What Happens in Vegas, Dies in Vegas ($15.95, 302 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-868-1), by Mark Everett Stone, is a paranormal suspense thriller about an ex-government super-agent whose battles with the supernatural world take him first to Las Vegas and then back into the past to World War II Germany. What Happens in Vegas is the second book in the series: From the Files of the BSI (Bureau of Supernatural Investigation).
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“The reading experience was an entertaining, roller-coaster-like ride. One of the chief strengths of the book is the quirky, dark humor throughout—the dialogue is sharp and the comic timing is excellent.”
–Michael Potts, NewMyths.com
5 Stars: “Things To Do In Denver When Your Un-Dead was one of the most refreshing and original books I have read in a long time and the sequel is just as exciting as the first. In fact it may just be better than the first …. Exceptionally well-written and entertaining.”
“Vegas is non-stop action that will leave you with whiplash …. Stone leaves you gasping for breath by the end and of course, enjoys taunting the reader with the prospect of a third book in the series, which I will be waiting anxiously to read.”
—Shay Fabbro, award-winning author of the Portal of Destiny series
5 Stars: “No reader could possibly feel slighted when all is read and done. It is a cracking good yarn from first to final page, no question …. Mark has cemented himself solidly into the position of Master in my self-created niche of Paranormal Suspense Thriller writing. His command of his art grows exponentially with each work of his that I read ….Two very enthusiastic thumbs up for a job well and properly done.”
—Jeffrey Hollar, The Latinum Vault
“Don’t expect a minute of down-time, for Stone is a zero tolerance taskmaster who brings a complicated plotline and well fleshed-out characters to heel and makes it look easy. What you can expect is for Stone to surprise you repeatedly, satisfy you completely and leave you wanting more.”
—AJ Aalto, author of Touched
After faking his own death, Kal Hakala is free of the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation and can finally focus his energy on destroying the monster that murdered his sister. With the help of trusted former teammates, he embarks on a quest to find an artifact to activate a magical Tesla Coil, the only device powerful enough to kill a legend. But wherever Kal goes, trouble isn’t far behind. It’s not easy to locate an artifact without alerting the BSI. Kal narrows his search to Las Vegas, where he and his friends encounter the greatest peril ever to threaten our world—a threat found only in Sin City but rooted in World War II Germany, site of the past’s most heinous crimes. Can Kal overcome an enemy so diabolical, so evil, that annihilating millions is merely one phase of its master plan? The task seems impossible, but for Kal Hakala, the best agent in the BSI’s history, the impossible only requires patience and careful planning. Patience is not Kal’s strong suit.
Says Stone, “I wanted to integrate aspects of the worst time in modern history (WWII) in this book because it is an era that people under forty are in danger of forgetting. It is too easy to let time numb us to the horrors of the past. For a few months during my research of Nazi Germany and the Final Solution, I felt like I had to shower just to scrub the evil off of my skin. I will carry some of the images that research planted in my brain to the grave. In the book, as in real life, I attempted to leaven the darkness with humor. I wanted to show that, even during their darkest hours, people can still laugh and spit in the eye of evil. Readers who enjoyed the first book will still see an emotionally damaged, cynical Kal along with some terrific monster ass-kicking.”
Born in Helsinki, Finland, Mark Everett Stone arrived in the U.S. at a young age and promptly dove into the world of the fantastic. Starting at age seven with the Iliad and the Odyssey, he went on to consume every scrap of Norse Mythology he could get his grubby little paws on. At age thirteen he graduated to Tolkien and Heinlein, building up a book collection that soon rivaled the local public library’s. In college Mark majored in Journalism and minored in English. Mark’s first book, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Un-Dead, was published by Camel Press in July of 2011. The Judas Line will be released in 2012. Mark lives in Denver with his amazingly patient wife, Brandie, and their two sons, Aeden and Gabriel. Check out Mark’s website and his blog.
What Happens in Vegas, Dies in Vegas is available in Kindle ($4.95) and paperback editions on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon Japan, and at select Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores. Bookstores and libraries can order through Ingram or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Other electronic versions are for sale on Smashwords, BN.com, and any of the major online eBook stores.
Keep reading for an excerpt:
Nope. Not gonna happen. Kal was the only cat I knew who could eat nails and crap bullets, so he was gonna come back and do it soon. Yeah. Soon.
Unbidden, a welling of sadness, of raw fear and despair, began to rise up in my heart. With a force of will—will that had been iron-forged during years in the Bureau—I shoved those emotions down. Down into the dark recesses of my soul and buried them there. No time for weepy, girly shit, only stoic resolve.
Winch, God bless her, said nothing—letting me deal with my issues—and followed me back to the larger cavern. “Let’s check the crates.”
“No need, Canton,” Winch said through pursed lips. “My guess is that we’ll find modern weaponry that doesn’t use computer chips. Wouldn’t be surprised if there are chemical and bio weapons as well. Things that kill with the least amount of effort.”
I thought furiously. “The Nazis fought for about six months in Stalingrad before they were defeated. What do you bet that there are enough weapons here to tip the balance?”
“You got that right.” I spied a silver briefcase wedged between two crates near a dead henchman. A heave tore it loose and I was surprised at how heavy it was. Flipping the catches, I opened the lid.
What the hell?
“Oh my God!” breathed Winch from beside me.
“What? What is it?” LED display, a keypad and a cylinder about a foot long and six inches wide. Didn’t look like much.
“I think …” she began. “I think it’s a nuke.”
I slammed the lid shut with a clang. Where the hell did they get a nuke? Not something you order from a J.C. Penney catalog.
Waitaminute! “How the hell do you know that?”
Her small, but strong hand smacked me on the back of the head. “Dope. Remember, I was CIA before Bureau. Geez, don’t you ever listen to me anymore?”
Oh, yeah, right … CIA, she could probably MacGuyver up a nuke from a paper clip and bubble gum. As for the listening part … well, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t listening we’d been doing for the past few months, but even I wasn’t brave enough to say that out loud. She’d been trained to kill people with things like forks, spoons, toothpicks …
“Canton, hon,” she said with an edge to her voice that told me she’d read my mind … as usual. “We have to call someone about this.”
I frowned. “We ain’t calling anyone, kid. Not until Kal gets back.”
“No!” My voice had turned savage. Hell, I liked Winch, maybe even loved her, but Kal was … Kal. The world was better with him in it.
“Canton, he might not come back.” No fool she. She’d figured it out.
“How do you know?” Those soft eyes bored into mine, pleading to be convinced.
“He’s my friend.”
“That’s an answer?”
I stared at the mass of crates with their deadly payloads, the aluminum case that could unleash hell, and searched my soul for a better answer, but there was none. “It’s the only answer I’ve got.”
The shot took Winch down, but I didn’t have time to worry. Years of training had already set my body in motion. Pushing off a crate with my foot, I was airborne for a split second as I cleared the stack, drawing my Glock in mid air.
Crack! A bullet spun past the tip of my nose, nearly blistering the skin. I landed and rolled as more shots rang out … five, six, seven. From the sound of it, at least three different pistols. That meant more than one shooter. Damn. Wildly, I swung an arm toward the genny that was chugging away nearby. My fingers touched the power button. With an asthmatic rumble, the little machine died and the bulbs overhead slowly dimmed.
Lights out everyone, and Canton was in the house. I felt my lips part in an evil smile. I’d just leveled the playing field.
“He killed the generator, sir!” spat a high, clear voice.
“I can see that!” came the reply in a thick German accent.
Another German. Starting to really hate these guys.
“We should leave it off!” said another voice,
“Nein, the dark will help him,” the German answered.
That right, I thought. Keep talking. Adrenaline began to fizz through my veins as I carefully drew my Bowie from its sheath. Fourteen inches of razor sharp death. My people, the Mescalero Apache, had been the greatest guerilla fighters the U.S. government never wanted to face and it was about time I showed those assholes what that meant.
No time to worry about Winch. She was either dead or she wasn’t. If she was I’d mourn later. At that moment I needed to be cold, hard, emotionless. I needed to be iron and to do iron work.
The ambushers had stopped talking, maybe in an effort to locate me. It wouldn’t help them much. They were sly, but so was I.
I slipped a hand into the front pocket of my jeans and pulled out a quarter. Quietly I slipped out of my boots and pulled free my socks, then tossed the quarter high up over the crates to the left.
Tink … tink … tinkety-tink! Shots rang out and muzzle flashes strobed through the darkness as the men fired toward where the quarter had landed. I was already in motion, bare feet padding silently across the cavern floor.
The gunfire stopped and so did I. The air was thick with propellants and the stale exhalations of desperate men. I inhaled slowly, deeply. Underneath, the chemical smell and halitosis was the faint odor of … cologne. Flowery, soft and almost lemony.
I slid forward while sweat dripped from my eyebrows and stung my eyes. Blinking rapidly, I took another low, crouching step. The smell—the cologne—was closer and I could hear someone breathing harshly. Another clue to home in on.
A low scuff of leather on rock, the soft rustle of fabric. Only a few feet ahead and to my left. My hand reached out and didn’t find wood. I must have just passed the crates.
Close … I crouched lower, slowly so as not to emit a sound. Whoever was breathing was trying to control himself, but I smelled panic-sweat under that soft cologne. He was scared.
Good. He or one of his butt-buddies had shot Winch and they would pay.
The Bowie leapt forward as if it had a will of its own, and my arm was only an extension of that will. An initial resistance, than a sudden give … all fourteen inches of blade sheathed itself in flesh and my hand became drenched in hot liquid. A muffled grunt and a body fell into my arms. A hand clawed at my shirt and I lowered the dead weight gently and quietly to the ground.
“Karl?” The voice low, barely slithering across my ears. Maybe four, six feet away. Sorry, Karl wasn’t here anymore, please leave a message at the beep and don’t bother waiting for a call back. Beeeep.
I stepped over the body, still at a crouch, the quiet drip, drip, dripping from the knife barely audible even to my trained ears. Closer … closer …
“Karl?” Again, with a bit more urgency. Keep calling out, I know where you are. Another step. Very close. No panic sweat from this one. He was cool as a cucumber, a trained killer.
Once more I struck, but some sixth sense must have alerted him because the Bowie screeeeched across the length of a pistol and sheared off, missing the man by a fraction.
I dropped, only thing to do because I knew what would come next … and it did. Multiple flashes seared my eyes as the German fired four times, clean misses all, but the light was enough for me to see a pair of big feet in Italian leather not more than a foot away. Not one to waste an opportunity, I stabbed down and felt the Bowie slide, slide, slide into flesh and grate against bone.
It had the result I’d hoped for. A scream like a cat being strangled and the pistol clattered to the ground next to my ear. The scream became more high-pitched as I drew the Bowie down, cutting the foot in half lengthwise. It cut short to a gasping sob as I pulled the knife free and stabbed upwards. Teeth shattered and rained down on my face as the thick steel cut through tongue and back of throat before exiting out the man’s neck in a spurt of blood.
Two down, unknown number to go, but it was a good start.
From far back in the cavern, from beyond the crates, came an eerie green light, like the shining of damned souls.