One Death At A Time
Thomas M. Hewlett
November 22, 2013
“People think Alcoholics Anonymous is for drunks. It’s not. It’s for us, the real drinkers. The blood drinkers. All the rest of those meetings are just for show.”
Los Angeles, 1948. Detective Jack Strayhorn is killed while chasing down a suspect in the Black Dahlia murders all by himself.
Los Angeles, 2010. Jack Strayhorn is back in L.A. as a private investigator with a simple mission: catch the bad guys and try not to kill any innocent people along the way.
In the thrilling first entry of the thirteen book long Twelve Stakes series (one book for each of the 12 Steps, plus a final book in which the war for humanity will be won or lost), we meet Jack Strayhorn, a Vampire with a crooked past.
To Jack and his kind, human blood is the strongest drug in the world. Fortunately for him, he found the secret group within AA dedicated to helping Vampires survive the madness and destruction of their disease.
When a city councilmember with ties to a drug-dealing Fae clan is found dead in his home and the woman lying next to him is Jack’s current missing person’s case, tracking down the ghostlike hitman will test him like nothing before.
But this time, Jack won’t be alone. With the help of his unique powers of investigation, his magically talented friends, and a Medical Examiner with a few secrets of her own, Jack will face down a gang of outlaw biker werewolves, spell-casting Fae high on pixie dust, and an underground order of Vampires intent on ruling the world.
As Jack learned long ago, the only way to get through eternity is one death a time.
Have you ever driven by a church or recreation center and seen a strange group of people hanging about, smoking cigarettes and laughing with each other? They were most likely a group of alcoholics or addicts on break from their Twelve Step meeting. You probably glanced over at them briefly, and then forgot about them just as quickly.
That’s exactly what you were meant to do.
You see, the public face of the Twelve Step movement is just a façade. And though it has helped countless number of human sufferers, its real purpose is survival. Survival of the real drinkers – the blood drinkers.
Welcome to Twelve Stakes, where dealing with a hangover involves finding a place to hide the bodies of the people whose blood you can’t remember drinking; where getting to a Twelve Step meeting on a full moon is literally a matter of life or death; where the consequences of screwing over your dealer is having an entire Faerie clan come after you; and where magic is addictive as any drug and twice as deadly.
For thousands of years, the creatures of Twelve Stakes fought, killed, and hid themselves to stay alive. All of that changed in 1935, when two desperate Vampires came together to help each other survive. They learned to control their blood drinking, and started helping others to learn as well. To the world, they were a group of men and women recovering from alcoholism. But in reality, they were a group of killers recovering from the nightmare of endless death.
After centuries of watching their young descend into insanity and self-destruction, Werewolves put their pack instinct to use and formed their own support group. It quickly became a refuge where they could survive long enough to learn control over the predators inside them.
But Vamps and Wolves were not the only ones struggling with their supernatural natures. Witches too came out of the shadows to help each other live through the twin insanities of magic and addiction. Long used to persecution, their newly formed covens became shelters in a world that will not suffer them to live.
And though the Fae kept to themselves as always, they paid close attention to the changes in the supernatural world. For while this past century has seen a profound shift in their fortunes, the world will never be safe for the creatures of Twelve Stakes. A new threat is rising that could spell the end for supernaturals and humans alike.
On the streets of Los Angeles, an ex-LAPD detective turned vampire conquers his need for blood and redeems his crooked past. A Fae exiled from his clan learns to tap his powers without the help of his magically enhanced drugs. A witch on the run from her own dangerous magic contends with the true scope of her abilities. And a loner werewolf surviving on the streets learns to live with a pack in order to survive his enemies.
The only way to avoid apocalypse is for these four lost souls to find each other, stand together and fight.
Sounds bloody and crazy in a good way. How many books are there in the series?
There are thirteen books planned in the Twelve Stakes series - one book for each of the 12 Steps, plus a final book in which the war for humanity will be won or lost.
Epic! Now we all know it's all about the characters when it comes to books like this. What is it about your characters that readers will find compelling?
All of my characters are basically lost souls who don’t know that they have a gift hidden inside themselves. Jack is a vampire and an ex-cop with dark past who wants more than anything to redeem himself. Talia is a dangerously unstable witch haunted by her magic and who thinks she’s alone until she meets her coven. Devin is lost without his clan but doesn’t know he carries the future of the Fae within him. Zero, a hybrid and a loner, is a Werewolf unlike any other.
Each of them believes they are lost, cursed, and doomed to live in the shadows. But a greater destiny will be forced upon these creatures and they will be given the chance to discover the hidden gifts and powers they hold – a chance to learn how they are more than the monsters they thing they are.
From lives of darkness and rebellion, each of them will be pulled into a struggle for a greater good. It will take every resource they have, but they will meet their tests with great magic, dark humor, and unpredictable moments of wild bravery.
It all boils down to good v evil and your character sounds heroic and haunted in some ways. Why should Supies read this book?
Like many fans of Urban Fantasy, I’m a fan of the classic genre elements of magic, mystery, blood, and unearthly powers. But I’m tired of Vampires who don’t kill anyone, haughty Fae who never get their hands dirty or a lock of hair out of place, and Werewolves more concerned with their Alphas than running the streets like the mad beasts they are. I intend to keep my series gritty, dark, and fun. My Weres ride Harleys and have tattoos. My Faes sell pixie dust to finance their rock-n-roll lifestyles. And for Solstice rituals, the Witches in my books prefer abandoned warehouses and whiskey to forest glades and candles.
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Thomas M. Hewlett is the author of the Twelve Stakes series. He grew up in Los Angeles and was raised on a steady diet of science fiction, fantasy, and all things mythic or paranormal. While he knew he wanted to be a writer at the age of twelve, after college he strayed from the path and into drugs and alcohol addiction. He spent many years working odd jobs and scribbling half-finished stories. Finally, in 2011 he hit rock bottom and ended in up in a rehab facility. It was there, at his lowest point that he rediscovered the power of writing and found the idea for his first novel, “One Death at a Time”, when a good friend suggested he write a story about “vampires in AA”. With the encouragement and support of his loving wife, he decided to combine his experiences of addiction/recovery with his love for sci-fi/fantasy in a new genre he calls “supernatural addiction-fiction”. Writing the Twelve Stakes series saved Thomas’s life and became his way of telling a new story about himself. It’s his hope that other lost souls will find through his work a community of readers and the inspiration to re-imagine their lives.Link up with Thomas!
Contest open internationally, good luck, Supies!