Sample: 'Inhuman Error.' First of the UPD Series, by James Lief and Reed Alexander, 2019
UPD: Unnatural Perpetrators Department of the FBI
Inhuman Error: Part of a three book series that follows a specialist unit of the FBI called the Unnatural Perpetrators Department. The UPD is charged with hunting down and stopping serial killers of 'unnatural origins.'
If you like the sample and want to read more, you can pick up a copy from the shop at Madness Heart Press.
Inhuman Error(pre-order now)
Excerpt from Chapter 1: Agent Dianna Saferstein is inducted into the UPD.
“The perp is unnaturally large then. Approximately between seven foot eight inches and eight foot,” Dianna unknowingly regurgitated what Ronny had already said.
“That’s right,” Ronny said, encouraging for the first time since they’d met. “What we have here is an abnormally large humanoid that runs on a chemical system as opposed to a metabolic system. A Frankenstein Monster, or Frankenstein for short.”
“You mean Mary Shelley's Frankenstein?” she tried to sound like she was keeping up and not rejecting new information.
“Correct. Named after the original abomination created by Victor Frankenstein. A reanimated human using a chemical reagent. Technically alive, but more machine than man,” Ronny explained.
“I think I’m starting to understand our killer's motivation,” she struggled to accept what her mind still recoiled from as illogical, but could easily sink her teeth into something as simple as criminal motivation. “If we’re talking about a reanimated human, how much of their original memory is retained?”
“Case studies have varied. Some are fairly animalistic, reacting almost entirely on instinct, others seem to have some leftovers from their past. It’s all dependent on how good the alchemist is,” he examined Dianna right down to the details of her slight tremors. He wanted to know how she responded to all this new information.
Dianna ignored the word alchemy and focused on the science of the human body. “Of course. Memory isn’t stored in the brain like a computer. A single cell doesn’t hold a memory like a computer chip, but rather, memory is an electrical looping sequence of connection between neurons. What the reanimated mind remembers would be completely derived from the connections that remained intact and were reinvigorated by the... a- alchemy.”
Dianna’s gaze met Ronny’s; an uncomfortable silence fell between them. Both him and Miranda could tell poor Dianna didn’t know how to interpret their expressions. Between the awkward socialization and the dizzying new information, Dianna was lost.
“Spit it out...” Miranda leaned into Dianna.
“The killer remembers a significant amount of his humanity and is disgusted by those that would waste it. He feels robbed of his real experiences and wants to punish them for being so guiltless about theirs. This is eventually going to grow beyond collecting amygdala. I assume they’re a necessary reagent for the alchemy,” she tripped over the word but pushed through it. “This isn’t going to be about collecting reagents forever. Eventually, it’ll become a fulfilling fantasy about punishing the unworthy. He’s already on the verge of that sensation. He failed to collect all four amygdala this time, and the nature of his killings was far more brutal than the last time. He was enjoying the killings; distracted by them. He didn’t even try to preserve the amygdala of the vic he stuffed in the fireplace. He held the fire screen shut and watched the man burn until he died. He enjoyed it.”
Ronny gave Miranda a worried look. “We’ve never dealt with a Frankenstein with this much consciousness. We haven’t even heard of one near this level since the first.”
“Someone may have finally perfected Victor’s formula,” Miranda shrugged, she understood sensation, she understood brutality. While this might be the first Frankenstein they dealt with, killers who killed for the thrill was nothing new to her.
A professor of anthropology who has always had a wide array of interests. He has long been fascinated by the juxtaposition of public servants using the public to serve themselves, and is most interested where humanity’s collective nightmares come from.
"Hominids, in all their forms, have always shown a fear of the unknown. Whether it's esoteric depictions of angry spirits in cave paintings, or religious symbolism. Our many ancestors have fought a never ending struggle against the dark."
Keep up on James Lief by visiting him at his Facebook page.
Reed Alexander is a political scientist who uses his studies of modern society to—as he puts it—"peal back the scabs and see what makes us tick." This influences the majority of his horror writing.Reed writes with the assumption that once confronted by real horror, most people will devolved to their primitive instincts. He believes this makes every glimmer of real human sacrifice seem precious.
"Morals are a human construct and do not exist outside of society."