“JERICHO’S RAZOR is absolute killer of a debut novel. Smart, vicious, insightful and clever. Author Casey Doran has just staked his claim as a new powerhouse thriller writer. Highly recommended.” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of FALL OF NIGHT and CODE ZERO
"Casey Doran brings it hard and fast. No way this is his debut. It’s too good for that. JERICHO’S RAZOR is simply awesome. Can’t wait for Doran’s next one."
—Brett Battles, USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Jonathan Quinn series
"Casey Doran is an author's author—the kind of writer who offers up stark, visceral prose that keeps a reader like me cheering him on with each new chapter. Here's hoping that JERICHO'S RAZOR is only the first of many great books to come."
—Robert Gregory Browne, bestselling author of TRIAL JUNKIES
A riveting and original debut thriller from a crime writer you won't want to miss, featuring a protagonist you won't forget. Available now from Polis Books!
Horror writer Jericho Sands has had a hell of a month. He's endured a bitter break up with his punk rocker girlfriend, learned that his lungs are blacker than a coal mine, and served time in county jail for throwing a United States Congressman in a dumpster. He's heartbroken, sleep deprived and suffering from a debilitating case of writer's block
Life is about to get much worse.
Somebody from Jericho's past has left a decapitated body on his doorstep. The similarity to methods used in his books, his lack of an alibi and his proximity to the victim all lead the detectives handling the case to quickly identify Jericho as the primary suspect.
But being framed for murder is the least of Jericho's problems, because this killer is only getting started. The mysterious executioner known as 'The River City Slasher' has made it clear that more innocent people will be killed before Jericho himself is the final victim. Unable to trust the cops, Jericho is forced to examine the darkest parts of his own psyche to catch a killer, save innocent lives, and free himself from his own guilt. When Jericho finally learns the identity of the killer terrorizing the city, it shocks him in ways he was unprepared for, causing him to doubt all he holds to be true, including his own judgment and motivations.
The first book in the Jericho Sands series, Jericho's Razor heralds the debut of a phenomenal new thriller writer in Casey Doran.
Read on for an excerpt from Jericho's Razor:
Murder is in the air.
I killed my father when I was sixteen, sold my first novel when I was twenty-five, and saw my name on the bestseller list for the first time when I was twenty-seven. My success bloomed from my infamy. I am the firstborn son of serial killers, the spitting image of the old man without the predilection for ritualistic carnage. My books are sold in over a dozen countries and have been banned by church groups, schools, and other “respectable” organizations in all of them. They are graphic, bloody tomes that make no illusion or apology for the hedonistic pulp that they are. I write because the solitude lends itself to my reclusive nature. I write because it is the only thing that I really know how to do. But on the night that my past came to bite me in the ass, I wasn’t writing a goddamn thing.
My recurring character was stuck, suspended in literary stasis while his creator fumbled for his next move. While many authors market heroes, I harvest the other side of the spectrum. Christian Black is a musician who enjoys classic literature, vintage guitars, and homicide. He lives a double life, one that fans who download his hits on iTunes would never imagine. In his latest exploit, Christian was preparing to dispose of a corrupt congressman. The politician was tied to a rotting elm tree while waiting to see what manner of death lay in store for him. There were several to choose from: Fire. Beheading. Disembowelment. Gun. Knife. Nail gun. Hammer. Hedge clipper. Ax. Samurai sword. The problem was Christian had already used them. After seven books, the well of creative killing methods was running dry. Every idea that popped into my brain was followed by the same three-word mantra: Already done it.
I tapped a drumstick against the desk, mimicking the pattern of the blinking cursor. “Come on, dumbass.” I muttered to myself. “Just kill the bastard already.”
The drumstick tapped against the desk.
The cursor flashed on the screen.
I continued to not have shit and reached for a glass of Jack Daniel’s that went empty over a half hour ago. Setting the glass aside, I set down the drumstick and lit a cigarette, thinking about Dr. Baum’s words the last time I had sat in his office. “Your lungs are blacker than your main character’s soul,” he told me. I thought it oddly poetic for the sixty-year-old doctor, if not fatalistic. Plus, I was sure he had never read my books, despite asking for an autograph on my first visit.
I blew smoke rings across my office, willing an epiphany to slice through the haze of writer’s block, when my phone chimed. I wondered if it was Katrina calling and instantly hated myself for it. No, dumbass, I told myself. She still hates you. But curiosity pulled me toward the phone. I rationalized that checking a message would only be a brief distraction. Discipline demanded that I finish the book, meet my deadline, and put another Christian Black installment on the shelves for the local PTA to boycott. The cursor pulsed at me like a dare, and I felt that if I got up it would win. But as it often did, curiosity defeated discipline. I scooped up the phone and saw that I had a video message attached to an email.
The screen showed a man tied to a chair. Strips of black duct tape bound his arms and legs and covered his mouth. I could hear murmuring from behind the gag, words that were lost before being formed but were undoubtedly desperate pleas for help. Both eyes sported ugly purple bruises. Blood drooled from his nose onto the tape covering his mouth.
Pretty good, I thought. Fans would often reenact scenes from my books and send me their handiwork. They would dress in rubber suits covered in fake blood and wave rubber machetes like drunken jungle guides. Most were immediately stricken down with the ‘Delete’ key, but some were kept in a private file for whenever I needed a laugh. This one was looking to be among the best. The makeup was a nice touch; so few of them bothered to focus on the details.
On cue, I heard the angry metallic clatter of a chainsaw. The hostage thrashed against the chair hard enough to make it fall on its side. While he continued to fight against his restraints, a second person entered the shot. Covered from head to foot in a black rain suit, he held the chainsaw in a high, two-handed
grip and approached his “victim.” I waited to see how far they would take it, expecting the movie to cut out while the live hostage was replaced with a dummy. That was how these things usually went. I actually considered sending the creators of this reproduction a reply. It had been a shitty week, and I needed a good distraction.
The feed continued. The executioner stood directly above his victim as the chainsaw sang a song of death and mayhem. It was a living thing, ravenous and determined. The clatter rose to a howl as the chainsaw swung down in a powerful arch, meeting blade with neck, causing a geyser of viscera amid screaming only to be found in the darkest corners of Hell.
My cigarette dropped to the floor.
My eyes and my brain began an immediate and intense debate about what I had just witnessed. There was no way it was real,
I told myself. No. Fucking. Way. This was the product of some overly motivated film students trying to impress a weird writer. The executioner disappeared behind the camera, leaving a trail of bloody footprints in his wake. The shot wobbled, as though the camera was being removed from a tripod, and then panned to the left. I saw a concrete wall covered in red spatter that dripped to the floor and formed oily puddles. I saw gray matter mixed with it—bone marrow or brain matter or whatever the hell else
explodes from a human body when having a critical piece of anatomy severed with a chainsaw. Finally, I saw what the director of this morbid home movie wanted me to see. It sat like an idol to realism, safe and familiar, but still covered in viscous red detritus.
It was my truck. In my building. Downstairs.
The screen went black.