Today I welcome author David J Rodger to the blog to share an excerpt from his release, Dog Eat Dog.
The Black Lake and the tense, slow-burning thriller of The Social Club.
In the wake of a cataclysmic event ten years ago (Yellow Dawn),
Mikhail Drobná and Carlos Revira are two survivors, both hungry for
money and power, and fuelled by a desire to carve their names onto this
new world. One provides services of violence and protection for
powerful corporate criminals in the Living City of New York; the other
is a renegade intelligence agent forever running from the demons of his
past. Both men are strangers until events bring them face to face in a
Complex politics, private armies, corruption and murder on a shocking
scale this book spins from the ruins of Europe to the desperate
heartland of a fragmented America. The size of the story is vast but
the focus is tightly entwined around the raging emotions of these two
men. Will they work together or will bitter rivalry lead to their
destruction? Meanwhile something terrible has stepped into the new
shadows of the darkened Earth. A chilling horror from beyond the stars
and it has its own plans for Mikhail Drobná and Carlos Revira.
The former Creative Director of Cunning, Floyd Hayes, described Dog Eat Dog
as “the best Sci-Fi Horror I’ve read in ten years.” Although the
first novel to be set in the world after Yellow Dawn, Dog Eat Dog builds
on another five novels that take place before Yellow Dawn ever
happened; there is a solid, well-defined universe for readers to engage
This is novel of grand vision, character depth and nerve-popping tension.
Manhattan stretched below him all lit up like a Christmas tree. Mikhail Drobná smiled and felt the thick folds of scar tissue stretch across his face. He was on the 60th floor of the d’Cota building, gazing out through thick plate glass, savouring the breeze of air-control and ignoring the heavy scent of perfume wafting off the girl who was getting undressed behind him. He swirled a brandy glass within one massive hand and took a sniff: the sharp tang was rich and inviting; the liquor was over 130 years old, so he’d been told; part of Mr d’Cota’s personal stash, but Drobná had privileges in this place.
His eyes traced the boundary between light and dark down there, following the line of the Hudson River, the boundary between life and death…and undeath. He enjoyed this view at night, when everything beyond the Living City was lost within the darkness. If he walked to the other side of the vast room he could look down and see an identical sight: the lights of Manhattan Island and an endless uninterrupted sea of darkness beyond the East River. A thousand horror stories would be playing out there in the Dead Zone, all the travellers who’d not managed to get a ride through before the sun went down; it was bad enough trying to make that twenty-mile journey during the day but at night, you were alone in the dark with the risk of any noise bringing Them screaming onto you.
Drobná thought about his father and wondered if the worthless fuck was alive or dead. The smile faded, and Drobná grunted involuntarily, aware of the familiar sour mood seeping into his state of mind. He wanted to tell the girl to hurry the fuck up but stayed silent. Against his will his gaze drifted high above the city lights and drilled far into the endless darkness, his vision blurred with the strain whilst his brain segued into distant memories that were as vivid as yesterday. He began to mutter a familiar mantra, something the doc had once said before giving up on him, “Keep moving, keep busy…don’t relax. Relaxing lets the bad thoughts in.”
Or maybe the doc had never actually used those words but Drobná had just modified the statement to make it fit how he wanted.
But he couldn’t move just yet, there was work to be done. So he stood where he was and swirled the brandy in the glass.
Standing still gave the bad thoughts time to form:
In his mind’s-eye the sloshing liquid became the bottle in his father’s meaty left hand; a memory forever burned into his brain; the bruised knuckle clenching the bottle neck, and the blood spatters not even dry, dripping down his father’s wrist: it was the night he had walked in and found his father with mother. The night his shitty miserable world got flushed down the toilet. The night tha left him living with regret for a failure to be a man.
His thoughts flipped back to the here and now. What was he doing in this place? Enduring this tedium of fulfilling a rich man’s whims; this wasn’t his future, his destiny lied in the blood and entrails of other men, in the thrill of something he didn’t yet have…something he couldn’t even define. It was a feeling, a yearning, a desire to break free of this city and this cage of luxury. New empires were being carved out in the wilderness. He could be a part of that, if the right opportunity came along…or if he got out and found it.
Never turn from the fear, face it head on.
He needed a new chapter in his book. His thoughts flipped back to his past. Drobná ran through the story the doc had patched together with him during the few weeks he’d tried to get help: distilled into a simple summary of trauma that led to him becoming the man he was now.
Born in Toronto to a Russian father and a Polish mother. Father was a long haul driver and was rarely home. Mother was a cook in a local school and made the best Bigos in the world.
When he was eight, his mother got sick. The company she worked for had a good health policy and looked after her, but then the company got bought out by another, larger company and somewhere in the shifting contracts and pathetic union resistance his mother lost her healthcare and financial support. Drobná started bunking off school so he could look after her. His father changed jobs, became a delivery truck driver, but obviously lost the freedom of the long roads. He developed a taste for cheap whisky and a hatred of the burden his wife had become.
At the age of nine Drobná came home from school early one afternoon and saw his father’s truck parked outside the house; walked inside and found his mother’s wheelchair lying on its side on the kitchen floor. Mother was lying there in a pool of blood. She’d been beaten and then stabbed to death. His father was sitting on the sofa in the next room, still clutching the knife, too drunk to stand and sobbing how sorry he was…slurring Russian… saying “come to papa”.
Drobná turned and ran.
He wished he’d killed him.
J. Rodger is a British author of science fiction dark fantasy with
eight novels under his belt. Themes include thrillers, horror and action
adventure. He is also the creator of Yellow Dawn - The Age of Hastur,
an RPG that blends Cthulhu Mythos and Cyberpunk themes into a
post-apocalyptic setting. His books cross many boundaries to deliver a
new and exciting fusion of ideas and genres. All his books have received
critical acclaim. He is known for crafting tightly-wound plots and deep
characters that draw you in. All the books are stand-alone and can be
read in any order, but occupy a shared universe allowing you to build a
deeper knowledge with every story
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