Hello lovelies! Today I have an excerpt from Captain Clive’s Dreamworld by Jon Bassoff as part of the blog tour organised by Emma at Damppebbles blog tours. First a little about the book:
Title: Captain Clive’s Dreamworld by Jon Bassoff
Publisher: Eraserhead Press
Date Published: 1st October 2020
After becoming the suspect in the death of a young woman, Deputy Sam Hardy is reassigned to the town of Angels and Hope, which, within its borders, holds the once magnificent amusement park, Captain Clive’s Dreamworld. When he arrives, however, Hardy notices some strange happenings. The park is essentially empty of customers. None of the townsfolk ever seem to sleep. And girls seem to be going missing with no plausible explanation. As Hardy begins investigating, his own past is drawn into question by the town, and he finds himself becoming more and more isolated. The truth—about the town and himself—will lead him to understand that there’s no such thing as a clean escape.
You can buy your copy here:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/39c2WnU
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/39he8Qx
He drove for five, six hours across a relentlessly barren landscape dotted by tumbleweed, the sun shining cruelly, the highway cracked and discolored. Vehicles appeared every so often and then less often and then barely at all. The radio played hazy country music that became more and more frightening; eventually, he turned it off. Silence except for his own disjointed thoughts. He reached into the console for some beef jerky, the first food he’d eaten that day, tearing open the bag and chewing slowly, all the while staring out the dust-coated windshield. Gripping the steering wheel tightly, he felt like he was the only person in the world. Then, for a quick moment, he squeezed his eyes shut. None of this was real, he decided. Dreamworld. He was just drifting, drifting, drifting…
North on Highway 23 the directions said, sixty miles until Angels and Hope, but Highway 23 was in bad shape. The letters on the old sign were barely visible beneath the rust, and the asphalt was covered with dirt and shrubs and tumbleweed. He thought about turning around, driving until the world ended, but he needed the job, needed the money, so he pressed down on the gas pedal and crossed over a gully, the bottom of his car scraping against brush. As he drove down the nearly abandoned highway, he couldn’t help but think that things would end poorly.
His car was bouncing all over the place, and the sun never seemed to lower in the sky. Fifty, sixty, seventy miles per hour. Along the side of the beaten two-lane, there were occasional remnants of the past: a boarded-up motel, an abandoned gas station, a broken-down car. Soon the asphalt of the highway became harder and harder to see, becoming, instead, a dying garden. A murder of crows followed his car, and he heard the disquieting yelps of a coyote. His hands were trembling, sweat dribbling into his eyes. The air conditioner wasn’t worth shit, and that was the way of the world. The farther Hardy drove, the more he saw her face, and the only way he could rid himself of it was by gritting his teeth until his jaw and temples ached.
Desperate, face slathered with perspiration, Hardy turned the radio back on, hoping for something familiar. Now static, static, static. But at the end of the AM dial, the faint voice of a preacher: “Offer, brothers and sisters. Offer up what is most valuable and precious. Because only then will he offer to you what is most valuable and precious. A reading from Genesis 22: ‘Isaac said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.’ Thus, with Abraham’s knife pressed to Isaac’s throat, the reading ends. Now we know, brothers and sisters, that God’s angels eventually rescued Isaac from this terrible fate. But I am here to tell you that the rescue is less important than Abraham’s unswerving trust. He was willing to kill his own son because of that trust. And you must be willing to do the same. You must be willing to sacrifice that which means the most to you. For in this selfless act, you will be rewarded. But if you are selfish, if you hide your loved ones in the attic or help them escape in tunnels beneath the desert floor, your squirming bodies will be placed in the Lake of Fire, pockets filled with stones…”
Hardy slammed off the radio, and despite the straightness of the highway the world seemed to be spinning, flashes of his past mixed with flickers of his present, his future vanished forever. Images of crows in the steeple and fire on the highway and rats in his skull. And his own voice, mumbling into his hand: the sins aren’t mine, they’ve never been mine.
And that’s when Angels and Hope appeared.
Just beyond an old-fashioned water tower emblazoned with the words “Dreamers Dream” stood a tall, shiny white fence, and beyond this fence the desert ended and the Promised Land began. A place where neighbors greet neighbors in the quiet of summer twilight. Where children chase fireflies. Where porch swings provide easy refuge from the cares of the day. Why, then, was Hardy saddled with the premonition that this was where he’d burn?
About The Author:
Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives with his family in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado. His mountain gothic novel, Corrosion, has been translated in French and German and was nominated for the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, France’s biggest crime fiction award. Two of his novels, The Drive-Thru Crematorium and The Disassembled Man, have been adapted for the big screen with Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild; Once Upon a Time in America) attached to star in The Disassembled Man. For his day job, Bassoff teaches high school English where he is known by students and faculty alike as the deranged writer guy. He is a connoisseur of tequila, hot sauces, psychobilly music, and flea-bag motels.