Deathwish (A Cal Leandros Novel)

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9780718192792: Deathwish (A Cal Leandros Novel)

In a nightmarish new york city, life is there for the taking...

Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko are hired by the vampire Seamus to find out who has been following him?until Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead). Worse still is the return of Cal?s nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, they were almost wiped out. Now, the Auphe want revenge. But first, they?ll destroy everything Cal holds dear...

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About the Author:

Rob, short for Robyn (yes, he is really a she) Thurman lives in Indiana, land of rolling hills and cows, deer, and wild turkeys. Many, many turkeys. She is also the author of the Cal Leandros Series: Nightlife, Moonshine, Madhouse, and Deathwish; has a story in the anthology Wolfsbane and Mistletoe; and is the author of Trick of the Light, the first book in the Trickster series.

Besides wild, ravenous turkeys, she has a dog (if you don’t have a dog, how do you live?)—one hundred pounds of Siberian husky. He looks like a wolf, has paws the size of a person’s hand, ice blue eyes, teeth out of a Godzilla movies, and the ferocious habit of hiding under the kitchen table and peeing on himself when strangers come by. Fortunately, she has another dog that is a little more invested in keeping the food source alive. By the way, the dogs were adopted from shelters. They were fully grown, already housetrained, and grateful as hell. Think about it next time you’re looking for a Rover or Fluffy.

For updates, teasers, deleted scenes, and various other extras, visit Rob Thurman's website and her LiveJournal.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

Chapter 1 - Cal

Chapter 2 - Niko

Chapter 3 - Cal

Chapter 4 - Niko

Chapter 5 - Cal

Chapter 6 - Niko

Chapter 7 - Cal

Chapter 8 - Niko

Chapter 9 - Cal

Chapter 10 - Niko

Chapter 11 - Cal

Chapter 12 - Niko

Chapter 13 - Cal

Chapter 14 - Niko

Chapter 15 - Cal

Chapter 16 - Niko

 

About the Author

Praise for the Novels of Rob Thurman

Madhouse

“Thurman continues to deliver strong tales of dark urban fantasy. . . . Fans of street-level urban fantasy will enjoy this new novel greatly.”—SFRevu

“I think if you love the Winchester boys of Supernatural , there’s a good chance you will love the Leandros brothers of Thurman’s books. . . . One of Madhouse’s strengths is Cal’s narrative voice, which is never anything less than sardonic. Another strength is the dialogue, which is just as sharp and, depending on your sense of humor, hysterical.”—Dear Author . . .

“A fast-paced and exciting novel . . . fans of urban fantasy will love this series.”—Affaire de Coeur

“According to Cal’s sarcastic first-person perspective, life in New York City is just as nasty and gritty as ever in this dark urban noir tale of two brothers. The . . . adventures of the Leandros brothers continue at a rapid clip, with many a . . . twist unfolding.”

Romantic Times

“If you enjoyed the first two wisecracking urban adventures, you won’t be disappointed with this one; it has just enough action, angst, sarcasm, mystery, mayhem, and murder to keep you turning the pages to the very end.”—BookSpot Central

Moonshine

“[Cal and Niko] are back and better than ever . . . a fast-paced story full of action.”—SFRevu

“A strong second volume . . . Cal continues to be a wonderful narrator, and his perspective on the world is one of the highlights of this book. . . . The plotting is tight and fast paced, and the world-building is top-notch.” —Romantic Times

Nightlife

“A roaring roller coaster of a read . . . [it’ll] take your breath away. Supernatural highs and lows, and a hell of a lean over at the corners. Sharp and sardonic, mischievous and mysterious. . . . The truth is Out There, and it’s not very pretty.”—Simon R. Green

“A strong first novel.”—SFRevu

“Cal’s a sarcastic, sardonic narrator who pulls the reader into his world, both the good and the bad. Tightly plotted and fast paced . . . full of twists and turns.”—Romantic Times

“A subtly warped world compellingly built by Thurman. . . . This book has an absolutely marvelous voice in Cal’s first-person narrative. The combination of Chandleresque detective dialogue and a lyrically noir style of description is stunningly original.”

—The Green Man Review

“A damn fine book, and excellent first effort.”

—Rambles

“Gripping, fast-paced fantasy.”—Fresh Fiction

“Engaging . . . the characters are well-drawn and memorable.”—Italics

Also by Rob Thurman

Nightlife
Moonshine
Madhouse

 

“Milk and Cookies”
in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

ROC

Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, March 2009

Copyright © Robyn Thurman, 2009

All rights reserved

eISBN : 978-1-101-01959-7

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

 

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

To Shannon, who saved my ass, but didn’t
physically touch it, I swear—my best friend, my
twin, my sherpa/pack mule. I love you, man.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank, first and foremost, my mom, without whose incesssant nagging I would never have written my first book at all. I would also like to thank my editor, Anne Sowards; Jessica Wade, who can keep a secret; Cam Dufty, who didn’t once get annoyed when I called her asking, “What’s this copy editor’s squiggly line mean again?”; magnificent author Charlaine Harris, who has been most kind to me and my work even though she didn’t actually personally know me—an anonymous fairy godmother, and when I finally did meet her, grace herself; Brian McKay—a helluva copywriter and one who genuinely gets the feel of Cal and Niko’s world (he doesn’t even know the word “perky,” and say “Hallelujah” for that); Agent Jeff Thurman of the FBI, for advising me on something that may or may not exist; my eleventh grade English teacher, Earl Perry, who actually let us write what we wanted to write in the creative writing section of class—he inspired students when my college English teachers instead sedated them; the incomparable art and design team of Chris McGrath (an art god) and Ray Lundgren; my agent, Jennifer Jackson; doctors Linda and Richard, for being convention pals extraordinaire; Shawn Van for keeping my Web site up and running; Jordana for all the cookies; Mara for finally being recognized for her amazing talent; to Michael and Sara—congratulations on a wonderful marriage; and last but never least—my fans. Devoted, faithful, and somewhat frighteningly obsessed with the cover models. Without you . . . hell, I wouldn’t be writing these acknowledgments at all.

1

Cal

Once, when I was seven, I was chased by a dog.

We lived in a trailer park then, my brother, our mother, and me. There were lots of dogs around, most of them running loose. I didn’t mind. I like dogs. But dogs . . . dogs don’t much like me in return. Puppies do. Puppies like everyone. They’d crawl in my lap, chew happily on a finger or the tattered edge of my sneaker. Dogs are different—one sniff of me was enough. The upper lip would peel back, ears would flatten, and the warm brown eyes would go glassy and slide sideways as they hunched away with tail tucked beneath their legs. Dogs don’t just not like me; they’re afraid of me.

Except for Hammer. Hammer wasn’t right; not right being flat-out crazy. One hundred pounds of shepherd mixed with Rottweiler mixed with God knew what else, Hammer wasn’t afraid to look at me as the other dogs were. No, Hammer liked to look at me. He liked to think about me. If anyone thought animals didn’t think, didn’t plot, didn’t plan, then they’d never met Hammer. Two trailers down and one of the few dogs in the park kept on a chain, he watched me every day as my brother and I walked to school. He never barked. He never growled. He never even moved. He just watched.

Because of his lack of apparent aggression, any other kid might have been tempted to pet him. Not me. Even at seven, I knew a monster when I saw one. It didn’t matter whether his owner had made him into one or he’d been born one like me. Hammer was Hammer. You didn’t pet him any more than you petted a rabid grizzly bear. You just walked by and kept your eyes on the ground. You never looked. . . . Just as Hammer never moved.

Until he did.

Hammer was bad inside, wrong, and as I recognized him, he recognized me. And when drunk old Mr. McGee let the chain finally rust through, Hammer came for me. I had my dollar-store sneakers and a bagged lunch my brother had made for me, but I didn’t have my brother. He’d gone ahead, although he was still in sight. He never failed to make sure I was in sight. I’d forgotten my backpack like kids do. I’d catch up. No big deal, until Hammer made it one.

He’d been lying in the same position he lay in every day. Bowl of dirty water, gnawed club of wood. That day, like every day, I wondered why he didn’t like me. We were both twisted. Both wrong. So why? I didn’t get a chance to wonder any further than that. There was a blur of fur, jaws clamped into my backpack, and my body was thrown sideways. He dragged me several feet before he tore the pack completely off me.

I didn’t think. As I said, I’d seen monsters. You didn’t hang around and ponder the situation. I got up and ran. While I’d seen monsters before, been followed, watched, I hadn’t ever been chased by one. It was my first taste of death at my heels, my first taste of running for my life.

It wasn’t my last.

In fact, I ended up spending a vast amount of my life running. Not just living my life on the run, which I had as well, but actually running. I wasn’t seven anymore, but I was still flat-out hauling ass. Like the wind—like the fucking wind. Running from this, running from that—usually from something with teeth, claws, and the attitude of a great white on steroids. Things that made Hammer look like a toy poodle.

I hated it, the running. Hated it like poison. Which may be why I had finally decided I’d had enough and committed to staying in one place more than a year ago, and that place was New York City. A veritable Mecca for monsters like me, as well as monsters like Hammer—those that had me literally running for my life or the life of one of the few people I gave a shit about. There weren’t many of those. Part-time bartender, private investigator/bodyguard/jack-of-all-trades to the nonhuman world, and one suspicious son of a bitch, that was me. Not precisely Mr. Social. It paid to be wary in a dark world thought to be nothing more than fairy tales and ghost stories by most people—most people being the blindly oblivious, the cheerfully clueless, the ever-so-lucky assholes.

The handful of people, humans and non-, that I did give a crap about had all ended up in New York, too—in the City That Never Sleeps, a good place for us creatures of the night. Everyone I cared about, and one in particular: my brother. He had been with me since the beginning, my beginning, and now had me running through the streets to make sure my beginning didn’t bring him to an end.

The running—it always came back to that. A pity, because I was an inherently lazy son of a bitch. Burning lungs, knotting muscles, stuttering heart—I could do without any of that, thanks. But now I was running toward something, although there was plenty to run from. Death behind me; the unimaginable before me—an unholy situation, and it only made me run faster. The bus that nearly clipped me as I ran across the street? That wasn’t even a blip on the radar. I had bigger, badder, and far more destructive things on my mind.

“Traitorous cousin.”

The side of that bus brushed my jacket as I looked up at the sound of the icy hiss. For a second I saw it crouched on top, proving that mass transport wasn’t just for hygienically challenged humans. I saw metal teeth, red eyes, and hair the color and drift of jellyfish stingers. I saw a killer. I saw a monster.

I saw family.

Then I saw something more immediately relevant—the front of a cab barreling at me. I dodged to one side as it braked. I rolled across the hood, taking down a bike messenger. Vaulting the cursing man, I ran on. I didn’t look behind me. I didn’t have to. I knew what was there. I knew what was coming, and I knew it wasn’t alone. But that was the least of my concerns. What was important to me now was getting to the park, because I had other family. Real family.

My brother was at Washington Square Park, waiting for me. We were supposed to spar. “Spar” was a word Niko used when he meant he was going to beat the shit out of me for my own good. He kept me sharp and quick. He kept me evading monsters and taxis with equal alacrity. He was the reason I’d lived this long. The ones that followed me, the Auphe, knew that too. They hated him nearly as much as they hated me. And hate was like air to an Auphe. When something was as easy as breathing, you got pretty damned good at it. But the Auphe weren’t good. No . . .

They were the best.

That’s why I ran. Not because they were behind me, but because I suspected they were also in front of me. They’d been waiting for me at the apartment building at St. Marks’s, where Niko and I lived. I’d come home to see them lining the roof, and I’d felt the internal wrench as they ripped holes in reality and slithered through. The dread was instant. If they knew for sure where I lived, they knew where I went. If they knew that, they knew the same about Niko. Months ago they had said they’d kill everyone in my life before they killed me. I believed them. Reapers and rippers and older than time—living murder wrapped in cold flesh. They didn’t lie. Why would they when blood-soaked destruction was so much more entertaining?

Yeah, it had been months, but they said it, I believed it, and now was apparently the time. Long months of waiting, but, hell, I’d have been happy to wait a little longer.

No such goddamn luck.

I came off East Eighth Street, crossed Astor, then hit Broadway and kept running. This time I was hit, a big, ancient black Lincoln, but it only grazed my hip. There was the screech of brakes as I was knocked to the asphalt. As I scrambled back to my feet and kept moving, the skies opened up and dropped a waterfall of icy rain. I was soaked instantly, ...

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The fourth book in the Cal Leandros series that began with Nightlife, Deathwish is clever, ironic and hugely entertaining urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher by the New York Times bestselling author, Rob Thurman. How I felt the mental stirrings of a bloodthirsty heritage when I passed through the gray light wasn t my favourite topic . . . the Auphe nature wasn t mine. I wouldn t let it be. And if I said that to myself over and over and sprinkled around enough frigging fairy dust, maybe it would be true. Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when the vampire Seamus hires them. He s being followed, and he wants to know by whom. But the Leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead).Worse still is the return of Cal s nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, the Auphe were almost wiped out. Now they want revenge. Cal know that before the Auphe get to him, they will try to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. Because for the Auphe, Cal s pain is a pleasure.And they re feeling good.A dark contemporary fantasy with a humorous edge, Rob Thurman s Deathwish should not be missed.Praise for Rob Thurman: Supernatural elements put this in the company of Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris SFRevu A roaring rollercoaster of a read . . . it ll take your breath away Simon R. GreenRob Thurman lives in Indiana, land of rolling hills and cows. Lots and lots of cows. Nightlife, Moonshine and Madhouse, the previous novels in the Cal Leandros series, are also published by Penguin. Visit Rob at. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780718192792

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The fourth book in the Cal Leandros series that began with Nightlife, Deathwish is clever, ironic and hugely entertaining urban fantasy in the vein of Jim Butcher by the New York Times bestselling author, Rob Thurman. How I felt the mental stirrings of a bloodthirsty heritage when I passed through the gray light wasn t my favourite topic . . . the Auphe nature wasn t mine. I wouldn t let it be. And if I said that to myself over and over and sprinkled around enough frigging fairy dust, maybe it would be true. Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when the vampire Seamus hires them. He s being followed, and he wants to know by whom. But the Leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead (or un-undead).Worse still is the return of Cal s nightmarish family, the Auphe. The last time Cal and Niko faced them, the Auphe were almost wiped out. Now they want revenge. Cal know that before the Auphe get to him, they will try to destroy everything and everyone he holds dear. Because for the Auphe, Cal s pain is a pleasure.And they re feeling good.A dark contemporary fantasy with a humorous edge, Rob Thurman s Deathwish should not be missed.Praise for Rob Thurman: Supernatural elements put this in the company of Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris SFRevu A roaring rollercoaster of a read . . . it ll take your breath away Simon R. GreenRob Thurman lives in Indiana, land of rolling hills and cows. Lots and lots of cows. Nightlife, Moonshine and Madhouse, the previous novels in the Cal Leandros series, are also published by Penguin. Visit Rob at. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780718192792

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd Aug 2012, 2012. Taschenbuch. Book Condition: Neu. Neuware - Half-human Cal Leandros and his brother, Niko, are barely getting by with their preternatural detective agency when vampire Seamus hires them. He's being followed and he wants to know by whom. But the Leandros brothers have to do more than they had planned when Seamus turns up dead. Worse still is the return of Cal's nightmarish family, the Auphe. 368 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9780718192792

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