The Vatican Games

Alejandra Guibert

Vera is born on the day an apocalyptic revenge is unleashed, annihilating half of the world’s population.
Her birth marks the beginning of a new world order run by powerful gaming corporations.
A warless existence with no poverty has been secured, until this fine balance becomes once more under threat.
Vera is the female David to beat Goliath and prevent further devastation.
The future lies in her hands. It’s a game that she needs to win.


Five of My Favourite Things About Being An Author

by Alejandra Guibert

I love creating stories, imagining a world that is not my own but someone else’s. As a child, I always created stories during bath time and became lost in my imagination to a point that my mother had to drag me out of the bathroom when I had been too long!

Of course creating characters gives me great pleasure too. Putting myself in someone else’s shoes and feeling what they feel and doing what they would do brings an incredible feeling as I’m putting it on the page. It’s almost as if I were introduced to these characters at the beginning of a book and as time went by and they developed, they would end up telling me what their next step would be.

One of my favourite things of being an author is the ability to be in my own bubble of creation. Spending time in the worlds I’m creating and with those people within those worlds and being able to create meanings and ideas through them.

I also enjoy immensely being inspired by other authors. Alongside my own journey as a writer, I am constantly reading and looking for inspiration from different sources: I enjoy looking into different and inspiring forms of expression from other novelists but I also thrive on the knowledge passed on by non-fiction authors. I usually have four or five books on the go, from which I gain inspiration, as long as they are relevant to what I’m writing.

And last but not least, I love the interaction with readers, I enjoy learning of their own interpretation of events and characters and sharing deeper meaning to a story or a poem. Some of my ideas and wishes translate into a kind of message that I want to convey. In brief, communication with the reader is paramount to my writing. Showing viewpoints and concepts that might help change reality for the better, whilst somehow moving or touching the reader is my ultimate goal.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: January 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 242
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Princess and the Valley Man

Dorota Kluza and Evan Williams

The Princess and the Valley Man is an enthralling, educational tale of adventure, fantastic creatures, and dashing acts of bravery!
Join Solis and Princess Luna, on an amazing journey through the Earth’s most unusual place: Death Valley. Luna, a princess from a kingdom in a far-away star, is curious to see the sights in Death Valley. And Solis, smitten by Luna’s beauty, is only too happy to indulge her.
They travel through landscapes – from the exhilarating Sea of Sand to the majestic Canyon of Marble to the eerily frightening Mysterious Cave – forming new friendships and gaining a deep understanding of each other.
Meet fantastic creatures – from moving rock formations, to Kiko the talking bird, even mysterious inhabitants of a ghost town – and be with Solis and Princess Luna as they dodge challenges, solve puzzles, craft clever solutions and find a way out of hairy situations.
More important, discover how to love with all your heart, the most seemingly unlovable place on Earth.


Exclusive Extract

There was a place on Earth that was considered most unusual: Death Valley, which was in California in the United States. Now you might be asking yourself: what make’s Death Valley so unusual? Well, it was a land of extremes. While it had towering mountains, it also had below-sea-level salt flats and even sand dunes. All strewn across the landscape were rock formations of many colors, some of which held mystery. Sometimes, when the rain comes at the right time, the landscape would bloom with an explosion of flowers. These mostly grow from the many seeds that had been waiting in the dirt; sometimes they wait many years for the rain to come. Mostly, though, it is the heat that makes this place famous. You see, Death Valley is the hottest place on Earth!

One day, because of Death Valley’s unique terrain and features that focused the sun’s energy upon itself, it reached a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56,6 Celsius degrees) – the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth. Something very special also happened on that day: a child was born in this place of extremes. This child, some say, got something even more special from the sun on that day, an inexplicable kind of energy that would be with him wherever he went which kept him safe and protected him from harm. His parents called him Solis. He was an extraordinary boy who grew up in this most interesting and unusual place. He was not afraid of anything and he made lots of friends, including local animals that he used to play with. A born explorer who never gets sick, decided one day to take it upon himself to protect and preserve Death Valley, which he loved with all his heart.

As a young man, Solis travelled to many places far and wide and has seen many kingdoms. In fact, as a former soldier in his kingdom’s army, he had fought in many battles. His exploits were famous throughout the lands, especially among schoolchildren who were studying history. Living in Death Valley, he worked by helping those who came to seek adventure and see the amazing sights.

One day, on his way back home after a deeply exhausting day at work, he came upon a group of travelers who had become trapped in their big coach within a massive sand cloud. He sped up his wagon to reach them quickly and to help them get out of it. He knew it was not a typical sand cloud caused by the wind, but a monstrous attack of a deadly sand creature living in this area that could not stand any noise. Luckily for the travellers, Solis was not afraid of it!

“Do not leave your coach!” Solis screamed. “Close the windows and your doors, and be as quiet as possible!”

But the travellers were overwhelmed with fear and panic. “Help us and get us out of here!” They screamed. “Get us out of here, please!”

Solis jumped off his wagon as quickly as he could. He looked like a cowboy wearing an old Western-looking bandana on his face and a special pair of shoes designed to not sink on any surface. He ran to them, then tied a big thick cotton rope from his wagon to their coach. But at this moment, the scary sand creature came out of the sand cloud and started to shake the noisy coach violently from one side to the other.

The travellers were screaming loudly from fear, but Solis was not afraid of the creature at all. He stayed calm, carefully connecting the rope. He made a few quick steps, like he was floating on the sand on his wide flat shoes, and was back in his wagon in a second, pulling the tourists and their coach away from this dangerous sand monster.

Once they all were on safe ground, Solis emerged from his wagon covered in sand. “Are you all okay? Is anyone hurt?” His voice was calm, reassuring. “This was the sand beast living in this area. I hope she did not scare you too much. Next time you must be more careful here and must follow some precautions. By the way, my name is Solis.”

Just as he introduced himself to the travellers, he saw among them the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He was entranced. But the travellers interrupted his reverie, crying with happiness and saying, “You saved us! You saved us! Thank you so much, Solis!”

“Oh my goodness, you are all covered in sand,” one of them said, helping Solis dust the dirt off his shirt. “We are very sorry for this trouble, but we got confused by the intense heat of this place. Luckily, we found the coach. But when we tried to drive out, the beast attacked us. You know the rest of the story, Solis. You are our hero!”

Solis’s face blushed from the attention. “Oh, I’m not a hero, guys. I am just glad I could help and to make sure you are all fine. Travellers often get confused from the heat here. Ordinary folks could rarely stand the kind of heat we have in Death Valley. Just be more careful next time, wear a hat and drink lots of water, and watch out and take precautions to avoid the sand beasts in this area.” Solis flashed them a smile that was pure charm.

“We would love to thank you, somehow, Solis,” said someone from the group. “Please allow us to invite you for dinner tonight?”

“It is really not necessary,” he replied, but then he could not take his eyes off the beautiful girl. “But of course, I would love to have dinner with you all.”

“Hoooraay!” they cheered in unison. “See you tonight at the Last Kind Words Saloon?”
“See you then,” replied Solis happily.

On the way to their accommodation, the travellers could not stop talking about how Solis fought off the deadly sand creature, and how brave he was for saving them. And among them, the beautiful girl that Solis liked merely smiled, quietly anticipating to meet him again.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: January 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 100
Genre: Adventure
Age: MG
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Coffee Traveller

Fahad Ben G.

A collection of musings about travel, life, love, family, relationships, the future and growing up in Saudi Arabia, by the author and poet Fahad Ben G.


Exclusive Extract

Invisible lines tie me to you whether I like it or not.

No matter how much I travel away from you, no matter how far we are, and no matter how different our roads are;

No matter how distinct our stations are, and no matter how your routes and mine are different;

The invisible lines continue to tie me to you.

Constant they are… they exceed the multitude of people between you and me.

Tense they are…indifferent to the laws of the universe or the gravity of Earth.

Unaffected by the amount of rocks and dismal valleys,

That separate my icy mountain from your flaming mountain…

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 140
Genre: Poetry
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Red Book

Davide Cortellucci

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THOUGHTS.
Martin’s life as he knows it has turned upside-down, and he decides to embark on a trip to give sense to his existence. Via coincidences and fabricated non-coincidences, he finds a group of people that helps him enhance the power of his thoughts to modify the physical world around him. In a journey within a journey, Martin discovers the powers of visualisation and its pull. And he acknowledges why he’s flooded by negative feelings when he’s close to certain people.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE ENEMIES.
Unless Martin finds the strength within himself to fight, he and everyone around him will cease to exist.


Author Interview

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The feel of joy I experience while writing. I love putting what I picture in my mind – and what I feel – down onto the page. I love the idea of people reading what I write. I have great affection for storytelling; I always did. When I was in primary school, I used to write short stories for my friends. I love the warmth and lightness I feel when the writing flows. Also, I think that creating a story has therapeutic powers.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Tough question. I love all my characters, as I dislike the antagonists of my stories. When I put my work down between drafts, I miss them as if they’re real people. If I have to choose one, I have to go for Chuck. He has a take on life that regardless of all the negative things that happened to him in his past, he remains positive, he’s loyal, funny, and he’s gifted without knowing it, which makes him even more likeable.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Coffee.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
There’re times I cripple my creative stream because I’m fixated on a few pages or even just a single word I’m not happy with, and I need to remind myself that I can correct or even scrap it later in the second, third or whatever draft. Other times, I sit down, face the computer, and the demon of procrastination comes and knocks at the door. It’s not an ordinary procrastination’s demon, it’s a cleaning one, and it has a thing for symmetry. I can leave the blank page on my computer and start rearranging the bookshelves or decide that that’s the day to descale the showerhead. I must say, thanks to this, my home is pretty tidy. Also, I can get lost inside a dictionary looking for words I may never use.

How did you research your book?
I start from the sticky idea I have in my mind, and then I connect that with my own life experiences. I must say I had a very eventful life so far, so, making a connection between the original idea and a correlating feeling I experienced before it’s a thing that comes naturally. After that, I take the two things and put them down on paper, roughly. Once I’ve done that, I read things that can be correlated to what I need, like newspapers, books, videos, the internet, speaking with people. After that, I see if anything I read, watched, or heard can give me something extra. Regarding situations I’ve never experienced or locations I’ve never been to, but I want to use them in my book, I generally watch documentaries, speak with people that may know more than me on the matter or location, I research photos I find online, and surround myself in them and then. If I find anything that inspires me, I fuse it with my imagination.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I plot the points that I want in the story – including the ending – and then I pantser through. I write better if I know what’s the destination, or at least an idea of the destination. Like a boat at sea, it can fight the storms or enjoy the calm. It may take a week or a month to get to the destination, but in the end, it gets there.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
The world in the Neuromancer. I’m fascinated by the idea of a super technological future I’ll never see. With the past, we can use history to give us an idea of what it was like to live in Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian era. The future requires imagination. I’d also like to live in Wonderland for a while as Alice did.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Santiago, from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. The character transpires good vibes, and I like that. Also, I’d like to meet Alan, from The Hundred-Years-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, as I’d love to sit next to him and listen to his stories.

Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 245
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Parallel

L. J. Bacon

Have you ever had an incredibly vivid dream?
A dream so real that you can feel, taste and smell the world around you?
Déjà vu is a feeling which all too clearly tells you that you’re going somewhere you’ve been before, or experiencing something you know has happened to you already. Jacob knew that his weird dreams were much more significant than that.
When Jacob suddenly realises that the life he’s living isn’t his only life, he will have to uncover ancient truths and the schism that changed mankind’s history forever. He must determine the point at which the parallel world was created; the world the other version of Jacob inhabits.
He must discover who is controlling these split universes and why, before it’s too late.


Author Interview

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Writing enables me to let my imagination to run wild, I can be totally uninhibited and hopefully take those that read my books along for the ride.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My favourite character has to be king Stephen, he is a man of power who uses his power for the good of his people, totally unselfish loves his people willing to give his life for them, he is what a true leader is meant to be, if only those that rule this world were like him.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
My god I drink too much coffee.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I play my music too loud, music helps my writing flow.

How did you research your book?
I didn’t, its like a story being told to me and I’m the vessel used to write it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I just go with the flow.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I would love to live on soul from my book, as it is a none materialistic world where the people live as one, always looking out for one and other, and they have mental abilities beyond our imagination.
They live as one with every living creature and able to communicate with them.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
That would have to be Egum from my book, who wouldn’t want to be friends with a mighty Dragon.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 334
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Magic Fairy Godmother

Libby Lake

Hesta is a beautiful but different creature , who everyone wonders about . This is until she meets a dashing Prince called Lance with Star, the unicorn. They are transformed by The Magic Fairy Godmother, but can they live happily ever after or is the spell about to be broken …


Today we’re sharing with you a short extract from this book. We hope you enjoy!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 18
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Demon’s Fire

Lee Cockburn

Demon’s Fire is the third instalment in the crime thriller series featuring DS Taylor Nicks and DC Marcus Black.
The City had barely settled back to normal when the sky turned orange as flames licked upwards and smoke billowed out from a quiet industrial estate in Edinburgh.

Blood-curdling screams of those trapped within were muffled by the sound-proofed room as the women climbed desperately over one another to try and escape, their efforts futile against their prison walls, their captors slain where they sat, bullet holes in their heads.
Human trafficking, prostitution, drug dealing, kidnapping, violence and murder hidden in plain sight in Edinburgh City Centre.
Drug dealer Burnett’s grip on the city has no limits, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that remains the case.
Nicks and Black struggle to secure evidence against him within the confines of the law, but an enemy of Burnett, hell-bent on revenge, doesn’t have to play by their rules.
A thrilling story of crime and retribution, good versus evil, Demon’s Fire will have you on the edge of your seat as the tentacles of despair take hold of your emotions.
Hearts are broken and others mended as the tale gathers momentum, the lives of the officers forever entwined by fate.


Exclusive Extract

Dressed in black from head to toe, a balaclava covering his face, he made his way swiftly down towards the tram line that ran parallel with the industrial estate. Once into the Gyle area, he popped with ease a window of the first decent motor he came across, his skills honed from his youth. He also started the car with very little effort and drove at speed towards the bypass that surrounded Edinburgh, only removing his headwear once he was out of view of the prying CCTV cameras in the area. He drove to the place where he planned to dump the vehicle and find another. His veins coursed with adrenaline, visible in his neck. His head felt like it was going to explode, the realisation of what he had just done hitting home. He continued to wonder who could have been in the warehouse. He did not know how Nelson Burnett, head of the city’s organised crime group, would respond, but he knew that this would certainly get his attention and that his own life was now in mortal danger. He would be hunted by many, and he would suffer badly if he was ever caught, but he smiled all the same.

Only now did he think of the scale of what he had done to get his revenge, the carnage and value of damage he had caused and what the fall out would be throughout the city. Others would try to move in on Burnett’s turf and there would be much violence and death required to restore the equilibrium, but he couldn’t allow this to deter him. The adrenaline subsided, and he thought back to the two men he had shot at the warehouse and where they had been sitting. Why had the door been barricaded from the outside? He thought it strange that the bar could be lifted easily, giving no security for what was kept inside. Anyone would be able to gain entry if required. His heart sank. He felt nauseous as he thought back to Nelson’s other trade, brothels and prostitution. There was always a constant supply of girls. He shook his head and tried to convince himself that all that was inside that building was drugs, and that the tapping he had heard was that of a few more scumbags that had got what was coming to them, but still his heart felt heavy. Burnett never revealed where he kept his girls, and he certainly didn’t trust them to live freely. What if? A tear appeared in the corner of his eye as he remembered his beautiful wife and unborn child and what had happened to them. He vomited uncontrollably, his heart sore at the thought that he might have inflicted the same terror on some other innocents.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 322
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Incredibly Nosey Cat Flap Pony

Libby Lake

The tiddliest of ponies with wondersome wings was buzzing around examining things…
What would you do if a teensy flying pony busily bustled into your house?
This hilarious, heart-warming story for younger children shows how being incredibly nosey can be a good thing!


A Lighthearted and Fun Read

After hearing the premise of this book, I simply had to give it a read myself and I was incredibly glad that I did. This book is a delightful, fun read about a little pony with wings who flies into a cat flap and starts getting up to a lot of mischief. It follows with the family finally capturing the creature and feeling grateful to get things back under control. But the pony suffers greatly so they try and work out what to do next. The story is a lovely, lighthearted and fun read that rhymes nicely and I know that it will make a lot of children very happy. I can imagine that it would also be really wonderful to imagine what the pony would get up too next. Though be careful, when they’re naughty after this book, they might just blame it on the pesky Incredibly Nosey Cat Flap Pony!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 30
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Archie and the Lawlor Cat Hotel

Jane Lawlor

Congratulations! You have just found the best cat book ever written. I’m Archie and I am a ginger cat and the manager at the most incredible hotel just for cats. I’ve written this book so humans get to meet me and my guests as we get up to all sorts at night including cat rodeo, cat casino night, cat sailing and even skiing. I can’t wait for you to meet my guests and get to know their real personalities, not to mention my team, which includes Dan and Louis the horses and my three faithful hounds Buddy, Dougy and Alfie. Get ready for the read of your life.


A Fun and Engaging Read

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book but I have to admit that I ended up really enjoying it and I am positive that this one will go down well with other cat lovers – and hopefully non-cat lovers too! Archie is the lead cat at the cat hotel and he has such flare that he really makes this book an interesting one to read. I loved all of the personalities of all of the cats, the pony’s and the dogs too. I think this was such a fun read that many children would absolutely delight over. So if you’re looking for a fun and engaging read for your kids, this is definitely a book that you should pick up.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 168
Genre: MG
Age: Children
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Grateful Boys

Francoise DuMaurier

When seventeen-year-old Hailey’s multi-racial, single parent family migrate to the tiny rural town of Corpus, Georgia (population 700), she would rather have moved anywhere but there.
That is, until she spots him. Mysterious definitely, perhaps even supernatural. Where Hailey is awe-struck by the young man of her dreams, her little brother, Mason, sees a soulless creature of the night, a half-man who may be responsible for a series of grisly murders across the southern gothic town.
Antwan Zeddman, the town’s first African-American Sheriff, must enforce a curfew in Corpus to ensure the safety of the townsfolk. He must contend with sightings of hellish winged beasts and investigate the slaying of an innocent young couple traveling through town. There is a growing sense of racial unrest. Hailey will find herself caught between her family, the residents of Corpus, and the vampire she’s falling in love with.
The Grateful Boys is an otherworldly Young Adult novel which explores the challenges of growing up mixed raced in the southern states of America, and the troubles of a young woman coming of age in a town full of danger and temptation.


Exclusive Extract

“Welcome to Corpus. A Quaint Town with Country Charm. Speed Limit 45.”
A man and his wife had just driven seven hours from Orange, Virginia. They made their way through the Carolinas, North and South, and finally hit their destination state, the professed buckle of the Bible Belt— the great Peach State of Georgia. It would take another ninety minutes before they finally crossed that “Welcome to Corpus” sign.
“Never heard of a Corpus, Georgia,” the wife said.
“Nor have I,” her husband responded through yawns, his hands on the wheel.
“How much longer until we reach Savannah?”
“Bout thirty-forty miles, I reckon. The drive through this tiny little dump shouldn’t take long.”
“I swear I don’t recall seeing it on the GPS,” his wife said spuriously.
“Nor have I,” he repeated.
It was dark out now. Very dark. After five minutes riding through Corpus, Georgia, the paved road itself seemed to have vanished in favor of a dirt stretch. But it wasn’t the dirt road that bothered them, it was the blanket of fog that covered everything around them. Their sights were limited only to the view allowed by the headlights.
“Dammit, I can’t see a thing. Never been in a town so foggy,” the man said as he clutched the steering wheel and leaned in.
“Nor have I,” his wife shot back ironically.
Another wheel clutching mile or so went by until the husband told his wife to turn the damned GPS back on.
“Are you lost?” she asked as she turned her phone on.
“Just wonna confirm we’re going in the right direction. To hell with these detours.”
There it was, the luck of the draw. The moment her GPS turned on, the engine of their beat-up old Volvo sputtered to a climatic end.
“Oh, not now. What did you do!?” she asked.
“Me? It was your idea to make the drive when we could have flown,” he mumbled.
“Don’t you roll your eyes at me. Get out and do something!”
The wife quickly snapped her head to side. She went wide-eyed upon hearing a loud horrific screech from outside their vehicle. Her husband could see her trembling.
“It’s nothing,” he said as he opened his driver door, slammed it shut, and lumbered toward the front of the car. Up went the hood and down went his head.
“So what is it?” the wife signed as she rolled down her passenger window.
“Might not be the engine. Might be the carburetor,” he said as he closed the hood after a quick inspection. “Either way, call Triple A. I don’t wonna be out here all ni–”
Before he could finish his sentence, a dark winged figure swooped upon him. His wife screamed as the black shadowy demonic figure slammed him onto the hood of the car. The wife’s deafening screams matched the screech of the demon as it pulled her now bloodied husband into the dark of night. His screaming stopped as he faded out of sight and into the fog.
Panicked. Sweating. Fearful. The wife rolled her up window at once, fumbled for her phone, dropped it under her feet, and fumbled for it again. With a panic attack on the rise, she dialed three numbers on her phone.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“SOMETHING JUST GOT MY HUSBAND! SOMETHING IN THE FOG! WHERE’S HE AT? WHERE’S HE AT?” she screamed.
“Ma’am, calm down. Tell us your location and we’ll have assistance respond to your emergency as soon as possible.” “Corpus, Georgia. Our car stopped. Something got him! Oh God! Something got him!” she screamed through tears. Nerves frayed. She couldn’t quite understand what else the operator was asking her.
A giant thud was accompanied by an immediately dent made upon the roof of her car. “It’s back!” she screamed into the phone.
“Don’t end the call, ma’am. Help is on the way,” the operator responded.
But there would be no help for the couple that drove seven hours from Orange, Virginia and intended to make a pilgrimage to Savannah, Georgia. The unintended stop they made in the tiny town of Corpus would be their last.
The operator asked the wife if she was still on the line. Before she could answer, her window was shattered into a million pieces. A hooked arm as black as the night itself, that could only be described as belonging to no human on earth, swooped into the car and impaled the wife. And everything went black.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
Genre: YA
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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