Below is a tiny snippet of my upcoming paranormal mystery/thriller Moth. This is the first book in a series following social worker Max Hollingsworth, friend of Megan Crunk and Garrett Terago from The Dragon's Blood Chronicles. Max's books are a slight departure from the Chronicles. They are darker, less fantasy, and tend to focus on Max doing what Max does: investigate child abuse cases that somehow always contain some kind of supernatural element.
In this clip, Max meets for the first time one of his most formidable adversaries: a vampire skinhead named Boone. He is the leader of a pack of human and vampire Neo-Nazi's living on the outskirts of Joplin of whom Max suspects of being child slavery traffickers and meth makers/dealers.
Max and Frank walked around the trailer to his Prius. The futuristic black car looked out of place. It also had some visitors. Three skinheads, the two they’d seen setting outside, and a third.
“Is this your faggot-mobile?” asked the fat one.
“Yes.” Max slid his hand into his bag. “This is my faggot-mobile.”
“Shit! Ollie,” said other one from before. He clapped his hand onto the fat one’s arm. “Slanty-eyed little monkey Japs made this piece o’shit!”
The fat one slapped away his hand.
“Don’t be sayin’ my name!” Max would find out later that one’s name was Leroy. Ollie was the biggest of the three, but not the tallest—not the most threatening either. That was reserved for the lanky newcomer.
“Both of you faggots shut up,” he said to them without looking. They both shut up. His voice was like a pestle grinding charcoal, with a thicker southern accent than Max was used to hearing from people around here.
Ah, the chief! The tall one was the only one not wearing some kind of jacket, just a wife-beater and a pair of jeans held up by red suspenders. A thin layer of bleach-white hair covered the blue veins on his head. He was paler than the other two, and wore a dark pair of sunglasses despite the overcast sky.
He stepped to Max and lowered his head enough that his shades slid down his nose. He had small, beady eyes; almost pink with little blue dots in the middle. He smiled and showed off two rows of pearly teeth. His nostrils twitched as he sniffed the air.
“Do we look like cops?” Max closed his hand around the grip of the little gun he carried in his bag. “Or, smell like cops?”
He grinned and pushed up his shades. Every finger on his hands sported a different ring—Max saw skulls, swastikas, shamrocks and a couple of crosses.
Frank pulled out his phone. The leader skinhead looked at him. Frank didn’t back away any further.
Max looked over at Leroy and Ollie.
“Actually, the Japanese were allied with the Nazis, so you should appreciate Japanese craftsmanship.” They gave him a confused look. Max wasn’t surprised he’d confused them. He looked back at the leader, now inches from his face. It was colder near him than it should have been. Max knew what that meant….
“You aren’t selling anything.” He lowered the shades again and fixed Max with his eyes. “What are you doing here?” Max felt a pull in his brain, like he’d been hung upside down. He felt the skinhead’s influence stretch and break, snapping out of his brain like a rubber band. The vampire gave him a surprised look. “Who are you?”
“I’m calling the police.” Frank started hitting numbers.
“Hey!” Ollie shook his hands. “We ain’t doing nothing!”
“We’re not trying to start a fight.”
Frank looked at Max. He nodded for him to stop dialing. Frank nodded back and stopped.
The leader turned his canine eyes back to Max and pushed up his shades. “We were just walking by and saw your car. Don’t see many of them around here. We were just curious about it, that’s all.”
“Curious about mileage, and what not?” Max had the gun in his hand. The vampire skinhead’s lip curled a little, showing Max he could smell gunmetal mixing with palm sweat.
“You didn’t answer my question. Who are you?”
“I’m Max. Who are you?”
“You mean like…Pat?”
He grinned. “More like Daniel.”
“Gotcha.” Max nodded.
Boone stepped away. He saw Ollie was leaning against the car and slapped him on the shoulder. “Ollie, you fat fuck! Get off the man’s car!”
Max and Frank looked at each other and exchanged nervous grins.
Boone looked back at Max as they walked away. He held up his hands. “Don’t be a stranger! Come on by some time and say hello!”
“Yeah, sure. Which trailer is yours?” Max looked past the trio at Nazi flag in the window.
Boone laughed and turned around. Ollie and Leroy watched as Frank and Max got back in the car.
Boone didn’t turn to look at them until he was past the fence. By that point Max already had his car going and was backing out of driveway.
“Why’d he think we were cops?” Frank whispered. He knew the vampire might be able to hear them, even being in the car. Max waited until they were outside the park to answer.
“He smelled my gun.” He panted and let his heart slow. He knew the vamp could hear that too. He’d had to have known they were scared, but their stubborn refusal to show any outward signs of fear had earned some measure of respect.
“You’ve got a piece?”
“Yeah, I’ve got the .380 in my bag.” Max gestured to the black bag in the back seat.
“What? You wanted one, too? Remind me next time, I have a forty-five in the trunk—”
“No, you dick! You know I don’t like it when you carry guns around me.”
“That’s why I didn’t tell you.”
Frank slapped himself on the head. “Fuck, Max! What would you have done if they’d drawn a knife or a gun? Would you have shot them?”
Frank looked at him for a second before nodding. “All right. I guess I’m okay with that.”
“Oh, well thank you.” Max laughed. “That makes me feel a lot better.”
“Are you even allowed to carry a gun?”
“I have a concealed carry permit—”
“I mean for your job. Does the State allow social workers to pack heat?”
Max turned a corner. “In what sense do you mean allow?”
“Have been given permission to, and will not get in trouble if.”
“In that sense, no. I’m not—” Max made quote marks with his fingers “—allowed to carry a firearm.” Frank laughed. “I can always get another job. I can’t get another life.”
“Would you be able to live with it?” Frank asked at length, “If you had to shoot one of them?”
And so, that's Max. I'm also going to add some concept art for the cover for you. I don't know for sure that this will be the cover of the book, it's just what the artist is working on right now. It's also not finished. The very talented artist working on it tells me that he's got a lot more to do. I think it looks great but I'm looking forward to the final version.