What’s Your Life Worth? Ask the DEBT COLLECTOR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m reprising a review for a collection of serials I loved a few years back–and still enjoy today. DEBT COLLECTOR Season 1 by Susan Kaye Quinn is a fantastic ‘future-noir’ sci-fi/action/romance story about people who have the ability to shift life energy from one person to another. This is usually done for money, and the conflicts inherent for those who wield such ultimate power. I’ve long been a fan and friend of Ms. Quinn, having gotten hook on her Mindjacker Trilogy is Hunger Games quality political-suspense-sci-fi-action-thriller with less bloodshed. I’m bringing Debt Collector back to the blog, because it’s fab, and because it’s FREE through 3/25. THere’s even a sequel, of sorts–DEBT COLLECTOR SEASON TWO–that you can jump into if you like this one.

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.

Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again.

Contains mature content and themes.

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My Review:
The Debt Collector occurs in a future L.A. where pollution and corruption are a daily menace (okay so not very different from now). Still, in this brave new world, everyone’s life’s value is constantly calculated, assessed between the amount of money you could potentially earn versus that which the person might owe. That balance is never breached—if you near the point of equilibrium your lingering life energy is drawn out by a debt collector and transferred to another person more worthy. (Kinda makes me glad my credit card debt isn’t higher, amiright?)

Lirium is a young debt collector. He’s not so keen on the job–honestly, who wants to be a grim reaper? He deals with his depression in the natural way—booze and women—until the night his hired sex worker, Elena, convinces him to give the hit of life energy he generally bestows on his partners to her ailing sister, a child suffering an incurable disease. This turn of events leads Lirium down a path he never envisioned. Unwittingly drawn into the Kolek mafia, Lirium becomes a hit man of the highest order—taking life hits from the dregs of society and selling it to mafia patrons—along with fellow debt collectors Olivia and Valac. Along the way Lirium learns that kids are being illegally transferred out, and he’s compelled to stop the mastermind.

And, did I mention there’s romance? Not the main feature, but still present and pertinent.

Omigod.

I was dying waiting for each episode to go live. Following along with the release dates was like the anticipation of a new The Walking Dead episode—especially when the best characters got killed just after I fell in love with them! As for The Debt Collector, each episode provides a satisfying arc and an excellent resolution while still propelling the overall storyline toward it’s finale. However, now that the serial is complete, you don’t have to wait any time at all to read the whole set.

Interested? You can get the complete 9 episode first season on Goodreads Amazon. It’s currently FREE!

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Happy Book Birthday DEBT COLLECTOR: SEASON TWO–Review and Giveaway

The Debt Collector Season 2 Blitz Banner 851 x 315 copy

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!

Debt Collector Season 2 CoverOPTIONED FOR VIRTUAL REALITY BY IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT

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.

I know.

I’ve tried.

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.

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My Review:
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.

*****GIVEAWAY*****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
a two-book paperback set of Debt Collector (Season One and Season Two)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

2978c-susankayequinnwebAbout 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.”

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

Serially Addicted…to Serials–SOCIAL MEDIA and DEBT COLLECTOR–Reviews!

Hi all! Today I want to ramble a bit on some great serials I’ve enjoyed and new ones I’m gearing up to read. I’m a fan of the serial–which I have mentioned before–because I’m a busy gal. I do not always have a week to devote to a book (I’m looking at you, Diana Gabaldon!)

I can generally finish a 300 page paperback in a day or less. Still, I work, and I’m a mom, and a blogger and a writer, and, well, you get it–all this other stuff of life cuts into my reading-time, the one thing that I do only for myself.

So, a novella, or serially-written novel series, allows me to wedge in a bit of escapism between my kid’s practices, or while waiting at the doctor’s office, or on a lunch break. Serials aren’t new, they have been around since the printed word existed. They were most often printed in magazines or newspapers–and some still are. For me they like a TV series–one I don’t have to present for every week at the same time to enjoy.

I’m currently reading two fantastic serials: The six-part SOCIAL MEDIA series by JA HUSS and the nine-part serial, DEBT COLLECTOR: SEASON TWO by Susan Kaye Quinn.

Follow (Social Media, #1)You can check out my review of the first two Social Media episodes HERE. This is a contemporary erotic romance series between moviestar extraordinaire Vaughn Asher and event coordinator with a horrific past, Grace.

Here are my reviews for FOLLOW, LIKE, BLOCK and STATUS. Check them out to see if this serial is for you. I can tell you, I’m eagerly awaiting the next, penultimate, episode: PROFILE.

The fifth episode, PROFILE, drops on Wed Oct 22. As with all the Social Media episodes pre-orders are $.99–which increases to $2.99 after release day. A small aside, pre-orders are so fun! I love waking up and finding a new book waiting in my iPad! 😀

Susan Kaye Quinn’s DEBT COLLECTOR: Season One was one of my fave books last year. Please check out my series-long review. for more info on this future noir, dystopian series.If you haven’t read the first season, however, you can STILL jump into Season Two.

What is IMPORTANT TO KNOW: in this futuristic world a debt collector has unique ability to absorb and harness the life energy of a human. One can draw the energy through any skin-to-skin contact, and drawing energy will shorten the life span of the people they touch. They also have the ability to transfer the life energy they collect to others. In the world of Debt Collectors, they are licensed by the government to draw life energy from dying adults and transfer it (legally) to high-potential peoples who can live longer to solve the world’s problems. Of course, there is HUGE black market for this skill–and lots of rogue debt collectors exist on illegal life energy collections….

Wraith (Debt Collector 10)My Review of WRAITH: Debt Collector Season Two, Episode One:
Alexa Sterling is heiress to Sterling Cybernetics–and she’s not happy. Mostly because her father was murdered, presumably by debt collectors, only three weeks ago. What Alexa’s anti-debt collection crusader father didn’t know? That Alex herself is a debt collector.

Yeah. Alexa has an alter ego as Wraith. She discovered her Debt Collector ability inadvertently, it seems, and it hurt someone close to her. Believing that Debt Collectors killed her father, she is averse to dealing with them. She does have a physical need to transfer life energy–as doing so is a bit of a high and not doing so leads to severe depression.

So, Alexa/Wraith is a bit Robin Hood. She takes energy from people she knows to have gotten life energy pulses illegally, and donates them to sick individuals–giving them the strength to survive their diseases. It’s an admirable use of a deleterious skill, which make Alexa/Wraith an anti-hero of my favorite sort.

The read is intense, picking up in the throes of a life energy hit. Alexa is creative and utilizes her power in the best way she can, but she’s also impetuous, and this leads not only to a bad collection, but also puts her on the radar of a rogue Debt Collector network, Gehanna. She is being recruited against her will–with exposure of her secret life as a Debt Collector in the offing.

So looking forward to the next episode!

WRAITH releases Oct 20th. Now’s your chance to get in at the beginning. Preorders being taken at Amazon and for those people who want to read the WHOLE BOOK ALL AT ONCE, they can pre-order Season Two for release on Dec 15–just in time to rock your Christmas reads!

Please also consider checking out Season One. Every person with whom I’ve shared this book has come back with RAVE reviews. I seriously swooned for the anti-hero, Lirium, as he fought to keep himself free of the mafia and save the lives of terminally ill children. Yeah. I still get melty remembering…

Thanks for popping in my friends, and keep reading!

Serial issue–THE DEBT COLLECTOR

I’m a reader. And, when I say that I mean it. Not in the ordinary way of people who read, really. See, when I get interested in a story I will read all night, all day, forget to eat, barely make it to the bathroom in time, until I hit the end pages. (I am AWARE that this is problematic…therapy is expensive!)

I can’t begin a new story before bed because I will read until the lines blur and I doze (book-in-hand) for a few hours then wake and read until I have to shower for work.

Which is why I thought I would hate a serial.

A serial is not simply a novel broken into bite-sized chunks, it is a recurrent character story with new adventures that all build to a coordinated climax.

Think:  24, in book form.

And for those who can’t stand cliffhangers (ME!!!) I couldn’t fathom how I would be able to survive the 3 month roll-out of all the episodes in The Debt Collector.

But I know Susan Kaye Quinn’s work. It’s solid.  She’s a critique partner and friend. Her Mindjacker Trilogy is Hunger Games quality political-suspense-sci-fi-action-thriller with less bloodshed. If she was writing a serial I knew it was something I didn’t want to miss despite my obsessive reader nature.

I wasn’t let down.

Quinn calls The Debt Collector future-noir—which, simply put, means that it feels like a gritty noir feature, but it’s timescape is future. It’s ingenious!

dc-1The Debt Collector occurs in a future L.A. where pollution and corruption are a daily menace (okay so not very different from now). Still, in this brave new world, everyone’s life’s value is constantly calculated, assessed between the amount of money you could potentially earn versus that which the person might owe. That balance is never breached—if you near the point of equilibrium your lingering life energy is drawn out by a debt collector and transferred to another person more worthy. (Kinda makes me glad my credit card debt isn’t higher, amiright?)

Lirium is a young debt collector. He’s not so keen on the job–honestly, who wants to be a grim reaper? He deals with his depression in the natural way—booze and women—until the night his hired sex worker, Elena, convinces him to give the hit of life energy he generally bestows on his partners to her ailing sister, a child suffering an incurable disease. This turn of events leads Lirium down a path he never envisioned.  Unwittingly drawn into the Kolek mafia, Lirium becomes a hit man of the highest order—taking life hits from the dregs of society and selling it to mafia patrons—along with fellow debt collectors Olivia and Valac. Along the way Lirium learns that kids are being illegally transferred out, and he’s compelled to determine the mastermind.

And, did I mention there’s romance? Not the main feature, but still present and pertinent.

Omigod.

I was dying waiting for each episode to go live. Following along with the release dates was like the anticipation of a new The Walking Dead episode—especially when the best characters got killed just after I fell in love with them!

As for The Debt Collector, each episode provides a satisfying arc and an excellent resolution while still propelling the overall storyline toward it’s finale.

Interested? You can get the complete 9 episode first season on Amazon.

Don’t forget to come back and tell me what you thought of it!