Posts Tagged ‘thrillers’

The Kindle ebook version of our thriller-horror SILENT FEAR (A novel inspired by true crimes)  will be launched on October 31 and we thought it appropriate this coincides with Halloween. It’s a scary read.

Our friend and collaborator-in-crime Lisa Norris — @ernorris — kindly designed this artwork (below) to commemorate the occasion, and we reckon she nailed it!

 

SF Halloween poster

 

Pre-orders for the Kindle version of Silent Fear  are open now  via https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/ — Order now and it will be auto-delivered to your Kindle at Halloween.

The paperback’s available already via https://www.amazon.com/dp/0473408120

Prepare to be scared!

 

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Media Release – September 19, 2017: A new thriller novel to be launched on Amazon next month was inspired by the true-life murders of students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s premiere learning institutions for the deaf and hard of hearing, in Washington, D.C.

Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes), by New Zealand father-and-son writing team Lance and James Morcan, has been dedicated to the many millions of deaf people around the world and was written under the guidance of one of the world’s leading deaf storytellers working in film, television and other creative mediums.

The actual crimes that provided the inspiration for the novel occurred at Gallaudet University between 1980 and the early 2000’s.

Image result for gallaudet university

Gallaudet University…scene of three student murders.

The 1980 murder saw one student stab another to death on August 16th of that year. The ‘dual’ killings two decades later gripped America from the time of the first of those murders until an arrest was made following the second some five months later. Washington Metropolitan Police didn’t know if these were ‘inside jobs’ and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion.

When the Morcans learned of the murders a decade ago, they came up with the idea of a novel set in a university for the deaf. It has, they say, been a labour of love ever since.

Speaking from his home in Papamoa, New Zealand, Lance Morcan says while Silent Fear  could have been set just about anywhere in the civilized world, he and his son chose to set it in London.

“We felt the thriller genre suits London,” he says. “This story has a very British feel to it and we set it in the upmarket Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.”

Morcan says members of Gallaudet’s senior staff are aware of the upcoming novel and requested an advance reading copy of the manuscript. No comment on the novel has been received back from them at the time of writing.

“Writing Silent Fear certainly presented challenges as neither James nor I were familiar with deaf culture or with the unique issues facing members of the deaf community. To this end we owe a debt of gratitude to deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson, our number one collaborator, who figuratively held our hands throughout the entire lengthy endeavour.

“Brent educated us on the unique challenges facing the deaf community and he corrected potentially embarrassing errors in our portrayal of deaf and hard of hearing people. His commentary on Silent Fear from a deaf reader’s viewpoint is included at the end of the book.”

The premise of Silent Fear, in brief, is:

Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world. When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives.

The paperback version of Silent Fear  is scheduled for publication on Amazon on October 1. The Kindle ebook version is available now via Amazon’s Pre-order Program, and will be auto-delivered to buyers’ Kindles on October 31.

The Morcans, who are also screenwriters and filmmakers, are, in league with Macpherson, developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear. The following trailer promotes the novel and planned film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8bv1vbQxYo

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Media information:

The Amazon link for Silent Fear  is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/

Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

ARCs (advance review copies) of this novel are available now via the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/Dv7GH9oJVAKLuRM23

 

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In this explosive conclusion to The Orphan Trilogy, the ninth-born orphan’s dramatic story resumes five years after book one, The Ninth Orphan, ends.

 

The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy Book 3)

THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3)

 

Chapter 1

A man and a small boy knelt before a large, golden Buddha statue inside a temple and recited an affirmation in well-practiced unison.

“I am a free man and a polymath. Whatever I set my mind to, I always achieve. The limitations that apply to the rest of humanity, Do not apply to me.”

A hundred flickering candles added to the tranquility of the setting. They’d been lovingly prepared by an elderly Buddhist monk who sat cross-legged just inside the temple door as he waited for his two guests to finish their devotions.

The distant sound of children playing outside carried to them on a gentle tropical breeze. Unfortunately, the breeze did little to alleviate the humidity, which was already oppressive even though the sun had not long risen. The temple’s occupants were drenched in sweat, but they were used to it: heat and humidity were part of everyday life in the Pacific Islands.

Finally, the guests arose and walked hand in hand toward the exit. The man was Sebastian Hannar, or Number Nine  as he’d been unceremoniously labeled by the Omega Agency when he was brought into the world thirty-six eventful years ago; the boy was his five-year-old son Francis. They enjoyed the temple’s peaceful atmosphere and the togetherness they experienced within its confines, and so such visits had become a regular occurrence of late.

The affirmation they’d just recited was similar to one that Nine had been forced to recite every day of his life alongside the other twenty-two orphans raised at Omega’s Pedemont Orphanage in Riverdale, Chicago. Since breaking free of the agency five years earlier, Nine had changed the affirmation’s opening line from I am an Omegan and a polymath  to I am a free man and a polymath.

Although the affirmation reminded him of a past he’d rather forget, it also served to remind him that not everything he’d experienced at the orphanage had been bad, and many of the lessons learned could be applied to everyday life.

As father-and-son approached, the elderly, bald-headed monk stood to receive them. Luang Alongkot Panchan, a native of Thailand, couldn’t help thinking how alike Nine and Francis were. Living in the tropics had darkened their skin so that they were hard to distinguish from the Marquesas Islanders who made up the bulk of the population in this remote corner of French Polynesia.

When the pair reached Luang, they bowed to him. He and Nine exchanged pleasantries. The ninth-born orphan treated the kindly monk with respect bordering on reverence. He viewed Luang as his adopted spiritual master.

Nine’s startling green eyes locked with Luang’s all-knowing eyes. There was much between them that was unsaid. Over the years, they’d come to know each other so well they could communicate without even speaking. Nine felt it was as if his friend could look into his innermost being and know him better than he knew himself.

Luang could see that Francis was straining to get outside and play, so he stepped aside and smiled at Nine. “Remain in light, my friend,” Luang said, bowing deeply with hands clasped in prayer.

“And you, my friend,” Nine said responding in kind.

The former orphan-operative allowed Francis to pull him by the hand outside. Though it was still early morning, the sun’s rays hit them like a furnace, serving as a rude reminder how hot it could get in the islands.

A cluster of frangipani trees some fifty yards away beckoned them, and the pair hurried toward the trees and the heavily pregnant woman who waited for them in the shade. She was Nine’s French-born mixed-race wife Isabelle, the mother of Francis.

“Race you!” Francis challenged his father.

“You’re on!” Nine said. “On three. One, two–”

The boy knew this game well and set off before Nine finished counting.

“Three, go!” Nine said. “Hey!” He took after his son whose athletic little legs were pumping like pistons. Nine quickly made up the lost ground, but slowed to make a race of it.

By now Francis was shrieking with laughter, alerting his mom to the imminent arrival of the two favorite men in her life.

“Faster, Francis!” Isabelle shouted in French.

Before the boy could reach his mom, Nine scooped him up with one arm and collapsed, panting, beside Isabelle. They were all laughing now.

As soon as he’d regained his breath, Nine kissed his wife tenderly. “Miss me?” he asked in English. As they’d done since first meeting, they effortlessly switched between English and French whenever they conversed with each other.

“Yes and so did our daughter,” Isabelle chuckled, rubbing her pregnant belly. This time she, too, spoke English, but there was no hiding the strong French inflection.

Nine placed his palm on her belly and immediately felt the baby kick. At the same time, he observed his wife lovingly. What a goddess. He never tired of her beauty. Thirty-three-year-old Isabelle’s French-African heritage combined with her strong accent gave her an exoticness that excited him even in her current state. Nine was convinced she looked more radiant than ever. It was obvious that motherhood and years of island living agreed with her.

“I’m thirsty,” Francis announced, breaking the mood.

Isabelle laughed and immediately produced a tumbler of freshly squeezed pineapple juice from a cooler, which the thirsty boy gulped down.

Squeals of delight carried to them from a nearby grove of coconut trees. Local island children were playing tag while their mothers looked on. The children didn’t seem to notice the heat. Beyond them, fishermen could be seen casting their nets into the turquoise waters of the bay. It was an idyllic scene so typical of this part of the world.

Francis recognized a couple of the children. “Can I go play, mama?”

“Of course you can, but don’t outstay your welcome!” Isabelle chuckled in French.

Francis ran off to play. His doting parents watched as he unabashedly introduced himself to the children and joined in their play.

“He makes friends so easily,” Isabelle said.

“Yes he does,” Nine agreed. “He gets that from you.”

“And from you,” Isabelle countered.

Nine shook his head. “No he has made more friends in the past year than I did in the first thirty years of my life.”

“Well, there’s a good reason for that, my love.” Isabelle kissed him tenderly.

“I guess.” Nine smiled. His eyes were drawn to the ruby that hung from the silver necklace Isabelle wore. He had inherited it from the mother he’d never known and had given it to Isabelle as a declaration of his love for her.

Isabelle noticed the object of his attention and reflexively touched the ruby. For some reason, its touch brought her comfort, as it had Nine when he’d worn it.

“Well, I must love you and leave you,” Nine announced.

Isabelle watched as her husband donned a pair of running shoes in preparation for his daily training run. “Don’t overdo it in this heat,” she warned.

“No, mother.”

“I mean it, Sebastian!”

“Don’t worry.” Smiling mischievously, Nine set off at a gentle pace. As always, he would pick the pace up as soon as he was out of his wife’s sight.

Isabelle’s concern was not without good reason. Nine had developed a heart condition, which his specialist had diagnosed as a relatively common complaint called stenosis – a narrowing of one of the heart valves.

The former operative had become aware all was not well soon after he and Isabelle had arrived in the tropics from France. Chest pains had prompted him to seek professional advice. The specialist had prescribed physical activity and a heart-smart diet, but warned an operation would be required if Nine’s condition deteriorated. That had been four-and-a-half years ago, and so far so good. Sensible food and exercise had seen no recurrence of chest pains. Even so, Isabelle had insisted Nine keep to the recommended schedule of quarterly visits to the specialist. A major inconvenience considering the specialist was based in Tahiti, nearly a thousand miles away.

A caring Isabelle watched Nine as he jogged away. She noted for possibly the hundredth time how different he was to the man who had abducted her while on the run in Paris. Apart from a few gray hairs around the temple, she thought he looked as youthful and vibrant as ever. There was a certain calmness surrounding him – proof of the peace he’d found. Proof also that he’d finally banished the inner demons that had plagued him since his unusual and some would say abusive upbringing at the Pedemont Orphanage.

Once out of sight of Isabelle, Nine strode out. Though not in the same peak condition as when an elite operative with the Omega Agency, he was still a fine physical specimen – a shade over six foot and toned like an athlete. He moved like an athlete, too. Soon he was breathing hard and sweating even more profusely.

As he ran, Nine reflected on how content he was with his life. After many years as a virtual prisoner of the Omega Agency, constantly traveling the globe and killing at the whim of his Omega masters, he finally had the life he’d always wanted – a family and a normal existence. It was, he reminded himself, a far cry from the dark days working as an operative. An assassin more like it. He used to have nightmares about those days, but no more.

After he’d broken away from Omega, he and Isabelle had fled France and settled on an isolated and unoccupied island he’d inherited in the Marquesas Islands, effectively getting off the grid. Their stay there had been short-lived. The onset of Nine’s heart condition and other circumstances had conspired to prompt their relocation to the main settlement of Taiohae, on the island of Nuku Hiva, elsewhere in the Marquesas group.

A difficult pregnancy with Francis meant Isabelle had required ready access to medical assistance – assistance that wasn’t available on their former island paradise. And she and Nine also wanted Francis and any future offspring to receive proper schooling.

So the move to Taiohae had been almost inevitable. It had worked out for the best. The couple, who married soon after they relocated, had been readily accepted by the locals and had made many good friends. Francis had also adapted well to life at school. The boy spoke French and English equally well, and could even communicate with the islanders in their native tongue.

In material terms, life was treating the family pretty well, too. Some shrewd offshore investments had seen Nine increase his not-inconsiderable wealth several times over, so money wasn’t a problem.

Nine was following a well worn path that took him high into the steep hills overlooking Taiohae Bay. He could just make out his wife and son down near the waterfront. Francis was playing an impromptu game of soccer with his newfound friends while Isabelle and the other mothers sat in the shade, looking on.

The sweat was pouring off him as he ran up a steep incline. Sudden shortness of breath prompted him to slow to a walk. He thought nothing of it, putting it down to the heat. You’re getting old, Sebastian.

Still looking down at Taiohae Bay, he noticed an inflatable craft approaching the distant waterfront at speed. It was manned by two men and appeared to have come from a floatplane Nine had seen touch down on the water a short time earlier out in the bay. He watched as the inflatable nosed up onto the beach and two men jumped out. They began walking purposefully toward where Francis and the other children played.

Something about the pair bothered Nine. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it didn’t seem right. Even from a distance, he could see the two weren’t your average tourists. Besides the dark sunglasses they wore, there wasn’t a camera, sun hat or beach towel in sight. They looked more like business executives in their white shirts and long, dark trousers. One even wore a tie.

Nine found himself growing apprehensive as he continued to watch the pair closely.

 

Product Details

 

THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3) is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

 

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An epic, atmospheric story that begins with twenty three genetically superior orphans being groomed to become elite spies in Chicago’s Pedemont Orphanage and concludes with a political assassination deep in the Amazon jungle.

 

The Orphan Factory (The Orphan Trilogy Book 2)

THE ORPHAN FACTORY (The Orphan Trilogy, #2)

 

Prologue

An old vagrant hummed tunelessly to himself as he warmed his bony hands over a fire he’d lit minutes earlier in a drum long since blackened by perhaps a hundred such fires. Certainly more fires than he, or any of his street cronies, could remember. He stopped humming when, across a busy thoroughfare, a gravel-voiced busker began reciting poetry.

“Stormy, husky, brawling,” the busker rumbled. “City of the big shoulders.” He was reciting verse from the works of hometown poet-made-good, Carl Sandburg. The poem was appropriately titled Chicago. “Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” The busker, a long-haired Vietnam veteran whose only concession to his military past was his VSM service medal which he still wore with pride, looked directly at the old vagrant opposite.

The vagrant imagined the busker smiled at him, though he couldn’t be sure in the fading early evening light. Even so, he flashed a toothless grin in the other’s direction.

Soon, the old man was joined by half a dozen street pals. All homeless like him, they appeared like disheveled ghosts out of the shadows, attracted partly by the warmth of the fire and partly by the busker. They listened intently to the poet’s words that flowed effortlessly from the busker’s mouth. Words that painted images so vivid in their minds it was as if the men were watching a kaleidoscope of their own youth.

“Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,” the busker continued. “Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs.”

Several passersby paused to listen, but none bothered to drop a donation into the hat that lay at the busker’s feet. Finally, as the busker finished his recital, a business executive threw a quarter into the hat without breaking stride. Encouraged, the busker launched into another Sandberg poem.

Listening to the busker delivering further verses about his beloved Windy City, the old vagrant couldn’t help but note the irony: there wasn’t a breath of wind on this still Chicago evening.

The vagrant’s parents had always assured him the city’s misleading nickname had nothing to do with the weather. His mother had insisted the Windy City  label came from the longwinded speeches given by the city’s Nineteenth Century politicians, while his father claimed the moniker had been mischievously bestowed by competitive New Yorkers in their attempt to win the World Trade Fair of 1893.

To add to the contradictions, even though it was February, it was an unusually mild winter’s evening. The vagrants gathered around the fire warming their hands did so more out of habit than necessity on this occasion.

Chicago’s streets were busy and the mood downtown was fairly upbeat. President Jimmy Carter was due to visit the city and greater Illinois the following day. Word had spread: the President would be here soon, and come hell or high water he was going to receive a right, royal Illinois welcome.

As Chicagoans went about their business, hurrying home after a long day at the office or heading out to sample the city’s nightlife, none were remotely aware of the sinister, Nazi-like experiment taking place virtually under their noses.

Despite the experiment’s seventy five million dollar price tag, only a select few knew about it. Those in the know did not include the city’s Mayor or any state politicians; at Federal level, not even the President knew about it.

The experiment was taking place in a laboratory in the concealed basement of a renovated warehouse just off North Michigan Avenue. Seven pregnant women were in various stages of labor in the lab that served as a makeshift maternity hospital.

Like some Orwellian nightmare, the women were giving birth in clockwork-like fashion, almost in unison.

Small teams comprised of doctors and white-coated geneticists assisted the women. A specialist induced latecomers. In the lab’s far corner, two suited men looked on expectantly.

The numerous personnel in attendance were all in the employ of the Omega Agency, a recently formed and highly secretive outfit which would one day become the world’s most powerful shadow organization.

Supervising the eerie experiment was Omega’s own Doctor Frankenstein – better known as Doctor Pedemont, the brilliant biomedical scientist responsible for the radical science behind it. Over the past few years, with the help of his team of geneticists, Doctor Pedemont had painstakingly selected the fetus’ genes from thousands of sperm donations combined with the genes of his female subjects. The donations had come from another medical experiment referred to as the Genius Sperm Bank.

The motivation behind the Genius Sperm Bank, which had been initiated over a decade earlier, was to advance the breeding of super-intelligent people. The bank was stocked full of semen donations solicited from many of the world’s most intelligent men.

Benefiting from the efforts of some of Omega’s elite operatives, Doctor Pedemont had unlawfully obtained hundreds of samples from the Genius Sperm Bank. Then, taking the best of the sperm donations, he’d artificially inseminated the very women who were now in the process of giving birth. This meant each child that was about to be born effectively had one mother and numerous fathers.

The legalities of the entire operation were of no concern to Omega. Although still in its formative stages, the agency was already above the law.

A tense Doctor Pedemont and three geneticists fussed over the first mother-to-be, a young redheaded woman, as she entered the final stages of labor. The two suits observing from afar waited anxiously as the geneticists used advanced scientific equipment to monitor the birth.

The redhead gave birth to female twins. They arrived six minutes apart. Doctor Pedemont picked up the first twin. After removing the umbilical cord, he placed the newborn baby on a set of scales. “Number Five,” he announced. “Born 7.43 pm. Weight seven pounds, thirteen ounces.”

One of the geneticists recorded the doctor’s findings in a file labeled Number Five. Sadly, this would be the closest the girl would ever have to a real name.

Doctor Pedemont gave the baby to another geneticist then grabbed her newborn sister and weighed her. “Number Six. Born 7.49 pm. Weight seven pounds, one ounce.”

The advent of twins was no accident, of course. Their arrival had been planned for, like everything else that occurred within the Omega Agency.

The next baby was born minutes later to an African-American woman. It was a boy who was clearly of African descent. However, he had a much lighter skin tone than his mother, indicating most or all of the sperm donations inseminated into the woman were taken from Caucasian men.

“Number Seven,” Doctor Pedemont announced. “Born 7.56 pm. Weighs exactly five pounds. A few weeks prem, but is perfectly healthy.”

Because Number Seven was a premature birth, one of the geneticists immediately placed him in an incubator. Number Eight, who was born quarter of an hour later, was a healthy girl of Oriental descent.

When Number Nine was born, the mother, a beautiful dark-haired woman with striking green eyes, reached out to Doctor Pedemont to indicate she wished to hold the boy she had just birthed. The doctor looked around enquiringly at the two mysterious suits who remained in the corner. After discussing it between themselves, the older of the two nodded.

Doctor Pedemont looked back at the newborn’s mother cautiously. “You know you’ll never see him again, Annette?”

Annette nodded forlornly. She fully understood the ramifications of her agreement with the Omega Agency. Doctor Pedemont reluctantly placed Number Nine in Annette’s arms. The baby boy reached out and placed his tiny hand on the ruby that hung from a silver necklace she wore.

“Sebastian,” Annette whispered tearfully as she looked into her son’s eyes. “I name you Sebastian, after my father.”

Anxious to avoid further bonding between mother and son, Doctor Pedemont took Number Nine from Annette and handed him to one of the geneticists who, without ceremony, jabbed a needle into the boy. Predictably, Nine started screaming. His mother looked on resignedly.

Later that night, two more boys and another girl were born. Like Number Nine, all three were Caucasian.

As Number Twelve, the last of the newborns, was weighed, the two suits approached a relieved Doctor Pedemont. They looked more relaxed now. The older of the two, a short, stocky, dapper individual with heavily pock-marked skin, reached for the doctor’s hand and shook it firmly. This was Andrew Naylor, the Omega Agency’s hard-nosed director who was known for his foul temper as well as for his lazy eye, which never quite managed to focus on whomever he was addressing at the time.

“Congratulations, doctor,” Naylor mumbled without even a hint of a smile.

“Thank you,” a beaming Doctor Pedemont responded, taking care to avoid eye contact with Naylor as he found the other’s lazy eye highly disconcerting.

Naylor’s companion, Special Agent Tommy Kentbridge, patted the doctor on the back in congratulatory fashion. “Well done,” Kentbridge said. Tall and ruggedly handsome – physically the polar opposite of Naylor – the special agent was one of Omega’s young stars. As a field operative, he had the sort of record most agents twice his age would be proud of. Although only in his early twenties, Kentbridge had been assigned to manage the products of this agency experiment. Like it or not, he would be the nearest to a father any of them would have.

It was a long-term experiment and no-one knew exactly what the outcome would be. The experiment was known in Omega circles as The Pedemont Project

 

Product Details

 

THE ORPHAN FACTORY (The Orphan Trilogy, #2)  is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008M9WWKW/

 

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An orphan grows up to become an assassin for a highly secretive organization. When he tries to break free and live a normal life, he is hunted by his mentor and father figure, and by a female orphan he spent his childhood with. On the run, the mysterious man’s life becomes entwined with his beautiful French-African hostage and a shocking past riddled with the darkest of conspiracies is revealed.

 

TheNinthOrphan ebook cover

THE NINTH ORPHAN (The Orphan Trilogy, #1)

 

Prologue

A deer grazed on lush grass in a forest clearing. Around her, early morning mist clung to the tops of the spruce and fir trees common to Montana’s Custer National Park. Her ears twitched as the distant screech of a Merlin falcon carried to her in the still mountain air. The deer looked up, but mist concealed any view of the small and relatively rare bird of prey. She resumed grazing.

The deer wasn’t to know, but her remaining lifespan could be measured in minutes.

Two hundred yards downwind, an unusually large hunting party approached. This was a hunting party with a difference. Only one of the hunters was armed – their leader, Tommy Kentbridge; the others were all children ranging in age from ten to twelve. Male and female, they were of various racial backgrounds. Following Kentbridge, they walked silently in single file along a forest trail.

A tall, powerfully-built man in his mid-thirties, Kentbridge moved effortlessly across the hilly terrain. In his wake, the youngsters had to scramble to keep up. Muddy underfoot conditions added to their difficulties. Despite the challenges posed by keeping pace with their fast-moving leader, the children were doing admirably well. Their faces were flushed with excitement.

Kentbridge, who earlier that day had transported the kids from Chicago’s Pedemont Orphanage, kept one eye on his charges as the trail took them along the edge of a cliff. He noted with satisfaction not one of them seemed fazed by the thousand foot drop. They appeared to cope with the danger with all the poise of adults, or of young adults at least.

As he continued to observe the orphans, Kentbridge’s keen eyes missed nothing. A head count confirmed all twenty three were still with him. Strangely, he only ever referred to them by numbers. The oldest child was Number One, the youngest Twenty Three.

Directly behind Kentbridge, following like a shadow, was a serious-looking, twelve-year-old boy. Number Nine, who was the ninth-born orphan, had startling green eyes that seemed all-knowing and gave him a maturity beyond his years. Nine’s intelligent face was framed by dark, wavy hair. He wore a silver necklace. A ruby dangled from it, bouncing on his chest as he walked. The exquisite stone gave off a blood red glow in the sunlight.

A slightly younger, blonde-haired girl followed close behind. Number Seventeen was, of course, the seventeenth-born orphan. She surveyed the world through icy-blue eyes. Those same eyes were now fixed on the center of Nine’s back. It irked the competitive Seventeen that Nine had ensconced himself between Kentbridge and herself. She felt like she was always following in the boy’s footsteps.

Kentbridge slowed momentarily as the trail took them away from the cliff-top. The screech of a Merlin falcon attracted his attention. Just as the mist had concealed the falcon from the deer’s view moments earlier, it also concealed the falcon from Kentbridge’s view.

Some sixth sense prompted Kentbridge to unshoulder his rifle – a powerful, semi-automatic, military-issue weapon which he handled with the familiarity of a sniper.

The orphans’ leader suddenly froze. Behind him, the children became motionless also. A hundred yards upwind, a beautiful deer stood grazing, superimposed against the green foliage. She continued to graze, unaware humans were in the vicinity.

Kentbridge flashed military-style hand signals to his young charges. In unison, the orphans dropped to the ground. Close behind Kentbridge, Nine and Seventeen watched in awe as their leader sunk down onto one knee and aimed his rifle at the deer. At the last second, he lowered his weapon a fraction then fired. The shot shattered the silence. The deer went down.

The orphans and their leader raced over to the deer to discover she was not yet dead. On her side, the deer was trembling and white foam covered her nose and mouth. The foam turned pink then red as her inner organs reacted to the trauma caused by one not-so-well-placed bullet. Her breathing came in short rasps. The dying animal pawed the air with her legs as the orphans crowded around her.

Kentbridge handed his rifle to his shadow, Number Nine, and nodded toward the trembling animal. Of all the orphans, Nine was his most brilliant pupil. He was stubborn and defiant, but also highly intelligent. In many ways he reminded Kentbridge of himself.

The other twenty two orphans felt varying degrees of jealousy as they watched Nine psyching himself up to carry out their teacher’s order. Although very intelligent and gifted in their own right, the others sensed Nine had some indefinable X-factor that gave him an edge over them. It set him apart and they knew it.

Not even Kentbridge could say exactly what it was that gave the ninth-born orphan the edge. It wasn’t as if Nine was necessarily smarter than the others. He just seemed more sensitive and maybe that, Kentbridge reasoned, was where the boy’s genius lay. Nine appeared to feel life so deeply at times it was as if he had an extrasensory awareness.

Indeed, Kentbridge knew that kind of heightened consciousness, or right-brained intuitiveness, was the common element among all great thinkers. It was the mental frequency he hoped all his orphans would eventually operate at.

Cradling the rifle which was almost as long as he was tall, Nine looked down at the deer and prepared to put the animal out of its misery. The others watched intently as he lifted the weapon to his shoulder and took aim. Through the rifle’s scope, he saw the deer’s terrified eyes staring back at him. The boy hesitated.

“Finish the mission, Nine,” Kentbridge commanded. Nine looked up at his master then returned his gaze to the deer which was now twitching violently. “That’s an order!” Kentbridge said, raising his voice.

Nine was feeling increasingly traumatized. Seventeen shuffled close behind, as if encouraging him to hand the weapon to her. Unable to do the deed, Nine lowered the rifle.

Kentbridge snatched the rifle from him and handed it to the blonde-haired girl. “Complete the mission, Seventeen.”

Seventeen was delighted. She’d been waiting all her life for an opportunity to outdo Nine. However, she hid her delight as she expertly raised the rifle and took aim.

Unable to watch, Nine walked away from the scene. As he did, Kentbridge observed the boy had the same haunted look the deer had at that very moment.

A single shot rang out, its echo rebounding off the surrounding hills. The sound reverberated in Nine’s head, like a jackhammer inside his brain.

Without looking back, Nine walked deeper into the forest. He began to cry as he internalized the deer’s pain. Almost without realizing, Nine touched the ruby that hung from his necklace. As always, for no apparent reason, its touch brought him comfort.

 

Product Details

 

THE NINTH ORPHAN (The Orphan Trilogy, #1)  is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I4FKC

 

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A female detective is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a prestigious university for the deaf in London. The investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world… That’s the premise of our soon-to-be-released book Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes).

Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes)

New thriller novel…chilling.

 

Set in the often underreported world of the Deaf, we hope Silent Fear will give readers a unique insight into what everyday life for deaf people is like. We have worked closely with the Deaf community to ensure authenticity.

This novel was inspired by the murders of two deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions for the deaf, in the early 2000’s. The investigating authorities didn’t know if it was an ‘inside job’ and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion.

We have also penned a screenplay adaptation of the book and are concurrently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear. Here’s a two-minute teaser trailer for the movie: https://www.goodreads.com/videos/1136…

One of the producers on board the film adaptation, New Zealand’s premiere Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson, is obviously a fantastic asset to the production. We are very appreciative that Brent has seen the cinematic potential in our story and has poured his heart and soul into developing the associated film project.

Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3…

 

Other novels by Lance & James Morcan include:

The Orphan Trilogy (The Orphan Trilogy #1-3)  

Into the Americas (A novel based on a true story)  

White Spirit (A novel based on a true story)   

The World Duology (The World Duology #1-2)  

 

To view all our fiction and non-fiction books check out our authors’ pages on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-Morcan/e/B005EPOU48/           

 

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The Orphan Trilogy ebook cover

New cover for The Orphan Trilogy box set now available via Amazon.

 

A new cover has been designed for our top rating international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising).

See what reviewers are saying about the trilogy:

★★★★★ “An invitation to acknowledge the world around you as it is.” -Historian Remy Benoit

★★★★★ “The best of the best in thrillers!” –Alice M. Dinizo 

★★★★★ “Edge of your seat stuff.” –David Wilson

★★★★★ “Thrills galore…highly addictive and recommended. –L. Townsend

 

The Orphan Trilogy  is available via Amazon at: http://amazon.com/dp/B00BGGM05U/

 

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