Today I’m sharing with you all an extract from this amazing sounding book. Huge thanks to LoveBooksGroupTours for having me on this tour. This book is a mixture of sci-fi and psychological thriller so if that’s your thing then read on and find out more.
Sam Cane – ex-con artist (sort of), ex-soldier (definitely), and woman on the run.
She’s looking to escape a life of petty crime on Earth that’s got her in too deep with the wrong people. Taking a job with one of the corporations contracted to open up and exploit new worlds in the growing Commonwealth, she’s assigned to a young colony right on the edge of human space. It looks like the perfect escape, until she arrives on IGC-187X and things start to go downhill. Fast.
Arriving at the colony site, she finds it mysteriously deserted, its communication systems sabotaged and her ride rapidly heading out of the system. Failing to repair the communications system in time, she realises she’s stuck on the apparently deserted planet unless she can get a deep space message out. Exploring the colony site further, she realises two things – that something terrible has happened to the colonists, and that she’s not alone. She contacts survivors from the colony, who tell her they were forced to relocate due to raider activity, but their story doesn’t quite add up. Betrayed by them, she connects with the only sane person left – Adissa, the daughter of the colonial administrator, who has been living underground since her father had gone mad and led the colonists to a mysterious settlement elsewhere on the planet.
Suddenly, getting a message out has taken on a new urgency. Playing a deadly game of cat and mouth with the colonists, Sam and Adissa work together to try to get an old buried launch array on-line. The full horror of the situation starts to impact on Sam as she realises just how far the colonists have fallen and that something far worse is lurking hidden under the deserts of the arid world.
Out on the fringe, she’ll find out that what you’re running from isn’t always the thing that will kill you.
“Rule number six, I think,” Sam said to herself, standing in front of the homemade shack and psyching herself to go in. “If you don’t know it and you need to, find out about it. Otherwise it could kill you.”
Lifting a couple of bits of kit from the pack, she pushed into the shack and forced herself to stand and look down on the corpse in the middle of the room.
She knew what that odd smell was now, the after-reek of death, the slight sickliness of rotten flesh. It was now just an unpleasant oily aftertaste on the air that suggested the body had been here a while.
She keyed a command into the pad to bring up data on forensic examination of a body, decay rates, other information that hadn’t been useful to her until this moment. She just regretted not having any forensic procedure software that could have done the whole examination for her – preferably while she sat outside having a beer. “No reason I’d ever think I’d need it though.”
While the pad started throwing open work cells at convenient points in the air, she went about setting up the holopixer on its pole.
“Start recording. Security Specialist Cane Kokhani, ICG one-eight-seven, main colony site. It’s zero nine hundred local time, standard calendar date is third day fifth month one-fifty AY. Initial investigation of crime scene located approximately fifty metres from main colony site in a locally constructed building. May be some significance in the choice of venue. Victim is an unknown…female. Yes. Female.” She swallowed. She’d been taught basic police procedure in her month-long induction course, but nothing to prepare her for this. Established wisdom went that a good security chief with a population around a thousand to look after would probably know everyone well enough to spot a murderer without needing to go full Sherlock on it.
She fought to stay professional, stay clinical. She knew she had to face what was here or it would just lurk out here waiting for her. She had to start working out what had happened.
She waited until the pixer had finished its initial capture, a line of light sweeping across the space to capture everything. Pulling on gloves, she gingerly pulled away the tarp that covered some of the body ordered another pixer scan. She reached out to beckon a holographic cell to her, expanded it to read the data. “Hmm. Estimated time since death, based on humidity and average temperature, is three weeks.”
Looking back, her eyes widened. Without the ragged cloth covering, she could see the level of devastation inflicted on the colonist. “Hang on, too many legs involved here.”
She choked back a sob as that implication sank in. “Correction to my earlier statements. Two unidentified victims. One female, I’m guessing adult. One male, probably adolescent. Early teens. Bodies are severely decomposed.” Mercifully, she added to herself. “Both appear to have been stripped of clothing and partially dismembered.” Disturbed by her removing their last modesty, the bodies shifted slightly, air-cured skin and sinew settling slightly. The woman’s head rolled free. “Decapitated. Look like clean cuts.”
She got a close-up of some of the wounds, set a search running. “This wasn’t the work of animals. How could it be? The bodies were secured, definitely some sort of tool used. I’m seeing…crap… I’m seeing symbols cut – branded? – into what’s left of the skin. Are those…? Not sure, going to have to do a datastack search.”
She rocked back on her haunches, wiped her hand across her face without thinking, gagged as she tasted the slime that had come off on her gloves.
“Pausing the examination,” she gasped, staggering outside. She was technically on duty, but with no sign of a relief shift or a supervisor she didn’t mind cracking open one of her precious beers. At least it cleaned her mouth.
About the author: Tim Chant grew up (mostly), went to school in East Anglia and university in Scotland. He took his History degree and did the only thing he could with it – joined the civil service. When not shackled to his desk he writes science fiction, alternative historical fiction, historical fiction and any other fiction that takes his fancy. When not doing that, he’s an inveterate roleplayer and wargamer (and getting back into historical fencing). He lives in Edinburgh with his partner and their two rabbits.