Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
Could anything terrify you more than waking up to discover you had been buried alive? Edgar Allan Poe didn't think so. It is said that he had frequent nightmares about being buried alive. The Premature Burial is a story he wrote that demonstrates his fear. Poe's short story The Casque of Amontillado is about a murderer who buries someone alive he feels has wronged him. As in The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe writes from the murderer's perspective, proving that fear is PORTABLE from one narrative to another.
A popular theme in the 19th century, many BOOKS contained premature burial themes. There's a good reason for this, many people were, quite literally, buried alive. Going to a doctor with the flu would get you leeches and heroin for cough. Heroin? Oh yes, and that does tend to make one, um, sleep. Remember, this was back in the days when leaning over a body and yelling wake up! was the only means of seeing if an unconscious person were alive. Safety coffins were all the rage at that time. They contained some sort of mechanism for would-be corpses to signal that were still alive. These often included bells, or some other signaling device. Of course, this wasn't fool-proof. They required someone to be in the cemetery listening for such a signal. These days the odds are less likely, though there are occasional reports of corpses waking up during autopsy....
Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux’s father, the billionaire CEO of Frontenac Global Security has been kidnapped. His ransom is not cash in a numbered offshore account, or a briefcase of Bearer Bonds but something utterly unique, incredibly valuable, and until recently, hidden away from the world.
The kidnapper seems to know Saber very well, and knows that the next day, through her work as an elite translator she will be in the same location as the Object. She must steal the Object and deliver it to the kidnapper to ransom her father.
Adrian Steele, a British Intelligence agent has just come off of two harrowing missions. Upon returning to London for a well-earned rest, he learns that his friend and fellow agent, has been murdered in Moscow, but not before he made use of a unique Object as a mobile ‘drop site’ for the valuable intelligence he was carrying.
The drop site is traveling from Moscow to England. Steele insists on completing the mission to honor the death of his friend, Gerry Cornell.
At an ultra-chic quasi-diplomatic gathering in a mansion in Windsor, England, Saber and Steele meet and find themselves faced with a powerful, undeniable attraction. But at the moment, this compelling attraction is very inconvenient.
In reality they are at the mansion to check out the security arrangements — for their own reasons — to steal the Object, a Fabergé egg worth thirty million dollars. But who will get to the egg first?
Fabergé eggs are very famous for their unique surprises. Saber and Steele are about to be very surprised, indeed.
And when Saber clashes with Steele; more than sparks will explode!
He was more striking close up. The wire-framed glasses that had given him that bookish look were gone. As a matter of fact, at that precise moment there was nothing about him that was the least bit bookish. Now he looked more like a feral choirboy.
Saber lowered her eyes taken in by the seductive curve of his jaw, and his lips parted in an expression of amazement that drew her closer, hypnotically, begging to be covered with her own. She pulled herself back, reminding herself why she was there, what she must do. Leaving him to be found by the Sheikh's security men would be a pity, but she had a job to finish.
She knew her job, too, she was slick, professional. Her contribution to the family business was to test the security systems that were installed by Frontenac et Cie. She was always on-call to the "Uncles" between her translation assignments to do this testing. And she was very good at it. When caught in a tight spot, she was focused on the job at hand, holding back emotion, the fear of "capture" pushed away. Her focus was laser-like in intensity. She infiltrated the secured areas of high-security targets, grabbed the "package" then ex-filtrated as invisibly as a wisp of smoke. Reflection and reactions came after, as she wrote up her reports and advised the designers on flaws and vulnerabilities in their systems.
But all this slipped away as she felt the light touch of his hands, feeling their heat through thin black leather gloves. They slid very slowly up her thighs, coming to rest lightly and seductively around her waist. She stifled a gasp as she felt his hot fingers press into her, very much a lover's caress.
In scant seconds Saber's focus for the job at hand, the reason that she was there to begin with, melted away as she felt his hands tighten around her waist. Her grip on the gun weakened as a wave of heat suffused through her.
With a swiftness that took her breath away he closed the narrow gap between them. A hot flash of desire surged through her as his lips took possession of hers. Taking advantage of her surprise, he dashed the gun from her hand, sending it spinning away out of her reach. He flipped her over so she was now under him. Saber stared up at him wide-eyed, his lean, hard body on hers evoking a reaction from deep within her that was as intense as it was unexpected. Shocked, confused, she twisted her head away from his, but her eyes still kept a sidewise watch on him.
He bent in closer. Dark eyes flashed dangerously through the long shag of hair that fell over his face. Then, very, very slowly as though savoring every moment, he slid his gloved hand along her arm, around her shoulder, then up her pale exposed throat.
Steele's hand paused, feeling her pulse flutter wildly under his fingertips, before moving up to thread through her silky raven hair. His grip tightened and he turned her head to face him.
"Mmmm... I can do it, too," he breathed softly into her ear.
This story is best marketed as a romantic suspense, because the plot revolves around the conflict between Saber and Steele, who both need to acquire a Faberge' egg, but for different reasons. Saber needs it to ransom her missing father. Steele must find it to bring justice and honor to his murdered friend.
These two lives become entangled around a beautiful egg that holds an important secret and a 30 million dollar value. Their quest take them from London to New York and Las Vegas. Eventually they are led to a rich psychopath's mountain stronghold.
The twists and turns keep coming in this fast-paced spy fest. Romance fans who demand an intricate plot and more to their characters than live libidos will love this suspense thriller.
Book Bling gives this 4 1/2 stars.
Enjoyed an exotic, adventure-filled childhood, following her anthropologist father and travel writer mother to the farthest corners of the world. She later took inspiration from her Aunt Sophia Francesca and became the author of romantic adventure novels. She alternates her time between Los Angeles, and a family property located in Yorkshire England.
She is the author of the first two books of the Time Frame Series. Loves travel, discovering new foods to try, reading and writing. She currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie and her hedgehog Quiller.
It was a bank robbery, however this time the gunmen came not for the cash but for the bank itself, and all that followed happened faster than a domino knockdown.
ABOUT THE SERIES
These are stories about a man who is not alive anymore. He was a financier, a retired intelligence officer. I had the good luck to arrange a couple of financial frauds. We bumped into each other before the recession, in the flood of shit, together in the dust. After his death I still had power of attorney.
This is a novella, and the second in a series of novellas. Unfortunately, I think much of the understanding of previous characters and plot were carried on into this work without the benefit of background information. Also, since English is not the author's first language, both sentence structure and unusual dialogue use sometimes make it difficult to understand who is speaking or what they are talking about.
The author calls her work financial thrillers. This is a new genre for me. I suppose it's meant to be along the lines of Wall Street insider trading schemes gone wild. The narration is in first person, and the author claims that first person to be herself. Since the plot gives a rather bleak and, therefore, accurate look at the financial disaster and corruption by middlemen and swindlers in Moscow who make their money by slowly destroying the banking industry, after reading the author's biography it is difficult not to feel she is not in fact the Anna from the novellas. It does contain an insider's slant that begs explanation, especially when one wonders if the loose ends are unknown elements or intentional hooks for the next book in the series.
The plot is fast-paced, but sometimes inconsistent, like a memoir being written by an ageing nursing home patient. There is also some course language some may find offensive. Both add to the "real" feel of this piece of "fiction".
Overall, this work would have scored much higher with me if the author found an English as first language speaker to clean up this Russian to English translation. Although, with dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue, she would also benefit from a source language translator who went back through the manuscript to correct obvious computer language mistakes made by the translation software.
Book Bling gives this 3 stars.
I was born in Moscow. I studied at the Moscow State University at the Philosophical faculty. I got a PhD in philosophy and stayed without work and without money. The financial crisis began. Some years I was looking for a work, but took it easy. My ex-husband was a dissident and we expected that the Union would collapse. I was a securities trader in an investment company by chance. And then there was the default in 1998. I was without work again.
This was my best time. I became the financial middleman of off-market private transactions. I had nothing. I have been looking for too-big deals. But then there was a time that it was quite possible for me to be the middleman in the sale of a Libyan oil tanker or the sale of aircrafts abroad. I got sick of conducting multi-million dollar transactions and lost all sense of reality.
I met Victor. He was a retired Foreign Intelligence Service officer. He was a magnificent fraudster. I understand how strange it sounds. But at that time before the Yeltsin decree in February 1996 the Intelligence Service was pumped up by money. And Intelligence Service officers one by one began to hold the post of deputy chairmen of the bank. It had happened overnight. Certainly, I could say: he was a magnificent financier, but... to call him as a financial fraudster would be more truthful.
Capturing the bank was in my sights. The insider of the bank was the vice-president of the bank. I write about his capture almost unchanged. Victor would be recognized by his conversations. Before leaving, he left me his three passports... So I do not know his real name. There were no closed doors for him. He had friends from the federal agency for government communication and information and from the board of directors of Deutsche Bank. All kinds of people.
Years passed. Victor is long gone. And there are fewer middlemen.
I feel myself to be on the way out. The whole generation is on the way out as well, those who are described as robbing the country. I like those who robbed the country, and I'm pleased how it was done. They were really talented financiers, nothing worse than financiers on Wall Street. They left the country and have taken the money with them. Since then, Moscow's air did not smell of millions any longer. But it seemed to me, it was still in the depths of my house between a pile of white shirts.
Now there are no more financial middlemen. The young have got jobs first. They receive a salary at the end of the month, and seem to have already forgotten the smell of crazy millions. It's like being drunk. There's a dizziness from it... They did not want to breathe this air. They did not want to poison their lives. They earned their money. They had wives, children, dogs, cars, which it is necessary to care of... Their heads have been overflowing with thoughts of petty cash.
Then the middlemen were old. And I stayed with them. Therefore, the heroes of my novels are in their sixties. For the former friends who stayed in the stock market I became infected. No, I just died. And I have been smelling of sweet cadaveric decay. It seemed to me that I was among the dead. And it felt really bad for me as a living being. But I shared their way of thinking. I was the same as they were. Ridiculous and old-fashioned, useless clutter, rubbish. Market garbage.
My friends were precisely the same as a middle-aged gentleman. Sometimes I catch a strange look at myself, but then forgot about it. The metropolis cleaned me from their memory. There was no need to be as nice as kind people who talk with clients and colleagues daily. I had a different way of talking. My talking always led to a deal. And in case it didn't, I would give the finger and immediately forget the useless person as if shaking off dust. And that's all.
I have nothing to regret. I had nothing to blame myself for. Dogs wouldn't blame themselves for their dog's life, would they?
I could not return back to the stockmarket. It has changed. Brokers, buyers, and sellers have been changed. They all had grown up a little. They have got each other for 0.1 percent interest, ready to set their ass to everyone at 0.5 percent, and would sell their own mother at one percent. I could not do that. The market has kicked me out as garbage.
And the old, among whom I used to be, are gone. The reality of small money has burnt out people around me as fire burns wood. Sometimes it seems to me that I have gone mad, that I live in the world turned inside out. Sometimes I would like to be like anyone... to have a rest, eat, dress, buy a car...
But I can't do it. It would be a living death.
It seems to me I would lose days and years and end up in devastation and poverty. And I would lose the scent of money, and the skill ... I clung to the sale of oil, diamonds, and bank guarantees, though I'm sure that it was simply thin air and there was nothing behind it. Sometimes I woke up and thought that all was not with me. But I lived and breathed the air of millions. It was my life. In my life I gained money from thin air. Emptiness is a magnet for me.
Now I have got nothing. I do not care. I like my life. I like to go for millions. It's impossible to stop me. I might be put down like a mad dog.
And I still have a sense of money. I can smell the street's air and say that the market has changed. It smells as sharp as the smell of fresh bread from a bakery in the frost.
THE DEAD BANK DIARY is my first novel. There will be more.
I write in the genre of financial thriller.
My novels are not based on real events (that would be silly)), but you will feel the reality.
All my characters are real people.
The story goes from the first person, it's me. No crimes, or anything of the kind. No politics or 'danger' Russian reality. Only MONEY. The beautiful frauds which may occur at any bank. I love beautiful gray schemes, on the verge of crime.
Please read about the Series and an interview with me on RobberMagazine.com
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
©2014-2019 Elizabeth Alsobrooks. All rights reserved.