Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Survivors By Daniel Harvey - Contemporary Fantasy That Makes Great Mystery!

When Dakota woke, he was enveloped in complete darkness. He smelled what he thought was burning flesh and wondered if this was Hell. The distant sounds of ambulances and fire trucks told him otherwise. He pushed against a sheet of metal that radiated heat but felt oddly cool. He heard someone whisper behind him, and he was suddenly overcome with a surge of strength. He broke through to open air and found himself standing in the middle of a field that was engulfed in a fiery blaze and littered with what had once been an airplane.

Finally, Dakota found his voice and forced it past his choking throat. “We’re alive!” he called out...he heard something shuffle behind him. He reached down and flipped over a panel, revealing a young girl. “We need help!” he yelled as he lifted her out of the rubble. Dakota didn’t wait for the firemen and paramedics to respond. He turned the wreckage upside down on his own, despite the weight and sizzling temperature of the metal hull. Barely a minute later, seven weary survivors, apparently unharmed, were dusting themselves off and eyeing one another. 
As near as Dakota could tell, the surviving passengers stood without a single burn, cut or even bruise between them. The flesh of their fellow travelers was seared and gnarled, unrecognizable. No one was supposed to survive a crash like this. Some of the burly state troopers were weeping; others made the sign of the cross. A young cop’s knees buckled as Dakota walked past her. No one dared speak for a long time, but as the survivors were loaded into the ambulances, Dakota heard a few of the older men say what he’d been thinking all along. “How could anyone walk away from that?” 
Had one person survived, even beaten and battered, it would've been hailed a miracle. But when seven come away entirely unharmed? This was beyond miraculous, beyond impossible. 
~~~

The Survivors
By Daniel Harvell

The crash was over except for the after-work of dealing with still another catastrophe so horrendous that we don't know what to say or do... But the service workers, medical staff, and airport personnel were shocked when seven survivors walked away from the plane, barely hurt.

They, too, were confused, frightened and wondering how...and why...they had survived. Still, life goes on, doesn't it? These things happen we acknowledged and move on to the next disaster or murder or war that is being covered by the news... Those who had lost loved ones mourned and prepared for services appropriate to their beliefs... Investigators would work diligently to determine why the plane had crashed. They might even try to figure out how seven survived...

But for the lives of the seven? Nothing would ever be he same...

Dakota Raintree who is the main character was on his way to meet his fiancee and family. He considered himself lucky to have met the daughter of a Senator. That combined with his skills on the stock market had placed him in the right position for his future...

Three years after the crash he was a fireman with the Tallahassee fire department. As the story begins, he is out at a fire when he hears a mother asking for help--her daughter was still in the flaming building...


Besides, since when did he need 

someone covering his rear?
 He’d led a charmed life since
 the night of the crash.
~~~

Without any thought and against warnings of other men who claimed he couldn't get through, he entered and went to the apartment which the mother had defined...

Soon he was walking out and handing the child to his mother and then turned to leave. But the woman stopped him, thanking him as she indicated she hadn't thought he would get out... Dakota mentioned that a gust of wind must has helped... but later he acknowledged to himself there had been no wind. He had been given a gift...how to use and control fire...

Without realizing it, he found the box of matches in his hand. Another unconscious moment later, Dakota removed a single matchstick and placed it against the striking edge. The motion was quick and fluid, and the result was a tiny, bright flame. 
He took in a large gulp of air, as if preparing to dive underwater. The flame had nearly devoured the wooden stick, and he could feel the warmth approaching his fingertips. Another second and it would singe his thumb and index finger. 
But without warning or explanation, the flame changed direction. It stretched upward, becoming an impossible two feet in length. The match was consumed, turned to ash, but the fire inexplicably hovered just above the palm of Dakota’s hand. It performed a fantastic dance, rocking back and forth like a charmed snake.
~~~

Dakota's fascination with fire isn't hard to accept, although I'd never heard of control of fire--pyrokinesis--as a paranormal gift, so I found myself dwelling on him as I read... It was immediately after the incident with the flame of a match, that soon completely burned out, that Dakota realized that a breeze had been the cause. He looked around to discover where it had come from and met...

Another survivor. She is the older woman shown in the book trailer and her gift was the ability to read emotions, feelings...and force obedience when necessary! She had traveled from Alabama to talk about this small group. She felt all of them had in some way been affected by the crash. She had been picking up feelings but had come to him first since Dakota had gained some notoriety for his work as fireman and was easier to find... She went on to explain that during the last month the feelings she was capturing was frightening. She was kept up at night knowing, feeling that one of them had a desire... and it was growing...

A Desire for Murder...

About the same time, a man named Mathias had encountered an individual who kept in the shadows... He offered money but the individual told him he was only interested in his...mind...

Later, he was called the Mind Breaker and bodies were being found with their brains taken...

Annabell explained that she wanted him to join with her and seek out the remaining survivors... and hopefully determine and stop who it was who desired to murder...

The majority of the book is tracking down each of the survivors, learning of their gifts, how they are or have been used and what they have done with their lives since the crash. I must say that the character development of each of those who had come to recognize their gifts made for a very interesting read. Only one really came over as being evil--he was able to leave his body and take over those of other people... They had found him in a hospital, supposedly in a coma... Of course, he did have to have somebody take care of his own body, so that he could return to it, whenever he wished... LOL

But what readers discover is that each of the individuals have secrets that they are not willing to share. So that nobody trusted anybody... Even when they learned that there was an investigation ongoing to find the Mind Breaker, there was no way to verify if any one of them could have killed the people--or even could have done it totally through their own brain power...

You can see that, for me, this quickly took on the flavor of a very complex and puzzling mystery because even the good guys you meet could be holding back on what his gifts could really accomplish! 

The fun part of the book is watching as each of the individuals use their gifts, which I'm not going to further enumerate, so that you'll have the full impact of the fantasy action being "tossed around..." I totally enjoyed the book, but the ending was a complete surprise and very intriguing...  Weird! SuperHeros or BadGuysinDisguise... If this sounds interesting to you, I have no doubt you'll find it as compelling as I did! Enjoy! BTW, it's only 99 cents on Amazon right now!



GABixlerReviews




You write one short story at the age of 10 about a pit on the moon laden with poisonous hamburgers, and suddenly you're an author. That's the way I saw it when "Murder on the Moon" became an instant hit with my fourth-grade classmates. I'd always been a voracious reader, but upon sharing my little yarn with my friends, I suddenly realized the freedom (and power!) of becoming the storyteller. Over the next few years, I would go on to write several short stories, mostly involving murder mysteries and my schoolmates.
The thrill of whodunits subsided when I discovered the long and (theoretically) rewarding payoffs of the soap operatic style of telling tales, which was followed quickly by my unearthing of the superhero fiction genre (which is just soap operas in spandex).Fast-forward to my last semester at Florida State University, where I was starting to regret my decision to pursue a business management degree instead of something more literary. I had big stories in my head. Instead of second-guessing my educational path, I used my free time to pursue my passion. A few months later, my first novel had arrived in the world--and it wasn't pretty. Like all writers, though, I had to start somewhere.
I went back to the drawing board with my ideas for The Survivors--a contemporary fantasy story about what would happen if real people found themselves empowered with superhuman abilities. But The Survivors wasn't so pretty either. The concept was fun but the execution was rough. It was temporarily shelved while I set out to learn how to be a better and publishable writer. And 10 years later, I think I may have learned a thing or two.
I wrote another novel in the interim years (more on that soon!), but The Survivors will always be my baby. In many ways, the work of an artist is like his or her child. Now my little one's ready to play with the big kids. After the many years of edits and rewrites, I'm proud of the novel it's grown into.