FICTION

Lifeline

by Hugh James

Publication date:  Spring 2020

 

A young drifter finds himself more or less (as in homeless, jobless and penniless) stranded in an old hotel on the outskirts of a has-been, Rust Belt city.  It's a threadbare establishment whose only claim to fame is that it is across the street from Donkey Park, a recently renovated amusement complex and microbrewery of steampunk birch beer.  

 

To make matters worse, one year and three thousand miles ago he awoke in the dilapidated weed and hooch den of a recently deceased '60s hippie tattoo artist - and noticed a new and very strange design inked into the back of his neck.  A tat that he had definitely not requested.

 

What happens next could only be described as a zany French farce.  Jackson Payne gets a job at the hotel where he ultimately finds the love of his life, the meaning of his tattoo and a lifeline to his future.  That is, only after he dodges a teenage hit man, the jealous husband of the second floor maid, a quirky corduroy magnate with definite signs of megalomania, a pair of adorable Mexican do-gooders, a shaman called 'The Hobbit' and a hotel manager with a chip on her shoulder the size of an unsanctioned twenty pound bowling ball.

 

A Carl Hiaasen-like hoot from beginning to end.

Let's Try This Again

by Jordyn Woodtke

One girl.  Two guys.  It's complicated.  And hot.

First, there is Isaac, the ex-boyfriend who threatens her move to a sunny new life on the west coast when he suddenly comes back into the picture and Josie starts eating, breathing, and sleeping with him again. Things are hard enough saying goodbye to her very best friends, but when Isaac makes it seem like he might actually want her to stay, Josie wonders if she’s giving up on him too quickly. 

 

Josie takes the plunge and moves to California.  Then comes Carter. Sweet, doting - and, oh my god! - former boy band heartthrob, Carter. Josie’s new life falls into place with new friends and a job working as the personal assistant for Carter as he plans his career re-launch. When it seems like there might be something between Josie and her new boss, she can’t help but hold back in fear of crossing a line and, worse yet, getting her heart crushed again.

 

What spirals into a complicated, heart wrenching, unexpected love triangle ultimately forces Josie to face a decision that she is not sure she can make.  Carter or Isaac.  Or neither? 

 

Jordyn Woodtke has crafted a masterful debut novel - readers can't help falling in love with Josie.

Pins & Needles

by Jim Malloy

Publication date:  Spring 2020

 

Jason Slater is having a really bad week:  an unexpected pink slip from his boss, shocking news from his ex-wife and a heart-stopping prognosis from his doctor.  Not only is he allergic to just about everything outdoors, he’s also developed a hypersensitivity to almonds – which can trigger a tragic, suffocating death in minutes.      

 

As Jason begins treatment, he befriends a fellow patient named Lindsey Forrester, who agrees that something odd is happening behind closed doors at the Allergy & Asthma Group.  Immediately after launching a trial program for an enigmatic pharmaceutical company, strange incidents begin to plague the practice.  Homeless patients enter but never leave, a staff member discovers irregularities in the financial records - then disappears.  And someone is stalking Jason and Lindsey for no apparent reason. 

 

As patients begin to die, a shadowy benefactor sends cryptic clues to Jason in the middle of the night.  The puzzling events soon move beyond a casual curiosity to a serious effort to solve the mystery and save their own lives.        

 

With the surety of quicksand, PINS & NEEDLES pulls the reader ever deeper into a nail-biting thriller that spins abduction, murder, espionage and intrigue into a final, breathless, life & death countdown

Surrender

by Hugh James

Publication date:  Winter 2021

 

A 911 operator is about to end her nightshift when, at the stroke of midnight, all hell breaks loose.

And then the lights go out.  A thousand miles away a pair of scientists at the National Weather Center discover a hidden pattern of data that reveal a strange series of weather events that are identical in time and symmetrical in location.  But within seconds the data is hacked and all trace

of the events vanish.

 

A week later, a young software engineer in New York City named Weiwei Feng begins to receive clues on social media inviting her to a romantic dinner from a not so secret admirer.  He’s a fascinating man with a curious past.  And a bold imagination. 

 

But the budding romance is interrupted when she receives a sudden and mysterious call from a distant relative in mainland China that immediately takes on an ominous tone.  As a senior official in Beijing’s ruling class the caller has great power.  And he knows her secret – a salacious avocation – harmless, but one that could ruin her career and bring shame to her family.  The references of blackmail are veiled but obvious. 

  

Surrender to a taut drama of international intrigue and a plot that will change the course of history.

Rainbow's Redress

by Hugh James

Publication date:  Fall 2021

 

A seemingly chance encounter with a high school classmate blossoms into a new relationship that captivates an alluring young woman who is making her mark in a publishing world dominated by men. 

 

He is handsome and mysterious; superbly confident and yet intensely receptive to new ideas.  It's a combination that both attracts and unnerves her.  There is something magical about his smile, but his penetrating eyes seem to search the depths of her soul, seeking to expose her most vulnerable feelings. 

 

What she doesn’t know is that he has proof of a dark secret in her past, an indiscretion that she has kept well hidden from everyone.  Or so she thought.  Romance turns to blackmail, pure and simple.    

 

But what he doesn’t know, is that she has other ideas.  What he fails to realize in time is that for the last five years, she has been one of China's Ministry of Security's best operatives, code name - Rainbow.  She forges an unlikely alliance with an American CIA agent and soon the hunter will become the hunted – in a taut cat and mouse game of subterfuge and deception.