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Authors: Lynn Hightower

Alien Eyes

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Alien Eyes

Lynn Hightower

PRAISE FOR THE WRITING OF LYNN HIGHTOWER

“Lynn Hightower is a major talent.” —Jonathan Kellerman,
New York Times
–bestselling author

“Hightower is a writer of tremendous quality.” —
Library Journal

PRAISE FOR THE ELAKI NOVELS

“The crimes are out of
The Silence of the Lambs
, the cops out of
Lethal Weapon
, and the grimy future out of
Blade Runner
… Vivid and convincing.” —
Lexington Herald-Leader

“One of the best new series in the genre!” —
Science Fiction Chronicle

Alien Blues

“Hightower takes the setup and delivers a grittily realistic and down-and-dirty serial killer novel.… Impressive … A very promising first novel.” —
Locus

“Brilliantly entertaining. I recommend it highly. A crackerjack novel of police detection and an evocative glimpse of a possible future.” —Nancy Pickard, bestselling author of
I.O.U.

“[The] cast of characters is interesting and diverse, the setting credible, and the pacing rapid-fire and gripping.” —
Science Fiction Chronicle

“An exciting, science-fictional police procedural with truly alien aliens … An absorbing, well-written book.” —
Aboriginal Science Fiction

“Truly special … Original characters, plot twists galore, in a book that can be enjoyed for its mystery aspects as well as its SF … A real treat.” —Arlene Garcia

“Hightower shows both humans and Elaki as individuals with foibles and problems.
Alien Blues
provides plenty of fast-paced action.… An effective police drama.” —
SF Commentary

“Hightower tells her story with the cool efficiency of a Mafia hit man.… With its lean, matter-of-fact style, cliff-hanger chapter endings and plentiful (and often comic) dialogue,
Alien Blues
moves forward at warp speed!” —
Lexington Herald-Leader

“A great story … Fast and violent … Difficult to put down!” —
Kliatt

“An intriguing world!” —Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Alien Eyes


Alien Eyes
is a page-turner.… Fun, fast-moving … A police procedural in a day-after-tomorrow world.” —
Lexington Herald-Leader

“Hightower takes elements of cyberpunk and novels about a benevolent alien invasion and combines them with a gritty realism of a police procedural to make stories that are completely her own.… A believable future with a believable alien culture … Interesting settings, intriguing ideas, fascinating characters [and] a high level of suspense!” —
Turret

“Complex … Snappy … Original.” —
Asimov's Science Fiction

“The sequel to the excellent
Alien Blues
[is] a very fine SF novel.… I'm looking forward to the next installment!” —
Science Fiction Chronicle

PRAISE FOR THE SONORA BLAIR MYSTERIES

Flashpoint

“Diabolically intriguing from start to finish.” —
Publishers Weekly

“Miraculously fresh and harrowing.” —
Kirkus Reviews

“Rings with gritty authenticity. You won't be able to put it down and you won't want to sleep again. Riveting.” —Lisa Scottoline,
New York Times
–bestselling author

Eyeshot

“Hightower has invented a heroine who is both flawed and likeable, and she knows how to keep the psychological pressure turned up high.” —
The
Sunday Telegraph

“What gives [
Eyeshot
] depth and resonance is the way Hightower counterpoints the murder plot with the details of Sonora's daily life in homicide.” —
Publishers Weekly

No Good Deed

“Powerful, crisply paced.”
—
Publishers Weekly

“Refreshingly different … A cracking tale told at a stunning pace.” —Frances Fyfield

The Debt Collector

“Hightower builds the suspense to an almost unbearable pitch.” —
Publishers Weekly

“Well-written and satisfyingly plotted. Best of all is Sonora herself—a feisty babe who packs a red lipstick along with her gun.” —
The Times
(London)

This one is for Scott

The light that lies

In women's eyes,

Has been my heart's undoing.

—Thomas Moore,
The Time I've Lost in Wooing

Each man kills the thing he loves.

—Oscar Wilde,
The Ballad of Reading Gaol

ONE

It was going to be a heartbreaker. In a nice neighborhood, where things like this didn't happen.

David moved across the ivy ground cover, plants tearing underfoot. The SWAT team was supposed to be on call only, but they'd already taken positions around the house. An ambulance stood by, red lights pulsing. People and Elaki pressed against the barriers. If the Mother-One inside hadn't freaked already, she was going to.

“Yo, David.”

A shrill whistle caught his attention, and he narrowed his eyes, searching through the noise and bright lights for his partner, Mel Burnett.

Mel stood under the eaves of the small front porch. The late-afternoon sun sent rainbows of color through the scalelike shingles on the side of the house. The Elaki shockee was tall and narrow.

Mel handed David a vest. “Captain said wear it.”

“She armed?”

Mel blew air through his nose. “Six millimeter Glock with ablative sheath bullets.”

“So much for that.” David tossed the vest behind a bush. “What's she saying? Got any background?”

“Captain sent String in before you got here. Figured Elaki to Elaki, right? Ever see an Elaki Mother-One have a shit fit? She thinks we're all Izicho secret police.”

“Izicho not a secret. Elaki enforcement, all aboveboard.”

David turned, saw String, raised a hand.

“All aboveboard unless they decide to cho you off in the night,” Mel said.

“You all right?” David asked.

String rippled, shedding scales. He was tall, as were most Elaki, roughly seven and a half feet. His inner pink coloring had a yellow tint, and there was a certain rigidity in his normally fluid stance. He teetered back and forth on his bottom fringe.

“I want only to help,” String said. “Is most distressing. She must know Izicho not hurt the Mother-One.”

“Not what she said.” Mel scratched his left armpit.

“Kids inside?” David felt sweat in the small of his back. It was hot out.

“Pouchlings, yes,” String said. “Four of them.”

“Four?”

“Big litter,” Mel said.

String's eye stalks swiveled toward Mel. “Large birthing.”

A helicopter passed overhead, blades thudding.

“Aw shit,” Mel said. “Press is here. It's official; we're a circus.”

“Media blackout,” David said.

“You'll get reamed for it.”


Blackout
.” David looked over Mel's shoulder. “Della? Good. See the techs. Media blackout.”

Della was compactly built, her hair done in cornrows. She put a hand on her hip. “David, don't we got trouble enough?”

He ignored her. “Mikes in place? Cameras?”

She nodded and handed him a headset. “Captain's got a command post a mile up the road. Want to ask him about the … okay, no you don't. He'll be feeding me info whenever he gets it, and I'll be watching all the monitors and feeding it to you. Soon as I'm in the truck you go.”

“Do it,” David said. He handed his gun to Mel. “I want you right behind me. I don't want to scare her, so I'm going in raw. If we have to kill her to save the kids, I want you to do the snipe.”

Mel frowned, chewed his lip. Nodded.

“Trust me to call it?” David said.

“Be right behind you.”

David put the set in his ears, and Della's voice came through immediately.

“… ready for takeoff. David?”

“Yeah, Della, I'm here.”

“Okay, good, you're coming through. Wait a sec.” Her voice was muffled. “Okay. I got you on the screen.”

David looked at String. “Any advice?”

String's belly slits flared. The Elaki was an unattractive specimen, his scales patchy, his left eye prong drooping.

“She is badly alone,” String said. “Neighbors say no visits from chemaki. This is Elaki—”

“Family?”

String teetered on his fringe. “Something like. Sex group—”

“Dance partners,” Mel said.

“Not sex the human relationship. Elaki responsibility and friendship and procreation connections.”

“Where'd she get the gun?” Mel asked.

“Not known, and very odd,” String said. “
Please
to see to the pouchlings.”

“What's her name?” David asked. A fly buzzed his ear and he batted it away.

“Packer.”

“Her
Elaki
name.”

“Dahmi.”

David nodded. “Going in.”

The front door was ajar. David pushed it open. His hand shook, just a little. The door hinge groaned softly.

It was dark inside, the temperature over ninety. Sweat coated David's cheeks and slid down his back. The ceiling was high, the hallway so narrow David could touch both walls without stretching.

“Dahmi?”

The heels of his shoes were loud on the ochre-colored clay tiles that Elaki favored. Mel was silent behind him.

“She's close,” Della said. “Kitchen on the right, some kind of little room on the left. The hall turns a little to the left, yeah, the left, and opens into the living room. She's in there.”

BOOK: Alien Eyes
4.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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