Jason McIntyre is the master of dark fiction, psychological suspense, and Canadian bacon. (Admittedly, I’m just guessing about the bacon.) The Devil’s Right Hand, his long awaited, full-length novel featuring The Night Walk Men, has arrived! Jason is here to tell us how the series came to be. He’s also sharing an excerpt. If you have yet to meet The Night Walk Men, be prepared to be hooked.
I’m happily stepping aside. Here is Jason McIntyre:
JASON MCINTYRE is the #1 Kindle Suspense author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN, bestsellers ON THE GATHERING STORM and SHED, plus the multi-layered literary suspense THALO BLUE. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards.
His current release is the full-length follow-up novel to THE NIGHT WALK MEN called THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND, available now.
Learn more and connect with the author in the following places:
Meet Benton Garamond. He’s lost. He careens through the wet streets of downtown Vancouver on a collision course with a dirty lawyer named Levy Gillis. He wants something from Gillis and he aims to get it.
Meet Donovan Lo, former drug kingpin and not bad with the ladies if you ask him. He’s in hiding and has a plan to leave his empire for good. But something — and someone — aims to put a bullet through his last big score.
Now meet Sperro. He has a lot to say about his job, about Benton Garamond and about Donovan Lo. Sperro will be your tour guide.
“We are Night Walk Men, imbued with the lives of at least ten men, and we walk among you like a blur, unseen but often sensed or smelled like pollen in the air when you can’t see flowers—or the tingle you get when the hairs on your neck stand up.
“If you hear footsteps on the parched earth behind you, or if dry autumn leaves scrape concrete with a breeze, that’s most likely one of us, walking just a little ahead or just a little behind. If it’s dark and you climb into your car and for once—for no reason at all—wonder why you didn’t check the back seat for strangers, one of my brothers is mostly likely back there as you drive off.
“We are everywhere at once and nothing can stop us. We are Death incarnate, walking under long robes of black and chasing down the winds to read from a discourse that may be the last words you’ll hear…”
Be prepared to shake The Devil’s Right Hand.
Hi everyone. I’m Jason McIntyre, author of THE NIGHT WALK MEN and the new novel THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND which picks up where THE NIGHT WALK MEN left off.
We’re forty-odd years out from the fateful night in 1964 when our favorite tall dark figure saw his robes flapping madly in an unnatural wind. On that night he discovered he would indeed be punished for going against the Word of his shepherds.
In the new novel, we pick up with his son, Sperro, our smarmy narrator who follows a man named Benton Garamond to an un-scheduled appointment with a lawyer in the lawyer’s downtown Vancouver office tower.
On the surface, Benton appears as a moderately mundane character. He’s in his fifties and has a family, a house in the suburbs and a straightforward desk job with a government bureau. Looks can be deceiving. We discover Benton has a vendetta to fulfill.
The original novella only touched on the father-son dynamic but THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND is rife with exploration of parenthood and its effects on our lives – both in being a parent and in being someone’s child. Benton is no different than most of us. He would do anything to help the interests of his family.
When I tell stories, I introduce seemingly innocuous characters that could be people down the street or in the next office from you. Then I either blast into them with earth-shattering developments and see how they deal with it, or I let the reader discover that the character isn’t mundane at all. And far from it.
It makes for interesting reading, I hope. Following regular people as they encounter irregular circumstances. All the best fiction usually starts with such a premise.
The only imperative detail you need to know about the coming excerpt is that it’s narrated by Sperro first-hand. He’s one of the Night Walk Men, an almost mythic group of beings who can exist alongside you and me and manage the daily activities of our lives. He and his kind can become invisible to us and know our thoughts to a degree that they can help or hinder us. Think of those traffic lights that always turn red for you and make you late for work. Or those house keys you keep misplacing. It’s likely the Night Walk Men are managing things for you – so you either make your way to a fruitful fate…or one that is at least a little morbid.
Without further delay…the excerpt from the novel, THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND:
Benton Etienne Garamond spins the wheel of his SUV and jams on the brakes. Then he fires a foot onto the gas pedal and takes off around a wet corner and down a concrete ramp.
Honestly, Benton! You’re the sort of man whose name history forgets. I look to your face in the bars of on-again, off-again light and see deep lines, heavy gauged like steel train tracks of shadow on flesh.
Benton, dear Benton! What say you? Why so glum, chum? In the rear view of your previously shiny Cadillac Escalade, now coated in a thick layer of grey mud, that face you see is the same one I do. It’s full of those deep lines, those eyes black, not brown like they used to be. You’re speeding, Mr. Garamond, did you know that you are ignoring the posted limits? Before, once, a long time ago, heated ignorance of such societal norms got you into a lot of trouble.
Now you’re in the parking garage of the Conseco Business Centre out on West 49th and fine, powdery wafts of white spew from the melted film of your black tires as they screech on concrete. Trails behind you are reversals of comet streaks in the sky. They aren’t from heaven, nor are they lit. You’re like a fallen angel tonight, aren’t you, Benton? Aren’t you?
* * *
He doesn’t care about the hot markings. Why would he? He’ll have this car for another week, tops. After that, the whole works of it, all the pretty things he’s ever known, will have been killed.
His black duffle bag’s handles are clenched into his fist. He pulls on thin, pale yellow latex gloves as he retreats from the safety of the vehicle. It’s cool in the parking garage, down here, underground: an artificial cold. He doesn’t bother to lock the Escalade. It would be ludicrous that anyone would steal it now. After all this.
Benton doesn’t know exactly what he’ll say. He doesn’t know what he should say. But he does know he’ll be mixing his words with fire. He has to.
He has a white plastic keycard on a coiled pink bracelet. Conseco Tower, it says, printed in blue at one end. He uses the keycard to gain access to the building, the same card he used to open the steel gates of the parking garage. The keycard is coded for the elevator, too.
Upstairs on the twentieth floor, after sidestepping the laughably bad security in a building that should at least have a concierge and some video coverage, Benton moves through a flimsy wood-veneer door done in faux oak with trim in dark chocolate, all the rage in decor ten years ago. He moves swiftly for a man his size and comes across the dark rug of the law office to the face of an assistant’s desk. This comes as she looks up into his eyes. His dark, dark eyes.
But there’s nothing in them, not tonight. He’s learned to hide what lurks behind his corneas and she’s not so much afraid as she is startled.
She lets out a little sound when he hits her. That’s all she gets out at the impact of his big hand with her small, apple-pink cheek. And why does he do that? He has seen the light is on in her boss’s office. A calculated guess means he might get what he wants directly from him.
There’s something about Benton’s state that has heightened his senses, heightened who he is. He was always a big man, since high school when he was involved in sport—out of expectation, mind you. But he was never entirely graceful. When Gabby found him, she must have seen something in his big arms, his big chest, must have seen something soft. She fell for him immediately.
Past the assistant’s desk, Benton sees the door to the boss’s office is ajar. Another name for this figure, at least in some circles, is Numero Tres, Number Three. He is, as you should surmise, third in a chain from the top of something notorious and powerful. Three is approaching from behind his own door and Benton hears his dress shoes moving on the carpet. Three speaks up. “Dianne? Did you call for m—”
And WHAM! The matching veneer door cracks him in the nose, breaks it instantly. Benton pushes into the plush corner office. Banks of tall black window panes dressed with the night surround them both. Counselor Levy Gillis falls back. A spray of blood arcs in the air and his hands shoot to his face in reflex. “HOlee Mother of—”
Benton spins around, light on his feet, seals the door, turns the lock and latches a deadbolt. Why the goddamn does a lawyer need a handle lock and a deadbolt? he thinks. Then he answers himself: because he’s a goddamn dirty lawyer. That’s why.
Then Benton is on top of Gillis, Number Three he’s called in those fearful circles, third down the line from the Big Man himself. Benton is on top with one hand at his throat, the other grappling with Levy’s wrists. A gurgle-snort of blood in the man’s throat and nose. His eyes snap shut. He has not come to terms with exactly what is happening here.
Well, this might come as news to you.
But this, fickle lawyer-man, is a hijacking.
Benton Garamond needs something from you, Counselor Levy Gillis.
And he aims to get it.
* * *
It’s night time splashed on the long, shiny panels of Gillis’s office, showing a city of tall and short shot glasses, each of them an unplanned war map of light squares and dark squares.
On the floor in front of his large cherry wood desk, Gillis’s nose is broken and he’s gushing blood onto his dress shirt. It has already stained his light cream rug. He’s flat on his back, howling in pain. His eyes are squeezed shut against pain and shock. He still hasn’t had a good look at Benton, who’s now on top of the lawyer, forearm up under his chin, crushing the man’s larynx, heavy body splayed over him to keep the coward from struggling up.
Benton quivers like a leaf on a tea tree. Despite his size, he’s coming to terms with what is happening, with what he is wielding. His wide eyes now betray what is going on behind them. He can’t believe he’s doing this again.
Don’t lose your cool, Ben, not now, he’s mentally blurting at himself. For God’s sake, that’s what happened before.
“Now you listen to me—and you listen good. We’re going to have a little chat.” This is Benton talking, spitting the words into the closed eyes of Counselor Gillis. He’s not shouting, but his words have fire behind them.
Inside the black duffle that Benton brought with him are various implements. No guns, no knives—he tried that once before—but some things that will make this easier. He had flung it down on the rug beside them when he lunged forward onto Gillis, and now it was slightly out of reach to his left. He leans for it and gets the zipper pulled. The bag opens like a big black mouth and then Benton’s hand goes inside.
Big mistake, Benton. What are you thinking? You visualized this part of your plan, didn’t you, and in your visualization you had the shoulder strap over you. The duffle bag was at your waist. Heavy, yes, but not too heavy for you. You’ve spent your career at a desk but there aren’t gold bars in the duffle bag.
Shame on you, Benton. Are you hardly surprised when the good ol’ dirty lawyer takes advantage of your gaffe? He’s bleeding and stunned but he’s never been stupid. He’s good at thinking fast on his feet. And though he’s on his back at the moment, fast thinking is a skill that continues to serve him well.
His knee goes to Benton’s crotch as Benton reaches into that damned bag. Bolts of intensity shoot forth from Benton’s loins, and you, all and sundry, might agree that this shot to the jewels is where all the problems will begin.
Next come Gillis’s hands, no longer concerned with his nose, more with getting the hell out from under this monster who’s barged into his office and, for all he knows, killed his secretary out there in his waiting room.
Gillis gives Benton a monumental shove. Normally, even this gargantuan effort would do little to dissuade a large and formidable figure like Benton, but Benton’s center of balance was sufficiently toppled by his reach for whatever’s in his damned duffle bag.
That Damned Duffle Bag, right, Benton? None of us could have foreseen your shaky nerves, not even in the elevator when the shoulder strap was caught in the door. What bad kismet! But you had the presence of mind to flick the clips holding it to the duffle. It went down and you and your bag with all its paraphernalia went to the top floor of this unguarded, unwatched tower where Councillor Gillis was, what? Finishing a court petition to swindle some poor pensioners out of their savings? Helping to shield another drug lord from tax avoidance charges? Maybe he was having his assistant stay late as a ruse. Maybe the two of them were about to come in here and lock the door when Benton blew in like a storm.
Benton’s arms shake like he’s on too much daytime cough medication, way too much. He’s flung to the side and back, and the duffle flies too—spilling some of its contents as it goes askew. Eyes in a squint, Gillis is up at only the waist, using his elbows to frantically back-pedal on the rug away from Benton. That look in his eyes says he has this far from sewed up. But he’s also heading for something, not just away from this attacker.
There! At the side of his cherry wood desk he reaches up to open a drawer. Damn him, right Benton? You see it and understand. Once again, you’ve brought a knife to a gunfight.
Thoughts from Benton Garamond in this tiny instant: Why the goddamn does a lawyer have a gun in his desk drawer in downtown Vancouver? Then he answers himself: because he’s a goddamn dirty lawyer. That’s why.
You should know that I’m here with Benton and Gillis, right here with them in this office. I stand among the tall, shadowed facades of nighttime, while the two men scurry on the rug near my feet a hair-width above the pile. But my own volume is turned down. I’m unseen and unheard and unknown. I am, as we say, inside the Night. I move swifter than you and your kind, swifter than even these two men, whose bodies are oiled by adrenaline and their sudden and innate will to live.
You should know that I’m here. And you should know why.
I’m here to steer the barrel of the gun as best I can. What I can tell you is that Benton Garamond is not be taken until certain other things are in place. What other things, I cannot say, because I have not been made privy to that. In your world, you might say that such intel is above your pay grade. It is certainly above mine. But I do know this: The Night Walkers need Benton but we also need him to come down a notch or two. Benton’s mind rams ahead, fueled by the threat of this going badly like it did once before—in another place and what seems like so long ago.
Benton lunges forward at Gillis as the bullet escapes the weapon.
Thank you, Jason, for sharing the world of The Night Walk Men with us today!
These are the books in The Night Walk Men series so far – the (free!) novella, the follow-up short story, and the newly released novel:
Here are all Jason’s other stories on Amazon:
Do you like audiobooks? If so, Jason is offering The Night Walk Men free for your listening pleasure! You’ll find all the details on his website: www.thefarthestreaches.com/p/the-night-walk-men.html
Before you go off to read and/or listen to Jason’s books, you might enjoy reading some of Jason’s past visits:
Embracing the Darkness – We talk about his books Black Light of Day, Nights Gone By and Walkout: http://quietfurybooks.com/blog/2012/01/jason-mcintyre-2
Step Into The Darkness, If You Dare – We talk about his story Bled: http://quietfurybooks.com/blog/2011/09/step-into-the-darkness
A Conversation With Jason McIntyre and Shedding Skin – Both focus on one of my favorites, Shed: http://quietfurybooks.com/blog/2010/12/jason-mcintyre and http://quietfurybooks.com/blog/2010/12/sheddingskin
I hope you’ll take the time to connect with Jason and explore his fictional world.
Thanks for reading.
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you read any of The Night Walk Men books? What do you think of the concept that there are, in essence, being controlled by unseen puppet masters?
Tags: Audiobooks, Black Light of Day, Bled, Dark Fiction, Free Audiobooks, free ebooks, Free Kindle Books, indie authors, Jason McIntyre, Kro, Nights Gone By, On The Gathering Storm, Paranormal Fiction, psychological suspense, Shed, Thalo Blue, The Devil's Right Hand, The Night Walk Men, Walkout