three young friends go out for "one last Halloween" in a suburb that becomes a surreal landscape of terror.

Visit my YouTube channel to catch the other story videos!





A large shape revealed itself by moving across several sets of porch lights. Although my instincts urged me to recoil (to run in the opposite direction, in fact) I forced myself to step forward by several paces, so that I could gain a better look.
Silhouetted against the moonlight, the oblong snout of a large bear revealed itself. 
Bears, of course, are practically unknown in the populated regions of Ohio; and the bears that do exist in the Buckeye State are smaller black bears. The specimen far ahead of us must have been a full-grown grizzly. There are no wild grizzly bears east of the Mississippi, or far south of the Canadian border. 
Some of these specifics would have been beyond my grasp on that night, but no one had to tell me that the bear’s presence was unnatural.
Nor was the bear itself a normal phenomenon of nature. The animal ambulated with creaky, jerky movements. After pacing back and forth across the road several times, it stood in the middle of the blacktop pavement and barred our path.
“Oh, my,” Leah said. “That—that thing is from the Dolbys’ living room. Don’t you recognize it, Jeff?”
It took me a moment to grasp what Leah was talking about. At the far end of our street lived an elderly couple, a Mr. and Mrs. Dolby. Despite the age difference, the Dolbys were well-loved among the neighborhood children. When I’d had a paper route two summers ago, Mr. Dolby had routinely tipped me extra when I came around for collections. The Dolbys were always good for the purchase of a raffle ticket to support little league, or a one-year magazine subscription to support the school band.
On one especially hot day, Mrs. Dolby had invited me to step inside their house while she retrieved my paper money (plus a glass of lemonade). That was when I’d noticed Mr. Dolby’s bearskin rug.
“Oh, that old thing,” Mrs. Dolby had explained. “That belonged to Mr. Dolby’s grandfather. I believe that his grandfather’s father shot the bear in Montana. That would have been sometime during the 1800s—not long after the Civil War, in fact.”
“I’ve seen the rug,” Leah explained now. “The bearskin rug. I remember it from a few years ago, back when I was still in Girl Scouts and we were selling cookies.”
That explained the bear’s almost mechanical movements. It was really a bear—a bear that had been dead for a very long time.
I recalled my mother mentioning something a week or so ago—about the Dolbys leaving early for Florida this year. So at least the reanimated bear carcass—if that was indeed what it was—wouldn't harm them. But our safety was another matter.
“We can’t go that way,” I said.
“Maybe we can go around it,” Bobby suggested. Bobby separated himself from us and stepped into the grass of the adjacent lawn. He took a few steps forward, in the direction of our intended destination.
The bear moved laterally to counter him. It bellowed—a hollow, unnatural sound, nothing like a real bear, in all probability. But the message was clear: If we tried to go directly home, we would have to contend with that thing first.
Bobby walked carefully backward, his gaze fixed on the bear. 
“I wonder if those jaws work?” he asked.
“Do you want to find out?” Leah challenged him.
The bear now moved two or three feet in our direction. It wasn't quite a charge, but it was enough to make us move correspondingly in the opposite direction—back the way we had been going. 
“We can’t go this way,” I said. “We have to go back.” I understood now what was happening—or at least I thought that I did. The bear was there for a purpose. We were not supposed to go home early—it wasn't going to be that easy.  



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Some thoughts on short stories

From my YouTube channel: A few random thoughts on the continuing benefits of the short story, to both authors and readers:


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

12 Hours of Halloween: Reading #32

Remember: You can catch up on all the previous/ongoing story videos at my YouTube channel:




12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN: A NOVEL:  On Halloween 1980, three young friends go out for "one last Halloween" in a suburb that becomes a surreal landscape of terror.

Reading #32:

I paused before answering. What Bobby was saying was essentially my interpretation of the situation, his obvious skepticism notwithstanding. 
For some reason, the unusual happenings of the recent days had made my friends not only jittery, but touchy as well. This would cloud their judgment, I knew. And the divisions between the three of us might widen. 
I was already scared, and I had reason to believe that the “curse” as Bobby called it, might be seriously dangerous as well as unnerving. So far, it had all been little more than a display of strange sights and sounds. But given the horrific nature of those sights and sounds, that was bound to change...



'12 Hours of Halloween', Reading #31

Remember: You can catch up on all the previous/ongoing story videos at my YouTube channel:



12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN: A NOVEL:  On Halloween 1980, three young friends go out for "one last Halloween" in a suburb that becomes a surreal landscape of terror.

Reading #31:


It was the ghost boy. He was clad in his usual attire: army surplus jacket, tee shirt, and jeans. (Was there something wrong with his neck, though?)
The ghost boy was completely unsurprised by our presence there. He might have been waiting for us to show up. In retrospect, he almost certainly was.
“Hey! Why don't you guys come in and join the party?” he beckoned. With a sweep of one arm he made as if to invite us in.

There was indeed a gathering taking place inside the house, as could have been surmised from the noise—even when the door had been closed. The interior of the house was bathed in a dull orange-red light that prevented me from discerning many details about the figures milling around inside....




Monday, March 20, 2017

YouTube update video: March 20, 2017

What's on my YouTube channel? What's ongoing? What's coming down the pike? Plenty, as it turns out. An update to all my regular readers/viewers. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!


BLOOD FLATS: Chapter 2 reading now on YouTube!

From my YouTube channel: me reading Chapter 2 of my Kentucky crime novel, BLOOD FLATS:






BLOOD FLATS: Heart-pounding action in the heart of rural Kentucky! Lee McCabe, an ex-marine and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, must do battle with local narcotics traffickers, mafia hit men, and a lawman with ulterior motives.

Chapter 2

Lee walked through the wood-paneled hallway toward the kitchen of his trailer. The trailer was old. Its flooring creaked and groaned beneath his feet. 
The trailer was temporary, of course—just like his present job as a lathe operator at the SJR Machine Shop. He had banked a fair amount of his Marine Corps pay, resisting the temptation to spend it on leave like there was no tomorrow, as so many men did—since there might well be no tomorrow for any particular person in a time of war. And the lathe operator job paid decent wages. In the fall he would begin to take evening classes. There was a satellite branch of the University of Kentucky right here in Hawkins County.  
It was funny how your power relative to others changed, he reflected, sometimes moving you upward, sometimes pushing you back down the ladder. In the Marine Corps he had been a sergeant, grade E-5, with authority over other men and responsibility for other men’s lives. Now he was a lowly lathe operator. That was all right. In Iraq he had given commands that had brought death—mostly to the enemy, but once or twice to men he was leading, through his own misjudgment of the circumstances, the superior tactics of the enemy, or plain and simple bad luck.
God, I have had enough of giving orders for one lifetime, he thought. From here on out, let me neither take orders nor give them. Let me simply enjoy my freedom.  
This was something that civilians seemed incapable of grasping. They all wanted to know what the war had been like—and how it felt to be back; but they gave Lee slightly embarrassed smiles when he told them that it was simply good to be alive and free in a familiar place where no one was taking potshots at you. 
No, civilians didn't understand. No matter how circumspect their questions, civilians all wanted to know about the violence. They were practically obsessed with it: Were you in any shootouts? Did you see any al-Qaeda fighters? And always that one unspoken question that no one dared to ask: Did you have to kill anyone? 
Lee avoided these questions as much as he could. He simply wanted to reacclimate himself to the ways of peace. He had gotten to know violence intimately, and he wanted no further part of it. And no, he had no interest in telling war stories. Perhaps he would tell them when he was an old man. But he had no desire to tell war stories now. This, also, was an inclination that civilians could not fully grasp, he supposed.
He was in the kitchen when he heard the heavy footsteps in the gravel outside his front door. His body stiffened. Judging by the heaviness of the crunching noises, three to four men were passing by his trailer. They were walking deliberately without any banter or conversation between them. 
Lee made an instant connection between these footsteps and the engine he had heard a few minutes ago. He let go of the notion that he could simply ignore the situation. Rational or not, it was bothering him now. 
He stepped to his front window and drew the white ruffled curtain back a few inches. There were in fact four of them. He could see their backs now: each one was wearing either a trench coat or a hunting jacket, which didn’t make sense at this time of year. Then Lee noticed an angular bulge inside one of the trench coats. This made the reason for their unseasonable attire immediately apparent. 
The men obviously were not planning to pay him a visit. They were headed toward the adjacent lot. The trailer occupied by Tim Fitzsimmons, and his girlfriend, a young woman whom Lee knew only as Jody. 
Just past the edge of his own trailer, one of the men briefly turned around, as if making a quick survey of the surroundings. Lee froze.
The man had a dark beard and a bulbous nose. He looked vaguely familiar, though Lee could not place him. When you lived in a small town, there were many people outside your circle of friends and acquaintances whose faces were nevertheless familiar to varying degrees. Probably this man was someone whom Lee had seen around town. He was definitely a local. 
The man apparently had not noticed Lee looking out the window. He turned back around and continued walking with his companions.  
One of the men pointed to Tim Fitzsimmons’ trailer and gestured to the others. Yes, that was definitely where they were going. Where else would trouble of this kind be headed?



Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Incredible Horror Box Set!

Two Chilling Novels, a Creepy Novella, and 16 Tales of Terror!





This INCREDIBLE HORROR BOX SET includes four complete books of horror by master of suspense fiction, Edward Trimnell:

12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN: A NOVEL:  On Halloween 1980, three young friends go out for "one last Halloween" in a suburb that becomes a surreal landscape of terror.

ELEVEN MILES OF NIGHT: A NOVEL: A young filmmaker takes a walk down the most haunted road in Ohio. Hellhounds, malevolent ghosts, demons, and more!

LUK THEP: A HORROR NOVELLA:  A gripping international horror tale. Jane Hughes is an American executive who is pursued by a vengeful ghost from Thailand.

HAY MOON AND OTHER STORIES: SIXTEEN MODERN TALES OF HORROR AND SUSPENSE: Zombies, vampires, forest creatures, sharks, aliens, and dangerous humans. Sixteen unforgettable stories!




I thought it was time to put together a horror box set. I wanted to make this the biggest, baddest, horror box set available. 

There is a wide range of stories here. (You can check out the individual titles on Amazon for more information about each one.) And the price of the box set offers a very steep discount, compared to buying them individually.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

'Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror': Chapter 10 reading

From my YouTube channel: Reading Chapter 10 of my short horror tale set in Mexico:





Description:


Mark Bonner is a young college graduate from Ohio with an exciting new job. He has been hired as a private English tutor at the estate of Raul Garcia, a wealthy businessman of Zacatecas, Mexico.

But there is more to the Garcia family than meets the eye. The Garcias' oldest daughter, Ana, is inexplicably missing. And there is something about one of the guesthouses, which the rest of the family avoids. The maid, Marisol, crosses herself when she passes near the guesthouse, and whispers, "¡Brujas!"--the Spanish word for "witches".


Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", "Thanatos Postponed" is a tale of a family with more than one secret, and a story of death "postponed".


Chapter 10


My lessons with the three remaining children—like most other normal activities on the estate—were suspended in the wake of the fire.
As I was making my way to the main house that morning, a security guard met me halfway. He told me, politely but firmly, that I should return to my quarters. Someone would bring breakfast. An hour later, someone did, an older woman who worked in the kitchen. Needless to say, I was desperate to see Marisol.
I was also terrified now that suspicion would fall on me, and that I would immediately break under questioning, and give myself away. 
Around noontime a security guard finally came and escorted me to the main house. I was taken to a private study where Raul Garcia was waiting for me. Garcia was seated behind a desk. Two large, rough-looking men were seated on a divan on the far side of the room. Their sport coats and Italian shoes didn't disguise the fact that they were violent characters. 
Garcia’s expression was very grave, but I detected no anger directed at me. He motioned for me to sit in the chair opposite the desk. It was an antique armchair with leather upholstery—not unlike the one that Ana had been chained to. 




Reading Chapter 1 of BLOOD FLATS, my Kentucky crime novel

From my YouTube channel, reading Chapter 1 of BLOOD FLATS:


Heart-pounding action in the heart of rural Kentucky! Lee McCabe, an ex-marine and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, must do battle with local narcotics traffickers, mafia hit men, and a lawman with ulterior motives.



On the morning that he became a fugitive from justice, Lee McCabe awoke with two persistent sensations in his consciousness. The first was the sound that Apache helicopters make when they land in the desert, and how the dust swirls beneath them as they raise up little tornados of sand. The second was the smell of a woman’s strawberry shampoo.
As he struggled awake—alone in the small bedroom of his rented trailer—Lee realized that the sound was not that of an Apache helicopter but the rumbling of an approaching motor vehicle. Sounds carried a long way this far from town, especially on a Saturday morning. 
He resisted the notion that the approaching car or truck might be something to worry about. He was still overly cautious, he knew. What else could he expect after two years of living in a war zone? ....




Friday, March 17, 2017

'12 Hours of Halloween': Reading #29

From my YouTube channel, reading #29 of my coming-of-age horror novel set in suburban Ohio in the year 1980.

In this installment, Leah, Jeff and Bobby continue their interaction with the neighbor woman who is not quite what she seems....




They’re fake, I thought. They have to be. 
She pivoted to drop candy into the bags held by Leah and Bobby. I noticed that her hand brushed Bobby’s. I saw Bobby stare back at the woman with wide-eyed amazement, then repulsion and fear. The woman shot a smile back at him. It might have been a private joke passed between the two of them. But Bobby turned away quickly, barely murmuring his thanks.
I stole a glance inside the house, which looked mostly normal, except for some atmospheric Halloween lighting. (This, of course, was nothing out of the ordinary.) My attention was drawn to something small and black that was walking jerkily past the woman’s feet in the foyer. 
The black cat walked like a robot, with stiff joints. The cat was no robot, though. Its black fur was genuine—and matted with blood. 
 “Hit by a car,” the woman said in response to my unstated question. 
Leah saw the cat, too, now, and she gasped aloud....


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Curious about "The Vampires of Wallachia"?

You can listen to the story on my YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can read it in my first short story collection, or as a standalone short story on Kindle. 

(Read it for free in either form if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership.)

In the video below, I talk about the short story and the inspirations behind it.


New YouTube channel welcome



I've updated the welcome video over at my YouTube channel. There are lots of story videos posted, and lots more on the way!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror": Chapter 9 reading

From my YouTube channel, the ongoing reading of my long short story, "Thanatos Postponed: a short tale of terror":








Description:


Mark Bonner is a young college graduate from Ohio with an exciting new job. He has been hired as a private English tutor at the estate of Raul Garcia, a wealthy businessman of Zacatecas, Mexico.

But there is more to the Garcia family than meets the eye. The Garcias' oldest daughter, Ana, is inexplicably missing. And there is something about one of the guesthouses, which the rest of the family avoids. The maid, Marisol, crosses herself when she passes near the guesthouse, and whispers, "¡Brujas!"--the Spanish word for "witches".

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", "Thanatos Postponed" is a tale of a family with more than one secret, and a story of death "postponed".


Chapter 9

Marisol worked quickly. She brought the items I requested the very next night: a small container of kerosene—this being a plastic bottle that would allow me to disperse the liquid over a wide area—and a box of matches. 
As she left that night, she gave me her key. We had both nearly forgotten that last but all-important item.
“Are you sure you don't want me to come with you, Mark?” she asked.
“No,” I told her for at least the fourth time. This was a one-person job; and the extent of the danger it entailed was now fully dawning on me. There was nothing to be gained by putting us both at risk. 
“Okay, then. Bien.” 
I kissed her. I didn't know—though I could reasonably guess—that this would be our final kiss, at least for a long time. One way or another, the mission that I was about to embark upon would put an end to the evenings in my quarters. 
I waited several hours after Marisol departed. I wanted to wait long enough to be reasonably certain that the rest of the household would be asleep—especially Raul Garcia.
Finally the hour came when I could delay no more, when to wait any longer would put me unacceptably close to daybreak. I left my guesthouse with the key and matches in my pocket, with the bottle of accelerant tucked against my body.
Three minutes later, perhaps, I opened the door to the other guesthouse, stepped across the threshold, and closed the door behind me.
This time, Ana’s eyes were already open. The girl—or whatever was inside her—began to moan.....

Who is stalking and killing men on Internet dating sites?

Welcome to Lilith: a police procedural with a twist! 




Book description:

With Lilith, the search for love can be deadly. 

Someone is murdering Ohio men who use dating websites. The men are found in their homes, killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. 

Such is the work of the serial killer codenamed 'Lilith'. But who is Lilith? Is Lilith a 'she'? A 'he'? Or more than one person? 

These are the questions that Alan Grooms must answer. Grooms is a detective in the Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation (ODCI). 

Together with his partners, Dave Hennessy and Maribel Flynn, Grooms will enter the anonymous world of Internet dating to set a trap of his own. 

This will eventually pit him against a homicidal young couple who kill men for profit, a couple who will kill anyone who stands in their way.




Chapter 1


From the depths of sleep, Alan Grooms was first aware of his cell phone ringing. Then he saw the time on the digital clock atop the nightstand: It was 1:37 a.m. 
He snatched the glowing phone from its place beside the clock. He sat half-upright in bed, perched awkwardly on one elbow, and said in a hoarse whisper:
“Grooms here.”
Vicki, his wife of twenty-one years, stirred beside him, mumbling. She was still mostly asleep.
“Detective Grooms?” the voice on the other end of the call said. “This is Sergeant Rayburn, of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department. We were told to notify you immediately, no matter what the hour, in the event of another ‘Lilith’-related homicide.”
“So she got another one,” Grooms said, at a measured volume.
Although Alan’s work, true, was more often than not a matter of life and death, Vicki had to be up in four hours for her job at the accounting firm. There was no point in rousting her if he could avoid it.
“It sure looks that way,” Sergeant Rayburn said. “This one has all the characteristics.”
The sergeant had said the name ‘Lilith’ with the rising emphasis that is often applied to any makeshift, provisional term that is not universally recognizable. 
Lilith, to be sure, was only a temporary name for the individual, or group of individuals, who had recently taken one life in Dayton and another in Columbus. And now Lilith had taken a third life in Cincinnati, if Sergeant Rayburn’s initial information was accurate.
“Whereabouts?”
“In Evendale,” Rayburn said, referring to a community near Cincinnati that most people regarded as part of the city. “You’re close by, right?”
“I’m about fifteen miles north of town.”
“The victim’s name is Robert Billings,” Rayburn continued. “I’ll send you a text message with the address and the other details I have. They aren’t much at this point.”
“Thank you,” Alan replied. “Will I see you at the crime scene, Sergeant Rayburn?”
“No. We’ve had a bad night in Over-the-Rhine. Double homicide. But two deputies who work under my supervision will be there. Their names are Lee and Page. They’ll help you with whatever you need.”
“Tell your deputies I’ll be there in about thirty minutes. Forty at the outside. Thank you, sergeant.”
“Yep.”
Sergeant Rayburn terminated the call, and Alan Grooms’ mind began churning. He had known that this call would be coming, and likely in the middle of the night, given the way that Lilith worked. 
Alan Grooms was a twenty-year veteran of Ohio law enforcement, and a ten-year veteran of the Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation (ODCI). He was a detective first grade. His task now was to take the lead in the interagency investigation of the murders committed by Lilith—to catch her, or him, or them. To stop Lilith from killing any more people as soon as he possibly could. 
When Alan slipped out of bed, Vicki awoke. She rolled over, her gray- and copper-colored hair partially obscuring her face. Vicki was forty-five now, and she refused to dye her hair. But she still wore it long, as she had on the day that Alan first met her, twenty-five years ago. Vicki had been a civilian employee in the PX at Fort Benning, Georgia. She had also been a college student on summer break from the University of Georgia, just about to return to school for the fall semester. And Grooms, then an enlisted member of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, had learned the previous day that he would soon be deploying to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.
“Is it Lilith?” Vicki asked. She was as wide awake as Grooms was now.
“Yes. There’s been another one. In Cincinnati. I’ve got to go.”
Alan did not make a habit of burdening his wife and two daughters with the dark minutiae of his work. But he usually kept Vicki generally apprised of what he was working on, so she would not be alarmed in the event that he was called away at some strange hour—which was often the case.
“Do you want me to get up?” she asked. Alan knew that this was a strictly pro forma offer, but he appreciated it, anyway.
“No, you go back to sleep. I’m just going to throw on some clothes and go. I’ll try to get out of here without waking the girls.”
“Okay,” she said wearily. “Be careful.”
“Always,” Alan whispered, as Vicki rolled back over, away from him. 
Alan did not need to turn on the light to get dressed. Since this was an emergency call and outside of his normal workday, he did not take the time to don the dress slacks, blazer, white shirt, and tie that he would wear during what corresponded to his “business hours”. Using the small amount of light that filtered through the closed drapes across the room’s main window, Alan located a long-sleeve, pullover shirt and a pair of gabardine pants that he had set out a few days ago for this eventuality. Then he slipped into a pair of ankle-high Red Wing work boots, and knelt in the darkness to lace them up.
Grooms both heard and felt his knees crack as he stood back up again. 
He had come into the world in the now distant year of 1967. Grooms was not overly conscious of his age on a day-to-day basis, but he no longer had the immediate limberness that he once did when awakened in the middle of the night.
He was tall and thin, with dark curly hair that was rapidly thinning. Thirty years and a lifetime ago, he had been a high school distance runner of some reputation in the Cincinnati area. Three decades and some nagging knee problems had reduced his running to the occasional two-mile jog. But he still had the lanky build of a lifelong runner.
Grooms plucked his glasses from the nightstand, and then the wallet that contained his badge. Then he slid open the top draw of the nightstand and removed one of his spare service weapons: a holstered .38 special. It wasn't the gun he would want to have in a gunfight, but there would be no gunfights tonight.
Grooms strapped on the shoulder holster as he walked through the darkened house, stepping quietly past the bedrooms of his daughters, Emily and Frances. As this was a farmhouse, there was a side door that opened from the kitchen, and this was the one the family used for routine entries and exits. Grooms’ blue ODCI windbreaker and matching blue cap were hanging on the coat rack beside the door.
Alan stepped out onto the front stoop, squinting against the early March rain. It wasn't a rain, properly speaking, but a sort of mist that carried a chill and fogged up Alan’s glasses. He set off across the pebbles of the side walkway, then through the sallow late winter grass of the front lawn area, and finally onto the gravel driveway. 
On the way to his vehicle, Grooms heard his cell phone chime. He pulled the cell phone from his pants pocket and saw the address that Rayburn had promised, as well as some very basic information: Robert Billings, male, Caucasian, age thirty-three. 
There was another set of details that Alan could anticipate with reasonable certainty, given the pattern established by the murders committed in Dayton and Columbus: It would be established that Robert Billings had been a single, unattached, socially awkward male. Possibly overweight. It would also be established that Robert Billings had been engaged in online dating—as that was where Lilith seemed to identify and ensnare all of her victims. 
Alan drove a white Ford Explorer. He kept a mountable siren in the back, but decided that it wouldn't be necessary. There would be light traffic at this time of night and he would make good time. Most of the local police knew his Explorer, so he wouldn't be delayed if he exceeded the posted speed limit on the highway.
Alan climbed inside the Explorer and started the engine. He nosed the car out onto the rural route where he lived, looking both ways for cars, but also for deer. Just last week, one of his neighbor’s cars had been totaled, and the driver had sustained moderately serious injuries, when a big buck had stepped out into the road from nowhere and there had been no time to stop. This was a common occurrence in the vast semi-rural regions of Ohio.
He turned onto the access road that connected to the interstate. As he had anticipated, there were few cars on the rainy highway at 2:00 a.m. Interstate 75 was mostly long-haul semis at this hour. 
He gunned the Explorer’s engine, set the SUV’s cruise control to 72 mph and drove south, into the city. 
Tonight, for the first time, he would come face-to-face with the work of the serial killer, or killers, whom the police referred to as Lilith. And the battle against time and the wits of Lilith would begin, with more lives hanging in the balance.