Sunday, January 26, 2014

Excerpt from Peccadillo by Martyn V. Halm


By Martyn V. Halm

The Amsterdam Assassin Series revolves around freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter Katla Sieltjes. Under the name Loki Enterprises, Katla specialises in disguising homicide and providing
permanent solutions for both individuals and corporations.

Peccadillo is the second novel in the Amsterdam Assassin Series. With authentic details and fast-paced action, featuring an uncompromising heroine and a supporting cast of unusual characters, Peccadillo gives a rare glimpse in the local Dutch culture, information on the famous Dutch capital, the Chinese Triads, computer hacking, sniping, clairvoyance, circumventing car alarms, martial arts, and the brutal effectiveness of disciplined violence.


This is a scene about one of the antagonists visiting a clairvoyant, who gives him an ominous message. The scene came to me as a whole without any effort, I still don't know much more about the woman in the scene, but she strikes a chord with many readers.

The young woman would’ve been lovely if seen from the side. The left side, so the scar tissue covering the right side of her face remained invisible. Burn marks ran down her jaw to her throat and disappeared in the collar of her shimmering black turtleneck. Nicky watched her slender hands on top of Lau’s hands resting flat on the kitchen table, her right hand a withered claw from ligaments shortened by the heat of the same fire that disfigured her features.

Lau believed the goddess of fire and light had marked the young woman before handing her psychic powers. Nicky believed the young woman’s ‘clairvoyance’ was strictly limited to her own future. Her hideously deformed face limited her options. Most occupations demanded, if not beauty, at least a pleasing countenance, while as a psychic the horrific scarring gave her a twisted credibility.

After a few minutes of silent meditation the young woman shuddered, drew away from Lau and folded her arms across her chest, hunched over as if protecting her body. Despite the warmth of the kitchen she seemed to be shivering. She slowly raised her head, eyes closed.

Lau rubbed his hands and gazed at her expectantly.

“You challenged the dark,” she intoned solemnly, her eyes still closed. “And the dark accepts. The man in the mist is the first to fall. The dark will take his voice and his shield. Out of the shadows, aided by the blind, guided by signals from debris and spoils of the dead, the dark will circle ever closer, sealing all venues of escape. Surrounded by the dead and the dying, killer bees will fly by harmlessly, but a cold whisper will silence your voice and fill your ears with the sound of leaving.”

Leaning back in her seat she opened her eyes. Sadness filled her left eye, but the right held no emotion whatsoever, as customary with glass eyes.

“Leaving?” Lau asked. “I’m going to die?”

“Leaving this life, yes.”

“Bummer,” Nicky murmured. Lau looked around sharply, then turned back to the young woman and asked, “Can I change my fate?”

“Your life evolved to this point in time. The future I see is connected to your life in the present. Cause and effect. Change your life, change your future.”

“I could do that.”

The eyebrow over her left eye rose slightly. “Could you?”

“I can change.”

“You’d have to sever all links with your current life.”


She nodded. “Death is not thwarted easily.”

“That’s impossible. I can’t abandon everything just like that.”

“It would be difficult, but not impossible. The premonition is strong. Too many factors influence your fate.”

Lau rose and looked down at her. “How much time have I got?”

“Until the next new moon.”

He took out his money clip and peeled a couple of notes to put them in the bowl to his right, but she raised her good hand and said, “I do not receive payment for bad predictions.”

“You don’t want to get paid?”

“If you manage to change your life and live beyond the new moon, you can pay me. And if you can’t…” 

She closed her eyes. “May the next world be kinder to you than this one.”

Lau’s hand shook as he put the money clip back in his pocket. Nicky stepped aside and opened the door. Lau turned in the opening and said, “Good-bye.”

“Farewell,” she replied without opening her eyes.

Lau stepped out into the hallway and Nicky followed, closing the door behind him. They let themselves out of the apartment, not looking into the living room where other people were waiting to hear their fate.


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