Last year I read one hell of a fun book in Stone Work by Dominic Stabile. It had everything: electric pacing, monsters, a bad-ass mercenary lead in Stone and an intriguing world in which he roams. Sometimes you come across something that just kicks your ass and that is exactly what Stone Work did. I truly believe that this book and the recently released sequel, Stone Wall, have huge appeal to not only horror fans, but also fans of science fiction and dark fantasy. I got in touch with Dominic and asked if he’d be interested in giving me an excerpt from each of the books. I’m stoked to reveal he said “yes!” and so here they are, for you, my dearest readers. I am digging into the latest book next week so watch out for a review. Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Mr Stabile. Hope you check these books out!
As an added incentive, right now you can get both ebooks from Amazon for only 99c each as part of Sinister Grin Press‘ May ebook sale!! Check out the link and see what other great horror, sci-fi and fantasy books you can pick up on the cheap.
Stone stood against the side wall of the gym, smoking a cigarette. It was late, nearly midnight. He could see the purple strip of sky over the alley, a fat, white moon floating within a pinkish haze. Across the alley, a door creaked open in the side wall of Warden’s grocery store. A figure slipped out and started toward him.
“You’re good to go,” came Megan’s voice from the darkness.
“You want a cookie?” Stone said.
Megan stepped into the light shining through the gym window. She was in her mid-twenties. Too pretty and too smart to be spending so much time helping him out. He knew that, and, occasionally, he felt something like guilt. But he wasn’t going to say no. She was tech savvy and he wasn’t. He needed the help. Stone spent little time thinking beyond what he needed. If he ever considered Megan’s feelings at all, it was more with a confused lack of understanding than any semblance of empathy.
“You got one?” she said, grinning up at him.
Stone made sure to stay in the shadows, out of reach of the light from the gym. Megan knew what he looked like. She’d seen the ruin of his face a thousand times. The scarred, lipless mask he’d worn since his time on the Wall. Consciously, he didn’t care much what people thought, but his instinct was always to hide when he could.
Stone pulled a wad of cash from the pocket of his leather coat and handed it to her.
“Anything I should know?” he said. He took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped a stream of drool from his chin. He couldn’t help the drooling any more than he could help the way he looked. Muscle damage, the doctors had told him.
“They’re all out of Funyuns,” she said, stuffing the cash into the pocket of her jeans. “That and the alarm was never set. Whoever closed better hope Big Warden doesn’t find out. Other than that, you’re all go to break a leg.”
“I’m not gonna break the guy’s legs,” Stone said. “Nobody’s ever asked me to do that. I’m supposed to shoot—”
“It’s an expression,” Megan said. “I don’t want to know details.”
“You don’t like it,” Stone said. It wasn’t a question or an accusation. It was simply a thing he knew about her that he didn’t understand. They had done dozens of jobs together, and she always got this way when killing was involved.
She shrugged. “It’s good money,” she admitted. “I just wish you didn’t have to kill people. I like the hacking jobs, and the stealing jobs, stuff like that.”
“A religious thing?” Stone said.
Megan stared at him a moment, as if trying to decide whether or not he was talking down to her. “My faith in Captain Kirk and his crew dictates that I never harm anyone except in self-defense or to protect the innocent.”
“You could’ve skipped this one.”
“Like I said, it’s good money. And I’m not the one pulling the trigger. The Captain understands survival is difficult in City. That’s why he will return one day to redeem the faithful.”
Stone watched her from the dark, trying to understand her. He had never been religious, and viewed the videos of the gods as nothing more than an ancient form of entertainment; but there was a version of him, lost somewhere in the past, that would have known just what she was feeling. But “Stone” wasn’t his birth name—he’d earned it.
“So, what’s up?” he said.
“Nothing,” she said. Her eyes were wet and catching the light. She patted her pocket where she’d put the cash. “You only ever advance me on the killing jobs.”
“They’re more dangerous,” he said. “If I get picked up on murder or I get killed—”
She looked at him another moment, then walked down the alley toward the back of the buildings and got in the car. She’d keep it running, in case they had to make a quick getaway.
Stone leaned there against the wall a moment longer, finishing up his cigarette. He thought about what Megan had said about the killing jobs. He thought about it and he thought about it. After a while he tossed his cigarette and laughed, moving toward the door across the alley. He just didn’t see what the problem was.
Megan woke up in darkness. Buried alive. She could feel the sand in her throat and eyes. The weight of the earth upon her body. In a panic, she pressed her hands into the sand, hoping to punch through and burst from the ground like a reanimated corpse, to suck a gust of fresh air into her starving lungs.
But her body sank. The weight of the earth lifted from her, as if she now held the world at bay with her bare hands. It was still dark. She coughed sand from her throat, and used one of her hands to wipe the sand from her eyes, while continuing to hold up the earth with her other hand. Her disorientation began to fade as memories floated to the surface of her mind, and she realized she had just done a pushup, lifting herself from a narrow valley bisecting two sweeping dunes.
She looked around, sighing with relief when she realized she was alone. Cold wind sent spiraling sand clouds through the air. Waves of sand-flecked gusts whipped her coat like blows from frustrated spirits. She could see the distant, ghostly shape of The Wall, and the craggy peaks of City’s buildings beyond it. The scattered lights of City lit upon the smog, creating an orange haze along the horizon.
She looked back, and saw the not-so-distant shape of the ruin, its glass tower still visible over the sea of dunes that now separated them.
She remembered entering the ruin with Knox at her side. Six other prisoners had followed, trusting her to guide them. Why, she didn’t know. Most of them had been strangers to her. But she had led the way, her measly shotgun with its single shell clutched in one hand, while she used her other hand to prod the dark for obstacles.
The night had been moonless. She remembered that, too. Her luck. A single light had shined from a window of the ruin. Their only guide. There had been nothing about their assault that spoke of planning or hope for success. The Wall’s strategy was to throw meat at the enemy until the wall of meat was too high to climb.
They had entered through a door on the ground level. It took them into a warehouse filled with pallets. The pallets had been loaded with boxes of Old-World products. They had made their way through the room, fear dispelling their curiosity over what might be in those boxes. They were looking for what people were calling The New Enemy. No one knew what they were, but the feeling was that they weren’t human. When the shooting had started, she had lost track of Knox. Shadows moved through the darkness of the room, and tech weapons fired beams of colored light, which lit the darkness in a way that was almost beautiful.
Somehow, she had gotten out. She couldn’t remember the details of her escape. She couldn’t remember what had happened to Knox, either. She held her eyes on the ruin, knowing the answer to that question. There was no way he had survived. There was no way anyone had survived. Her own survival was a mystery to her. A pit formed in her stomach, and she wretched onto the ground. She needed water and food. Her limbs were numb with fatigue, as she pushed herself to her feet. She wobbled there a moment, struggling to gain her balance. Then she turned and faced The Wall.
It wasn’t far, but in her current physical state, it might as well have been a hundred miles away. She didn’t have her weapon, and was in no condition to defend herself if someone or something of the wasteland happened upon her. Still, getting back to The Wall was her only hope for survival. They might not let her back in, but she had to try. Gritting her teeth against the pain that shot through her body with every step, she started toward The Wall.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget, you can get both books for two bucks!!!!!! Well worth your time, trust me!
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Synopsis for Stone Wall
- Publication Date: April 22, 2017
- Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
- Publication Length: 311 pages
The Wall is the only thing standing between the people of City and the horrors of The Wastes. The prisoners who inhabit The Wall follow two simple rules: do whatever you have to do to survive, and when you are called for patrol, do your part to clear The Wastes of City’s enemies.
Stone is a ruthless mercenary, hired to break into The Wall and rescue a young boy who may very well be dead already. Stone knows what’s waiting for him out there. He was a prisoner years ago, and he earned his scars fighting for City. He has heard whispers regarding a “New Enemy” beyond The Wall. A war has broken out, and more and more of the prisoner patrols are going out into the desert never to be heard from again.
But five-hundred grand’s nothing to roll your eyes at, and Stone hasn’t had a decent payday since his techie, Megan, split on him six months ago. In desperate need of a number-two man to fill Megan’s spot, Stone reluctantly reunites with Kendrick, his old partner and current disco fanatic. Together, yet constantly at each other’s throats, they’ll break into The Wall and make their way through its deadly streets, doing their best to avoid unimaginable dangers. Stone broke out once. The question is, can he do it again?
Dominic Stabile’s short fiction has appeared in Fossil Lake III: Unicornado!, Sanitarium Magazine, The Horror Zine, Atticus Review, Far Horizons, and has been adapted as a radio play by Manor House Productions. He has held jobs as a warehouse worker, cashier, bookstore associate, textbook manager, and carpenter. He’s a born southerner, transplanted to Penobscot, Maine by a desperate desire to escape retail work. When not writing or reading, he enjoys horror, sci-fi, and noir films, westerns, and bourbon.
Read his blogs on all things horror at dominicstabile.com.
Praise for Dominic Stabile
“With Whiskey for Breakfast, Dominic Stabile provides a page turning mystery that kept me guessing as to who the real killers might be.” – Brenda Casto, Readersfavorite.com
“Dominic is very adept at a run-and-gun writing style, keeping a near constant amped-up pace maintained through to the end.” – Zach Walters, The Eyes of Madness on Stone Work
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Want to Feature Dominic Stabile?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Dominic Stabile, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Marketing and Publicity at Sinister Grin Press and Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.