The Yancy Lazarus Series
James A. Hunter
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Shadow Alley Press Inc
Date of Publication: October 7, 2016
Number of pages: 415
Word Count: 110,000
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Legions of murderous undead, Haitian voodoo, and a five-thousand-year old serpent god.
Yeah, âcause thatâs exactly what Yancy Lazarus needs in his life: more complications. As if being the Hand of Fate and the newly appointed guardian over one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse wasnât headache enough.
All Yancy wants is an easy life on the open roadâchock-full of ribs, beer, cigarettes, and smoky bars blaring with gritty blues musicâbut that just isnât in the cards. Nope, not anymore. Heâs been charged to save the world and now that heâs got a no-shit demon riding shotgun in his head, heâs sorta committed to the cause.
If Yancy canât sort through this colossal heap of bullshit, heâs coffin bound. But, heâs not dead yet. In fact, he even has a lead.
Turns out one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypseâthe pale Rider, Deathâis slumming around in one of Yancyâs old haunts. In order to corner this new threat, though, Yancyâs gonna have to face some deadly supernatural nightmares from his distant past. And, to make matters worse, heâs not the only one trailing the Pale Rider. A powerful new mage with some serious magical chops, is also aiming to find the Fourth Seal and heâll do whatever it takes to win. Even if it means hurting those closest to Yancy â¦ Like F.B.I. Agent Nicole Ferraro.
âWill anyone stand for this man? Stand for Yancy Lazarus?â The voice rang out, echoing off the bleak stone walls, rolling over me like a frigid ocean wave crashing on a rocky shoreline. âWill anyone dare to call him friendââa taut pauseââor brother?â A creeping dread filled my belly, twisting my guts into serpentine knots. Gooseflesh broke out along my arms, neck, and back, while slick beads of perspiration dotted my forehead.
If no one stood for me, vouched for me, I was dead. And Iâm not being hyperbolic or metaphorical here.
Someoneâprobably olâ Iron Stan, the leader of the Fist of the Staff and my former bossâwould literally slip a Vis-imbued garrote around my neck and strangle me until I was a lifeless meat sock. Choke the air from my lungs while crushing my windpipe, leaving me to die a very undignified death: Kneeling on the concrete floor before a bunch of bathrobe wearing geezers. Back bent with some douchehole digging an elbow in between my shoulder blades. Hands cuffed behind my back and a brown leather sack covering my bowed head.
Well, someone would try â¦
These days, I had some extra kick under the hood in the form of an honest to goodness End Times Sealâstraight outta the book of Revelationâcome to me by way of an Elder Bigfoot, Chief Chankoowashtay, the leader of the People of the Forest and the last great ruler of the Chiye-tanka.
Yep, riding right next to my ticker was the Seal of War. A metaphysical prison containing the essence of the second horseman of the Apocalypse: Azazel the Purros, Grigori of Old, Scourge of Mankind, Maker of War, and Lord of Dark Magicks. A creature with a truly intimidating string of titles, though, admittedly, Iâd hate to be him when tax season rolls around and you have to list your full name in quintuplet.
True, I couldnât take on the entire Guild even with that evil dickhead, Azazel, in my corner, but Iâd sure as shit go down hookinâ and jabbinâ, and Iâd take at least a few of these sons of bitches with me if it came to it.
âHe abandoned this Guild,â the voice said, as insistent and unyielding as old stones. I swiveled my head toward the speaker, and though I couldnât see herâwhat with a frigginâ sack over my faceâI could picture her in my mind. A striking woman with smooth skin, high cheeks, and bright green eyes, searching and weighing. Her hair, a mass of silver, hanging all the way down her back. Arch-Mage Borgstorm, head of the Guild of the Staff. As savvy as magi came, but cold, calculating, and political to her teeth.
âThroughout the course of this trial,â she continued, âthe prosecutor has shown Mage Lazarus to be a traitor. A danger. A deserter.â Her words sparked a fire in my chest, my blood rising to a low simmer as I clenched my teeth and balled my hands into fists.
Iâd given more for the damn Guild than anyone had a right to ask, and theyâd been the ones to turn their backs on me and mine, not the other way around. But, despite the fact that I had the sudden urge to conjure a gout of molten rock and melt the chamber to blackened slag, I held my tongue.
My personal feelings aside, I needed these shifty bastards in my corner because I had nowhere else to turn. No other leads to run down.
After trying unsuccessfully to find James and the Morrigan for the past two monthsâand with no further word from Lady Luck, my immediate boss as Hand of FateâI only had one viable clue: the Fourth Seal. The essence of Death and Pestilence. And, unfortunately, the only person who knew the location of the Seal Bearer was sitting on the raised platform. The arch-mage. Awful luck for me, considering she was the one leading the charge to have me summarily executed and thrown into an unmarked grave.
Themâs the breaks sometimes, I suppose.
âEven if Mr. Lazarus isnât willfully an enemy of the Guild,â the arch-mage said, âno one here can deny he is a liability and threat to anyone who comes near him. Everyone in this room has seen his personnel file, so we all know exactly how dangerous he is. Moreover, since deserting our ranks in â98, heâs committed hundreds of unsanctioned acts of violence and vigilantism across Inworld and Out.
âHundreds. Violating untold treaties. Wantonly killing. Compromising the integrity of this distinguished organization.â She made that last one sound far worse than wantonly killing, which should tell you everything you need to know about her. âSo, I ask again. Will anyone stand for him knowing the potential risk he represents?â
A long, uncomfortable pause filled the room, a palpable weight settling over everything.
âIf you would have him back among our number,â the arch-mage said at last, breaking the quiet, âstand now, or hold your peace as the Elders pass judgement on this man. This unrepentant criminal.â
About the Author:
Hey all, my name is James Hunter and Iâm a writer, among other things. So just a little about me: Iâm a former Marine Corps Sergeant, combat veteran, and pirate hunter (seriously). Iâm also a member of The Royal Order of the Shellbackââcause thatâs a real thing. Iâve also been a missionary and international aid worker in Bangkok, Thiland. And, a space-ship captain, canât forget that.
Okay â¦ the last one is only in my imagination.
Currently, Iâm a stay at home Dadâtaking care of my two kidsâwhile also writing full time, making up absurd stories that I hope people will continue to buy. When Iâm not working, writing, or spending time with family, I occasionally eat and sleep.
You can visit me to find out more at www.JamesAHunter.wordpress.com
Books are my consuming obsession and giveaways are my everlasting passion! Join me for my bookish journey as I discover new reads and who knows.... you might win something along the way! If you're an author and would like a personal book tour, please e-mail me! I'm extremely PR-friendly!