Veronica Chandler has worked hard to become a private investigator. At the age of eight she got a baton for Christmas—just like Mummy’s. At 12, she started working at her father’s restaurant so she’d have the money for the investigator’s course. At 16, she became an intern with the Calgary Police Service. And now, at 18, she’s the youngest licensed PI in Alberta.
As her ex-boyfriend can attest, she has the skills. As a psychotic killer discovers, she has the will. Now she’s ready to take on the world: To find the lost and expose the faithless.
None of which prepare her for a house that can’t decide whether it’s empty, one or two perverse dwarfs with a bizarre hold over their victims, a kinky pony show, and a secret global organization. Every clue leads to more questions. Four lives depend on Veronica finding the answers.
And then there’s that pesky losing-your-soul thing.
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There was sharp pain in my foot as the bat struck it, but my boot absorbed most of it. I wiggled harder. My coat got caught on something, and I strained to get away. Just as he grabbed both of my legs, and hauled me out into the street again, my hand grabbed something hard and cold.
There was no thought of consequences as I came out into the sunlight. Danielle’s gun was heavy in my frozen hands as I raised it to the looming shadow overhead.
At that range it would have been almost impossible to miss. As he screamed again I squeezed the trigger. A hole appeared in his chest. He looked surprised.
I managed to squeeze off another round as he began to crumple straight down. It reminded me of video of a building being demolished with explosives.
Two rounds. Centre of mass. Just like in the simulator. I would have shot him more times if I could have gotten my fingers to work faster. I wasn’t consciously trying for a double tap.
The sound of the shots was deafening. Afterwards, all I could hear was a high-pitched whine in my head. My ears were not impressed by all they’d been through in the past few minutes.
I couldn’t breathe. Maybe it was the cold.
Pain. Cold. Wetness. Silence. Blood.
For a blessedly long time I lay there staring at Danielle. Waiting for the monster to rise again from behind her.
Slowly, I started noticing other things. People on the sidewalks were running away, or standing with their mouths open. They were probably screaming, but I couldn’t hear anything but that whine.
Alyssa Blakeway is so submissive it’s a miracle she left her house, let alone asked Veronica to find out if her abusive husband is also cheating on her.
When Veronica finds out who Collin Blakeway is actually going to see, things go from bad to worse to deadly. They also challenge Veronica’s most deeply held beliefs as she discovers that demons and magic are real.
It’s no longer a matter of saving a marriage. Now she has to save the lives of Alyssa, her sister Kali, an unknown woman, and herself. All while avoiding being killed by her sister for acting stupidly.
If an arborist, a coven of Witches, the Vatican, the Freemasons, a Native Elder, and an old bicycle can’t save them, who can?
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Being shot at and landing in protective custody certainly cramps a PI’s style, so when a group of collectors want Veronica to track down an historical artifact in England, she jumps at the chance. They’ll even handle recovery, so all she has to do is find the item. It’s a piece of cake.
There are a few details that were left out. Everybody is after this thing. Veronica has to dodge bullets meant for another PI, get chased all over Europe by Finnish terrorists, tries not to violate every national park in the world, and has to put up with an English investigator who insists on accompanying her.
Of course, the artifact turns out to be more dangerous than she was led to believe. Veronica has to trust somebody who tried to remove her head, decide the fate of the world, and survive an angry volcano. At least she’s getting paid for it. If she can collect.
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Veronica has just gotten home after solving a minor case in Mexico involving kidnapping, betrayal, bank fraud, and a Colombian drug cartel when an old acquaintance show up to hire her. Somebody has been committing impossible murders all over the world, and Veronica is the only person qualified to stop the killer before the body count soars.
The problems start with her client. Can she trust a demon prince not to send her back to therapy or worse for another year? What, if any, is his hidden agenda? Is anything at all as it seems?
Veronica thought she had a handle on magic and demons, but as soon as she starts investigating it’s obvious that all the rules have changed. She’s playing in the big leagues now, and she’s going to have to move heaven and hell to keep humanity alive. Starting with herself.
Now, if she can only survive dinner with her family, a blind date, a small immigration problem, and working with the federal cabinet, it’s possible that all will be well.
Or at least as well as it can be when you have to deal with insane immortals and a talking cat.
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G.W. Renshaw lives in Calgary, Alberta with his lovely wife and Romulus the cat. He likes to write stories that range from the unusual to the bizarre.
He has picked up a variety of skills over the years: gunner in the Canadian Forces, practitioner of Iwama-style Aikido, Krav Maga, and Chito Ryu Karate, computer programmer, Linux druid, Search and Rescue manager, caving, rock climbing, and archery. He learned man tracking from Terry Grant (the original ManTracker on TV). He also learned a variety of medieval skills while in the Society for Creative Anachronisms.
G.W. writes when he isn’t maintaining the web site for When Words Collide, being beaten senseless by his young padawan, or working at Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, or the Cumming School of Medicine.
He claims to have a firm grip on reality, but seems unaware that it is slowly turning purple. He will happily watch just about any film with monsters in it.
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