Category: podcast (page 1 of 9)

Blood Games – Episode 12




This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

THE SPRAWLING DATARADAR COMPLEX had a large footprint on the outskirts of the city. Several structures were more than ten stories high, but most were less than five. It was an industrial location with residences and office space starting up a handful of blocks to the left.

Kris had checked with Jolene ten minutes ago, and we still weren’t any closer to locating Reed’s home, so I had continued on our way here. I’d never been out this way and figured it was a good time to visit, especially since I had wheels. It wasn’t likely anything would turn up, but I’d been outside the DataRader headquarters numerous times, hoping to spark an idea of how to locate Reed. It was time for a different perspective on the company, perhaps it might help me figure out what I should do next.

I doubted Reed came to this site much but I was antsy to be doing something, if only to stay busy. I parked on the street with our car facing the complex’s gate. We were several blocks back to avoid both the guards and any cameras that might be connected to FaceRec.

Kris had barely spoken during the drive. What she had said had been short and clipped, but I didn’t care. If she had been more open to my claims about Peck, I would have told her about Reed weeks ago. Or if she would have looked into the kidnapped children she might have found something that would have facilitated the conversation.

She had nobody to blame but herself.

The awkwardness became worse after we parked. I could tell she wanted me to ask and even though I didn’t want to give in, if something were to happen I needed her to be ready to deal with it, not stewing in anger.

“What’s eating at you?” I asked.

Blood Games – Episode 11



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show: 

THE TEMPERATURE IN THE room didn’t change after Kris had gone. Jolene looked at her tablet, pretending like the exchange hadn’t happened.

Maxine fixed me with a cold stare. “My employees know I like to be told when I’m being stupid, Jake.” She straightened her back and twisted her head to the side. “There is a reason why my business has been successful. I listen when I’m told I’m in the wrong.”

“I’m not in disagreement about speaking the truth. It’s the tone. Such conflict isn’t healthy. Not everybody will let your display of anger just wash off their shoulders. Some will harbor resentment.

“Those people don’t work here long.” She smiled. “You disagree with my methods.”     

“I shot my last boss in the head. I’m not a stranger to interoffice conflict.” That wiped the smug look off her face, but I could appreciate the fact she was trying to foster a work environment where people told her what she needed to hear. I wasn’t convinced it should be as conflict-filled as she made it, but I’d never run a business.

Maxine seemed content to wait for Kris’ return and opened a laptop that had been sitting on the table in front of her. Between her and Jolene, the temperature seemed to have dropped several more degrees as they both avoided eye contact.

I leaned back in the chair and rubbed my eyes, wishing I could spare a few hours for rest. It had been weeks since I’d had a decent night’s sleep. My mind was only working due to the adrenaline I had coursing through my veins and nothing else. I went to a window and stared at the fire which I could just catch a sliver of from up here, splitting my time between the muted television and the real thing, wondering if the fire had been contained.

I checked my burner phone and thought about sending a text to Shannon. I wanted to reassure her again that I’d had no part in this. I’d told her that night outside of Benny’s Diner and again this afternoon before the fire, but maybe she would need to hear it again considering all the damage that had been done.

Blood Games – Episode 10



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

MAXINE FROWNED AS SHE tapped her nails in a fast-paced staccato, making me think of a snare drum cadence for soldiers marching to war. I couldn’t help feeling she was gunning for me because I hadn’t said a word about Reed and she was already skeptical.

Jolene attached a keyboard to her tablet and placed it on the table. I wanted to forbid her from taking notes but figured I’d already pushed my luck far enough.

I took a minute to gather my thoughts despite the tension in the room. What was my best approach?

Kris leaned back in her chair, wondering if I was going to answer her question.

I’d had countless opportunities to tell her about Reed but had not done so because she had never believed there was a connection between Peck and Beltran. As far as she was concerned it was a coincidence that they’d both worked for Diggon.

When Kris had spoken of DataRader outside the elevator, it was evident she respected the company. I had to overcome Reed’s squeaky clean image. Or at least prepare them to be surprised.

“I don’t have evidence that proves what I’m about to tell you,” I said. Kris looked ready to pull her hair. “The man behind all this is well respected and has gone to a lot of work to cultivate a reputation for him–and his company–that is at odds with who he really is and what he’s trying to accomplish.”

Maxine lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll try my best to believe you.”

“It will be difficult,” I said. “He’s been very successful–”

Blood Games – Episode 9



This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

KRIS GAVE ME A tight smile when she arrived at the main entrance of the office building. Her dark hair had been twisted into a bun, and she’d changed clothes since I’d last seen her. Earlier in the day she’d been wearing a suit, she now wore slacks and a white blouse. As she twisted the lock to open the door, I expected to receive a lecture or at least an admonition of some sort.

“Glad you came to your senses.” The smile didn’t touch her eyes, and her voice was cold, like she wanted to say something more but was refraining from doing so. I was glad to avoid the chastisement.

She had to come down from her office to let me in because it was after hours. As the glass door locked into place, I looked at the city. The firelight was visible in between buildings and the night sky was lit up to the point it looked like dawn, though it wasn’t yet midnight.

“You’re my only option to stop this.” I shrugged. At another time and place, I might not have said that, but I was tired and frustrated. If she misinterpreted my words to think I was either desperate or vulnerable, she’d soon learn the truth.

I was neither and was prepared to leave at the first sign this wasn’t working. Or if it became apparent Maxine’s intentions were like that of Reed and Peck.

Kris shook her head. “If I ever find out you had anything–” She stopped when she saw my glare.

“You know better than that,” I said pointedly, pushing past her and into the lobby. I was tired of people being taken in by those videos. If I were ever arrested and put on trial–something that became more likely the longer I stayed in the city–I wouldn’t have a prayer.



Blood Games – Episode 2

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

THE RAIN HAD SUBSIDED to a sprinkle and the thunderstorm had disappeared. I’d lost count of the number of blocks I’d gone, but the rough weather had been working for me, keeping people more interested in where they were going than who they were passing. The change meant it was time to do something about my disguise. I’d been lucky to have made it so far but my window had closed.

The loss of time would hurt but I didn’t see a way around it.

Gritting my teeth, I stopped in a mall bathroom. When I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t surprised to see my disguise had washed away.

Lucky indeed, I thought.  

I checked over my shoulder, half expecting a squad of cops to follow me in. Seconds ticked by while nothing happened. I shook my head and tried to force away my paranoia. Unfortunately, it did little to lessen the tension I felt in my chest.

Muttering, I used a paper towel to dry the rainwater from my face, wiping off the last remnants of my disguise. I’d just started on a new one when somebody entered the bathroom. I hid my face and went as calmly as I could into a stall, acting like I’d already been headed in that direction.

Had he recognized me?

I half-expected him to leave without using the facilities. I’d be right behind him if he did.

When he settled into a stall, I suppressed a sound of exasperation. I had hoped he’d be quick and leave me alone again in the bathroom.

Blood Games – Episode 1

 

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

LIGHTNING TORE THROUGH THE sky, and it was followed by thunder. I wiped the rain off my face, squinting as I ran towards the cab Ronald Essler had just disappeared into. My messenger bag bounced off my back and slid against my waist. Using an elbow I pushed it back into place.

A man stepped in front of me and I was unable to keep from colliding into him, so I put my shoulder down and barreled into his side. He went careening into the crowd with a shout of indignation but I was already beyond him.

Others turned to look.

“Move!” I said to a black woman with short hair.

“You!” She said. “You’re that terrorist.”

Cursing, I touched the latex on my face and discovered it had come free. I tossed it to the side. I’d been holding onto hope that the rain hadn’t washed away my disguise, so much for that.

I pushed my way past her without speaking, hoping she’d let it go but knowing it wasn’t likely. She had plenty of tools to report my presence. It seemed like everybody had one of those Spectrum apps installed on their phone since Reading Market.

How was I supposed to know the whole thing had been caught on camera? Not the kids, of course, or any of the audio, just me shooting Sam.

In cold blood.

I’d do it again, given the opportunity. I just regretted the whole world had seen me do it. DataRader had used the release of the video to announce FaceRec, their facial recognition product that connected to any video feed. It came equipped with Wi-Fi and would pass any alerts into DataRader’s monitoring system. Reading Market had been part of a beta test, and Sam had been a member of the DataRader team which responded to an alert about my presence.

Or so the story went.

Reed had made the announcement himself, tones all somber, his eyes burning with the desire for justice. It had made great television, and he’d had free press coverage for days. Their stock had gone through the roof. Diggon had managed to save some face, but investors hadn’t liked the risk the fake me posed and had been selling it off, even though Spectrum was being downloaded in record numbers. It was at the top of the charts on all platforms. Before long I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere in the country and not have somebody’s phone listening for me.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 29

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I FROZE, SHIFTING MY pistol behind my back so it wasn’t obvious to the children I was armed. I had expected to find kids who’d lost their way and had planned to usher them after Deon.

Margaret and Benji were the last people I’d expected to find here. I’d never considered Reed would already be putting them into the field.

Even Beltran hadn’t put us into anything live until after each of us had turned eighteen, a fact I’d never thought about until now. Now that I’d come face to face with Benji and Margaret, I wondered what else Reed might be capable of doing. If he could send children into harm’s way…

The two were talking and didn’t look up at me. They both wore bulky jackets that had plenty of room to hide any number of weapons.

I swore under my breath and was about to step out of view when Margaret looked up. She stopped Benji with an arm. He followed her eyes to me. I was surprised to see recognition on both their faces. First Sam and now them.

How had they known it was me?

Despite all my precautions, DataRader had still somehow managed to track me. This was more than just Spectrum. Perhaps they knew where I lived or they had cameras with facial recognition technology all over the city. I was going to have to make some significant changes.

Benji muttered something I couldn’t make out but neither was surprised to see me. Despite the apparent fear on both their faces, they both looked to be considering what they should do.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 26

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

JUST IN CASE DIGGON had decided I was worth tracking by satellite, I detoured through several buildings and took off my jacket. I switched hats as well. As an added precaution, I turned off my smartphone and took out its battery. I’d been careful to never call anybody but Kris with it.

I headed to the DataRader headquarters. I didn’t have a plan but thought I’d stake it out to see if I noticed anything useful. I sat on a bench and pulled out my tablet. I thought about turning it off too but decided it was unlikely anybody could track me with it. I opened my Wi-Fi finder and logged on to an open hotspot.

It wasn’t surprising other law enforcement agencies were getting involved in the hunt.

I’d never before wanted to leave the city so badly but I could not do it.

I would never forgive myself if I did.

The DataRader website listed all their official locations. Two were in the city, the rest were scattered throughout the world. In addition to the DataRader headquarters located in front of me, they had an industrial campus located on the outskirts of the city. I doubted Reed would keep the kids at either one but sitting here in the chill fall air was better than doing nothing.

I furrowed my brow as I studied the guards at the main entrance. No doubt, the garage would have similar security, but perhaps I could find a way into the underground parking structure. Maybe I’d get lucky and spot Reed. I could put a tracking device on his car, hoping to discover the kids. If that failed, I would at least learn where he lived. I’d done some searches to locate his home but hadn’t turned up anything. I missed having support staff that were able to find things I could not.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 25

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

MY BREATH CAUGHT IN my throat as I stared at the letter. I had wanted to believe Ron had told me the truth.

This is why you don’t trust anybody, said the paranoid voice in the back of my mind.

I hated to learn my paranoia was well founded. It made me worry that one day my skewed reality would send me over the edge, into that dark spectrum Sister Bautista had told me about.

It was a problem for another day, but one on which I intended to keep a close eye. If I lost myself along the way, what was the point of all this?

Even though he had said it to manipulate me and the media, Reed’s accusation that I was mentally ill bothered me because there was some truth to it.

I was not far from losing it.

I could sense a mental break coming unless I somehow staved it off. Perhaps Kris’ advice to leave the city was something I ought to heed.

Benji and Margaret.

I would not leave until I’d nailed Reed to the wall for what he’d done to them. I couldn’t go until I knew neither he nor Peck were in a position to recruit more children to be their pawns.

If I lost myself in the process, so be it.

I pulled the acceptance letter from the board. With the exception of who it was addressed to, it was word for word the same as the letter Margaret had received.

Anger flowed through me, I struggled to keep from crumpling it. Rather than take a picture, I folded and put it away in my bag. Nobody was going to miss it. I needed hard evidence I could give to Kris, if it came to that.

 

Dark Spectrum – Episode 24

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I WANTED TO FEEL encouraged as I left Ron Essler’s place, but I couldn’t help thinking he’d been lying to me. I didn’t know what it was that bothered me. Perhaps it was because he’d seemed eager to answer my questions. Maybe it was because he’d believed me about the video when everybody else needed convincing.

His words and actions were effective on a subconscious level because I’d felt guilty when I’d planted a bug underneath his couch while he’d gotten me a glass of water.

Everything he’d done seemed genuine. I had to be careful to not be taken in. There was something about regular human contact I missed. I’d tried telling myself I didn’t need it, but that wasn’t the truth. As I walked away from his apartment building, I reviewed the conversation to make sure my elation from having a real discussion with somebody wasn’t coloring my ability to analyze it.

Ron had never been through any of the training programs at Black Brick–at least, I wasn’t aware of any–and his position had been internally focused. I’d only met him a few times so I didn’t have a solid baseline for comparison. I was left with trusting my gut. My instincts told me he was lying.

As my warped reality settled back down onto me, I reentered my survivalist frame of mind. I had one option. I needed to corroborate everything he’d said.

Just in case Ron watched me leave through his window, I made sure to disappear around the corner before pulling out my radio receiver.

The bug had a limited range but it would still work if I went around the corner to listen.

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