By Donna Galanti
I often get asked if the characters in my paranormal suspense book A Human Element are “me”. Yes they are…in some ways.
I was a photographer in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, as Ben Fieldstone is in A Human Element. I worked in Fleet Intelligence processing top secret film in “the building with no windows”, as Ben did.
The beauty of Oahu is amazing with its violently defined landscape, a place to find–and keep–secrets in its hidden spots. I also lived off base in Honolulu. Likini, the wife of Ben’s friend, in A Human Element is actually named after the street I lived on, Likini Street (where I got around in a Herbie-styled 1972 white VW bug).But back to Ben and his night of terror at the Pali Lookout. Can he be saved? More importantly, can he be saved from himself?
Ben meets the Man in Black in Hawaii:
He closed his eyes and forced himself to find a dark place with peace and no pain. The two men continued to taunt him, but they echoed far away in a tunnel. He held his breath, willing himself to pass out. The wild wind of the mountaintop raged around him and shrieked in his ears.
Then two loud cracks shot out over the howling wind. The hands on him fell away. He let out a huge sigh, dizzy from holding his breath.
Ben opened his eyes and craned his head around to see what had happened. Under the bright moonlight the outline of the two big Samoans rose up from the overgrown road. They didn't move. The wind whipped the giant leaves of the banyan and guava trees about like sails on a great clipper ship. The buzz of traffic from the new Pali road carried up to him from below. He scanned the area. What had happened? Who else hid out there? He pulled at the stakes. His hands shook as he tried to break free.
"Forget it, kid, they're held down in cement," a deep voice said. "These stupid locals make up these playgrounds just to mess with us haoles."
Ben swallowed the saliva stuck in his throat and focused on his surroundings. There stood the green-eyed man, hidden in the swaying banyan trees. His black outfit blended into the dark forest. He moved toward Ben and holstered his gun, then popped open a switchblade from his back pocket.
"I am not here to hurt you," the man said when Ben shrunk into the rock. "I'm going to cut the ropes."
In a few swift movements he slit the ropes binding Ben, who staggered back. The man caught him and held him up, then ripped off the duct tape.
"Who are you?" Ben's body trembled from the rush of fear and a fierce headache pounded in his temple.
The man didn't answer. He bent over one of the dead Samoans and pulled out a wallet. He looked inside and threw it at Ben. "It's yours." Then the man led him by the arm down the overgrown road where he handed Ben his clothes from the brush. He tried to put them on but his hands shook so bad the man had to help him. He winced from the whip marks brushing against his jeans and shirt.
"Come on," the man said. Ben looked back at the dead men sprawled face down. They oozed like two fat walruses sunning themselves in the moonlight. "Don't worry about them. I'll dump them later, somewhere they'll never be found."
In a daze, Ben followed his savior up the rough road, stumbling behind him in the dim moonlight. Those men had carried him unconscious down this road.
"I'll take you back to base then you're on your own," the man said once they reached his car, parked off the main road. "Don't speak of this to anyone. Understand?"
Ben nodded and climbed in the car. He looked over at the stranger in black who had saved him. "You were at my foster mother's funeral. Why are you following me? Why save me?"
"I'm an interested party. Leave it at that."
"I can't. I would have died up there for sure."
The man didn't respond.
The man looked at Ben. His green eyes glowed in the moonlight that filtered into the car. "Someday you might not thank me. Someday you may not survive."
Evil comes in many forms…
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him.
**Get your evil on with this re-release, A Human Element, book 1 in the Element Trilogy! Newly edited, new scenes, new cover! Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element, releases 8/28!**
Praise for A Human Element:“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born.” –M.J. Rose, International bestselling author
“An elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, A Hidden Element (August 2014), the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.