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John Bushore

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Member Since: Sep, 2006

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Friends in Dark Places
by John Bushore   

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Science Fiction

Publisher:  Sam's Dot Publishing ISBN-10:  1933556552 Type: 


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The Genre Mall
John Bushore

When fourteen-year-old Brad Wilson's little sister, Becky, is abducted by a strange, white, ape-like creature, he's afraid to chase it into the darkness, even though he has a gun. She's never seen again and he must live with not only his guilt, but the cops think he did something to Becky and then covered it up with a bogus story.
Twenty-odd years later, he returns to his hometown for the funeral of his parents and another young girl goes missing. Brad again becomes a suspect, this time for a series of disappearances. Not to worry, he'll just prove his alibis and he'll be clear, right? Wrong.
His new ladyfriend and her eleven-year-old daughter are taken by a group of those same, strange beings. To save them, he'll have to go into the deepest darkness of all.


Brad slipped the flashlight out of his back pocket, pointed it in the direction of the noise and thumbed the switch.
A naked, man-like creature crouched in the space between two boulders, its eyes glowing red in the flashlight’s beam. Brad didn’t get a good look at the eyes, though, for it quickly threw up its arm against the light. It stood too tall to be a monkey, even though its huge ears suggested a chimpanzee. It had no facial hair, but a thin coat of long, white body-hair stuck out, sort of like those cartoons where the cat gets an electric shock. Its hair was so sparse he could see that the almost translucent hide (skin?) of the creature was white with a hint of pink. Since it was turned to the side, he couldn’t see its crotch to tell the sex. Brad thought of it as male, though, for that face had no hint of female in it. It had no tail; he would have seen that. The mouth hung open with teeth like those of a man, no fangs evident. Its flat nose was upturned, like a pig or a bat, so Brad could clearly see the wide nostrils. But what really caught his attention was the weapon in its hand.
It held a short, crude spear with a hunting knife attached to a shaft of some sort. It appeared to be fiberglass tent pole sections, tied together with the knife on one end.
Brad took all this in at a glance, for the creature leaped back into the darkness. Panicked, Brad jumped up, knocking Becky over sideways, and flashed the light around the rocks. Could there be more than one? His heart pounded and spasms of pain ripped through his chest as he breathed heavily.
Becky scrambled up to stand beside him. “What’s the matter?”
“I saw something, out there in the rocks. I don’t know what it is.”
“What did it look like?”
“I didn’t actually see it,” he lied. “Probably just a rabbit or a fox.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t a wildcat?“
“I don’t think so. But I’ll get Tony’s gun, just in case.”
He had laid the pistol on the rocks nearby, after checking to make sure it wasn’t loaded. Now, feeling the need for its protection, he wanted a bullet ready in the chamber. Tony had put some cartridges in his jacket, Brad remembered.
Sure enough, there were half-a-dozen Twenty-Two, long-rifle rounds in the jacket. He loaded one and then made sure the safety was on.
He moved their packs back near the cliff face, where nothing might sneak up from behind. He continuously swept the light around the area in front of them. Becky cuddled close to him. To his amazement, she dozed off again.
He didn't feel the cold now. Expecting to hear that ticking noise come out of the darkness again at any instant, he gripped the gun in his right hand.
Lying to Becky had been the right thing to do, he decided. What else could he have done, scare her out of her wits? He was frightened enough for both of them.       

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Reader Reviews for "Friends in Dark Places"

Reviewed by Marva Dasef 6/22/2007
I grabbed up this book for a couple of reasons. First, I'm becoming familiar with the quality of publications put out by Sam's Dot Publishing and second, I've been following John's various publishing endeavors. What the heck? I thought. I'll get this trade paperback and give it a read. I had a few books ahead of it, so handed it over to my hubby to read first. By the time I was ready for it, hubby said he'd read the first few pages and wasn't grabbed up by the story. So, I read and stayed up too late, then read some more and stayed up too late. I went back to hubby and essentially told him he was an idiot.

This darned book keeps me reading well past my bedtime. Dang it! I hate when a book does that and I also love it. You know the feeling, I'm sure.

Okay, all that aside, let's give you a bit of synopsis. Brad and his buddies go off to the desert out of the small town of Tres Viejos, New Mexico. They're on a lark. Following an old treasure map, the teens are looking for Spanish Gold or whatever. It makes no difference, 'cause they're really just out on a kid-type adventure. Brad is forced to take along his younger sister, Becky, whom he hates in traditional teen fashion.

Things go wrong, seriously wrong, and Becky is abducted by what Brad describes as a 'monster.' Well, that explanation doesn't get very far, but Becky is gone and Brad feels guilty for not following the ghost-like gremlin into dark places.

Twenty-some years goes by and Brad comes back to Tres Viejos on the unhappy errand of burying his parents who have died in a car accident. He makes friends with a young woman he knew slightly in high school. Jenny and he warm to each other and things are going along well until the same monsters of his childhood snatch Jenny's daughter. He runs off after the kidnappers across the desert, but loses them in the rocks and crags.

Returning to the truck where he'd left Jenny, he finds that she's gone, too. He calls the cops, but suddenly he's under suspicion of being the abductor. It seems that a number of young girls have disappeared and the local good-ol-boy Sheriff is convinced that Brad has been the perpetrator of his own sister's disappearance along with a string of other girls.

Brad is desperate to follow Jenny, but the deputy who arrives at the truck in answer to Jenny's 911 call tries to arrest him. Brad knocks the deputy flat and runs off to the desert. He'd snatched up Jenny's cell and calls his friend, Andrew, to come help him. He also enlists Wayne, Jenny's brother and a spelunker, to help out.

Well, enough of the plot because you need to read the book for yourself. John has built a mystery for the reader. Who are these strange troll-like creatures who seem to be grabbing girls for whatever purposes? How can Brad rescue Jenny and her daughter? Just where the heck have they been taken?

Throughout the narrative, the reader is taken into the world of ancient humans, caught in the dank underworld of caves. Turned into almost-alien creatures, the cave dwellers are both sympathetic and disgusting. Dang it! Those poor folk have been trapped underground for thousands of years. Kill them! Those nasty creatures eat human flesh. Yechh!

That's probably way too much to tell a potential reader. Trust me on this. John Bushore's book will make you feel Brad's desperation at being falsely accused, claustrophobic fear of dark places and underground dwellers. You'll have shudder moments and root for Brad to save Jenny from the monsters, while sympathizing with these poor, underworld creatures.

So, buy the book. Read it. Enjoy. So there.

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