“The Skeleton Key: A Short Story Exclusive” by James Rollins (Kindle, 2011)

Skeleton Key
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Bestselling author James Rollins’ SIGMA series features a number of popular and powerful characters that readers have become quite attached to, and none is more interesting than the beautiful and mysterious Seichan.  In this short story exclusive, “The Skeleton Key,” readers get to see Seichan working on a solo mission that she never intended to get involved in.

Seichan wakes up to find herself in hotel room in Paris; she’s been knocked out with something unknown and has no memory of how she got here.  Then there’s the strange electronic collar around her neck that can’t been detached and seems like it may contain an explosive device.  In the room is also a stranger, a Scottish boy also wearing a collar who doesn’t know how he got there either.  Then she gets the call from an old enemy, one who is involved with the clandestine Guild which Seichan used to work for and is now trying hard to bring down and stop.  In return for her freedom and an important document, she must find this man’s son, alive.

Her journey will take her deep into the catacombs of Paris, filled with history and stories of death, secrecy, and in this case an apocalyptic cult.  Using her new friend’s knowledge of this cult which his girlfriend is involved with, and the map tattooed on his back, she hopes to find this cult and put a stop to whatever they’re doing, before someone decides to trigger the bomb attached to her throat.

Rollins delivers classic action, thrill and intrigue, along with a fascinating history lesson into the dark necropolis beneath beautiful Paris, which will keep readers hooked to the very end.  Plus there’s some important story hear, as Seichan is provided with an important clue, leading up to Rollins’ next SIGMA book, Devil Colony, due out June 21st.

Originally written on May 30, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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“Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box” by Mira Grant (Kindle Edition, 2011)

Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box
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After the success of Feed, fans will be experiencing the impatient excruciating wait leading up to the release of the sequel, Deadline (due out May 31), with little to do but twiddle their page-turning fingers.  Thankfully, Mira Grant and Orbit with the Orbit Short Fiction series have presented us fans with a brief respite; a kernel of entertainment in the form of a short story, “Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box,” from the author as we count down the days to the final Deadline.

Friends are good; friends are special; friends are important.  And what’s better than bringing a bunch of friends together than a game; a game they’ve been playing for years.  But it’s not your ordinary game: the challenge is to come up with the ultimate apocalypse scenario, which began with the idea to “. . . figure out how to destroy the world.”  The group meets every Friday, for the last fifteen years, each of the members taking turns to come up with a way to end of the world, each being more nefarious and evil than the previous one.  And now it is time for the six hundred and eighty-third scenario, only Cole is unable to attend for some reason, and instead she has sent a digital recording of her scenario.   As the group listens to the step by step instructions of Cole’s latest scenario, fear begins to creep through each member of the group as the description starts to seem a little too close to reality.

Grant’s short story is just the perfect dish to hold back the appetite of those fans anxiously awaiting the release of Deadline; readers will not be disappointed with “Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box.”

Originally written on May 5, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.