Broken Pieces

Flash Bang by Kellen Burden @KellenBurden #Mystery #Thriller #Excerpt

The next day is one of those days you don’t remember waking up to. Suddenly you look up and you’re pouring yourself another cup of coffee in your underwear, and you don’t know how you got there. The TV’s on, too. Some Saturday morning kid show at half volume. I don’t know what the fuck is going on in it, so I turn it up. The guy in the giant purple dick-shaped suit is telling the black dude with the orange afro that he can’t find his apples, and then they spell the word apple and dance until I turn the channel. Parents wonder why kids are so crazy: dick guy can’t find his apples. I start to ease off the couch, wheeze once and fall back down onto it. My legs are sunbaked rubber bands. My chest feels like a fat kid’s trampoline. I claw my way back up to standing with a grunt, try to stretch it out, but all my limbs feel like they were made without joints. I’m like Gumby in a dehydrator. Shuffle into the kitchen and toast a bagel, heat up a pan for eggs, quietly admit that it feels good to be sore from rebuilding my body instead of destroying it one beer at a time. When the pan’s hot enough I melt some butter into it, crack an egg in there, and shuffle into the bathroom to turn on the shower. 
My knuckles are soft and red from rolling on the hard pack, and I have little scratches on my forearms, bruises all over. In the kitchen the yolk is starting to get hard and I slide the egg out of the pan onto one of my multitude of randomly assorted Goodwill plates. A rainbow coalition of bachelorhood. The bagel jumps out of the toaster and I slather it in cream cheese, slide the halves in around the egg, carry it to the couch and shove it in my face while the news rolls. No more stabbings. No more talk of them, anyway. Cold front is easing off, temperature rising steadily into midweek. As the weatherman motions enthusiastically at an amorphous blob whipping up off the Denver Metro area like a brush fire, I finish off my breakfast and grunt my way back into the bathroom, wondering what the fuck they put in the weather guy’s hair to get it to stick straight up like that, and whether he’s seen the film Something About Mary. Steam’s fogged the mirror, and the water is too hot to stand under right at first, so I twist the cold on a little, breathe the humidity and stare into my soft-focus reflection.
After the shower I throw some jeans on that I’ve been wearing for so many days straight that they could probably stand up on their own. T-shirt, thermal, wool socks, work boots. My phone says it’s 55 outside; too warm for the Carhartt, and I can’t conceal the SIG under this thermal. In the closet closest to the bathroom there’s a safe in a hole in the wall. It’s about four feet tall, three feet wide, and deep enough to house some documents, a few thousand in cash, and a treasure trove of boom boom. I pull my compact Glock 23 from the soft rack inside the door, stuff it into a concealment holster in the back of my pants, and check it in the mirror. Looks good. The gun; I look like a hobo, but that’s kind of my deal, so we’re good.
Outside on the stoop I look up the street, down the street. Civic on the corner, waiting for a break in the pounding Colfax traffic; homeless-looking guy wandering around with a paper bag of what I can only assume is apple juice; Denver gray, touch of heat. I finished off all three of my detective novels since I bought them, and the Kerouac was just a bit too heavy for this kind of winter. Maybe too heavy for my kind of dysfunction. Bits and pieces of my dreams lying like shards of broken glass in a dark room for me to step on. A noise, an image, and some fucked-up flashback scrambles from the back of my brain like a startled creature. Yesterday on my way to the park, a helicopter came in low to film something going on downtown, and I almost bit through my lip before I knew I was anxious. The night before, I woke up at 1:00 a.m., standing in the middle of the living room, naked, sweat running off my face and down into my chest, shivering. I don’t know why.
Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he's wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can't abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric "Etch" Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay. 
First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can't get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.
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Genre – Thriller, Mystery
Rating – R
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Michelle Li said...

THanks for this great giveaway.

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