This is the second novel I read written by Author Ricki Dragoni. Author Ricki Dragoni spins a intriguing nightmare with his novel ‘The Swift’.
The main protagonist, Coach Mike wakes up August 8, 2022 to find nothing working, no electronics period. Nothing from a flashlight to any utilities working in town. The word of mouth information has it that the military will be evacuating the town of Storm Lake by sundown. The military arrives in antiquated vehicles not seen since the Vietnam War.
The first thing the military does is throw up a barb wire fence around the town. Then the evacuation starts. The military separates the town’s people into two groups, one group to green transport trucks and the other into a fenced in pen. Then they are gone with no explanation on what happened, leaving them in the pen.
After escaping the pen, those who are left decides to travel to the military base at Fort Dodge to find their families and answers. They must travel at night because the sunlight now burns their eyes. All process food is contaminated. The only things palpable is water, alcohol, and fresh meat. The trip is taking a toll on them, they are wasting away. In between them and their objective is the Swift. The Swift appeared shortly after they start the trip. The Swift is a group of vicious, brutal, creatures that are lightening fast with hands of sharp claws. Some can breathe fire. You shutter when you hear their high pitch screams knowing death is close at hand.
The story will draw you into the adventure and terror as Coach Mike strives to be united with those he loves. The ending is a fantastic twist to the story. No spoilers here. You have to read the novel to find out what Coach Mike finds out what actually happened to them.
You can find out more about Ricki Dragoni at the following links: https://book2read.com/r/B-A-HRGE-CYES
Next on the free chapter list is the first chapter of my thriller Window Pane. You can find the whole novel at the following links:
https://www.books2read.com/u/mK9BBZ and https://www.amzn.to/1u92UUj
The rain streaked the window pane against the pitch black night. Thunder rumbled far away; it echoed the emptiness she felt within her soul. Where was she? Why did they leave her here? She stared at the image reflected in the window. Who was this strange woman staring back at her? She had no recollection of how she got here, who brought her here or why. The image distorted in the waves of rain running down the window.
The harder she tried to understand what was going on the more frustration swelledwithin her soul. How could the old crone’s reflection in the window be her? She raised her fist to smash the image and stopped in horror. The fist was age speckled and the skin hung loose on the bony fingers. She twirled around to flee this horrible nightmare but her body creaked and groaned in protest. Nothing she saw was familiar. The furniture in the small room was pleasant enough, but held no comfort. The walls were painted in pale beige. The pictures on the walls beckoned to her, yet the people were not identifiable. Where were the matching pair of wingbackchairs she cuddled up in under the soft quilt watching the flames flicker in the fireplace?
She hobbled to the door. Hospital stench bombarded her senses as she pulled the heavy door open. The lights were very dim in the narrow hallway, making it nearly impossible for her to see where she was going. She held her shaky hand out in front of her as she shuffled her feet to keep her footsteps as quiet as she could. If only she could get out of wherever this was, maybe she could findher way home.
She passed door after door, hearing low moans along with whiffs of obnoxious odors coming from behind the doors. She finally reached the end of the hall. It emptied out into a larger corridor that had seven other hallways branching off just like the one where she stood. In the middle of the corridor was a central desk. The only light in the corridor was a dim light from a computer screen sitting on the desk. On the other side of the desk above a double set of doors blinked a neon red exit sign.
She crept towards the doors. The exit sign beckoned to her to hurry as there was not much time for her to escape to freedom. The nearer she came the harder it was to breathe. Her heartbeat started pounding in her ears. Her legs were trembling by the time she arrived at the door. She leaned against the door, closing her eyes. The cool wood felt good to her feverish cheek. She drew a breath deep as she could muster before she tried to stand straight. Tiny shards of colored lights danced in front of her eyes as she grabbed the lever door handle. She shoved it down with all her weight.
She heard a click as the door latch came free. A second later, a loud alarm sounded. She pushed the door as hard as she could, trying to squeeze by the heavy door. Rain splashed against her face as she wedged her body in the small opening.
Heavy footsteps rumbled above the sound of the rain as she felt the door move outward. Just as she freed herself, a firm gentle hand caught her by the arm and pulled her back.
“Hey, what do you think you are doing trying to go out in this rain storm?” The large orderly swept her up in his arms and pulled the door shut. He set her in the wheelchair that was by the desk, and then reached over the desk, shutting off the alarm. He knelt by the chair, placed his mammoth hand over the fragile shoulder. “You know I cannot allow you out this late at night in the midst of a downpour. Let’s get you back in your room and in dry clothes. I may even be able to find a little bit of cocoa to warm you from the chill.” His eyes sparkled with kindness as he gently lifted her feet up on the wheelchair foot rest.
The wheelchair squeaked as the small front wheels wobbled severely. He had a hard time keeping the chair going in a straight line. “Looks like I’m going to have to get the oil can out again.” He gave a sigh as he bumped the door to her room open with his foot and backed into the room. He wheeled her over by the bed then went and got a towel, draping it over her shoulders. He then got a gown out of the dresser, laying it on the bed. “Here is a nice warm gown for you to change into while I finish making my rounds, then I will get you a cup of cocoa.” He lifted her out of the wheel chair and sat her on the bed.
He folded the wheelchair as he gave her a warm smile, then he was gone. She looked down at the gown and then over at the rain streaked window. Even though he was nice, she did not want their cocoa. It always had a bitter after taste. It made her groggy and she could not think straight for hours afterwards. She changed and threw the wet gown in the hamper.
The door across the room opened, admitting a tall, elegant, mature man carrying a covered tray. He smiled at her as he set the tray on the small table. “Figured the storm would wake you, here, sit down. I made you a nice cup of French vanilla mocha cocoa. I even swiped extra marshmallows for us.” He gently guided her to the chaise before sitting beside her, removing the cover, revealing an array of delicious petit fours with two steaming mugs of cocoa. “Thunder always upset you.”
She kept an eye on his every movement as he prepared the mug of cocoa with marshmallows for her. His mannerisms and twinkling gray eyes gave her a small comfort in this sterile environment. The gray hair over his ears added to his charm as the laugh lines crinkled at the edges of his eyes.
He held out the mug toward her. The delicious aroma won her over and she carefully took it wrapping her thin fingers around the mug. Its warmth spread through her fingers up her slender wrists traveling to her heart. There, it slowly wiped away the hollowness and filled her with hope. She watched as he sat back and sipped his cocoa and popped a petit four in his mouth. He closed his eyes as he chewed. A satisfied grin spread across his face.
She sat there, sipping from the mug, as she kept a cautious eye on the man’s movements. There was something strange about how he knew she would like this cocoa. It was as if he could reach into her mind and pull out things prohibited to her. She wanted to throw the mug against the wall and scream questions at him.
He sat up and handed her a petit four before snatching several more and popped them into his cheeks. He looked like a chipmunk gathering nuts for the winter. He turned and tried to smile at her. The chocolate covered teeth and crooked grin broke down her resistance and she gave a small giggle.
He washed the petit four down before joining her in the giggle. “I love to hear you laugh. It lightens your soul and heart when you do.”
She sat the cup and petit four down. “Do I know you? I cannot remember anything any more. I do not know where I am or how I got here. Please help me.” A tear gathered in the corner of her eye.
He set the cup down and reached into his pocket withdrawing a large embroidered monogrammed handkerchief and dried the tear. He handed her the handkerchief as he gently pulled her to her feet and into his embrace. There she felt comfort, peace, and fulfillment.
He caressed her hair as he leaned his chin on the top of her head.
Matthew Davenport’s newest novel ‘Satan’s Salesman’ main character, Shane Lowe, is the top sales person of Computer Information Technology. He always made over his sales quota. He keeps an engagement ring in the glove box of his Sebring waiting for the right time to propose.
Shane believes his ship has come in when Sara Durant, the Global Account Manager loses her job because of poor sales performance. He is told that the position is his for the taking. He tells his girlfriend, Margaret ‘Maggie’ Powers and Dale Lawson, his best friend the good news. His ecstatic enjoyment is stalled when he has a confrontation with Sara Durant where she tells him she has a backup plan and is sorry. When Shane says she has nothing to be sorry her answer is ‘Yet’ with a ominous undertone.
The next day after Shane accepts the position he finds his stuff packed up in boxes outside his new office and Sara sitting in his chair. Shane storms in to find Sara gloating one minute and crying the next. Her backup plan has come in effect. She gives Shane a business card stating for him to call it, they grant wishes. On the card reads only Perdition Investments along with a phone number.
Shane is not one for phone calls when it comes to an initial meeting. He does a reverse search on the phone number and comes up with the address. Shane arrives at the address to find only an field filled with tall grass. Among the grass was a lone fence post with a carved wooden sign with Perdition Investments burnt in it nailed to it. Shane searches the horizon for any sign that the company ever existed besides the sign.
He turns back to his car to find a strange woman leaning against the Sebring. It turns out to be Sherri Webster, the Sales Manager at Perdition Investments. She seemed to magically appear out of nothing. Shane wants Perdition Investments to reverse Sara’s wish however, Sherri offers something better, a new job with limitless possibilities, the only catch is, it cost your soul. You can earn it back by saleing the same deal to others.
Matthew Davenport does a great job of weaving thrill and suspense throughout the story. It reminds me of a mixture of the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. I give it a four and a half stars, minus a half a star for language.
On Sale Friday, March 10, 2017
Have you ever woken up and for a split second not know where you were, how you got there, or even who you are? Imagine not being able tell reality from imagination, seeing things and being able to touch things others cannot. Author Sue Raymond delves into the what if it actually happens, in her newest novella ‘Window Pane’.
Book blurb: The rain streaming down the window pane entices her to join it in its run. Why does it have such pull on her soul? Does the rain truly have the answers of her past? Why does no one help her find out why she cannot remember who she is and where this place is that she finds herself? Who is the young female dancing in the rain, which only she can seem to see? Why is there such an allure to join her in the rain? She is lost with only the rain consoling her soul. How can this be real? Why can’t she wake from this nightmare, back to the life she knows is hidden somewhere deep within the recesses of the ever presence darkness at edges of this horrible world?
On sale March 10, 2017. Print copy: $8.00 Ebook copy: $2.99
“Author Sue Raymond has given her readers a story of Mystery, Romance, and a picture of every lasting love, in her new release “Window Pane”. Bravo Ms. Raymond.”
- Kathryn Daugherty Novel and Short Story Writer Author of A Case of Hearts and She Promised Her Heart
“’Window Pane’ can be take two ways in this story. In the title ‘Pane’ is what the woman is looking at and through. The other spelling, pain, is what the woman is feeling for several reasons. The first is, who am I? Who is that old woman’s reflection on the pane? Who is that young woman dancing in the rain and why does she look familiar? Where am I and why am I here? To find out the answers you have to read the story. I enjoyed the mysteries, feelings and descriptions of every scene.” –Author Larry Stumbo, ‘Experience as a New Soldier’.
“Window Pane is a haunting tale masterfully woven by author, Sue Raymond. After I read it, it stayed with me nibbling on my mind, the true sign of a great read. Ms. Raymond has a way of writing that burrows into your thoughts, pulling out the emotions of the reader. I highly recommended this story.” – Author Nan McAdam, ‘Surviving the STRESS of Your Parents’ Old Age’.
“The Window Pane is a beautifully haunting story of life, love and the devastation of robbed memories. Once you start reading it you won’t be able to put it down. You feel for the main character as she tries to find the mysterious man who is so much of a gentleman. When she is with him she feels at peace and he makes her smile. A beautiful heartwarming story you will remember long after you have finished the last page.” –Wendy Siefken, Author, ‘Penelope Rose, What Do You Want To Do Today?’
About the author: Sue Raymond was born and raised in the Midwest along with her siblings. Sue was trained in the Commercial Art field before marrying her husband. After raising two sons and having five grandchildren, Sue started a new avenue in her life, writing. She has eight published novels as she works on four other novels and five children’s stories.
You can contact Ms. Raymond through Upon Eagle’s Wings, Malachi Ink
516 East Park Avenue,
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
ISBN/EAN13: 0998294217 / 9780998294216
Links: E-Book: https://www.books2read.com/u/mK9BBZ
Print: Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/6934392