Hello Readers! I’m pleased to share the excerpt from The Black Ditch by Simon Lancaster as a part of blog tour organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out more about this Dystopian thriller in this post, and there is tour-wide giveaway at the end!
The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster
The Laurie Sterne Trilogy Book #1
Publication Date: 8th July 2019
Genre: Dystopian future thriller
LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.
This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.
In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?
IT is 2050 and Laurie Sterne is serving a life sentence in the prison city of London for being a climate refugee. He is a man with low expectations; even so, he has been having a bad week.
His father has been killed and his boss assassinated. And just as it seems he is waking from this nightmare, just as he is given a new job and somewhere to live by the mysterious Anna Lewis, he is captured by a gang boss called Russell Smith and tortured to force him to give up information he doesn’t have.
He is dumped, half-dead, on a street, picked up by his former employers, who nearly kill him, and by some miracle manages to get free.
But now his injuries are taking their toll; he is hallucinating as he drags his wounded body to his new flat. All the same, he’s fairly sure there is someone on his tail. Someone armed. Someone horribly real…
RELIEF got him up the single flight of stairs from the Tube platform and an escalator took him to street level. He tried to get his bearings. His vision was getting worse, the night air seemed flecked with snowflakes the size of fists.
He shuffled down King William Street like a stroke victim. The half mile to his flat seemed like a desert trek without water.
Puffy lumps of snow floated down from a clear, starry sky and settled on the pavement. They mottled his shoes, black plastic shoes he didn’t recognise.
From Smith’s place, like the overalls.
Feet on the pavement behind him. He stopped and turned. He sensed someone in the dark.
Stop this crazy paranoia!
In a teeming prison city, the only cause for fear would have been if there hadn’t been anyone there.
He stumbled on. The world appeared to close in on him, the buildings arching over his head to make a tomb.
He glanced back. A man was striding out towards him. He could hear the sound of steel wheels and horses’ hooves.
The man’s fast walk turned into a run. He carried what looked like a semi-automatic shotgun.
Laurie was as sure as he could be that this was not a paranoid fantasy.
The buildings were crumbling. He was inside a collapsing cave of concrete and steel. The black figure raced towards him like a charging bull and all the while the sound of the wheels became louder.
He tried to run and tripped. He put his arms out to break his fall.
There was a single shot.
A police brougham pulled by two black horses stopped next to him in a cloud of dust and stirred-up snow. The tunnel of buildings wrapped round it.
Laurie screamed in pain.
He was helped up.
The pursuer lay motionless on the ground. Blood dripped from the glass office front across the street.
He was carried to the brougham. He heard someone talking on a phone. He passed out and when he came to, he was being carried on a stretcher. Strange, grey outlines crossed his vision like mythic birds in a night sky.
He closed his eyes and opened them again. They entered his building in Lower Thames Street and carried him to the opposite side of the atrium. A man sat at the reception desk; could see the drama, didn’t care.
Laurie’s key card got them through the door to the stairwell.
His helpers laid the stretcher on the floor and hauled him upright. His head lolled and he alternately screamed and whimpered as they dragged him up the stairs.
He was put back on the stretcher when they reached his floor. Snow fell thickly as they crossed the lobby to his front door.
A woman walking in front of them opened it. He was placed on his bed. He closed his eyes again and gasped for air.
He heard sounds, sensed people, intruders. More pain coming. This time it would finish him.
‘Oh god, Jess!’
A voice he recognised.
Anna Lewis’s voice.
A reply from someone close to his ear, a woman who sounded a bit like Lewis, but was not Lewis.
‘It’s OK, he’s breathing, that’s something to work with.’
The sound of his front door shutting. The feel of hands touching him.
The one who wasn’t Lewis, spoke in his right ear.
‘Can you sit up?’
She helped him turn on his back.
He opened his eyes but all he could see was snow.
‘Let’s get these off.’
He thought she was talking to him, but she must have been talking to Lewis. Hands eased him up. The overalls were unbuttoned, and the sleeves pulled from his arms. He cried out. Hands gingerly laid him back down again. Hands dragged the overalls off.
He breathed out.
Hands touched his skin. They were incredibly gentle.
‘This was my fault,’ said Lewis.
He wanted to tell her it wasn’t, but he’d lost the power of speech.
He was on the side of a boat that floated on her eyes. He put his hands together, leaned over and dived in.
When his body met the deep, clear water he finally let go. He finally passed out.
Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.
Social Media Links – Facebook
Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and for your name to be used for a character in the sequel (Open Int)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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