After having written the Prequel, Taking Lives, and then Stolen Lives and Shattered Lives, Books One and Two of the Lives Trilogy, I knew I needed to have a strong finish to the trilogy. Not only did it have to carry further the action occurring in Stolen Lives and Shattered Lives, it had to resolve satisfactorily to satisfy the reader.
I ended Shattered Lives on a cliffhanger. It doesn’t end as a normal book does. However, I pick up the action from the very first page of Splintered Lives, so the reader misses nothing. There is no question where Splintered Lives is headed. No question as to “what comes next” since the opening page gives the reader everything he or she needs to continue on the journey.
Whereas Stolen Lives tells the story of missing kids and the search and effort to bring them home safely, Shattered Lives tells the story of what happens to those kids, some of whom who had been missing for over a year or longer, when they get back to their homes, their communities, and then try to put their lives back together. Some happy. Some sad. Some searching for peace and finding it, while others find peace elusive.
Splintered Lives is, more or less, George’s and Brett’s story. One is headed out west where it all began. The other is now in Waukesha, Wisconsin hoping for a new life, a kind of starting over. The reader hopes both are successful.
George knows that there are three men who vow revenge. He needs to not only defend himself, he must protect his family. If he fails, he dies, and so does his new father. If he fails, those three men will disappear only to exact revenge on their own time, in their own way, against not only George, but his new family. That’s quite a bit to place on the shoulders of a fourteen-year-old boy, even one as skilled as George is.
Brett bargained with his father to allow his mom and his younger brother, Bobby, and him to leave Indiana and start life anew. It comes with an enormous cost to Brett. He is faced with protecting his mom and brother, and his friend, Tim. Through circumstances he has no control over, he faces someone paid to kill him and Tim. He doesn’t know who it is. He does not know where or when this person will strike. He has to be “on guard” and watchful 24/7. Tough, not only for a fourteen-year-old, but a kid who himself is recovering physically and emotionally.
The reader gets to know George and Brett intimately. Readers and reviewers have expressed relief at the end of Splintered Lives. Yet, they wanted more because they fell in love with these boys and the others. I am happy they feel this way, and I’m happy to deliver to them, to you, Caught in a Web, Spiral Into Darkness, and Betrayed.
Here is a chapter one from Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy. I apologize ahead of time because sometimes the cut and paste feature doesn’t play nice like it should.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
“Day and night cannot dwell together.” – Duwamish
“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” – Kahlil Gibran
Mike knew he was going to get shot and probably die. He didn’t have any doubt about that. He didn’t shut his eyes. He didn’t hold his breath. And yet, the sight of the gun didn’t provoke any fear.
Mike wasn’t focusing on the gun, but focused instead on Frechet’s pale blue eyes. He hated his face and everything about the man, but it was the doctor’s eyes that pulled him in until Mike felt he was drowning in emptiness.
Tim recognized Frechet as one of the doctors who came once a month to the brothel in Chicago and gave physicals in exchange for favors. Favors taken from the boys that were not freely given.
There had been shouting, yelling. Frechet sounding crazy, demanding that Stephen leave with him. Stephen stayed hidden at the back of the house, but heard all of it. Mike’s dad had tried reasoning with the doctor, asking him to leave before anyone got hurt.
But it was Mike who had provoked him the most. It was Mike who had called Frechet a pervert. It was Mike who recognized that at his physical that morning, he was drugged and that Frechet had performed an act or acts on him. He wasn’t sure exactly what was done, but he knew without a doubt that something had happened. Frechet confirmed the suspicion when he stated, “You enjoyed it.”
Mark Erickson pointed a finger and shouted, “What did you do to my son?”
Mike took a step forward, but Tim held him back and stood a little in front of him.
Mike saw Frechet point the gun. He heard the gun’s report. But Mike didn’t feel any pain because Tim had pushed or knocked him off his feet and had fallen hard and heavy on top of him.
His father was knocked sideways by the two boys and broke the coffee table in front of the couch as he fell on top of it. The purple flowered vase that sat on top of the table shattered and its bits and pieces showered Mike and Tim. Mike had the bizarre thought that his mom would be pissed because she loved that table, or rather, the vase that sat on top of the table and it was now broken beyond repair.
And then more gunshots.
Five. Six. Seven. Mike lost count. One after another, one on top of the other, loud and deafening.
Other than the one from Frechet’s gun, Mike hadn’t expected them. They left his ears ringing, but with Tim on top of him, his arms were pinned down so he couldn’t cover his ears.
Broken glass flew into the living room as one of the windows shattered. Blue-gray smoke filled the room, noxious and unpleasant.
When the shooting stopped and all was quiet except for the ringing in his ears, Tim said, “You okay?” He voice slow and thick as if he had just woken up from a deep sleep.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” Mike answered.
Tim didn’t move. He lay on top of Mike with his eyes shut and said, “I have to catch my breath.”
“Tim?” He shook him gently and said again, “Tim?”
Mike’s hand came away wet and warm and sticky. He lifted it and saw blood. A lot of it.
“God! Tim! Dad, help!”
For only two more days, you can receive a 15% discount on Splintered Lives and the rest of the books of the Lives Trilogy. The links and book descriptions are below:
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives – Revised, Fully Edited, Reissued!
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/takinglives
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/stolenlives
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. No leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/shatteredlives
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward if fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern was killed. He has no idea that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and possible death? https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/splinteredlives