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Life After Dane is still haunting me. I took a road trip this past week and didn't want to stop at a single rest stop along the way; I wanted to keep my teeth. Edward Lorn, in this novel, has created an alternate world in my head: a world where the bad guy wins. And this world is scary.
We open in a dark and shady room - a room NO MOTHER ever wants to be in, where Dane, The Rest Stop Dentist, takes his last breath. He was voracious serial killer and his MO was to take their teeth. But Dane doesn't really want to go away, what he really wants is to avenge his childhood, the one his mother failed to protect. His mother Ella, on the other hand, is trying desperately to understand where it all went wrong (even though we are screaming it at her while reading) and ends up on a journey where she must face her past, Dane's past, and every parenting mistake she made along the way. Parents only get one chance to get it right; Ella is learning this the hard way.
This book is scary - like stay up late read with a flashlight jump at every sound you hear - scary. I loved it. Edward Lorn is my favorite Red Adept Publishing author. He writes well - obviously - but he writes with dark and freighting words. Do you have any idea how hard it is to scare someone from the pages of a book? Hard. But, he does it, effortlessly.
Life After Dane is a book that will ignite the places in your mind that you think are hidden from the rest of the world; they will bubble to the surface in a eery panic and stay just beneath the skin, begging to be let out. Life After Dane makes you wonder just how far you'd be willing to go?
A new feature many authors are brining into their marketing is a book trailer. I'm happy to share this with you for Life After Dane:
Where can you purchase this novel:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
ebook/Life-After-Dane/book- 8nxUhaB_iUmISuGQ22Vfgg/page1. html?s=ipu8d4jClkGqF8qr59p6NA& r=1
For more about Edward Lorn, please visit his page on RAP or his blog:
Edward’s page on RAP: http://redadeptpublishing.com/
Edward’s blog: http://edwardlorn.wordpress.a Rafflecopter giveaway
For your reading pleasure, Chapter One:
The state of Arkansas put my son to sleep on October 25, 2013. All across the country, from Colorado to Virginia, forty-two families were finally able to rest. I knew those grieving souls by faces, not personalities. Their tears were familiar, yet their pain was not. I could recall their loved ones easily, as they were the victims. My son's name was Dane Peters. The rest of the world called him The Rest Stop Dentist.
Not everybody from Dane's many court sessions came that night. The watch room only held thirty chairs, and nine were taken up by the cops who had arrested my son, two local reporters, and Sven Gödel, a freelance journalist from Chicago.
When the guards led my son into the execution chamber, he strode tall, his face bereft of emotion. At some point, they'd shaved his head. His mop of brown shag was a five o'clock ghost of its former self. While one officer unshackled Dane, the other made ready the straps on the cross-like table where Dane would serve his final sentence. Unencumbered, Dane stretched his arms wide, bent back at the waist, and rocked forward to meet my eyes.
A chill ran down my spine. He looked so calm, the exact opposite of me. I could feel my hands shaking around the Bible I clutched to my stomach. Oh, God, they’re actually going to kill my child. If I had died, they would have called Dane an orphan, but what would they call a childless mother? At fifty-five, I was left all alone.
Dane groped at the front of his orange jumpsuit, patted it flat, and turned toward the awaiting table. Never breaking eye contact, he craned his neck so he could keep a bead on me. My baby boy was in there somewhere, hiding behind that cold stare. I felt myself reaching for him, though I hadn't meant to do so.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned my head to find a man wearing a police officer's uniform.
"You know," he said, "that's two-way glass. He can't actually see you."
Looking back at my son, I tried to tell myself that the man behind me was wrong. He had to be. Dane was gazing directly at me, into me. He sat on the edge of the metal table, twisted, and threw his legs up onto the surface, then lay back and looked toward the ceiling. The guards went about belting him down. Dane lifted his head, met my eyes, and gave me a mirthless smile.
The officer behind me said, "That monster must think he's something. Look at that smug expression painted all over his mug. He ain't a bit sorry ’bout what he done."
Dane blinked twice and settled back on the table.
Too low for anyone else to hear, I said, "He's not a monster. He's my son."
Dane was thirty years old when they put an IV in his arm and dosed him with pentobarbital to render him unconscious. A pump injected him with pancuronium bromide to relax his breathing until his lungs quit altogether. Potassium chloride, the “humane drug,” ceased the beating of his heart before the failure of his lungs became too painful. I watched, seated with the families of the victims, while my son was put down like a rabid dog.
One of the men behind the glass finally said, "It's over."
The father of Lillie Mason clapped, putting his hands together, slowly at first, then faster. Vickie Hancock's mother joined in. Fredericka Devereau's parents followed along until everyone surrounding me fell into a fit of raucous applause. I didn't feel the need to celebrate my child’s death, so I remained stoic and silent.
Dane's body was transferred from the execution table to a beige body bag atop the stainless surface of an awaiting gurney. I'd seen enough.
Rising from my chair, I took an unsteady step forward and almost fell. A hand wrapped around my bicep, keeping me upright. Glancing to see who'd saved me from a tumble, I came face to face with that Chicago journalist, Sven Gödel.
He asked, "Are you all right?"
"Leave me alone." I snatched my arm from his grasp, turned on my heel, and headed for the door.
Sven called after me, "We should talk, Mrs. Peters."
I didn't justify his comment with an answer.
The watch room door opened onto a courtyard surrounded on all sides by razor-wire-topped fencing. October in Arkansas wasn't quite as cool as back home in Colorado. In fact, the air was uncomfortably warm, like sitting down on a public toilet and finding the previous users' body heat radiating up into my own butt. Sweat popped out on my forehead. I swiped it away with the back of one hand.
At the main gate, a bald prison guard let me out into the free world. I thought of it like that, “the free world,” because during Dane's trial and the time up until his death, I'd felt like a prisoner alongside him. With Dane gone, I was free.
I crossed the parking lot to my gold Camry. Once behind the wheel, I let my emotions take over. Tears choked me. To clear my pipes, I lit a Virginia Slim and allowed the menthol to soothe my clogged throat.
I smoked the entire cigarette in less than three minutes. I rolled down my window and flicked the butt into the prison's lot, leaving a piece of myself behind. Lighting another one, I drove away from that edifice of justice, wondering what else I had left back there. That thought haunted me across seven hundred miles, two fast-food cheeseburgers, four restroom breaks, and a whole pack of Slims, until I crossed the city limits of Well Being, Colorado. Home sweet home.
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