Best Left in the Shadows
by Mark Gelineau, Joe King
Release Date: November 15, 2015
Cover (use links below to download)
A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.
Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.
Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.
The body of a Highside girl is found dead in Lowside, beaten and murdered. Daxton Ellis, Magistrate Inspector, and friend to the girl’s noble family, comes to find answers.
He knows the doors of the underworld open only to its own kind. His only hope lies with an old lover, Alys, a daughter of the underworld gangs, and the one person he swore he would never see again.
She agrees to help him, but for a price.
First they must gain the approval of Blacktide Harry, the boss of Prion and the king of rats. Then, deeper they go, traveling into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.
Like everything in Lowside, nothing is as it first appears, and everything has a price.
Buy link: amzn.com/B0172CKL0C
Mailing List: www.gelineauandking.com/mailinglist
Amazon Author Pages:
Mark Gelineau: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE
Joe King: http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50
Author Bios (Short)
Mark and Joe are authors of the fantasy novella series Echoes of the Ascended. Tales of honor, duty, love, loss, and betrayal.
Epic stories. Only shorter.
“I can’t do it. You know I can’t.” But even as he spoke, Alys saw his eyes move back to the body before them.
The way his attention kept returning to the corpse, the way his breath came a little faster as she was about to move away. This was a serious case. A Highside victim, old family nobility, found in Prionside. Dax was out of his element here and he knew it.
“What do you want to know?” he said at last.
Alys moved in closer and whispered in his ear. “The appointment for Justicar of the Second District is coming. I want to know who’s going to get the nod for that post and what leverage the appointers have on them.”
Dax spun away. “You’re out of your damned mind.”
“Oh, unclench. You know I will be discreet, Dax. I always am.”
“It hasn’t been fully decided yet,” Dax said through tight lips.
Alys waggled a finger in front of him. “Stop trying to avoid it. This is no small endeavor you are asking me to join you on. And knowing who’s getting tapped should just about cover it. The Second District Justicar is the law in Lowside.” She paused and smiled at him. “Well, the king’s law, anyway.”
He did not smile back. If anything, his frown seemed to intensify. “It’s not you that I don’t trust, Alys. It’s who you’ll sell the information to.”
“Believe me, Dax. They know the rules too,” she said. “This is their world. One that they carved out for themselves and built with sweat and blood. They’re not going to shit on all that.”
Alys met his gaze with her own dark eyes. She saw him break first, unable to keep from looking at the corpse. Inside, she smiled.
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you, Alys?”
Alys smiled, reclining on the floor of the skiff, and shrugged. “What more could a girl ask for than a lovely moonlight canal ride?” she asked.
“Of course, now that we’ve entered the Sumpworks, we can’t see the moon. And the water smells like rotting fish and a week’s worth of shit.
But still…” She closed her eyes and waved a hand lazily in the air. “Lovely.”
“You’re the one who took us this route, remember?”
“That’s because I remember your fondness for slumming it,” Alys replied. There was a slight edge to her voice, and Dax recognized the shot for what it was.
There was a time he would have snapped back, railing against her insinuation. But not tonight. He was here to do a job, and he needed Alys for it, and the memories of the past, sweet and suffering alike, would only complicate things. And Lydia Ashdown deserved more than that.
The girl was dead and he would be damned sure to find out who had done it and why.
And yet, he could not stop looking at Alys. She seemed more beautiful, more alive than he could ever remember. She had changed her hair.
It was longer now, beads and ribbons woven into braids that writhed like serpents when she moved. But those eyes, dark and full of secrets, were still the same as they had always been, and they pulled him to her, just as they always had. Since the moment she had walked onto the docks, he wanted to reach out and hold her the way he once had.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he held his tongue and pushed them through the shit and water and focused on the present.
“Hello, Uncle Harry,” Alys said, with her brightest smile. She extended her hands to her sides and curtsied delicately.
“You were never short of sand, girl. I figured you would be drifting in, with everything else washing up on my shores tonight.” His eyes shifted past her to Dax, then his attention focused back to Alys. “Didn’t know you two were sharing company again.”
“Just business, Uncle Harry,” she said. “He’s come down to Prionside for a case. Fortunately, he was not required to bring any friends with him. For now,” she said. “A single tourist is one thing, but a crowd of them, well, that would be another thing entirely.”
The Blacktide settled back onto the wooden throne, pouring himself a drink. “Your thoughts and mine, as was often the case, do seem to move along a similar course,” he said before knocking back the drink.
“It’s a bad situation Uncle Harry,” she said. “High profile trouble on the docks, and any answers you find will be deemed a bit too convenient, would they not?”
“They would indeed. They would indeed,” the Blacktide said. “Which is why I figured you’d be coming. You always smelled opportunity like it was blood in the water.”
“I learned from the best.”
In response, the Blacktide raised his glass in salute and drank once more. “A girl left on my docks, just a few feet from the water that would have erased all trace of the body.” He settled back in his throne. “No simple murder.”
“She was a message then.”
“I assume as much. But it wasn’t meant for me.”
At that, Dax spoke up, “For whom, then?”
Blacktide Harry fixed him with an unblinking stare. “That is none of my concern. Whoever it was, I am sure they have received it loud and clear, and they will take the appropriate actions. Meanwhile, Magistrate Inspector, you and your boys have cleaned up my docks. And so life moves ever forward.”
“Not yet, it doesn’t,” Dax said. “I mean to find justice for her.”