Sunday, February 24, 2013

3 LIES by Helen Hanson: Spotlight, Excerpt

 





At CIA headquarters, a young officer discovers that terrorists may have commandeered their computer systems to launch an unauthorized mission. Elsewhere, conspirators abduct nine people to manipulate the rules of their game. Two disparate ambitions — Clint Masters becomes the reluctant link in the chain of danger.

Ever since Clint’s almost ex-wife dumped him, he bobs along the Massachusetts coast in a sailboat with his black lab for company. He avoids all forms of technology, a counterintuitive effort for the burned-out founder of CatSat Laboratories. Tired of clutching the brass ring, he needed to untether, step off the corporate treadmill, and smell a flower. Fortunately, he met one, a beautiful, unspoiled woman who doesn’t treat him like a commodity. His relationship with Beth offers more promise than his marriage ever did, even if she is on dialysis for her recovering kidneys, until she disappears.

In spite of the evidence, her family refuses to admit she’s in danger. Without routine dialysis, she won’t survive. As Clint realizes that he loves Beth, damn-near ex-wife Paige sashays back into his life with disturbing news.

While the CIA young gun tracks his quarry, Clint enlists the help of two men to find Beth, a blithe Brit named Merlin, and Todd, his playboy partner-in-tech. But Clint must find Beth before her kidneys fail. And before someone unloads a bullet in his head.



Sale Price:
 
3 LIES ON SALE for only 99¢ at Amazon, B&N, and iBookstore
from 2/24/13 until 3/2/13.

 
Links:

 
Amazon    |   Barnes & Noble    |    iBooks  


 

Once started, I could not put it down. The writing is genuine and the feelings are heartfelt. This would be a wonderful book for your library. I look forward to reading more from Helen Hanson, she has an artistry that is hard to deny.  Seattle Post-Intelligencer Review
 
***
Another thing I liked was that the plot was involved, in that it had multiple threads that eventually came together, yet I didn't have any difficulty keeping track of the different characters and threads. It takes talent for an author to keep a complex story with multiple things happening from becoming too difficult for the reader to keep everything straight.


None of this would matter were "3 Lies" not a great story. The different story threads kept me guessing. Although it became apparent how they were related, how (or if) everything would resolve was never obvious, which maintained the suspense. Several twists near the end were big surprises and made the ending even more satisfying. – BigAl, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer
 
 ***
This author has nailed the cliffhanger ending! I would read along (great suspenseful story, wonderful characters) and think, oh, I'll finish after this chapter and then BAM! grrrrr cliffhanger - what happens next?! OK, I'll just read a couple paragraphs into the next chapter. Ohhhh it's a new thread of the story, and it's so good and at the end of the chapter BAM! another cliffhanger. This story literally keeps you reading until it’s done. – Alchemy of Scrawl Reviews.




Chapter One

 
The water bead on her chest slalomed south to join the others on the black-diamond run to her groin. Beth Sutton wrapped the thick, white towel around her dripping hair. Both hung to her hip. As she stepped onto the bath mat, the arterial catheter bounced off her inner thigh muscle. She wiped down the rest of her body and draped the towel on the rack.
Clint left her house at eleven the night before with a promise to return for breakfast prior to their fishing trip. Another evening absorbed in unguarded conversation. Their two months together passed with an easy contentment.
She should have dialyzed last night, but she’d fallen asleep too soon, cocooned in fading dreams, down, and enchantment. The evening proved too satisfying to interrupt for blood filtering. He’d offered to help. Again.
Maybe he could really handle it. Maybe not. Maybe she wasn’t ready to test him.
A knock came from her door as she dressed.
Six-fifteen. He was early.
Once over in the mirror—baggy pink jeans and a pink thermal shirt sufficed for cooking breakfast.
Omelets. Everybody liked omelets.
She hustled to the door. The deadbolt resisted. “Just a second.” The lock popped. She threw the door open with a flourishing smile. “Good morn—”
Her chest inflated with fear. A stocky man wearing a blue ski mask shoved her inside. He covered her mouth before a scream loosened. A piece of paper dropped from his hand. Footsteps fell behind her. She struggled, but she couldn’t escape his grip. A sharp jab pierced her bottom.
Her pulse staggered. A needle. Oh dear, God.
Dreaminess surged. Her focus failed.
Clint was coming. He’d stop them.
Maybe Clint would prefer waffles.
Last night was lovely.
 

 Chapter Two
 
According to Paige Masters, Clint’s almost ex-wife, he never noticed anything. But the white Chevy van pulling out of Beth’s road caught his attention. At least the sound of the V-8 engine rumbling under the hood did. Between a full-size and a mini, that van never left the factory boasting anything larger than a V-6. Dull and gutless by reputation, the piece of junk couldn’t get jacked during a riot.
A throaty roar from the vehicle broke his expectation, like a Swedish accent from the lips of a black man. While the kiddies tried to give the illusion of raw power under the hood without the trouble of an actual engine swap, this van camouflaged its strength with exhaust silencers. Sporting rear-wheel drive and a torquey V-8, that homely white box could spank a Mustang in a quarter mile.
Don’t say he didn’t notice anything. Hell yes, he noticed.
Clint parked his black pickup on the main street of Clement, Massachusetts but stayed in the cab to finish his coffee while the seaside burg enjoyed the remaining minutes of slumber. He preferred walking down to Beth’s house so his black lab, Louie, could sniff the flora on the way. Beth’s road was nearly half a mile long and ran mostly downhill on a headland. It led to four houses and a winery. Each home occupied five wooded acres; and the winery, fifty. If Clint drove down to her house without letting Louie romp, then for the duration of their visit the young dog would whimper, paw the floor, and sulk.
Clint had heard the van coming before it emerged from the patchy fog a car length away. Two swarthy men stayed behind blue-mirrored sunglasses and Red Sox ball caps as they crested the hill. Probably a delivery to the winery. In spite of not knowing these men, Clint waved, as a gesture.
The men either didn’t see him or weren’t up for friendly this early. Neither waved back. The van’s rear tires spun, searching for a hold in the loose gravel. It lurched onto the roadway staying long enough for Clint to see a dirty patch of bumper sticker glue in the shape of Australia that adorned the back door. Virginia plates. It roared off toward the highway through the dissipating mist.
A beautiful day barely underway. What’s the rush? Smell the flowers. Will ya?
He emptied the last of the coffee from his paper cup and tossed it onto the floorboard before getting out of the truck. A glance to his watch showed the time as six twenty-two. He was early, but extra hungry. Somehow, that made up for the early.
The ocean-side chill receded under the constant gaze of the new sun. He pushed the sleeves of his sweatshirt back to the elbows. “C’mon, Louie.”
The glossy black dog bounded from the back seat of the cab. A wag started at the tail and rippled through to the other end of his sleek body. A drooling red tongue flapped amid the pearly-whites of his mouth.
“Good boy.” Clint clipped a leash on the leather collar and patted Louie’s firm flank. “Let’s go, Lou.”
Louie led Clint on a tour of every white oak, sugar maple, and pitch pine before scampering up the porch to Beth Sutton’s door. A nineteenth century bungalow with the Atlantic Ocean slapping its back, the whole place boasted only 820 square feet. Clint lowered the anchor-shaped knocker onto the strike plate. She would hear the clatter from any room. Echoes settled into silence. He knocked again.
No shower noises. Even if she were in there, she’d at least call out and tell him to wait. A growl undulated from Clint’s empty stomach. Beth specifically invited him to breakfast. He was early, but she ought to be up by now. He knocked again. Louder.
Another full minute passed. Clint walked around to the back of the house and rapped on the kitchen door. He peered through a sliver of uncovered windowpane. The hemodialysis machine she named Dracula stood sentry at the bedroom wall. The doors to both her bedroom and bath were open. Her vacant computer table occupied the near corner in the still, Beth-less room. 
 




Helen Hanson writes thrillers about desperate people with a high-tech bent.  Hackers.  The CIA. Industry titans.  Guys on sailboats.  Mobsters. Their personal maelstroms pit them against unrelenting forces willing to kill.  Throughout the journey, they try to find some truth, a little humor, and their humanity — from either end of the trigger.
 
 
While Helen writes about the power hungry, she genuinely mistrusts anyone who wants to rule the world.
 
 
 
Helen directed operations for high-tech manufacturers of semiconductors, video games, software, and computers. Her reluctant education behind the Redwood Curtain culminated in a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrated studies in Computer Science.  She also learned to play a mean game of hacky sack.
 
She is a licensed private pilot with a ticket for single-engine aircraft.  Helen and her husband spent their first anniversary with their flight instructor studying for the FAA practical. If you were a passenger on a 737 trying to land at SJC in 1995, she sends her most sincere apologies.  Really.
 
Born in fly-over country, Helen has lived on both coasts, near both borders, and at several locations in between. She lettered in tennis, worked as a machinist, and saw the Clash at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium sometime in the eighties.  She currently lives amid the bricks of Texas with her husband, son, and a dog that composes music with squeaky toys.
 
If you enjoy her books, please consider writing a review.  If you don’t, please be kind.

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2 paperback copies of 3 LIES – US only or
2 eCopies of either 3 LIES or DARK POOL if winner is outside of US
Closes 3/24/13
 





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