I Left my Haunt in San Francisco: Book 3 in the From the Files of the BSI Series

hauntSuper-agent Kal Hakala and his team stand at the golden gates … of hell, with only a ghost of a chance to survive.

I Left My Haunt in San Francisco ($15.95, 298 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-868-1) is Book 3 of Mark Everett Stone’s popular urban fantasy series featuring a super-agent employed by the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation. Next up: Chicago, the Windigo City and Omaha Stakes.

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“Another high impact, fast moving story from Mark Everett Stone. I am really enjoying seeing his growth as a writer reflected in the strength of his characters and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Kal.”  Read more …
—Michelle Herbert, Fantasy Book Review

“The third in a series, I Left My Haunt in San Francisco is lively and smart. It is packed with action and just enough goop and gore to please fans of the genre without turning away newcomers to this subset of modern fantasy demon-busting …. Stone’s book moves fast and reads quickly. It is well-written and nicely paced, with a few short rest stops built in to allow the reader to catch his breath, all to better appreciate the at-times purple but always entertaining prose …. It is just great, grand fun.”  Read more …

—Mark McLaughlin, Foreword Digital Reviews

“Kal Hakala is at his finest, throwing out one liners and sarcasm like candy at the local town parade. There’s even some nifty new gadgets that would make Q green with envy. Stone concocts his tale with a generous helping of spells and weaponry, a dash of some familiar faces, a smidgen of new folks on the team, and tops it off with plenty of awesome battles with the Things That Go Bump in the Night …. A dish best read in one sitting because you won’t be able to put this one down.”
—Shay Fabro, award-winning author of the Portal of Destiny series

“The third episode of the Files of the BSI series is told with Mark Stone’s trademark tongue in cheek humor. It keeps you wanting more with each turn of the page, to not only uncover the mysteries of the story, but also to enjoy Kal’s quick but cynical wit.”
—CP Bialois, author of Call of Poseidon, The Sword and the Flame series, and Skeleton Key

Mark’s last book, The Judas Line, earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which wrote, “Stone’s depiction of magic is realistic and intelligent and his treatment of Catholicism refreshingly informed and three-dimensional. Even the obligatory near-apocalyptic ending is coherent, surprising, and exciting.” The Judas Line is currently a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in the Fantasy Category.

Fresh Fiction called The Judas Line, “A heavenly read …. simply brilliant.”

Books in Motion is producing audiobooks of Mark’s first two BSI novels, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Un-Dead and What Happens in Vegas, Dies in Vegas. Click here to order the audio version of Mark’s first book.

Mark’s first novel in the From the Files of the BSI series, Things to Do in Denver, won the second place Forward Literature Award for Humor and was one of seven titles nominated for ForeWord Magazine’s debut fiction award, ForeWord Firsts.

After avenging himself on the mythical monster that killed his sister, Kal Hakela is back at the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation. But, with only a few months left on his contract, he’s tempted to retire along with his new love, former MI-7 agent Jeanie.

When a friend and former BSI agent in San Francisco kills himself, he leaves Kal a clue, one he cannot ignore. The city is full of bad memories for Kal. In his last mission there, he killed a deranged serial rapist who used magic to murder his victims. Though successful, the mission resulted in unfortunate collateral damage, which earned Kal the enmity of San Francisco’s ghostly Supernatural protector.

With the fate of every human on Earth at stake, Kal and his team confront a slew of Supernatural perils, from giant insects to gargoyles. And they must complete their mission without the help of the BSI, its magical weaponry, and the superhuman power of Kal’s legendary rage.

Says Stone, “Whenever a book is part of a series, the author must worry about plot development. Too many series suffer from what I call ‘The Same Story Syndrome,’ where the books have basically the same plot, and only the names, places, and circumstances have changed. I try to bring a different feel to each book, introducing new elements and characters that will keep the reader guessing and the ongoing storyline fresh.”

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 lives in Denver with his wife, Brandie, and their two sons, Aeden and Gabriel. Click here to find Mark on the Web.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“Boss,” Wilkes began. “What happened last time you were here? What was taken from Norton that he prized so much?”

Blood, black in the bright light of the full moon, splashed across the landscape of my memory. Last time in San Fran had been a dubious victory at best; we killed the bad guy and saved lives, but at the same time lost the heart of Joshua Norton.

“I’ll tell you later,” I muttered, the foul taste of the memory coating my tongue. Off to the right, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young kid—perhaps thirteen, with long, stringy blond hair and a gray hoodie—pointing a stick. I saw a flash of mirrored sunglasses before the world went all jiggery.

Heat burned up my arm and the roof of the Suburban hit me in the face and torqued my head at a nearly impossible angle while the steering wheel hit me in the Misters. The cramping, grinding pain that shot through my crotch was a blunt message that my sex life would be curtailed for a while. A tail of yellow briefly flickered across my vision, accompanied by a strange crackling sound. Burnt pork assailed my nose. For some reason, everything was topsy-turvy and it slowly came to me that I hung upside down by my seat belt, which was odd but I couldn’t quite figure out why.

I tasted blood and burning plastic. A square of glass had invaded my mouth and spitting it out hurt like hell, but not as much as my left arm. What …? A body blocked my sight to the right, a big one. More blood filled my mouth and the universe spun on its axis. I felt the sudden urge to throw up. I wiped my eyes and realized that my left sleeve was on fire and the burning pork was ME! I smelled almost delicious but I couldn’t hear much because everything seemed to be muffled in a pad of cotton and when that cotton was suddenly ripped away, I could hear everything, a cacophony of harsh sounds—the blare of horns, the crackle and whoosh of fire, the jagged raw sound of metal slowly scraping asphalt. It all overwhelmed me and I could feel my eyes crossing in consternation.

Crunch, crunch, crunch

The noise was close enough to draw my attention because for some reason the fire eating my arm didn’t hurt any more, but what was crunching my way with such slow, deliberate steps?

White high tops, Air Jordans, were all I could see of the person who calmly walked around the black SUV, rubber soles crackling the tiny bits of safety glass that were sprayed around the vehicle like a silicate web.

It hurt like a mother to twist my head around as the shoes made it to the driver’s side window and halted, the toes pointing straight at me. A black, bulky object lay next to my temple and I fumbled for it, driven by panic. Cool metal greeted my palm just as a face fronted by a pair of mirrored lenses peered in.

It was the kid, the kid with the stick, wearing gray sweatpants to match his/her gray hoodie. I couldn’t tell if the kid was male or female; its features were perfectly androgynous. Long blond hair that I had thought was stringy was instead silk-fine, hanging to an inch above the asphalt before fading into invisibility. The sight of that hair, the ends dangling into nothingness, sent a worm of fear gnawing at my gut and it wasn’t just the heat of my burning flesh that popped sweat on my forehead.

“A ghlacadh mé aon áthas seo,” he/she said in a high, fluting voice, full of music and chiming notes that brought a tingle to my ears. For some reason I thought of forest meadows and the taste of honey nectar. In contrast to the music of the kid’s voice, the face behind the mirrored shades was dispassionate, hard as mountain gutrock. “Ní hé seo an pearsanta, tá sé gnó.” That said, the kid raised his/her stick.

Something about that foot-long piece of wood struck me as the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen, not that it actually radiated menace or evil or had “One Stick to Rule Them All” inscribed on it in fiery runes. Terror seemed to be part of the reality that surrounded it and I did the only thing I could under the circumstances, I aimed Alex’s new invention (the object that had landed next to my skull) and pulled the trigger.

Clack.

Oh crap. Again, I pulled the trigger.

Clack. Nothing.

The kid smiled, revealing slightly oversized and very white teeth, and aimed that damn stick at my face. I knew I was dead, that whatever magic that piece of wood held would blow my head apart like a melon hitting the highway. I closed my eyes, hoping it wouldn’t hurt.

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