Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Excerpt: The Case of the Displaced Detective: At Speed

by Stephanie Osborn
The Interstellar Woman of Mystery

As my team continues to promote the Displaced Detective series, we go on to an excerpt of book 2, The Case of the Displaced Detective: At Speed.

Be forewarned: The Arrival and At Speed comprise one story in two volumes. One book in either the science fiction or mystery genres normally averages around 100,000 words. But when the original idea for The Case of the Displaced Detective came to me, I cranked out 215,000 words in two months. And that was just the rough draft. In order to keep it to a manageable size, my publisher, Twilight Times Books, cut the manuscript in half and made two volumes out of it. As it happened, the second story in the series, The Case of the Cosmological Killer, turned out much the same. So the first four books comprise the first two stories. I swear they won't all be like that! In fact, book 5, A Case of Spontaneous Combustion, is only one volume.

What's At Speed about? Here's the publicity blurb:

"Aborting one attempt to sabotage Project: Tesseract, Sherlock Holmes — up to speed in his new life and spacetime continuum — and Dr. Skye Chadwick —hyperspatial physicist, Holmes’ new “Watson” — must catch a spy ring when they don’t even know the ring’s goal. Meanwhile Skye recovers from two nigh-fatal gunshot wounds.

"A further complication is their relationship: the ups and downs between the pair are more than occasional clashes of demanding, eccentric personalities. Chadwick is in love with Holmes. Knowing his predilection for eschewing matters of the heart, she struggles to hide it, in order to maintain the friendship they DO have. Holmes also feels attraction — but fights it tooth and nail, refusing to admit it, even to himself. For it is not merely Skye’s work the spies may be after — but her life as well. Having lost Watson to the vagaries of spacetime, could he endure losing another companion?

"Can they work out the intricacies of their relationship? Can they determine why the spy ring is after the tesseract? And — most importantly — can they stop it?"

Chapter 1—Ruminations and Rehabilitations

Skye woke up in a hospital bed on Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs the afternoon following the shooting, which was Saturday. Her chest and belly ached miserably, and there was a taste in her mouth as if all the armies that had ever marched had tramped across her tongue.

"Uhg," she groaned softly, smacking her mouth in disgust.

As sensation and full consciousness slowly returned, a previously unnoticed grip on her fingers tightened, and a familiar, English voice murmured, "Skye?"

"H-holmes? Is that you?" Skye wondered, confused.

"Yes, Skye. I am here."

Through the slits of her barely open eyelids, she saw a dark form loom over her, coming to sit gingerly on the edge of the bed. As her eyes finally responded to her mental command to focus, the form resolved into Holmes, who was now dressed in the RAF uniform he kept in their office. He reached for something beyond her range of sight, then brought his left hand back with a small plastic cup, a straw tucked inside it.

"Here. Sip this." His right hand never let go her own. Skye allowed him to place the straw in her mouth before sipping the cool water.

"Oh, that's better. My mouth tasted nasty."

"That would be the narcotics," he replied, the hint of a smile on his tired face as he returned the cup to the bedside table.

* * *

"Oh." Skye gave him a bleary-eyed scrutiny, and Holmes read it accurately.

"No, my dear. Watson broke me of that habit some years ago, at my own request, I might add. And I must confess, I find this world of yours stimulating enough that I have no interest in such substances, anyway." He allowed the hint of expression to become a full-fledged smile, and he said, "Dear old Watson, it seems, was equally as determined as dear new Skye. But it does mean I have some experience with nasty tastes in one's mouth."

"How bad?" Skye gestured to her bandaged, aching torso.

"Punctured left lung, lacerated spleen." Holmes drew a deep, pained breath. "Considerable blood loss. The spleen was not so damaged as to require complete removal, fortunately. There is speculation it caught a ricochet; the bits of metal pulled out from that organ definitely did not add up to a complete bullet, as opposed to the one in the lung, which emerged intact. But lung and spleen are repaired now, and you are getting blood." He gestured at the IV bags hanging nearby, where a deep-red fluid dribbled through a tube into her arm. "In fact, one of those is mine. They were low on your blood type." Then he quipped, "And relative to some of the people in this age of yours, it seems I am quite the healthy specimen." He paused, becoming very serious. "Skye, I must apologise…I had to break my oath to you."


For more, or to purchase this and more books in the series, go to my website, or look on Amazon.