Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THE FALL by Stephen Cost {Book Blog Tour, Book Review, Author Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway}

“…forced to live a life filled with human emotions and moral judgments, but also forced to take lives to feed our undying hunger…”

THE FALL By: Stephen Cost Pages: 314 Genre: Thriller/Fiction/Mystery

For thousands of years, Death walked behind the dark veil of the living, waiting to ferry the dead. That is, until the day that Death took a life for pleasure rather than duty. On that day, the first Reaper fell to Earth. Now, Reapers live among us, craving the taste of death, forcing them to kill to satisfy their immortal hunger.

Giles Reid fell more than 300 years ago starving for the taste of death, only to find himself drowning in a sea of the living and blinded by a hunger that forces him to kill. In the centuries since his fall he has tried to be more human, desperate to live a life that makes up for what he is and the wrong he has done. Driven by his guilt over killing, he has chosen to feed only on evil; humans that have never been a threat to him but who are always a danger to others. That is, until the day he tries to feed on a human as strong, fast and cunning as himself; a human who, it turns out, has been hunting him. Now he is being pursued by the very evil he has fed on for centuries, embroiled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game, where friends and other Reapers connected to him are simply pawns on a chessboard waiting to be sacrificed. Giles is left with a choice, save the life of the women he loves, the daughter of his mentor, or betrays her for his own survival.

To save the woman he loves, Giles will have to be the monster he is.

The author has lowered the price of the book just for the tour! If you like a paranormal novel full of suspense with demons and a twist of thriller, grab your copy and make sure you let your friends know too! With a proof of purchase, you will also get 10 extra entries in the Rafflecopter.
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\"By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." The day that is the basis for The Fourth Commandment. (Genesis 2:2-3) 

The following text was provide passage for his Children of Earth to his Kingdom of Heaven.  This, he completed before the setting of the sun on the seventh day and so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on this day He celebrated his creation of life and Death, He rested from all provide passage for his Children of Earth to his Kingdom of Heaven.  This, he completed before the setting of the sun on the seventh day and so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on this day He celebrated his creation of life and Death, He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.  (Geniza fragments, found Cairo, Egypt, 1947)
“Death is the beginning of immortality” -Maximilien Robespierre, July 26, 1794


People say they love the smell of fresh cut daisies, but I far prefer the scent of what pushes them up, the dead. You see, death has a scent all to itself, slightly tangy and bitter, pleasing and calming on the palate. Sure there are other aromas I love too, not just that of death, which can chase the chill from my heart, or would, if I had a heart; at least one that could beat and warm the night’s cold from my blood.

Every day I crave the smell of death and evil, I have since my birth. But living in a sea of flesh and blood, I have developed an appreciation for other human and earthly scents; Like the ocean, its sea salt assaulting my senses with a clean, pure bouquet, quite unmatched by anything manufactured. Or 
the first morning smell of fresh-cut, wet grass and, of course, women. Women smell so much sweeter than men. They, over the millenniums, have refined their scents out of necessity as much as pleasure, each expertly adapting their sultry, seductive and secret combinations of body lotions and perfumes. Honing this craft throughout the ages, to tempt and seduce men out of their minds.

But these are not the only olfactory delights to curl my toes and tickle my senses. For nothing—not the tangy stench of death, nor the sweet scent of a woman—compares to the most inspired aroma of all. Coffee. Nothing in my three-hundred-plus years of experience has compared. Sure, coffee itself has evolved, from non-filtered to filtered, from espresso to cappuccinos, and now from mocha's to Frappuccinos, but the essence is the same. The intoxicating sweetness, the mild-to-bitter flavors that leave you wanting more—needing more. 

You see, that’s my drug. Some people need cocaine, others heroin, and some crave cigars or alcohol. I, on the other hand, have the most decadent, refined and expensive vice of all. And it’s because of this little addiction—or weakness—that I can be found most nights here, sitting on the dimly-lit, damp, covered balcony of Martin’s Books and Coffee.

I sip my overpriced drug while the not-so-distant smell of the ocean creeps its way through the maze and tangled web of Seattle’s wet streets. The cars filing by below enhance the scent of the ocean sitting not too far from here, as the sound of their tires splashing through wet, potholed roads echoes that of the rush of a wave over a rock and the sound of ocean spray.

On most days, Martin’s tends to be a good place to relax. One of the few independently-owned book stores left in Seattle, the atmosphere here is calming and the lighting muted. Not so dark that you cannot read a book and enjoy your coffee, but just dim enough so that someone of my, let us say fair complexion, can go unnoticed by the everyday person stopping by for a fix and a good book. 

The décor is modern contemporary, although the designer clearly relied far too much on his collection of old IKEA catalogs, with a thousand shades of tans and browns with brushed steel accents scattered throughout, for effect. I do think that they might have gone a little overboard with the alternating redwood and pine floor boards. The effect is still pleasantly calming if not somewhat dull.

So, why so critical, you may ask? It’s an occupational hazard, I’m afraid. We all, Reapers and humans alike, must have a day job and mine happens to be that of a wine critic. The crème de la crème of critics, although, truth-be-told, I’m not a big fan of wine. However, I have been gifted with a palate most French chefs would give their sous chefs right hand for. Not their own hand, of course. No French chef I have ever met, and I have met more than my fair share, would ever think of giving that much for their craft.

“Mr. Reid, would you like another?”

The sound of her sing-song voice pulls me back to the moment, temporarily suspending my hazy, drug-induced stupor.

The question comes from Sarah, one of my favorite wait-persons here at Martin’s. Yes, I said wait-persons. Living—if you can call what I do living—in a world of political correctness, I’ve learned it is no longer appropriate to refer to someone as a ‘waitress’. That would be such denigration. Sarah is just the typical twenty-something coffee house wait-person who can be seen in any of the hundred or so coffee houses that pepper the Seattle Landscape—not Sarah herself, of course, but the type. Tall, but not too tall, with long blonde hair. A lightly tanned complexion and the body, a perfectly sculpted masterpiece. I’m not sure about the other Sarah’s out there, but my Sarah has one defining attribute that I find hard to resist, her smell. The bouquet that wafts around her is subtle and ambiguous, what is that? Lavender with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon, perhaps?

I shift my head to look up at her. She really is a beautiful girl and I can tell I make her a little uncomfortable, but I’m used to that. Being a Reaper does have certain perks after all and it isn’t all about death and feeding, we have our needs, too. And women, well, they always find us Reapers attractive, mysterious and alluring. If they only knew the truth. 

Sarah’s question hangs suspended in the air a few seconds, patiently awaiting my response.

“Do I want another?  How many is that tonight, Sarah?” I ask.

She gives me a seductive little side grin. You know the kind; the grin that accomplished women practice in the mirror at night, trying to hone their craft to better seduce their prey.

“You’ve only had two tonight,” she replies.

Two is not entirely true. I have only had one and a half so far. Let’s not cheat me out of my other half cup.

Most nights at Martin’s are about the coffee, but not tonight. Tonight is not about my vices. Tonight is about my needs. My vices will have to wait.
“No more tonight. I’ll just be finishing off what I have left, Sarah.”
With that, she gives me another of her little sultry side grins, flips her hair over her left shoulder and strolls back to the bar. My eyes cannot help but follow her. She really does have a certain something about her walk. Perhaps it’s been too long since I let a woman seduce me. But tonight cannot be about that; tonight I have other needs that must be attended to.

I glance down at my watch to check the time, enjoying the novelty of it.
I find wearing a watch is such a novelty here in the twenty-first century. No one wears watches anymore. All around me I see people texting, playing games and talking in quiet whispers to unknown others on their cell phones. A cell phone may be the one-stop shop of entertainment and information overload, but it is also the tool slowly killing the faithful and dependable wrist watch. Progress be damned, I still love my watch. This is reinforced by the fact that I hate cell phones. They are the digital leash of the twenty-first century and unless it’s leather, I’m not wearing it around my neck or anything else for that matter.

My watch reads 9:45 p.m. 

Soon, very soon.

Two weeks ago there had been a new addition to Martin’s. A customer, but not just any customer: This one had a certain scent about him, if you will. The sweet nectar of evil; I could smell it, I could feel it. It was palatable in the air, like an early morning mist hovering over the shore, waiting for the early entrance of sunlight to wash over it and chase it away. 

I know evil. And yes, I suppose it does take evil to know it. But what is evil? 
Is it the monster who kills? Or the monster who kills the killer?

This man’s evil was distinctive. He had killed and not out of necessity or duty. Those who have killed in that way had a different essence. But this man murdered for pleasure; he lusted for it. Ecstasies of power drive him to kill, control his actions and decide for him who is to be next, and when.

Not long to wait now. Soon. It will be very soon. 

I can feel my hunger building; excitement, I suppose. 

It has been almost three weeks since my last snack, a 42-year-old CEO who used his position to sexually abuse and harass those in his employ. Not as tasty or satisfying as a kill-happy psychopath or the hidden sociopath next door, but a tasty morsel nonetheless.

I crane my neck to the left a little, stretching to release the building tension. 
Over my shoulder I can see the bestsellers rack and the number one book for this week; another vampire novel. How original.

Vampires. If only the world knew the truth. 

People have told old-wives tales about vampires for centuries, desperately trying to explain what they could not understand. Very human, I suppose, but oh-so wrong. Vampires, werewolves, goblins, ghouls and banshees, oh my. All fictional creatures and all created in a desperate attempt to explain the inexpiable
To grasp understanding of the supernatural. To try to embrace the unbelievable. Although, truth-be-told, misinformation can be a useful distraction for humans, when the truth lies far beyond the boundaries of their comprehension. 

I’m fascinated by humans obsessions with the supernatural, especially in the Twenty-First Century. The stories have been so sensationalized over the ages that these romanticized creatures have had humanity grafted into their lore and being.

Really, humans should rethink their reality. Do you romanticize about a warm steak, or a perfectly cooked duck breast before you eat it? No, I don’t think you do, and neither do we.

I suppose it’s not hard to see how, at one time or another in history, one of my brethren may have been seen as one of those monsters. After all, every urban legend has its basis in truth. I wouldn’t be surprised if sometime in the past, someone looked at one of the smaller members of our group and the emergence of little gray aliens came to be. As I said, we do look a little pasty in the skin. In some lighting, you might even say, light grey. 

This thought always brings a smile to my face. I mean really, what sorry excuse for a Reaper was ever mistaken for a four-foot, big-headed, skinny alien? And if it was one of us, what’s with the anal probing? Feed—Yes. Catch and release—sure. Fishermen weren’t the first to coin that phrase. Play with our food—we’re all children at heart. But anal probing? Well the Devil only knows where that may have originated.

What you have to understand is that, as Reapers, we have our proclivities to perversion in one form or another. I mean, you can only live for a few centuries before normal becomes boring and a little bit of deviancy spices up your day.

The sound of heavy footsteps atop the redwood floors capture my attention. I know those footsteps. I’ve been waiting for those footsteps. 

9:55 p.m. exactly. 

Predictable and punctual; always a nice trait to find in a fellow monster. I mean, really, could I ask for more? I suppose he could come on over, take a seat and let me kill him right here and now. But where’s the fun in that?
I track his steps as he stops at the counter to place his order.

What will it be tonight?

I feel like a kid in a candy store, waiting to see what delicious delicacy Mother has picked out for me. Of course, I have my preference: coffee, thank you. What could be better than a late snack and a cappuccino-flavored dessert? At this thought, I wipe away the smallest sliver of saliva that crests the corner of my mouth.

“Large coffee, black, to go,” he says smiling broadly.

Coffee, black. What, no cinnamon coffee cake? It’s excellent this time of year, I hear, and the sweet aftertaste of cinnamon. It’s divine.

My mouth starts to moisten and I have to swallow so as not to drool. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

1.     If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
History has always fascinated me, especially controversial history, for example, who shot Kennedy. So I would go back in time to find the truth lost in time.

2.     What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I’m partial to any flavor with peanut butter mixed in, but if I have to be a purist, then I’m going to go with vanilla.

3.     Pet Peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is punctuality or lack thereof. I’m always ten minutes early and hate to be kept waiting.

4.     Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
THE FALL was never intended to be a standalone book. I’m almost done with book 2 of the series and also writing a thriller I hope to have published later next year.

5.     What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I’ve always loved reading stories, in particular dark stories. I would read books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice and get completely lots in the imagery they would create. Getting lost in books was my escape from the world for a long time and when I realized I had stories I could tell too, the desire to tell them also grew. I think in many ways I wanted to not just tell stories, but I also wanted to provide people with the same escape books provided me.

6.     What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I loved to read when I was young. My earliest memory of reading was an Enid Blyton series call The Famous Five. I think I read each book in the series about a dozen times.

7.     Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
The Pretty Reckless – Make Me Wanna Die

8.     What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write, write and keep writing. With that said, be sure to put your best foot forward. Keep writing but be sure to edit at least three times after you’ve completed any piece of work.

9.     If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
The world is a really big place and I really don’t think I could narrow it down to just one place, but anywhere there is weather like in the Pacific Northwest of the US or weather similar to that of Ireland or The United Kingdom.

10.Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I can certainly see some aspects of my inner personality in my main character. There are always things we wish we could say or do without concern for the consequences. Those moments are when I can best relate to my characters. Sure I’ll never say or do most of those things but I can’t help but smile at the thought of what would happen if I did.

11.Favorite Food?
I’m a man of simple tastes, so, pizza and wings.

12.Favorite Candy?
Yorkie Bar

13.How do you react to a bad review?
I don’t react at all. My writing will not be for everyone and that’s okay. How boring the world would be if everyone liked the same thing after all. Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes, heck; I have mine so everyone else is entitled to theirs.

14.If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
Any book in the Bible. How cool would that be?

15.What do you do in your free time?
I wish I had more free time to speak of, but when I do, I either write or spend time with my lovely wife and teenage daughter.

16.If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
“Seriously, You Can’t Say That”

17.What's your favorite season/weather?
Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. I love the cold, I love snow and I love the colors of the season with all the holiday decorations what popup everywhere during the winter months.

18.What is your guilty pleasure?
Disaster movies and television. I’ve been a fan of disaster movie and television long before The Walking Dead was around.

19.What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?
The Good Wife. Even my wife cannot believe I watch it.

20.Favorite places to travel?
This won’t exactly be a shock to people, but I love the Pacific Northwest of the United States. THE FALL is based in Seattle and although I knew it would be a bit cliché, I set the book there not because it appears to be a popular haunt for the supernatural but because I love the city. Seattle is a magical city and if you ever get a chance to visit it, I highly recommend it.

21.Favorite smell?
Rain and the ocean.

22.Favorite sport?

23.Favorite quote from a movie?
“I like you ass, can I wear it as a hat?” – Billy Crystal – City Slickers 1991

24.What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Sitting on my porch with a hot cup of coffee. Some of the time I’ll write, the rest I’ll just enjoy listen to the rain.

25.Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
It really depends on the portion of the book I writing. If it is serious with a lot of dialog I need silence to write, but if it is more action then I like must to match the mood of the scene.

This book was a five star read for me ALL THE WAY!! The suspense, the cryptic writing style, the way the author makes you hang on his every word. Oh my gosh, I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The characters in this story were so strong. I felt the author took the necessary time to develop them and make the reader understand their circumstances wonderfully. Stephen Cost is a brilliant story teller in that he has a way of getting into the readers mind, much like James Patterson or Dean Koontz do. Read this intriguing first few lines:

People say they love the smell of fresh cut daises, but I far prefer the scent of what pushes them up, the dead. You see, death has a scent all to itself, slightly tangy and bitter, pleasing and calming on the palate. 

Now, tell me after that paragraph that you could just walk away from this book. I didn't think so. This is precisely the writing style I am referring to. Each scene is perfectly constructed. Each paragraph is meant to make you hunger. Each page makes you keep turning. I just LOVE books like this one! 

The premise of the story is as follows:

Giles is a 300 year old Reaper.
He is as viscous and cunning as they come.
He loves his job and he does it well.
He takes the souls of evil humans and sucks up their essence just like he's supposed to,and he thrives on it.
He is stylish to the point that he vividly describes his Porsche just like most would describe a beautiful woman.

Giles tries his best to become an exemplary human. He does his best to only kill when absolutely necessary and he makes sure that his kills are for the greater good. But, to save the woman he loves, Giles must rethink this practice and become the monster, he left behind long ago.

Excitement, drama, poetic verse, amazing detail are just some of the ways I'd describe this book. Oh and the ending, just WOW. I was blown away. Get this book, read this book and write a review for this new, talented author!

Stephen Cost was born in Wexford Ireland and raised in a small seaside town not far from Dublin.  From a young age he would spin dark tales and write them down for his own amusement.  At the age of 13 he moved from his home in Ireland to America and his love of dark American cinema took root.
He passes his free time, when not writing, by reading horror and fantasy genre novels in addition to watching science fiction and horror movies.
He graduated from University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.  A computer engineer by trade, he specializes in integrated system services and uses the knowledge gained from his degree to write emotionally captivating urban fiction.
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