Space Vacation


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Details:

Published: May 24, 2016
Pages: 108
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25 wide x 6.88 tall

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Back Cover:

‘Everybody likes to take a vacation now and then, and perhaps on the rarer occasion, people like to take an extra-special holiday.

In the more likely case of the wealthy – and less frequently, the extremely lucky – this means a cruise off-world on one of those really fancy star-liners that go from one system to the next, picking up and dropping off glittering and excitedly chattering passengers along the way.

‘Paradise between the planets’, they call it. Most of the time, that’s how it is. But not this time. How could a holiday in space turn into a murder mystery involving vampires? Yes, you read that right. Vampires.

On the last voyage of the Demeter – a deep space star-liner with the Red Star Line, passengers and crew got more than they bargained for. Way more.

Christina Engela is that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.” – Mark Woods, author of Time of Tides and Fear of the Dark.

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Synopsis:

This captivating story, deftly told in the first person, is the tale of Sean Lange, former chief of security onboard the Demeter, one of the largest passenger space liners in Terran history. His rather mundane existence is derailed when the ship diverts from its course to answer a distress signal, and arrives at the scene to find that the SOS had been sent by a Corsair vessel. Although sometimes fake distress calls had been used to lure unsuspecting and defenseless passenger ships to their doom in the past, this is not the case this time, as it is obvious the pirate vessel really is in trouble.

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The search party that goes onboard to investigate finds only one survivor, who is deathly ill from a mysterious disease, and takes him back to the Demeter for treatment. Lange and the doctor puzzle over the odd circumstances that led to the Corsairs predicament, and the strange condition in which the ship and its unfortunate crew were found.

Less than 24 hours later, while the Demeter continues on its way, the troubled Corsair passes away without imparting anything useful to his rescuers. A short time later, the  chief medical officer on board the liner is found dead in his lab. With suicide unlikely despite everything at the scene pointing at a self-inflicted fatal injury using a Corsair blaster presumably salvaged from the stricken pirate ship, Lange sets about investigating foul play, assisted by his close friend and colleague Lisa Garfner – beginning with how the weapon got aboard the Demeter.

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He begins with the members of the team that accompanied him to the Corsair ship, tracing the weapon from one suspect to another – but bafflingly, one by one, they too seem to turn up dead. It then becomes apparent that everyone on board now appears to be at risk of contracting the mysterious ailment that claimed the life of the Corsair survivor and the rest of his crew. And with only the bare essential medical services available – and their most qualified medical officer short, there is no little to no chance of identifying the disease, or its treatment.

To make matters worse, the ship’s only communications array mysteriously detaches itself and floats away unobserved during the night, cutting the ship off from the rest of the universe completely. This unexpected act of sabotage complicates the investigation for Lange and his deputy, Lisa Garfner – and poses a very serious threat to Demeter and all aboard. The sick begin to die, and as the number of sick alarmingly grows by the hour, the rest become fearful and paranoid. Among the passengers, a cleric whips the fearful into a frenzy. In the midst of all this, Lange sees a pattern to the affliction and is determined to run his investigation despite all the obstacles. Then his security personnel begin to become affected, and gradually he finds himself facing this thing alone.

SV (2)

Then Demeter’s Captain and bridge crew seal themselves off to maintain control of the ship and increase speed to their nearest harbor, while Lange interviews one last unlikely suspect, a mysterious lady who seems to be keeping many secrets. As order begins to break down on the ship, Lange discovers a secret so dark and terrifying that the Captain of the Demeter will do anything to prevent the thing that is killing passengers and crew from reaching any habitable world, even if it means killing everyone left on board…

Reviews:

Reader Comments:

A Touch Of The Old ‘Who Done It’

“It was an adventure with a touch of the old ‘who done it’ feel to it. Also kind of romantic. Another really good read along with that ever present wicked humour!” – Wendy Keran Gloss

Copyright © Christina Engela 2014 -present

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