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Congratulations. You've discovered yet another easter egg.

You're ever so clever.


Enjoy this excerpt from the novel MAELSTROM, featuring my favorite nemesis, Nicholas Keegan, and (of course) yours truly:

Forest Lake, Minnesota

Monday, August 8, 2016 3:15 PM


    The tortuous tingling was finally starting to pass, but it left behind an uncomfortable itching. Connie was able to move her fingers and toes and rolled her wrists and ankles. 

    “It’s all downhill from here, Connie. It just gets easier now.”

    Connie drew as deep a breath as she could and tried to shout. She managed little more than a whisper. “Fuhuhuhk—” 

    Zorin smiled. It looked like the grin of a wolf before feeding. “Yes, yes, I know. There’s no need for vulgarity. Should we discuss what’s going to happen next?” He nodded. “It’s simple really. In a few hours, I’m going to go and pick up your husband. He’s going to take a nice nap, and we’re going to drive someplace where we won’t be disturbed while we have a little chat. I’m going to give him a choice. Perhaps an impossible choice, but it’s one that he’ll have to make one way or another.

    “He’ll have to choose between you and me. An easy decision, obviously. Surely, he’ll pick you, yes? I’ll tell him that I’ll let you go if he lets me go. We’ll have a nice, productive talk while he thinks over whether or not he can trust me to keep my word. What do you think, Connie? Will he trust the word of someone like me?” He grinned again. “Hmmm.” He shrugged and frowned. “Maybe it’s not so simple after all. But it’s sure to be exciting, wouldn’t you say? The hero and the villain together in one place. The beautiful maiden held in the balance. It gives me an erection just thinking about it.”

    “He’ll kill you,” Connie whispered.

    “Will he, do you think? You know your husband better than I, surely. See, that’s all part of the excitement. I’m betting my life that you’re wrong, but that’s okay too. I’m prepared to die if it comes down to it. Anyway, there’s more that you’ll need to do for me, my dear.”

    Bile rose in Connie’s throat.

    “I’ll leave you with pencil and paper so you can write Nick a letter. I’m sure you’ll have plenty to say to him. I figure you have about sixty or so hours before you’ll die from dehydration. Usually, it’s about three days, but given your surgery and the pancuronium I gave you, we’ll play it safe. After I’ve had plenty of time to disappear, I’ll let Nick know where he can find you. Say, fifty-five hours or so? Of course, all of that depends on whether or not Nick will let me go. If he tries to arrest me, I’m going to let you die here. If he kills me, well, obviously, you’ll die here. But, if Nick plays by the rules, I’ll let him know where you are, and he can come rescue you.”

    “He won’t,” Connie rasped. Her throat felt like sandpaper.

    Zorin shrugged and looked indifferent. “Perhaps not. I don’t suppose I’m the kind of person Nick would put his faith in. I can’t say I’d blame him.”

    Connie’s neck twitched.

    “But we’re going to make things just a tad more interesting.” He reached into the bag next to him on the floor and pulled out a bottle of water. He held it up, shook it, and then set it on the floor a few feet in front of her. “This will be here while you slowly dehydrate. As your lips crack and you start to lose feeling in your fingers and toes. Again.” He smiled his terrible smile before continuing. “As your tongue swells. As your body temperature decreases. It won’t be pleasant.

    “But you can drink anytime you want, Connie. There’s a significant amount of potassium cyanide in this bottle of water. It will absolutely kill you. You’ll be rendered unconscious in less than a minute, and you’ll suffocate shortly thereafter. It's not exactly painless, but as far as ways to die, it’s a fairly quick way to go. It would be far more…unpleasant were I to take care of it for you. And you get to control your own destiny. Decide how and when you want to leave this world. Or, you can suffer through the dehydration and hope Nick comes for you. Your choice.”

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