Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Excerpt & Giveaway: Shattered Minds by Laura Lam

She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.

From Shattered Minds / Laura Lam (Tor Books, 2017)

“All done,” the doctor says, her eyes bright and unblinking. The girl’s arm burns slightly. The world goes soft and fuzzy around the edges. The doctor settles the girl back in the Chair, lays it down flat. She fits restraints around the girl’s arms and legs.
“Wh-what?” the girl asks, words slurred.
“Don’t worry. It’s just a partial sedative mixed with Verve.”
Another sharp smile. “With a little paralytic thrown in for good measure.”
“V-Verve?” the girl asks, a thrum of fear going through her. Verve is a drug the San Francisco mob, the Ratel, created; it was all over the news feeds for weeks last year. It was meant to be like Zeal, but so much worse. Not a dream you woke up from, your frustrations spent cathartically. Instead you woke up hungry for violence. Pacifica promised they’d destroyed it. What will it do to her? Her limbs are heavy. She tries to move a finger.  Nothing.
Time fractures and grows strange. The girl feels a faint tick- ling along her skull, a strange release of pressure.
“Look at the images again,” the doctor instructs.
The girl’s eyes move to the wallscreen, as if she can’t help it. There is the bee, its segmented eyes staring at her, its pollen dusting the blood-red petals of the rose. Its stinger is as sharp as the thorns on the stem. Something new appears—a drop of blood drips from one thorn, slowly. Above the rose, two eyes open. One is blue, one is green. Heterochromic, just like hers. There’s something strange about the images. As if they’re more than they appear. As if she could fall into them.
“How do the images make you feel?” The images segment and flash before her. A bee. A rose. A thorn. A drop of blood. Mismatched eyes. Over and over, until they blur together.
“I don’t feel anything,” the girl says. And it’s true. All her emotions are just . . . gone. As if they’ve never existed.
“I see.” The doctor is excited, but trying to hide it. The top of the girl’s head tickles again. She looks away from the images, back to her brain scan.
It looks different. There are darker specks scattered through- out her brain, moving around like busy ants. It takes her a moment to figure out what they are.
“Nanobots,” the doctor answers for her. “They’ll help the code settle in quickly.”
“How . . . ?” the girl asks. Then she realizes why her skull itches. All her pain sensors are turned off, and the doctor has opened up her skull. A piece rests on the tray next to the Chair. The girl can just see it out of the corner of her eye.
The doctor holds up the blood-slicked bone.
“It’s a barbaric approach these days, to actually open up a subject like this, but there’s no risk of infection. And there’s something about seeing the brain right there before you as the nanites do their work. It’s more . . . visceral.” The doctor sets the bone aside. “Don’t worry, I’ll put it back where it belongs when we’re done.”
The girl should feel fear, but there is nothing. Nothing. Until there is.
The nanobots converge in her brain, digging deeper, down into the very core of her. The girl’s emotions switch on. She feels everything—the pain in her skull, in her brain, the full horror of what’s happening to her.
She opens her mouth and screams. Alarms blare and beep in the room. She can smell blood, thick and coppery, and the taste hits the back of her throat.
“You will change the world, my girl,” the doctor says, leaning over her.
The world blinks out.


“Riveting.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author

“A multilayered, suspenseful thriller, False Hearts explores themes of identity and power in a breakneck plot that keeps the pages turning.” ―Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night

“An ingenious premise, and Laura Lam executes it flawlessly. Gritty and wise, your own pulse will be racing as you get caught up in this exciting tale.” ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful... and nobody is exceptional. Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged. Taema and Tila are all three, and their strange past and unique bond make False Hearts a difficult book to put down.” ―A. M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea

“A smart debut from someone who's clearly got what it takes.” ―Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Commonwealth Saga

Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, a boy she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted his right back. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. She is now a dual citizen, but at times she misses the sunshine.

While working a variety of jobs from filing and photocopying endlessly at a law firm to library assistant to corporate librarian, she began writing in earnest. Her first book, Pantomime, the first book in the Micah Grey series, was released in 2013, which was a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month, won the Bisexual Book Award, was listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association List, and was nominated for several other awards. Robin Hobb says “Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.” The sequel, Shadowplay, followed in 2014, as well as several the Vestigial Tales, self-published short stories and novellas set in the same world. The third book in the series, Masquerade, will follow in 2017.

Her newest book is False Hearts, a near-future thriller released in June 2016 by Tor/Macmillan and in three other languages. Peter F. Hamilton calls False Hearts “a strong debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” Another thriller, Shattered Minds, will be released in 2017.

She is still hiding from sunshine in Scotland and writing more stories.
WEBSITE: http://www.lauralam.co.uk/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5806077.Laura_Lam
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/lauralamauthor
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/lr_lam/

Photo Credit: Elizabeth May

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1 comment:

  1. "Did you have a special place where you went to be alone as a child?" Yes! Secret, hidden places!


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