Hi there! Today I get to share the love for a dear friend’s newest release. Susan Kaye Quinn is an indie juggernaut and the variety in her books gives me the chance to dip my toes into several genres, at once. The Debt Collector is an on-going serial novel released in five “seasons” and today the final episode in Season Two is released. Also, you can now purchase the entire Season Two in one single download!
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2014 Semi-Finalist in Science Fiction in the Kindle Book Awards
The nine episodes of Season Two of the Debt Collector serial are collectively 125k words or about 500 pages.
About the book:
What’s your life worth on the open market?
In this gritty urban fantasy, debt collectors take your life energy and give it to someone more “worthy”… all while paying the price with black marks on their souls.
Wraith is a shadow in the night, haunting the bedrooms of the rich “high potentials” who have stolen life energy from the desperate and dying. The justice and the sweet mercy hit that follow keep her from falling into her own personal abyss.
Her secret nighttime work also keeps her on level for her real mission: carrying on her father’s legacy of attempting to bring an end to debt collection as a whole. But when a mysterious debt collector interrupts her in the act and discovers her secret, everything Wraith loves may be destroyed by the one thing she can never fix– the original sin of being a debt collector herself.
How about an Excerpt?
My new collection suit weighs less than a shadow on my skin, and my soft-soled boots don’t even whisper as I creep across the thick, yielding carpet of my target’s apartment. With the best bullet-resistant synthetics money can buy, the black curve-hugging suit makes me look more like female-special-forces than someone’s hot date for the night. It raised the bellman’s eyebrows, but an untraceable debit card got me waved through the lobby, no problem. Money buys a lot of things. Access to one of the highest-security luxury buildings in LA. A ninety-fifth-floor apartment high above the smog-soaked city, complete with all the clean air you can breathe. And the no-doubt illegal collection of ivory-handled daggers I passed on the way in. It’s too bad for data-mining mogul Adrien Odel that money can’t buy your way out of a blackened soul.
And tonight I’ve come to collect a debt he doesn’t even think he owes.
Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows of Odel’s apartment, the city is lit up with a nighttime electric haze, the kind that makes it look seedy even in the high-rent district. It’s the perfect backdrop for a collection, and my suit is a black silhouette against it, a hole of death punched in the city’s twinkling lights. The high-tech fabric clings to me like the original sin I can never expiate, the one every debt collector is born with: the ability to deliver death with the slightest touch. We traffic in it, surround ourselves with it, and can never escape it.
Not that I haven’t tried that, too.
But even a short three-week dry spell away from collecting has me needy as all hell. The craving for a life energy hit claws at my back, and every step across the carpet amps up the desire. Even the possibility of Odel pulling a gun and shooting me dead hypes the thrill a little. My palm aches in anticipation—for the justice and the high that comes with it—but I take it slow, watching the placement of my feet and checking the windows. Along one edge, next to a mile-wide screen and some pretentious artwork, there’s a control panel. Only the rich want windows that open in the city, but it’s a bonus for me, especially given the windows face the broad expanse of the skyline and not the high-rise next door.
As I check out the control panel, the high-rise becomes a peep show. A woman’s naked body is pressed against the glass, exposed to the city’s onlookers as a man clutches her bare skin and makes love to her. I’m transfixed by the way they move, skin against skin, without care for the contact or the watchers. In a moment, they’re gone. Maybe reason broke through the passion. Maybe the glass was cold, in spite of the perpetual heat of LA.
Regardless, the image holds me hostage.
Having a lover isn’t something that’s part of my future. Or my present, for that matter. But that doesn’t stop the base need from surging up, usually at the least convenient of times. Then a different image—a cold, pale specter from my past—crawls out of the dark corners of my mind and reminds me I’m not the kind of woman who gets to have a normal life. I’m the kind who takes life and then gives it away. And the ecstasy of that is the closest I’ll ever get to the normal kind again—so it had better be good enough.
I couldn’t stomach even that pleasure for a while, not after what the debt collectors did to my father. I managed a whole three weeks without a single collection. But in the end, it’s the only thing that keeps me stable. And I’ve had a severe lack of stable ever since my father’s death nearly tore down the teetering scaffold of lies that comprises my life. That’s when the abyss reared up and stared me full in the face. Will-power alone wasn’t enough to stop it—the darkness just opened its maw and threatened to swallow me whole. At least that would have put an end the torment… but I couldn’t let the sin of who I am destroy everything my father had worked for. That we had both worked for. So here I am, dressed like a phantom, stalking the rich to give to the poor. With a tremor in my hands that’s more than a little unsettling. For better and worse, it’s the one thing that keeps me out of that dark place and gives me hope that one day I might redeem everything I am and everything I’ve done.
I was a skeptic for the serial format–until I tried it. Being a busy mom/worker bee/reader/writer/blogger etc I didn’t think I could “waste” my time on a book that wasn’t even CLOSE to done. Silly me. It turned out to be the perfect in-between read for me, for when I have 30-45 minutes of time that I want to read, but don’t want to get sucked into a full-length novel. Plus, I always had a new episode to anticipate. Well, until now. Because Season Two is in the books.
Alexa “Wraith” Sterling has lived a double-life too long. By day, she’s the anti-life-energy activist owner of Sterling Cybernetics, fighting the good fight to end energy transfers from poor people to wealthy “high potentials”–essentially literally ‘cashing them out’ when their potential earnings outstrip their personal debts. It’s a horrific new reality, and resulted in the the early demise of not only her mother, but her father as well.
So, anyone can understand why Alexa would want life energy transfers to cease, but Alexa’s terrifying secret, that she was born adebt collector, is one she does not want to see the light of day. By night, Alexa dons the debt collecting persona of Wraith and preys upon people who illegally purchase life energy trades in order to enhance their youth, appearance, or just for a high. Wraith is a mean mama jamma, terrorizing the wealthy, life-stealers and paying out to sick kids—well, until she can’t anymore.
And, definitely not once she falls on the radar of a fringe group of debt collectors, called Gehenna, who want to render themselves immortal by eternal collection of humans. By turns, Alexa is pressured, with life or death consequences, to undo the good work of her anti-debt collection non-profit, Lifetime. The Gehenna collectors, headed by Molloch, will get Alexa’s compliance, or kill her–and all those she loves. Alexa find allies where she can, but she’s continually choosing between bad and worse options, always a few steps behind the well-orchestrated plan to de-regulate life-energy transfers and create an open season for debt collectors to ascend into the role of demigods, essentially.
Throughout, Alexa seeks to save her loved ones, and herself, but mostly to shut down Gehenna and its criminal activity. Working within the Gehenna system isn’t really feasible; the debt collectors don’t trust her, and surviving each more harrowing experience in their captivity is a challenge even this high potential/debt collector is hard-pressed to manage. And, frankly, lots of other people would have simply walked.
Not Alexa. She’s a warrior in corporate skirts. She may have been dealt a raw hand, but she bluffs and bets her way to the best victory she can. And, we’re all the better for this maverick willing, not to buck the system, but to tear it all down if it means saving the world from Gehenna overlordship. If I were lost in a dystopian future, I’d want Alexa by my side.
There’s a good bit of steam, and a love story, but mostly there is an amazing story of endurance and doing the right thing, even if it costs you everything.
Interested? You can find DEBT COLLECTOR: SEASON TWO on Amazon. It is recommended that you start with the first season, but each season is a complete story for that debt collector and can serve as an entry point to the series. There are five planned seasons in the Debt Collector series, the first four each from the perspective of a different debt collector with the fifth season bringing all four together.
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Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
About Susan Kaye Quinn:
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. She always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).
She is also NOMINATED for the Illinois Librarian’s “Soon to be Famous Author Project” wherein librarians hope to discover local authors whose “work will jump off the page for readers.”
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