The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Helen Hanson's New Book: Ocean of Fear.
PROMO SALES PRICE 99 CENTS through 8/5/2013.
Ocean of Fear
Author: Helen Hanson
Meet Baxter Cruise. Gifted robotics student. Spammer for hire. His cozy world of lattes and free wi-fi explodes when a hippie professor disappears, and Baxter discovers a lady professor’s warm corpse on campus.
With his secretive lifestyle, he hasn’t cultivated any real friends. When a student asks for help with a class assignment, Baxter figures it’ll throttle his funk. But the guy blackmails Baxter into programming narcotics delivery vehicles for a notorious cartel. Working for drug lords rattles the needle on Baxter’s errant moral compass, but it’s better than a bullet in the head.
Beautiful FBI agent Claudia Seagal tracks the professor’s brutal assassin, but every angle of her investigation leads to Baxter. He’s hiding something and in far too deep to cooperate with the law.
Baxter ignores the cartel’s depravity until he watches an innocent woman die. When he wakes up on a plane, it’s too late for remorse. In bed with dangerous allies, the cartel requires Baxter’s talent until the robots are complete. Then, he and thousands of others face certain death unless Baxter can find a way to escape.
By six-thirty a.m., Baxter Cruise lounged at the corner table of Whitney’s coffee bar, wiping away a frothy milk moustache with his sleeve. He swirled the dregs of a Cappuccino in the ceramic mug while a gangly freshman tried to make time with the surfer-girl barista. She was clearly uninterested. The young man’s frustration passed for entertainment while Baxter waited for Professor Sydney Mantis. Syd usually sent their client’s pitch-list via email, but today, he’d sent a text from a new phone demanding face-time.
Instead of wasting a precious morning, Baxter should’ve blasted another 225,000 emails or let his ratware scrape more addresses from the geezer forums. Either action would have netted him enough cash to cover the cost of the java and maybe some additional credits at UC Santa Cruz. Unlike the rest of the losers, he didn’t plan to get stuck with any student loans to repay.
His fingertips hit the tabletop in rhythmic succession. He should have brought his laptop. Where the hell was Sydney? Didn’t he know? Time was money, man. Time was money.
A smiling coed in a UC-logo sweatshirt opened the front door for an elderly couple shuffling at the pace of the old woman’s walker. When Sydney Mantis jockeyed around all three of them to enter first, the young woman’s mouth dropped to a scowl.
Sydney hadn’t even thanked her for holding the door. His usual easy charm seemed under pressure. Wearing a Baja hoodie and aviator sunglasses, he looked like the Unabomber.
“Bax, thank God you’re still here.” Syd withdrew a shaking hand from the pouch pocket and tossed a flash drive onto Baxter’s lap. “I need you to take this to Dr. Bisch. She’ll be in the office by the time you get there. But don’t leave it on her desk.” His gaze ricocheted around the room, his voice lowering to a near whisper. “Make sure you hand it to her personally. I need to leave town for a few days.”
Baxter retrieved the flash drive from the folds around his crotch. “What about our new client?”
But Sydney’s attention fixed outside.
A man in harmony with the ‘60s, he dialed to mellow even if it required herbal assistance. Baxter figured he was one toke over his usual line.
“I can’t stay here.” For the first time since arriving, Sydney pulled off his sunglasses to make eye contact. “Will you take care of Gertrude for me?” A thick vein throbbed at his neck, muscles twitched across his face, and his pupils dilated to ripe-olive proportions.
Sydney didn’t look stoned. Simply terrified.
“Trudy?” Baxter always liked Sydney’s Border collie. Sure, I’ll watch her for you.” Baxter didn’t know what else to say.
“Thanks, man.” Sydney wiped an eye. “I’ve got to go.” He put on his sunglasses and returned to the dull gray of the morning fog.
Baxter stared at the front door as if it might open to a parallel universe. The good professor taught computer engineering, not theater arts. And while he tilted dramatic, this performance was worthy of a nomination. Ever since Baxter joined his gig nearly five years ago, Sydney’s feet routinely got frostbite, especially lately. But he always found something to return him to calm—usually a bong, a warm hippie chick, or both.
But something had Syd rattled. Perhaps the pitches for the new email campaign contained sensitive stuff. Sure, they were spammers, but they didn’t run just any email pitch. Baxter maintained strict standards: Viagra. Yes. Online Casinos. Yes. Girls from Russia. No. His girlfriend, Natalie, wouldn’t let him keep one anyway. Their butler robot offered enough contention. Baxter squeezed the flash drive in his fist.
Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense, Technology
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Bestselling Kindle author Helen Hanson writes thrillers about desperate people with a high-tech bent. Hackers. The CIA. Industry titans. Spammers. Guys on sailboats. Mobsters. Their personal maelstroms pit them against unrelenting forces willing to kill. Throughout the journey, they try to find some truth, a little humor, and their humanity -- from either end of the trigger.
While Helen writes about the power-hungry, she genuinely mistrusts anyone who wants to rule the world.
Helen directed operations for high-tech manufacturers of semiconductors, video games, software, and computers. Her reluctant education behind the Redwood Curtain culminated in a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrated studies in Computer Science. She also learned to play a mean game of hacky sack.
She is a licensed private pilot with a ticket for single-engine aircraft. Helen and her husband spent their first anniversary with their flight instructor studying for the FAA practical. If you were a passenger on a 737 trying to land at SJC, she sends her most sincere apologies. Really.
Born in fly-over country, Helen has lived on both coasts, near both borders, and at several locations in between. She lettered in tennis, worked as a machinist, and saw the Clash at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium sometime in the eighties. She currently lives amid the bricks of Texas with her husband, son, a dog that composes music with squeaky toys, and another dog that's too lazy to bother.
Author's Book List
Maggie Fender’s law degree remains a daydream as she supports her ex-felon half-brother and their incoherent father. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dad’s rarely lucid, but when he’s accused of murder, only the gorgeous Russian neighbor flickers Maggie’s hope. In the news, disgraced hedge fund manager Patty O’Mara awaits trial for bilking investors out of forty billion dollars. The legendary dark pool wizard offered phenomenal profits. But the SEC discovered O’Mara never made a single legitimate investment. His fund was a total scam. Maggie’s Dad barely functions, but her hacker brother swears Dad is sending them vital messages about O’Mara’s pot of gold. A private investigator hunts for the money and aims to find it before a notorious Russian mobster. When their efforts focus on Maggie’s father, her remaining hope turns to rampant fear. She’s the only adult left in her family, and her weary camel won’t carry a single extra straw. Her teenage brother’s hacking skills landed his ass in prison, but he swears he was framed. No fans of the Fender family, the local police assume Dad ran away when he goes missing. Maggie will never find her father without help. She’s got to trust someone. But who can Maggie trust when everyone’s betrayed her?
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At CIA headquarters, a young officer discovers that terrorists may have commandeered their computer systems to launch an unauthorized mission. Elsewhere, conspirators abduct nine people to manipulate the rules of their game. Two disparate ambitions — Clint Masters becomes the reluctant link in the chain of danger.
Ever since Clint’s almost ex-wife dumped him, he bobs along the Massachusetts coast in a sailboat with his black lab for company. He avoids all forms of technology, a counterintuitive effort for the burned-out founder of CatSat Laboratories. Tired of clutching the brass ring, he needed to untether, step off the corporate treadmill, and smell a flower. Fortunately, he met one, a beautiful, unspoiled woman who doesn’t treat him like a commodity. His relationship with Beth offers more promise than his marriage ever did, even if she is on dialysis for her recovering kidneys, until she disappears.
In spite of the evidence, Beth's family refuses to admit she’s in danger. Without routine dialysis, she won’t survive. As Clint realizes that he loves Beth, damn-near ex-wife Paige sashays back into his life with disturbing news.
While the CIA young gun tracks his quarry, Clint enlists the help of two men to find Beth, a blithe Brit named Merlin, and Todd, his playboy partner-in-tech. But Clint must find Beth before her kidneys fail. And before someone unloads a bullet in his head.
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Best-Selling Author Claude Bouchard writes Mystery & Thrillers novels in the Vigilante Series. Also he is a prolific twitter host. See Claude's Author's Spotlight post.