In the Works –
Cut-Throat Syndrome, the fourth book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series, turns international thriller. Since its conception, its cross-genre premise morphed into a very different animal. It delves into the Dark Web, hacking, terrorism, and the CIA, while still heavily relying on its paranormal murder mystery roots. With the first draft complete, I’m roughly a quarter of the way through the first edit.
Excerpt – from an early chapter, titled Sifting Through Rubble.
We join Lance Underphal in progress:
Squinting, I watch the road appear at an unhealthy clip. We wind along the Salt River’s dry bed in silence. Approaching the sand and gravel pits, a barren landscape streams by, sparsely peppered with the occasional industrial building. Hard to imagine all this vacant acreage exists so close to downtown Phoenix. Up ahead on the right, curls of razor wire top a tall chain-link fence. Manmade hillocks rise ominously about fifty yards behind.
“Slow down,” I tell him. “We might be getting close.”
The plywood sign at the entrance reads White & Tanner, Construction Landfill.
“This is it.”
Barely slowing, Frank bounces the big sedan onto the gravel drive in a cloud of dust. The tires kick up small stones to bounce off the undercarriage, raising a racket like machinegun fire. We hustle through chain-link gates and through a cleft in the massive earthen berms. The hairs on my neck and arms prickle. I give Frank the nod, ignoring code numbers as he radios his people. Grabbing my gear bag, I pull out my Canon and twist on a zoom lens as we pull up to the tiny office. The grimy prefab trailer sits on concrete pylons with its back to steep embankments rising three to four stories high. Broken bricks, splintered lumber, and twisted rebar protrude from the earthen banks like discarded body parts in ransacked burial mounds. Behind us, a large dump truck rumbles by on well-worn tire tracks, raising plumes of powdery dust around the rim of a vast pit.
I climb out, drifting toward the pit as Frank disappears into the office with the bang of its screen door. I gaze into its depths, a hundred or so feet down to the rubble below. Jagged steel beams, fractured concrete slabs, tangled wire, construction debris jumbled in craggy piles—a headless body hides in there somewhere. I smell it, taste it, feel the despair.
Copyright © 2014 by Michael Allan Scott, all rights reserved.
As this is the first edit, I reserve the right to whack hell out of it. I won’t have it exactly the way I want until the final edit—somewhere around version ten, or twelve.
Your comments are always appreciated.
Interested in the inside scoop? With My Back Pages you’ll have subscriber-only access to peeks behind the curtain, new excerpts, giveaways, early releases, beta read opportunities, as well as announcements for upcoming events.
For more on Michael Allan Scott, the mystery writer and the Lance Underphal mystery series, go to michaelallanscott.com
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.