Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hexcommunicated by Rafael Chandler

Rafael Chandler

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Neoplastic Press

Date of Publication: July 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478196662

Number of pages: 302
Word Count: 94,400

Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Cover Model: Rose Ballentine

Tagline: When the sun comes up, the girl of his dreams will murder him.

Book Description:

The name is Tepes. Nicolae Tepes. I'm a federal agent with Hex Division.

When the sun comes up, the girl of my dreams is going to kill me.

My partner's a werewolf, but we get along okay. We were investigating this murder when we stumbled across a conspiracy unlike anything we've ever dealt with before. Ghostmortems, Scarevoyants, all kinds of freaks.

It started bad and got worse quick: a psychic on our team had a vision of the future. At sunrise, I'll die at the hands of the woman I love, and then a psychotic death cult will deploy a supernatural weapon of mass destruction.

We've got eight hours to prevent this prophecy from coming true, but the psychics of Hex Division are never wrong...


I holstered my gun. "Right. Let's toss the place."

Zheng flipped the mattress over.

I pulled dresser drawers. I froze. Stainless steel shuriken rattled against each
other. I hauled open a few more drawers; in each one, more throwing stars.
Maybe a hundred total.

"Whiskey tango foxtrot," Zheng said. She leaned the mattress against the wall. A
half-dozen circular saw blades gleamed on the boxspring.

"Ambush," I said. I drew my gun. I snapped my fangs.

Zheng went feral: full werewolf. Teeth bared, she hunched over and glared around the
room, waiting for something to twitch so that she could eviscerate it. I held

After a minute, I relaxed.

"Okay," I said. "Nobody here. Let's keep searching."

With a high-pitched scraping sound, the bed's metal frame buckled once, then lurched
across the room. With a heavy thud, it slammed end-first into the door,
scattering saw blades all over the carpet.

I got ready to shoot, but there was no one to aim at. The bed had moved of its
own accord. I whirled around. No targets. Zheng growled, a menacing rumble from
deep in her chest. She cocked her head like a terrier. I heard it too: a
clinking sound.

The shuriken in the drawers floated up into the air. Suspended by some invisible
force, they twirled in neat rows, their sharpened edges flinging light around
the room.

"Jesus on the cross," Zheng said.

I bolted for the bathroom. "Move," I said. "Get the door." I
couldn't seem to form complete sentences. My instincts were screaming in
crimson meter-high all-caps. My legs felt like concrete.

The circular saw blades wobbled up off the carpet and formed a line, rotating
cautiously. They hovered. Zheng turned to follow me into the bathroom.

As if fired from a gun, the shuriken sliced through the air towards us. Behind
them, the saw blades spun forward.

A hungry blade caught me in the side, chewing through my ribs and shredding one
of my lungs. I coughed out a scream and fell short of the bathroom door. Pain
sizzled in my nerve endings as a cluster of shuriken bit into my upper back,
embedding themselves in the muscle tissue. Another saw blade shrieked towards
me. I rolled over. It thunked into the carpet, then trembled as it tried to
wrench itself out of the floor.

Zheng lunged for the bed frame. "Get it off the door," she snarled.
Shuriken swarmed her like a school of piranha, slicing into her wrists and
thighs, then darting away. She hauled at the frame, but it wouldn't budge, held
in place by the same force that had turned this hotel room into a

A saw blade whistled towards Zheng's neck. She jerked her head to the side. It
bounced off the metal frame, then zipped towards me. I scrambled off the
blood-soaked carpet and hurled myself into the bathroom. Kicking the door shut,
I slid back across the tiles. Saw blades thunked into the door.

"Break the window," I yelled through the door. "Jump for it." Zheng
could survive a six-story fall, no problem.

"Can't get through," she yelled back. "Any windows in there?"


I grabbed the sink, elbowed myself up, and glimpsed a blood-soaked ghoul in the
mirror, a throwing star sticking out of his shoulder. With a grunt, I reached
back and started to yank it out, then thought better of it. At least it was
stuck in the bone. If I pulled it loose, it might go for my eyes.

The toilet lid rattled.

"Oh, for fuck's sake," I said, backing away. The lid bounced up. A dozen
serrated kitchen knives scraped their tips past the ceramic lid, shiny shark
teeth poking forward as I reached for the doorknob.

Diving back into the room, I pulled the door shut behind me. The knives punched
halfway through the door. I backed up.

Zheng stood in the middle of the room, clothes slashed to ribbons, muscles bulging as
she swung the dresser around. Shuriken and saw blades, stuck in the dresser,
shook violently as they tried to wrench themselves loose.

Flakes of plaster tumbled down from a ragged hole in the drywall; it looked like Zheng
had tried to claw her way through to the next room.

I aimed my gun at the window, then saw the saw blades, dozens of them, pressed
against the glass, a foot apart from each other, spinning silently. Any attempt
to pass through them would hack me into strips.

"I got heartbeats," Zheng growled. It was hard to understand her with those
monstrous fangs in her mouth.

Behind her, a swarm of shuriken wheeled and dove. "Behind you."

She dropped the dresser and swatted at the throwing stars irritably, some of them
smacking into her arm, clacking into the bone. Blood spurted. She yelped. A
metal lamp whipped itself off a nightstand and clocked me in the temple. I fell
to my knees, black spots dancing across my field of vision. Zheng hauled me to
my feet.

"Two pulses, both slow. All this yelling, they should be worried. But they're not.
Whoever they are, they're asleep."

I blinked, trying hard to put this all together. A saw blade flew at me. I picked
up the wooden coffee table and used it as a shield; the blade buzzed through
the table and tore off part of my right bicep. I grabbed the spurting wound,
clamped down on it. How much blood had I lost? Three or four pints? Out of
what, ten? How long before I passed out and got decapitated?

A half-dozen saw blades peeled off the window and darted towards us. Zheng picked
up the dresser and chucked it at them.

"Apologies in advance," Zheng growled. "No time to claw through the wall. I need
a battering ram."

"Wait," I croaked.

Ignoring my protests, she hoisted me up.

"You got all those metal parts," she said, a shuriken clipping one of her ears
off. "Figure I'm strong enough, you should go through drywall pretty

"Oh, shit," I said.

About the Author:

Rafael Chandler writes novels (Mask Beneath Her Face, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, Lusus Naturae). He's a metalhead, kaijuphile, and gorehound.


Interview with Rafael Chandler

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

Typically, I start with a single image, and extrapolate from there. For The Astounding Antagonists, I had this mental picture of a group of comic-book supervillains who rob banks as a political statement against billionaire superheroes. They're not in it for the money. They're trying to stick it to the Man!

For Dracula: The Modern Prometheus, I envisioned a female vampire who despaired of ever creating a vampire like herself -- all of the people she bit turned into mindless predators -- so she created a companion from dead bodies. I saw Countess Dracula stitching her creation up, connecting the electrodes, mixing chemicals in her lab.

For Hexcommunicated, I saw a vampire with a badge and a gun -- a federal agent who kicked down doors and got into high-speed chases while pursuing zombies, werewolves, and other creatures of the night. But the investigation went south, and I pictured him facing all kinds of new national security threats, weird stuff the vampire had never encountered before. For instance, Handroids, these severed human hands with wires and circuits, scrambling out of a box to swarm over him while he cursed and tried to pull them off.

How did you do research for your book?

While writing Hexcommunicated, I read a lot of books and articles about military plans involving the supernatural. I discovered that truth really is stranger than fiction.

For example, the OSS had a plan involving glowing foxes.

See, during WW2, there was a proposal to use foxes to demoralize and frighten Japanese soldiers. In Shinto religion, foxes are seen as sneaky or evil.

The OSS decided to cover foxes with glow-in-the-dark paint and release them in war zones. They tested their plan in New York, by releasing a few dozen glowing foxes in Central Park. Predictably, people freaked out.

The test was judged a success, so the plan was given the green light, but while they were trying to catch all the foxes, the war ended.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I work in video game development, and I design tabletop role-playing game sourcebooks.

I've been working in the video game business since 2000. For most of that time, I've worked as a scriptwriter and story designer for companies like Sony, Ubisoft, Gameloft, and Kabam. My job requires me to create plots, develop characters, and write dialogue. I've also done some copywriting (back-of-the-box text, social media content, that sort of thing) and I've worked with voice actors a bit (casting them, directing them). I've worked on several of the Tom Clancy games (for instance, I wrote Rainbow Six: Lockdown), and I've worked as a writer on three games in the SOCOM series. It's a fun job!

When I'm not writing novels or video games, I create sourcebooks for tabletop role-playing games. Most of my creations are compatible with old-school versions of Dungeons & Dragons.

One of my favorite projects was the Teratic Tome, a tribute to the Monster Manuals of my childhook. Teratic Tome features about a hundred new monsters, including the Curhadac, a hideous demon that abducts several victims, kills them one by one, and makes art from their corpses (for example, a paintbrush made of bone and hair, a canvas made of skin, and pigments from bodily fluids). One victim is left alive and unharmed; the Curhadac gives the victim the artwork as a gift, and then leaves.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I'd head back about 100 million years and check out the Cretaceous. I'd love to see a Spinosaur.

What is your next project?

I'm currently working on a massive new RPG sourcebook (seriously, it'll be two or three times the length of any novel I've written), and I'm also writing a novel about a superheroine trying to defend her city against a terrifying crime wave.

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