Have you ever received one of those Money Carlo games in the mail? It's a Match-and-Win scam that desperate car dealerships use to lure people into the showroom in order to sell them a new vehicle. You get the ticket, see that you won some cash, and call the dealership to get your winnings. They tell you to come on in and they'll verify the ticket, and that's when they grab you by the neck and sink their teeth in.

Early in the summer of 2016, I received a Money Carlo ticket in the mail. I was a big winner, too! Money was scarce, the wife and I were tightening our belts, and just for a brief moment, I saw a small flicker of light at the promise of easy money. And then I realized how stupid that was, that there's no such thing as easy money, and that this was a scam. This mental process took all of one second, maybe two, but by then the gears were already turning. My mind was already going What If? 

What if a down on their luck guy got this ticket right when they needed it? What if the promise of easy money was too good to ignore? And even believing -- knowing -- it was a scam, they went to the car dealership anyway? What was the worst that could happen? 

The ideas began churning, and that June I set about writing the first draft of a subterranean horror novella that would eventually become Broken Shells. You could even say it was inspired by a true story! 

Here's the official synopsis:

Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.
Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.
When Antoine steps foot on Dangle's car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle's secrets do not kill him first.

I certainly don't want to spoil anymore of this book here, so that's enough yammering from me. Let's check out the cover design Kealan Patrick Burke created!

broken shells.jpg

Kealan's awesome isn't he? I highly encourage you to check out his work. The dude's an artist on two fronts - in addition to being a Bram Stoker Award winning horror author, he's also a hell of a cover designer as evidenced above. Check out his author website and his designer page for Elderlemon Design. Kealan also did the cover design for my recently released horror novel, Mass Hysteria, which was recently selected by Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews as one of the best horror novels of 2017!

Broken Shells comes out February 6 in paperback and eBook. Purchase links for the eBook will be along shortly, but the paperback can be pre-ordered right now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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