I’m finalizing my first original piece specifically written for sale on the Kindle - "The High Price of Pest Control." It's a horror novella (roughly 13,00 words, or one fifth full novel length), about a man who thinks he’s buying a new kind of roach-elimination device, and winds up making a whole different kind of deal.
Today, we might call the protagonist part of the “one-percent.” Kendell Krill is a man who values everything according to its material worth. He doesn't mind bending a few rules, or breaking a few hearts, to get what he wants. But he’s about to find out that while everything might have its price, the cost isn’t always paid in cash.
Sadly, “The High Price of Pest Control” won’t be propelling me into the one percent anytime soon. I’m planning to sell it for a whopping ninety-nine cents as a “gateway” into the Kevin Connor books, “First You Fall” and “Second You Sin.” I’m a little concerned the tone is so different from that funny, sexy, romantic mystery series. There is some humor, but it's more Stephen King than Janet Evanovich.
Still, I believe it's worth trying. I think readers are smart. They understand an author may play with different styles and genres, but if you like his or her writing, the ride will always be fun. I’m thinking of inspriations like JA Konrath, Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo-Price whom I’ve followed through romances, mysteries, science fiction and various combinations within that have never failed to entertain me.
In the meantime, I’m looking for interested early readers who would be willing to write an honest review of the story if so moved. I would either use a quote from the review in the product’s description, or ask you to post it as a review on Amazon.com when the book becomes available for purchase.
The book is currently with the amazing and talented copy editor Diana Cox, who runs “Novel Proofreading.” So, it is possible (probable) you’ll catch some errors in this early version.
You will, however, enjoy the final finished cover, designed by the equally gifted Carl Graves of Extended Imagery. Take a look below - it gives you a pretty good idea of the story you'd be in for...
Please note I am only planning on giving out ten or so copies, so if you don’t receive one, it’s probably because you weren’t one of the first to request. Also, please only ask if you enjoy writing reviews - you wouldn't need to write more than a few sentences, but I am looking for your honest reactions.
Since I don’t want you to feel committed to reading something that might not be to your taste, here are the first couple of pages. Fair warning - the story gets a bit yucky at times (man vs roach is never a pretty battle), so if you’re extremely squeamish, you might want to pass.
But I do hope you enjoy this brief preview and please let me know if you’re interested in the rest of the story through this link.
The High Price of Pest Control
by Scott Sherman
DAY ONE AND A FEW RELEVANT FLASHBACKS
"So," the salesman asked me, his deep baritone and precisely clipped diction just two of the impressive, sophisticated traits I couldn’t help but notice as he crossed one absurdly long leg over the other at the ankle, "do we have a deal?"
Were I the kind of person vulnerable to feeling small in the presence of others, I might have felt intimidated by this perplexing figure.
His voice. The high quality of his designer clothing. The impeccably mirror-bright shine of his shoes. Those were the kinds of details I always noticed on a man.
Well, there were other details I noticed, too. For those details, the less clothing the object of my attention wore, the better. But this meeting was strictly business. What I needed to focus on in this exchange were signs that’d tell me if my visitor was someone with whom I’d want to do business.
Yes, my mind wandered. Their suitability for business or sex. I suppose those were the scales on which I measured most men. The vast majority weren’t worth my time for either. The occasional candidate rated highly for both. Those were the men I was most careful to avoid.
Of course, after what the salesman had just shown me, I believe that distracting myself with these introspective ramblings may have been a kind of defense mechanism. They certainly kept me from asking questions that, in retrospect, I really should have.
Neither the vendor nor what he was selling were what I'd expected when he’d arrived an hour earlier for his appointment. I’d opened the door and been astounded to see the elegant figure before me.
He was tall and thin, pale as a corpse, with sharp, hawklike features and a lightning-white cap of closely cropped hair. Startlingly blue eyes met mine with deliberate directness as he stood awaiting entrance.
"Atrox Pravus," he announced, his voice sonorous and without accent. He looked like he could have come from anywhere. Or nowhere.
He reached lanky, glossily manicured fingers into the jacket of his expertly fitted black wool suit. Armani, I'd guess. He extracted a smoothly polished silver case. With the casual ease of a magician performing a favorite trick, he slid it open with the same hand, revealing a stack of cream-colored business cards. With his thumb, he pushed one towards me. It’s textured linen finish and raised lettering indicated fine craftsmanship and expensive craftsmanship.
"Teremus Exterminators," he continued, as I read. "Guaranteed to remove unwanted pests from your life."
I stood in the doorway a bit dumbly, stalled by Mr. Pravus's stylish and well-appointed appearance. This was not what I expected. He was not what I expected. Where was the biohazard suit, the mask, the metal canister of insecticide I expected he’d be toting, like a fireman bringing oxygen to the scene of a blaze? I stared at him in confusion. Was he planning to bribe the bugs to leave my apartment?
Mr. Pravus cleared his throat and the corners of his mouth pulled higher. "Mr. Krill," he asked respectfully, his respectful tone free of impatience or irritation, as if he had not only impeccable manners but all the time in the world, "may I come in?"
--- End of First Section --