For those of you who haven’t heard, God’s Loophole is out! (Click here to read more about it!) This is the first book in Dan’s technothriller trilogy. However, now that it’s out, I can begin to tantalize you with teasers from Eternity’s End, the second book in the novel.
So, for Dan’s first ever Teaser Tuesday, here’s a short excerpt from Eternity’s End:
Sabina Boyd hurried past the fire truck, her heels clomping on the pavement, and lifted the caution tape around the warehouse to stoop under. Inside the building, three people milled around the hole in the floor—Neil Anderson, a government geologist, and the county fire marshal.
They glanced up at her approach.
“Sabina Boyd, FBI.” She shook hands with the geologist.
“Gene Mcgavern,” he answered, pushing up his glasses, a short, balding man in his late fifties, “United States Geological Survey.”
She nodded to the hole. “So what are we dealing with here?”
“Well, you’re standing on a concrete slab foundation topping fifty meters of alluvial fan—sandy clay, basically, deposits from creeks and rivers. This is Palo Alto, your water table’s twenty to thirty feet deep, tops.”
“You ever dig sandcastles when you were a kid, Agent Boyd?”
“Never liked the beach,” she said.
He raised a gray eyebrow. “You never built a sandcastle?”
“Listen, Dr. Mcgavern,” she said hotly, “I’m very busy right now, so if you could just get to the point—”
“The point is you’re digging in wet sand,” he said. “It’s muddy. It slumps over, caves in. You scoop it out and your hole fills with water, you scoop out more, and the sides cave in.” He pointed at the hole. “You’re looking at a hole dug in wet sand.”
“So it’s unstable?”
He nodded, his eyes twinkling. “You can’t dig a hole like this, Agent Boyd. Straight down, no bracing . . . hell, I can’t even see water down there.”
A faint smell of sulfur drifted out of the hole, like rotten eggs.
“How deep is it?” she said.
He shook his head. “I can’t see the bottom. Can you?”
She rubbed fatigue out of her eyes and glanced around the warehouse, and her gaze settled on Neil’s black, patent leather shoes. “Give me your shoe.”
“You’re not tossing my shoe down the hole, Sabina.”
“I’ll grab a road flare from the truck,” said the fire marshal, heading for the door. He came back a moment later with a red stick with a white cap. He twisted off the cap, scraped the flint tip across the flare, and the tube erupted in blinding red flame.
“Stopwatch?” he said.
Neil pulled back his sleeves, readying his finger over his watch. “Go.”
The fire marshal tossed the tube into the hole.
The four of them watched silently. The flare plummeted twenty feet, then forty, then sixty . . . then a hundred. Finally, its red-hot light dimmed to a pinprick, and vanished.
“I didn’t see it land,” she said.
“What was the count?” said the fire marshal, still peering down.
“Six and a half seconds.” Neil pursed his lips, and a moment later, he had the calculation. “Over two hundred meters.”
“Jesus,” she said.
“Could be even deeper,” said Dr. Mcgavern.
She turned to him. “What do you make of it?”
“Two things,” he said. “First, I have no idea how this hole was dug. Second, by tomorrow morning, the ground we’re standing on isn’t going to exist.”
“It’s going to cave in?”
“That’s not all.” He pulled out a pen light, clicked it on, and shined it inside the hole—focusing the beam on the packed dirt about six feet below the corroded concrete. “See that?”
She leaned closer, careful not to step on the edge; the corroded slab jutted out a few feet over the hole, looking perilously weak. At last, she saw what he was pointing at.
In the circle of light, tiny wisps of dust were slipping off the surface, floating down into the shadows.
“What am I looking at?”
“Something’s actively decaying that soil.”
“You mean the hole’s spreading?”
“Can you stop it?”
“Stop it?” He stared at her like she was crazy. “Hell, I don’t know what’s causing it . . . I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“What’s your recommendation?”
He clicked off the flashlight. “Only one thing to do,” he said. “We got to send someone down there.”
If you enjoyed that, click here to add Eternity’s End to your “To Read” list, and make sure to stay tuned in during the next few weeks, when Dan will reveal the cover to Eternity’s End!
Hugs and happy reading,
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