What do you think?
Rate this book
389 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published May 30, 2017
People were staring at me . . . A couple of them gripped their weapons in alarm. I had horrified the professional soldiers. I looked at my mother. Sadness softened her face, her mouth slack.
It hit me. I was the monster on the street. Without me, they would’ve questioned and even tortured this veteran mercenary. They would’ve done it with the understanding that he would resist and he wouldn’t have faulted them for it, because in their place he would’ve done the same. There was a twisted kind of professional courtesy about it all. But me, I didn’t torture. I broke his will without even breathing hard. Each one of them could see themselves in the mercenary’s place. I could make them tell me all their secrets and that was more frightening than Rogan stopping a massive tanker truck at full speed.
I’d never felt so alone in my whole life.
Rogan stepped between me and them, his eyes full of something. Whatever it was—pride? Admiration? Love?—I held on to it like it was a lifeline. He understood. At some point in his life he had stood just like that, while people stared at him in horror, and he must’ve felt alone, because now he was here, and he was shielding me from their judgment.
“What is it, Hanh?” Rogan asked.
“She marked all of the ATVs with her initials!” Hanh declared.
“Because they’re mine,” Grandma Frida growled.
“She doesn’t get all the ATVs.”
Rogan’s face took on a very patient look.
“Yes, I do. I tagged them, they’re mine.”
“I’m a veteran badass. I’ve seen bad shit. I’ve done bad shit. I’ve survived five months in a jungle eating pinecones and killing terrorists with a pair of old chopsticks. I’m one bad motherfucker.”
Behind me Rogan laughed.
“I’ve got two days to retirement. After I kill everyone here, I’ll go to my retirement party. They’ll serve shrimp on crackers and give me a gold watch, and then, I’m going to have my midlife crisis and buy a Porsche and . . . Oh shit, my head just exploded.”
Enter my lair, said the dragon. I have shiny treasure for you to play with, I’ll keep you warm and safe, and if it suits my purpose, I’ll chain you to the floor and kill your client by throwing quarters at him with my magic.
This wasn’t the world of normal people. Yet somehow I kept getting stuck in it.
“For the record, I don’t consent to being killed,” I said.