This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lachi will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Description of Death Tango
In a Utopian twenty-third-century New York City, where corporations have replaced governments, AI dictates culture, and citizens are free to people-watch any other citizen they choose through an app, this horror-laden Sci-Fi Thriller follows four mis-matched coeds as they attempt to solve the murder of an eccentric parascientist. Only someone or something able to navigate outside the highest levels of croud-sourced surveillance could get away with murder in this town. If the team can’t work quickly to solve the case, New York City will be devoured by a dark plague the eccentric had been working on prior to his death, a plague which, overtime, appears to be developing sentience.
Read an Excerpt of Death Tango
Rosa heard Torian Ross murmur an expletive from Johnny’s bedroom. She turned into the hall and spotted him standing in the dark room facing a backlit closet of some sort. He turned to her, immediately palming for her to halt. Rosa would never forget the look of pure terror on his face at that moment. Torian wasn’t the type to scare easily. Before she could ask him the matter, she stopped short as she saw a dim shadow hover over his face.
Someone was approaching him.
The person emerged from the closet and stood before Torian. Exact build, exact posture and exact hair color down to the highlights—a wholly perfect robotic replica of Rosa Lejeune, wearing only a threadbare tank and frayed underpants. Along with a tattered face, the android’s arms and legs exposed inner metallic joints and loose artificial sinew as if it had walked out of an unfinished autopsy. Its many bruises proved the bot had been regularly abused. This week Rosa had faced some of the most bizarre things she’d ever known, but this? This was by far the eeriest.
“Hello,” the android pertly intoned to a stunned Torian Ross. “I am Rosa Thirteen, and you are not my master.” Though slightly mechanized, the vocal timbre and pronunciations matched Rosa’s precisely. “I have your iris match programmed in my archive as Oz Corp Piece of Shit. Hello, Oz Corp Piece of Shit.”
“Holy Jesus,” Rosa whispered as the depravity of this abomination’s existence sunk in. A brisk inhuman twist of the neck brought Rosa Thirteen to feast its eyes on Rosa. With a front view of the android’s face, Rosa noticed one of the bot’s eyes was missing. Just an empty socket, like that of its master.
“You are Rosa Lejeune,” Rosa Thirteen declared. For an instant, Rosa felt a surreal break in reality as the thing, the Her, addressed her. Then came a full body flush of terror as the android’s shoulders also snapped toward Rosa. “You cause my master pain. You cause my master to mistreat my hardware.”
“I…” Rosa could hardly do more than open her mouth in petrified awe.
The bot furrowed its brow and with a deep, mechanical growl bellowed, “You must be destroyed!”
The bot charged for Rosa with a hasty limp. Torian rushed to grab its arm, but it yanked free and jabbed him full force in the chest with an iron punch that sent him flying backwards. This was no woman. Underneath the simulated skin was cold, hard metal.
Rosa sprinted back toward the living room, but even with the limp, Rosa Thirteen revved up formidable speed. As it rushed forward, the android bumped against a wall-panel, and Vivaldi’s Common Era concerto, Andante, blasted stridently through every wall in the apartment. The first song to which Rosa and Johnny had ever danced.
Rosa grabbed at an end table and raised it to thwart the coming bash. But Rosa Thirteen grabbed the table’s legs and flung it across the room to crash against a mirrored wall. Rosa staggered backwards into a coat closet. She snatched a heavy coat from the rack as Thirteen rushed her and chucked it at the bot’s face, causing the bot to halt and flail its arms, temporarily confused at the sudden darkness. Rosa grabbed the sleeves of the coat at its hilt, twisted and pulled with adrenaline-laden force. She felt gears snap at the base of the bot’s neck.
Rosa ducked around Thirteen and dove for the kitchen, accompanied by a swell in Vivaldi’s blissful strings. She seized a carving knife and cleaver from a cutlery set on the counter. The bot snatched off the coat and charged for the kitchen, its head permanently lopped to one side. Rosa swung the clever at the bot’s head to finish the job. Thirteen knocked the cleaver aside effortlessly, but Rosa did manage to sink the carving knife deep into the bot’s abdomen.
This impact caused minimal damage, so Rosa retreated back to the living room, this time headed for the exit. However, the bot reached out and gripped Rosa’s arm just under the shoulder. The android lifted Rosa into the air and slammed her onto the living room floor with such velocity Rosa could hardly process it until she lay face up on the ground, her shoulder throbbing.
Thirteen stomped hard onto Rosa’s belly. Rosa’s breath escaped her along with bits of lunch. The bot then lifted its leg to stomp down on Rosa’s face. Rosa searched for a final prayer, but her could find none amidst her whirling terror.
Author Guest Post: Favorite Character in the Book and Why
Apart from world-building, character development is something I relish. And ‘Death Tango’ is no exception!
Four headstrong misfits team up in attempts to uncover who murdered their esteemed science professor to steal his dark research. They must overcome their own inner demons and move quickly to nab the culprit, as whoever has taken Ferguson’s research has unleashed the doctor’s synthetic plagues onto New York City.
While our four mains were a joy to write—including the comic relief of Kris Johnson, the brooding magnetism of Paul Oscar, the confidence journey of Rosa Lejeune—the beauty of a whodunit lies in the freedom to create a smorgasbord of colorful characters.
I explored our murder suspects with gusto. Of those suspects, a fun character to pen was Pebble Whittaker, a maniacal reclusive who built his fortune off of eerie innovation like procedurally generated IRL NPCs and compartmental androids made of ever-replaceable parts. He lives in a secluded Manhattan mansion, prefers to indulge in questionable delicacies, and is just a little too close with his poodle. He’d been a dear friend to Dr. Ferguson until the two had a bitter falling out due to Ferguson’s growing secrets.
Drawing up Whittaker’s abode, sitting in his voice and exploring his dark fancies definitely scratched a horror-tinged itch.
Horror is about embracing the thrill and chaos of life, stimulating our senses, and testing our most primal defenses. And it’s always a delight to write a character, a setting, a scene, that can tap into something that powerful.
About Author Lachi
Lachi is an internationally-touring creative artist, writer and award-winning cultural activist living in New York City. A legally blind daughter of African immigrants, Lachi uses her platform to amplify narratives on identity pride and Disability Culture. In her public life, Lachi has helped increase accessibility to the GRAMMY Awards ceremonies as well as create numerous opportunities for music professionals with disabilities, through her organization RAMPD. Lachi also creates high-quality content amplifying disability. She has hosted a PBS American Masters segment highlighting disabled rebels and releases songs such as “Lift Me Up” and “Black Girl Cornrows” that elevate disability and difference to the pop culture market. Named a “new champion in advocacy” by Billboard, she’s held talks with the White House, the UN, Fortune 100 firms, and has been featured in Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Good Morning America, and the New York Times for her unapologetic celebration of intersectionality through her music, storytelling and fashion.
In her free-time Lachi writes sci-fi and fantasy novels with diverse, headstrong characters, focusing heavily on atonal world-building, quip-ridden character development, likable villains and psycho-spiritual discourse.
Lachi will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.