“Please, Karen. Lamiel will die tonight if you don’t help her.”
Kendrick is a city alive in more ways than one. Its borders contain a hidden world composed of secret societies, the supernatural, the lost, and the unexplained. It is the world that Karen, a 911 operator, is thrust into.
It begins with a phone call. A stranger begs Karen to save a young woman’s life, opening Karen’s eyes to the world beneath the surface of the city she thought she knew. People are dying. Artifacts are being stolen. The streets are filled with rumors of a city-destroying ritual.
Karen is determined to figure out what is really going on and protect her city, whatever the cost…
Caller Unknown: Book One of the Karen Wilson Chronicles, is the first of four collections following the trials of Karen Wilson as she delves into the secret side of Kendrick. With enemies on all sides, unknown allies, and a baby gargoyle, what she finds will change her life forever.
PRAISE FOR CALLER UNKNOWN
"This collection isn't really a collection. It's a novel told through a series of short stories; very much like a mosaic work. In general, it's a very effective way to tell Karen's story. Each chapter is punchy, fast-paced and action packed. Sometimes, though, I wanted to know more about what was happening - the stories that occurred between each chapter. Fortunately, the collection had a bonus story at the end, which helped sastify some of the questions I had developed."
- Amanda Pillar, editor of Bloodstones
"While there's a lot of worldbuilding and some really interesting twists on classic genre themes, it feels like there's even more going on. It feels like there's a world beyond the page."
- Steven Saus, author, editor, publisher
"Brozek gives us the world the way it should be - full of hidden pockets of magic, ancient evils, and supernatural creatures - along with a heroine fully capable of dealing with all of the above."
- Cat Rambo, author of Near + Far and A Seed Upon the Wind
01 Caller ID: Unknown
... “It’s important. Yeah, you said that.” The guy behind the counter gave her a hard look, as if to assess her potential threat level, then nodded to his companion, a man in leather pants and a poet’s shirt. “All right. We’ll see if she’s around.”
“Thank you.” A moment after the guy left, she smiled. “I’m Karen, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, Karen By-the-Way. I’m Aaron.”
They both smiled at his little joke, then the two of them stood in silence while she looked around at the artwork on the walls. It was very interesting stuff, and reminded her of the kind of artwork she normally drew: misty landscapes, castles in ruins and graveyards. She had expected something a bit more modern at a place like this.
Then, she noticed a series of symbols painted around the doorway on the doorframe and wall. Not recognizing them, she turned to ask Aaron about them when the second guy returned. “She’s not here.”
“Huh? I thought she was working tonight.”
“She was. She got a call about twenty minutes ago. Kurosawa said she had a sudden meeting with someone.”
“Did she say where?” Karen interrupted.
“The 16th Street Bridge.”
“Shit.” Her stomach lurched. What if the caller had been right, and Lamiel was about to be murdered? She could have stopped it.
“Is something wrong?” Aaron asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe. I gotta go.” Karen shot out the door and ran for her car, then sped toward the 16th Street Bridge. It was on the far north end of town, near the Camden area. Her intimate knowledge of the streets of Kendrick came in handy, and luck was on her side. Every light was green, and there were no cops in sight.
By the time she stopped on 35th Avenue, below the 16th Street Bridge, she saw two people walking towards each other on the bridge from opposite ends. She recognized one as Lamiel. The woman was unmistakable, with long, flowing, black clothing and hair. There was no way for her to get to Lamiel before she met the person—a man, Karen thought—under the lamppost.
Karen got out of her car as they met and began to speak. Not knowing what else to do, she shouted, “Lamiel!” Both figures turned towards her. “It’s a trap! Run!” Karen was still running towards the bridge as the unspeakable unfolded before her.
Lamiel looked from Karen back at the man, threw something at him, then turned to run. The man lunged at Lamiel, grabbing her around the waist. There was a brief struggle as the man stabbed her in the neck with something, then picked her up and threw her from the bridge.
Karen gasped as she saw and heard Lamiel land on the pavement with a sickening thud. She ran to the fallen woman’s side, looking up at the bridge. The man stood there for a moment, pointed at her, then left.
Feeling for Lamiel’s pulse, she found it slow and irregular. She was still alive. Karen grabbed her phone to call 911, but heard Reginald’s voice on the other end. “You’ve got to pull the needle out of her neck. That’s what’s killing her. Do it. Do it quickly.”
Her hand felt for the needle, found it, and pulled it out. “I don’t have time to talk to you. I have to call 911.”
“This is the 911 operator,” a female voice said. “What is the nature of your emergency?”
Karen was startled, but for only a moment. “A woman was just thrown from the 16th Street Bridge. I saw it. We’re on 35th Avenue with 12th Street as the nearest crossroad. I need an ambulance.”
“Who am I speaking to?”
There was a pause as the operator recognized the name. “What is the condition of the woman? Is she bleeding?” ...