Reading e-books before bed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tour Stop: Dark Halo by Christopher Kokoski

This is my stop at the Dark Halo Book Tour, hosted by First Rule Publicity.
Aside from the book and author info, you may also find an excerpt from the book in this post.

Title: Dark Halo
Author: Christopher Kokoski
Dark Halo

In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family. Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent’s southern Indiana ranch. But he’s barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter. As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude.

A loud, ear-splitting scream filled the phone line, and then the call disconnected. Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Frank,” Landon called out, flinching at the loudest thunder crash he had ever heard in his life. He dialed the Metzger’s number again, but the phone rang nine times without anyone answering. He laid the phone back down in its cradle. Something was wrong. Very wrong.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement. Probably a play of shadows. Or his father’s fantasies screwing with his mind again. Whatever it was – something or nothing – his pulse jumped.

Peering around the living room, he saw that he was alone.

Over the howl of the wind through the eaves, over the hiss of rain on the roof, Landon heard another floorboard creak. Someone or something was in the house. He longed for the rifle upstairs.

From the massive living room, several hallways branched off into separate parts of the house. All the doors and windows were locked. Although, he thought, the storm might have muffled the noise necessary for someone to break into the house.

Another floorboard creaked, this one much closer than the last.

The flesh on the back of his neck crawled.

“Who’s there?” he said.

His only answer was a loud din of thunder.

“Who’s there?” he repeated. He took a timid step forward.

The next creak sounded so close that, had a person been standing there, he or she could have extended an arm and touched him.

Sneezing, Landon hurried toward the mahogany staircase. Halfway there, hands trembling as if he had Parkinson’s disease, feeling increasingly erratic, a vague shape shimmered beside him. Muted by the shadows, the form emitted more intensity than anything Landon had encountered in his thirty-five years.

Fear eclipsed his movement, even his thoughts, as, for a moment, the phantom floated a foot above the hardwood floor. Somehow, perhaps by perverse black magic, it had conjured creaks from his house. Its transparent body shifted constantly, taking new shapes, then, slowly crossed the room and dissolved into the wall. Like the golden light, gone as quickly as it had appeared, leaving him alone once more.

Landon’s hand twitched. He could move again.

Struggling to think – What was happening? What do I do? – he walked on shaky legs to the wall. He was careful not to touch the spot where the spirit went through. He had the illogical fear that if he did, he might melt into it and end up in some other realm where the dead came after you in roving hordes.

He was losing it. He had to calm down. Had to think.

Landon flicked the light switch and illuminated the living room. Pushing away from the wall, he staggered back toward the phone to call Frank and Gina, to ask if he could stay there overnight. In the morning, everything would make sense. When he raised the phone, however, the line was dead.

His mind raced. He could take his truck into town, check on his neighbors. His keys were already in the vehicle. He hung up the phone.

Perhaps in disapproval of his plan, the storm pounded on his house. Although he could have imagined this too, he thought he felt the structure jilt slightly to one side. Lightning slashed at the night sky, for a moment igniting the darkness outside.

A face stared in through one of his windows.

Landon jumped, almost losing his balance. He stumbled backwards, striking the small stand on which he kept his phone, knocking the unit off, hearing it clatter to the hardwood floor. The lightning disappeared, and with it, the face.

He placed one hand on his chest, massaging a jagged pain there.

Who was outside? The face looked like a man, but after all that’s occurred…

No. It was just a person. An escaped convict. A hitchhiker. A hobo looking for a dry place to sleep. Not an alien, ghost, or the walking dead.

Another gash of lightning revealed the stranger again. This time Landon saw more of him – bright blue eyes, cropped blonde hair that framed the man’s chiseled face and fell to broad shoulders.

Before the light faded, before the night pulled dark shrouds over the windows, Landon witnessed something that tore another layer of reality from his already fragile mind: out of the back of the stranger sprouted two tenuous wings.

Darkness robbed him of his view.

Landon fumbled backwards again, sneezing, his back slamming against the wall. His heart pounded like crazy. Every muscle in his body pulsed with life. His mind buzzed as he waited for another flash of lightning to reveal the creature crashing through his window, not only winged, but fanged, clawing towards him with sickly sharp nails.


About the Author
Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life.

He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences.

Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.

Twitter: @Eric_Shooter

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having Christopher today! :)


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