Friday, April 8, 2011


Presenting…The Targets

Detective Ryan Jackson was looking forward to a quiet life in the sleepy town of Hawley, MN after transferring from the high profile work of the New York Police Department.

However, things are not always as they seem, and soon after his arrival, a mysterious set of murders grips the community. After the first victim is found, a middle age black man who kept to himself, the race is on to find the killer and uncover his motives. But not long after, a second victim is struck down: this time

it’s an affluent black business owner who was well liked in the community. The pattern isn’t hard to detect, and Jackson is pitted in a thrilling race against the clock to find and stop the killer before the next victim is found.

The Targets is a fast paced, action-packed thriller that is equivalent in length to a paperback of approximately 120 pages.

Sebastian Dark graduated from Harvard College in 2002 and worked at a Chicago consulting firm for five years. After growing tired with the career path, he left to pursue his dream of full time writing. Under various pen names, he’s published a series of thriller that excite readers with realistic action and a fast pace. The Targets represents his first foray into the e-book world.

What will readers like about your book?
I write things that I want to read -- and I want to read books with a lot of action, a gripping pace, and a memorable storyline. The Targets provides exactly that, I hope.

Why did you self publish?
Some books are too risquĂ© or unconventional for traditional publishing. While THE TARGETS follows a conventional thriller structure, the ending completely deviates from the trodden path. Enough so that to get traditional publishers to put their strength behind this book would be a more difficult proposition than to simply self-publish and self-promote the book. I also have so much more control over everything, including the methods I can go about finding readers. That excites me -- maybe even more than getting my first book picked up in the traditional publishing world a number of years ago! 

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
I can write for hours when I get into the zone. On days with no other commitments, I like to wake up, write for three or four hours, stop to workout (and get a breather!), then come back and write for another six or seven hours. That fills up most of the day, and those are my most productive times.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I was thinking about how everything I've ever wrote before (and most of the stuff I've read) takes place in a big city, with well-equipped and informed investigators. For my self-published thriller, I wanted to change things up - to move the location to a small, sleepy town, and make the protagonist an experienced crime solver who just came to the community. I wanted to explore the relationships between him and the residents there - how they would react to his way of doing things, how they would keep calm against the threat of a serial killer... those types of things. I also wanted to make it a fast, exciting read.


Detective Ryan Jackson stood with his hands folded on his chest. His temples hurt, and he needed a drink. Badly. This was not the start of a perfect life in a small town he had hoped for.

In front of him was a grisly scene. Dismembered remains of a human body were scattered on the hard cement floor of a garage, with blood drying up in a large pool in the middle. Somebody had cut the body apart limb by limb at each of the major joints. A forearm was lying here; a quadricep there. Some parts of the body had already been moved by the amateur policemen. This was definitely not the start he wanted.

The victim had been black, male, and roughly the same age as Jackson. Which is to say, a few years before middle age. Jackson growled; a deep, visceral noise that came from his throat.

“Um, detective?”

Jackson looked down, and saw Mars Kilborn, the appointed “deputy” of the ramshackle police force. Jackson refused to give him a title. Mars was a tiny man, standing less than five feet tall, and in any real city would have been eaten alive by his peers. In no small part due to his height. Compound that with the fact that he was stupid, and you had an easy target.

“Detective, I think the crew has finished up.”

“What?” Jackson couldn’t believe what he was hearing. They had arrived less than fifteen minutes ago, hardly enough time to “finish up.”

“All the photographs have been taken, and everybody’s just about ready to go home,” Mars swallowed. “The lot of them look like they’ll all need a fair bit of consoling after tonight.”



“There will be no consoling. Nobody else gets a word until we figure out who did this. No tattling to wives, or friends, or girlfriends, or even officers not on the scene. You got it?”

“But, detective, I don’t understand…”

“It’s not for you to understand, it’s for your men to understand, and listen.” Jackson stressed each word. “Now, they listen to you, I know that. Go tell them what I said. Nobody is to get a word of this!”

“…nobody gets a word,” Mars repeated, and ran off. He was not only diminutive, but also easily manipulated.

“And make sure the press doesn’t hear of this!” Jackson yelled after him. Nothing would be worse for Jackson’s reputation than a murder like this, only on the first week of the job.


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