Meter Destiny, the third SF Mystery in the Jack Meter Case Files series will hopefully come out before Christmas. To celebrate its release, Zumaya Otherworlds has decided to change the style of all three covers. Here, as an installment, is the cover of Meter Destiny:
As I began to walk to the mouth of the alley, the setting began to change. Gradually, colors leached out until I stood in a black and white world, as if Iâ€™d entered a 1940â€™s movie. The alley was gone and in front of me stood a three-meter-high wrought iron gate that pierced an even higher stone wall. Above the gate, something had been carved on the arch, but it was eroded and illegible. Beyond the gate, I spied a small courtyard that separated another stone wall from the wall I stood next to.
Dried leaves tumbled across the flagstones and whispered as they moved. To the right, brick walls flanked a set of stone stairs leading up. I pushed at the gate; it opened with a groan of hinges in need of industrial-strength oil.
As soon as I stepped into the courtyard, the gate snapped closed behind me. Of course. I didnâ€™t even bother testing if I could open it again. One predictable goddess was enough. This place was either Charlieâ€™s dream or it was another roadblock. If this place was just another snag, Iâ€™d use the telecarb.
I climbed the two dozen stairs and stopped at the top. The stairway merged into a path that led into an overgrown garden. Tall, leafless trees soared through a denser kind of trees that looked like pine or cedar, but their trunks were thick and sinuous and branches flattened out at the top like tables. Other trees had fallen everywhere. Dense ivy covered their bark. Further down was another short set of stairs going up to another level.
I followed the path, Fred on my heels. It felt weird to walk in a world that existed only in shades of grey. Even then, I could tell it was fall in this garden from the denuded trees and the pale, dried-out look of the grass. Here and there, copses of younger trees hugged the track then gave way further in to more fallen ivy-covered trunks, to stone structures that looked like mausoleums, or to dried-out patches of knee-high grass. In one of the thickets, a woman stood, one arm hugging a tree, her head leaning on the bark. I stopped, hailed her. She didnâ€™t move.
I entered the woods, skirted brambles and slippery trunks. Several meters away, I was about to call out again when I saw why she hadnâ€™t answered: she was made of stone. I nearly turned back, but something in her face, something familiar, kept me going. When I was close enough, a shiver skittered up my spine and raised the fine hairs on my arms. I knew her. She was the decorator for my new apartment, the one whoâ€™d wanted me to choose between two equally ridiculously named colors. Her face had a dreamy look, as if she were thinking about her lover or a box of good cigars. I now knew in what condition Iâ€™d find Charlie.
Destiny. Friendship. Family. Jack Meter hasnâ€™t spent a lot of time on these ideas and has avoided them completely since Annieâ€™s violent death three years before. But the claim of a strange group calling themselves the Fates from Mythology that it is still controlling life on Earth, and the Fates’ allegation that one of them was kidnapped, force him to review where these concepts fit in his life.
As Jack Meter unravels the kidnapping mystery by wading through a series of riddles and lies, and as he realizes his new clients are using him and his friends in a game of their own, he finally understand he must accept his own destiny. But will that understanding come in time his friendâ€™s lives and stop a sociopathic alien from destroying everything Jack knows and believes in?
Check back often to find out when Meter Destiny will be released, and about a great contest that could net you the first two books in the series!