Tuesday, February 7, 2017

End of the Road (Blog Tour) Review & Guest Post

End of the Road

by LS Hawker

on Tour January 30th - February 28, 2017


End of the Road by L.S. Hawker

Great minds can change the world

or leave it in ruins . . .

When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she’s tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company’s campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?
On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she’s losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she’d ever imagined.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 006243523X (ISBN13: 9780062435231)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

September 7
Jade Veverka unwrapped the frozen bomb pop she'd bought from the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd and took a bite. She sat gazing at the pile of magazines on the barbershop coffee table while a rhythmic alarm-clock buzz went off in her head. Not an urgent warning, just buzz buzz buzz.
Her friend and coworker Elias Palomo sat in the barber chair, getting his customary fade crew cut, the same one he'd presumably sported since his plebe days at the Naval Academy. So the background to her mental alarm clock was an actual buzzing from the electric razor punctuated now by a sharp yip of pain from Elias.
"Sorry about that," the barber said.
Elias rubbed his ear, and Jade attempted to keep her face neutral, looking at his scowl in the mirror.
Buzz buzz buzz.
She leaned forward and fanned the magazines—Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, ESPN—all this month's issues. Jade took another bite of bomb pop and grinned.
"What are you smiling at?" Elias grumbled, rubbing his nicked ear.
"I don't know how to tell you this," Jade said, "but you are not the center of my universe. I do occasionally react to things outside of you. I know it comes as a shock."
"Shut up," he said, his dark eyes flashing.
Jade stared now in fascination as the razor tracked upwards on Elias's skull, his glossy black hair—or what was left of it—uneven, his scalp an angry pink. This guy was the worst hair dresser Jade had ever seen. And the least talkative. In her experience, growing up in rural Ephesus, Kansas, barbers had always fit the stereotype—gregarious and gossipy.
Elias was the shop's lone customer, and only a few folks walked by outside the window, through which Jade could see the hardware store and the occasional slow passing car.
Buzz buzz buzz.
It struck Jade now that this was less a barbershop than what amounted to a barbershop museum, complete with an actor playing the part of the barber. She wanted to point this out to Elias, but it would mean nothing to him. He'd grown up in Reno, Nevada, a vast metropolis compared to Jade's 1200-population hometown an hour southeast of this one, which was called Miranda, Kansas.
Not only was this man not a barber, he wasn't a Kansan either, Jade would have bet money.
"Hey," she said to him. "What's your name?"
The man went on butchering as if she hadn't spoken. Elias's eyes met Jade's in the mirror, and his dark thick brows met on either side of a vertical crease, his WTF? wrinkle. He leaned his head away from the razor, finally making the barber pay attention.
"The lady asked you a question," Elias said.
Jade had to hold in a guffaw. This never failed to tickle her, him referring to her as a lady. No one other than him had ever done that before. Plus she loved the authoritative rumble of his voice, a trait he'd probably developed at Annapolis.
The barber froze, his eyes locked with Elias's. Weird.
"Need a prompt?" Elias said. "Your name."
The man cleared his throat.
"Is it classified?"
Jade did guffaw this time, and she watched the barber's jaw muscles compress as she clapped a hand over her mouth.
"My name's Richard."
"Hello, Richard, I'm Elias. This is Jade. We work out at SiPraTech."
Jade could see from Richard's face he knew very well where they worked. He nodded and got back to destroying the remains of Elias's hair.
"Whereabouts you from, Richard?" Jade said.
He pulled the razor away from Elias's head and blinked at her.
What in the world was this guy's problem?
Buzz buzz buzz.
Elias emitted a loud sigh, clearly exasperated by the guy's reticence, and waved a hand as if to say, "Carry on, barber-not-barber."
Jade laughed again.
"Here," Richard mumbled. "I'm from here."
Like hell. What was he, in the witness protection program or something?
And then it hit her. The magazines, every last one of them, was a current issue. In a barbershop. The place where back issues of magazines go to die.
She'd worked for SiPraTech just over three months now, and Miranda, the closest town, had always given her an itch. Something about it was slightly off, but she couldn't say what. She'd brought it up to her team members—Elias, Berko Deloatch, and Olivia Harman, and each of them had looked at her like she was schitzy. They all came from big cities, so Miranda struck them as weird in general.
Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.
As if drawn by static electricity, her eyes tracked to the window where a man in mirrored shades peered into the barbershop. The man had a dark mustache and wore a blue baseball cap pulled low over the sunglasses.
What was he staring at? She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see but a white wall. When she turned back, the man mouthed something at her, his exaggerated soundless enunciation wringing a sharp intake of breath from her.
"What?" Elias said in response to her gasp.
Was it her imagination, or did this man she'd never seen before say her name?
Jade Veverka.
She looked at Elias, and said, "There's a man out there—"

Author Bio:

LS HAWKERLS HAWKER grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.
Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called "People Are So Stupid," edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.
She's got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. She is the author of The Drowning Game, a USA Today Bestseller, and Body and Bone.

Visit Ms. Hawker's Website , her Twitter Feed , & her Facebook Page .


My Review:

  End of the Road is an exciting adventure, peppered with cool pop culture geeky references. The story is fast paced, and interesting. Jade is a relate-able character, she's not perfect, but she also isn't normal. I am not a huge technology geek, so some of the techno jargon was like klingon to me, but that didn't detract from the story for me.

The biggest draw for me with this book was the plot and how realistic it is. The premise is terrifying in a way because of how realistic it is. The book has so many twists and turns, I have to use the cliched phrase, it really keeps you guessing. I do think that I'll be checking out the writer's other books, especially after this one!

I enjoyed it very much, and DO recommend it if you like techno-thrillers with a nice heaping dose of realism. 

Guest Post:

Characters and Their Humans by LS Hawker

Unlike a lot of authors, I often base my characters on people I know. The most fun, naturally, is using real people as the basis for bad guys. One of THE DROWNING GAME's bad guys, Randy, is based on a friend's ex-boyfriend, right down to his monster pickup truck. When she and I would go out, he would take a fifth of Jack Daniel's with him to drive around and hunt us down. One night he finished bottle by the time he found us, and he was enraged. We tried to get his car keys from him, and he grabbed me by the face and shoved me down into the street. So you can see why he was a great model for an antagonist. 

On the other end of the spectrum is my second novel BODY AND BONE's Isabeau, who's based on my friend Liz. She was the perfect level-headed foil for my protag, but one with loads of personality and surprising secrets. 

Sometimes I model a character on a real person without even knowing it. That was the case with Petty from THE DROWNING GAME. Petty has been a virtual prisoner in her own home, a captive of a paranoid father hell-bent on protecting her from a dangerous world by training her in combat while restricting contact with the outside world. 

When he dies unexpectedly, she believes she's finally going to be free. But the people around her ignore her needs, talk about her as if she isn't there, and regard her as a means to their own ends. She must escape. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery while navigating a terrifying and unfamiliar outside world, made more complicated and perilous by her social awkwardness, guilelessness, and obsessive fears.
When I first shared a chapter, a friend commented, “Your main character is really interesting, really unique. She seems—what’s the word? Autistic?”

I was stunned by this observation, because unbeknownst to my friend, my youngest daughter Layla had just been diagnosed with autism. All the characteristics of autism as demonstrated by Layla showed up in Petty without any conscious agency on my part. Petty's situation—living as a prisoner in her own home—was much like Layla's, who'd been a prisoner in her own mind before her diagnosis and treatment. 

Typically, though, I'm aware of it when I base a character on a real person. I'll use their physical characteristics, mannerisms, and speech patterns as a jumping-off point. Then I summon the emotions the real person arouses in me, and build from that emotional center. 

Without fail, these characters become their own people, assert their own personalities. None of the characters I've written who started out as replicas of real people end up exactly like their original models. This is, of course, because the characters experience situations the real people never have. But I imagine how the real person would react in those situations.

I also write a full life story for each my characters, although most of it doesn't show up on the page. Their backstories inform how they act and react in the circumstances they find themselves in. In the files I keep on my characters, I include "face claims," photos from the internet I use as a physical models for characters. 

Only one character in my latest release, END OF THE ROAD, is based on a real person, and he's a bad guy (sorry-not-sorry—you'll have to read it to find out who it is). But the group of people my protagonist, Jade, works with is based on my oldest daughter Chloe's group of overachieving friends. The group dynamic is the model more than the individual characters—none of them is based on a real person.
Bringing realism to the page is never easy, but it's a lot more fun when you're surrounded by friends—both real and imagined.

Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook Coupon for End of the Road by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on January 24th and runs through March 2nd, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



  1. This was the first book I read by this author, and like you, will be reading more.

  2. You should definitely check out her other books! This is my third one - they are all fantastic!


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