Title: The Killer Within
Release Date: September 2009
Author: Jason Kahn
Publisher: Damnation Books
Genre: Paranormal thriller
When Metro City’s number one crime family develops a drug that turns ordinary people into mindless assassins, detective Frank Arnold makes it his mission to bring them down. But things take a turn for the worse when the syndicate targets someone in the police department to carry out their next hit. Everyone’s under suspicion, including Frank himself as he tries desperately to crack the case before his time runs out, permanently.
Welcome Jason Kahn! What is your latest offering?
The Killer Within has been released as an e-book by Damnation Books.
What is The Killer Within all about?
It’s a hardboiled detective story. The main character, Frank Arnold, is trying to solve a series of murders carried out by anonymous, average citizens who’ve been turned into unknowing killers by a drug that renders them utterly susceptible to commands. The word is out that the next assassin will be a cop. Will it be Frank? Will it be Frank’s partner? Everybody’s under suspicion as Frank steamrolls over anyone who gets in his way.
That sounds exciting. How did you come up with the idea?
The inspiration for The Killer Within came from just a chance occurrence. I was sitting in a cab in downtown Manhattan, listening to the news on the cab radio. There was a report about some random killing, the kind you unfortunately hear about every day. I don't know how or why, but it triggered this big WHAT IF question in my head: What if the killer didn't have any choice about it? What if through either a drug or brainwashing, he had been programmed to do what he did, without even knowing why? And that led to a lot of other interesting questions that started to form a hardboiled crime story in my head. I hadn't written anything in that genre before, so I was very excited to give it a try. It was whole lot of fun to write.
Tell me about your past releases and a little secret about yourself that no one else knows—I promise I won’t tell!
I have had stories published in Baen’s Universe, The Best of Gryphonwood 2007, and the anthology Strange Stories of Sand and Sea.
Here’s a secret that no one else knows (except my wife): I have enjoyed both of the Twilight movies, as well as the books. There, I admitted it.
Any new releases on the horizon this year?
My story Cold Comfort will be published in the print version of Abandoned Towers Magazine in May.
What are you working on right now?
I write an ongoing paranormal crime series called The Dark InSpectre. It’s published courtesy of Abandoned Towers, and I post new episodes every two weeks. It’s very dark and SciFi, and it’s a lot of fun.
Thank you for joining me, Jason. Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Anyone who wishes to keep up with my writerly pursuits, feel free to check out my website, blog, or facebook page for more info., or just to say hi.
EXCERPT from The Killer Within:
They were the words Frank had longed to hear, words that would change his future, but he was no longer listening. The judge’s voice seemed to recede into the distance, and Frank felt a warm prickliness sweep across his scalp. His face felt flushed, and it was like his head was filled with cotton. He tried to speak but his mouth wouldn’t move. In a panic, Frank realized he couldn’t move at all. Then, as if someone else was controlling his body, Frank felt his hand move into his left pocket, curl itself around the handle of a gun he had not known was there.
In a flash it all became clear in his mind, little details from the past several days. The accountant had said Frank’s name and drawn his gun slowly. What kind of an assassin says their victim’s name? The hit must’ve been a fake, meant to convince him he was on the right track. And at the Herald building, Arturo only had enough men for a token resistance, nowhere near enough to guard a major shipment. And then that business about Hector setting Arturo up?
With horrifying clarity, Frank understood. It had all been a set up, the information, the fake hit, the bust at the Herald building, the guy in the uniform who’d just planted the piece on him in the hall, all arranged for one reason – to get Frank in this room before Judge Browers. Hector had given him a hero’s status, sacrificed some of his own men and even had Frank take care of Arturo, a thorn in his side. All to get Frank close to the judge, because without him, the task force would fall apart. The judge was the real target – which meant Frank had been a sleeper all along.
While Judge Browers droned on about the duties of the task force, Frank struggled to warn him, but it was useless. His vision constricted until all he saw was Judge Browers at the end of a dark tunnel. Helpless, Frank pulled the gun out of his pocket. All he could do was scream in silence.
Frank raised the gun. Judge Browers stopped talking, he stared at Frank, solemn-faced. As if from a great distance, Frank heard a commotion behind him. Doors slammed open, men shouted. Someone knocked his chair over, wrestling him to the floor. He pointed the gun, his finger squeezed the trigger, there was a shot. He felt a needle-sharp prick in his neck. Then there was nothing.