Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Crooked City by Ryan Whitwam Excerpt Tour and Giveaway

by Ryan Whitwam
GENRE: Sci-fi Thriller


Jonah doesn’t want to run–he has to. There’s only so much pain one man can cause before he needs to start over. Unstuck from his tainted past, he craves the anonymity he can only achieve by vanishing like a specter in the night.

Before his new life is even underway, a chance encounter leaves him in possession of a curious object–something the mysterious Keepers of The Oracle will kill to obtain, but there’s more to the Keepers than Jonah could possibly imagine. They have the ability to do much worse than kill, and now he's in their sights.

The Keepers wield power unlike anything Jonah has ever seen, and they’re closing in fast. He’s placed a new group of innocents in danger this time, and he can’t run away again.Keepers of the Oricals

There was the ebony cliff again, and the city in the black atop it. The ridge was far away, but something called to him. Like an unrelenting magnetic attraction, it pulled him closer across the pale dunes. Then a flash, the gut-wrenching feeling of acceleration, and he was there. He stood on the street of an impossible city.

The skyline was painted with a palette of muted grays and white. The buildings were smooth obelisks with tiny portals running up their sides. They twisted upward awkwardly, some extending so far he was unable to make out the tops.

Jonah walked down the empty streets, passing through the faint shadows cast by the structures, but there was no light source in the sky. When he looked up all he could see was an inky black canopy of nothingness.

Light snow fell, covering every surface in a thin layer of shimmering crystalline flakes. The large misshapen tufts of snow drifted past, caught in vortices and eddies, then vanished as they contacted the ground. He took a step and looked back, seeing his own footprint. Another step, another look back, but still only one footprint. Jonah left almost no trace as his tracks were filled in by the snow that seemed to accumulate nowhere else.

He came close to the line of buildings haphazardly arranged along the street. Some of the towers had discomfited square-ish openings in them, others were solid. There was nothing inside as far as Jonah could see in the dim light.

His attention turned again to the nearest building. It seemed to get wider as it went up, ignoring all conventions of how a building was supposed to be. A thin patina of snow covered it, like it did everything else. The flakes on the ground squeaked under his shoes as he moved up to the portal.

Cautiously, he reached out and touched the ledge along the base of the building. The large shimmering flakes fell from his hands as he brushed them off. They felt real enough. He rose and walked down the block, occasionally stopping to study the shape of the towers or the bizarre swirling currents of the snow.

He inclined his head again and surveyed the sky. This time he picked out several faint points of light in the black void. They pulsed and shimmered, but not like any star Jonah had ever seen—there was a shared rhythm to it. The thrum of the stars coursed through his body.

The weak light behind him grew more intense. It pulsed with the same frequency as the points of light. He spun around and searched the skyline, eventually finding a glowing ember at the top of a building in the distance. It flashed like a beacon luring him further into the strange land. How had he missed it before?

Jonah heard its song now: The Oracle was calling, like it always had been. He dropped his gaze to street level and searched for a path that might take him to it. The streets were narrow and crooked, like the towers bordering them. They broke off from the avenue where he stood at irregular intervals and at odd angles. He set off for a nearby road which seemed to head in the right direction.

He stopped dead. In the narrow windows of the nearest building delicate gray forms stood watching him. All the way up its great height, in every window he could see, they stood motionless.

They had merely the suggestion of human features, but Jonah knew for certain they were watching him. Each barren, gray silhouette was the shape of a person, like a dressmaker's mannequin, but they had none of the vitality of real people. Their edges were blurry and imprecise, like his eyes were going out of focus when he looked at them.

Jonah slowly craned his neck around to the large opening in the building behind him. One of the creatures stood there not ten feet distant. He looked at its flickering borders and realized it was not his eyes that blurred—the creature itself was out of focus. It jerked suddenly and started walking, but shook violently with each step. It moved faster, but did not find its stride. The shaking only worsened.

It came toward Jonah with convulsing arms outstretched, its featureless face contorted. Without making a noise, they filled his mind with a collective, sorrowful shriek. He ran for what felt like a long time, but could have been only a second.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ryan lives in Minnesota with his wife and dogs. He writes words like the ones in this book, as well as some very different words on the internet about technology and science. He likes smartphones, sci-fi, and people who read his book. He's not very good at describing himself.




The author will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $20 Amazon/BN gift card. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit all the blogs on the tour for additional changes to win:

November 30: BooksChatter
December 1: Rogues Angels
December 2: Unabridged Andra's
December 2: Reviews by Crystal
December 3: Kit 'N Kabookle
December 3: Room With Books
December 4: The Reading Addict
December 7: One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
December 8: Welcome to My World of Dreams
December 9: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
December 9: Long and Short Reviews
December 10: Mixed Book Bag
December 11: LibriAmoriMiei

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