Seattle video game designer Cole Warnecki takes an extreme vacation in British Columbia and ends up hunting supernatural monsters in this campy, action-packed paranormal debut. After Cole survives an encounter with a nasty werewolflike Full Blood, he lands a job with the Midwestern Ectological Group, whose Skinners act as cops for the local supernatural population. They bring him to Chicago and pair him up with experienced Skinner Paige Strobel, who gives him sound advice like "Don't gawk at a woman's ass when she's carrying a shotgun." Paige drags Cole into the front lines of MEG's war on insane vampire Misonyk, who infects people with vampiric spores and encourages them to drain victims dry, stealing their souls. Plenty of cinematic gore and wisecracks will keep readers coming back for future installments. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Blood Blade (Skinners, Book 1)by Marcus Pelegrimas
Welcome to the nightmare . . .
There is a world you don't know about, inhabited by supernatural creatures of darkness—vampires, werewolves, and all manner of savage, impossible beasts that live for terror and slaughter and blood. They are all around us but you cannot see them, for knowledge of their presence—so close and so hungry—would/p>… See more details below
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Welcome to the nightmare . . .
There is a world you don't know about, inhabited by supernatural creatures of darkness—vampires, werewolves, and all manner of savage, impossible beasts that live for terror and slaughter and blood. They are all around us but you cannot see them, for knowledge of their presence—so close and so hungry—would surely drive any ordinary human insane.
But for centuries a special breed of hunter has kept the monsters at bay, preventing them from breaking through the increasingly fragile barriers protecting our mortal realm.
These guardians are called skinners.
But beware . . . for there are very few of them left.
Read an Excerpt
Blood Blade (Skinners, Book 1)
"What the hell is that thing supposed to be?"
Cole Warnecki squinted and leaned forward as he tried to come up with words to describe what he was seeing on the monitor. Drawing a complete blank, he shook his head and replied, "I don't know. Some sort of monster?"
The man next to Cole didn't take his eyes from the thing that had caught his attention. He shook his head, but not in the vaguely bewildered way that Cole had a second ago. "A monster or maybe some kind of alien?"
Cole snapped his fingers. "A demon! That's what it is."
"What kind of demon?"
"The kind that . . . wait a second . . . maybe it's some sort of guardian spirit."
Jason Sorrenson shifted his eyes away from the thirty-two-inch screen, swiveled in his chair so he could face Cole, then reached for a pair of glasses. He slid the dated wire frames into the grooves they'd worn over both ears and onto the bridge of his nose before asking, "Isn't this your game, Cole? Shouldn't you know exactly what every one of these things are?"
Cole kept looking at the monitor and the image frozen on it. In his hands he held a controller that was connected to a black video-game console on a table beside Jason's desk. Finally, Cole set the controller down and pressed his fingertips against his closed eyes. "Shit, you're right. You know how crazy things get when we're this close to going gold."
"Going gold? We're barely through play testing and you think we're ready to start manufacturing disks?"
Letting out a breath, Cole flinched as if someone had just blown pepper up his nose. "A Cerberus! That'swhat it is!"
"You know, like one of those demon dogs from Greek mythology. But it's different than those other ones that showed up in..."
"Save it, Cole." Jason was in his mid-forties, but carried himself as if he had sixty years of grief on his back. Leaning back, he sunk into the expensive padding of his chair, clasped his hands behind his balding head and stared at Cole through the dated wire frame glasses. His office matched the chair in comfort and had enough windows to fill it with whatever light the gray Seattle skies could offer. In comparison, the rest of the offices in the building seemed like dungeons. Outside, a stiff breeze blew in from Puget Sound; all the bare branches in the nearby park swayed in a slow rhythm. Winter hadn't arrived quite yet, but the city looked plenty cold already. "What's going on with you lately?" Jason asked with more concern than might be expected from someone so high on the corporate ladder.
Cole was about ten years younger than his boss, but he let out a sigh as if he was the older of the two. Working his way through the ranks of Digital Dreamers Inc. had been a labor of love, but times like this didn't feel so romantic. "I don't know," he said before his pause became uncomfortable.
"Do you want to abandon Hammer Strike?"
Glancing back to the monitor, Cole looked at the pause screen displaying the game's title and options. "I've been working on Hammer for over two years. Giving it up now would just be . . ."
"I was going to say stupid, but I guess both are pretty close."
Jason got up and sat on the edge of his marble desktop. "I'd hate to lose you, Cole," he said while picking up his own controller and hitting a button to put the game back into motion. "You're anything but lazy, but you do seem sort of distracted."
"That's putting it nicely. It feels more like I've had my head jammed up my ass."
Chuckling under his breath like a preteen boy too nervous to follow up his friend's swearing with a bad word of his own, Jason let his fingers drift effortlessly over the game controller. He moved his muscle-bound, onscreen avatar to one of the Cerberus-type creatures and used the titular hammer to pound it into a mess of pixilated gore.
Cole pinched his chin between a thumb and forefinger while watching Jason maneuver through the game. "Do that combo I showed you."
"The killing move?"
Jason's fingers flew through the prescribed set of motions, causing the digitized character to perform a jerky dance. "It's not working," he said while shaking his head.
Cole took the controller from Jason's hands and went through the same motions, only a bit faster. After a few more attempts, he bounced the controller off the floor and turned his back to the screen. "God dammit!"
"Maybe you need to take a vacation. You know . . . relax a little?"
"I can't take a vacation this close to the release date."
"So we'll push the date back. It wouldn't be the first time."
Letting out a breath, Cole straightened up and turned around to face his boss again. He knew he might not have been in the best shape of his life, but with his natural athleticism, he held up better than most guys his age. Considering how much time he spent in front of a computer screen, his lack of a gut was even more impressive. He chuckled at his own expense and dropped back into his chair. "I don't think a vacation is what I need, Jason."
"I'm not letting you quit." Lighting up like the power button on his game console, Jason said, "I know! What about Nora?"
"I haven't seen her for a while."
"She works one door away from the programmers' lounge. You must see her every day."
"I mean I haven't seen her . . . like that. Not for a while."
Jason nodded slowly. "Why not?"
"Not just a boss, but a relationship counselor too? I think you should prescribe me some painkillers. You know, the good ones that put you to sleep for a while?"Blood Blade (Skinners, Book 1). Copyright © by Marcus Pelegrimas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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