Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Tour - Liquid Cool Cyberpunk Detective Series + Giveaway!

Title: These Mean Streets Darkly
Series: Liquid Cool Prequel
Author: Austin Dragon
Genre: Cyberpunk Detective Thriller

THESE MEAN STREETS, DARKLY the prequel to the cyberpunk detective series, Liquid Cool.

It’s a world of colossal skyscrapers. Hover cars fly above in the dark, rainy skies and gray people walk below on the grimy, hard streets in the “Neon Jungle.” Uber-governments and mega corporations fight for control of the supercity, but so does crime.

An average woman, Carol—hardworking and decent in every way— loses her daughter to the psycho Red Rabbit. Can Police Central find the girl in time—alive? And is it really a random, senseless kidnapping in the fifty-million-plus city?

There are a million victims and perpetrators in this High-Tech, Low-Life World. This is one of those stories…before we meet our private eye (and unlikely hero), Cruz, in the debut novel, Liquid Cool!


Title: Liquid Cool
Series: Liquid Cool #1
Author: Austin Dragon
Genre: Cyberpunk Detective Thriller

How Much is One Life Worth?

In the sci-fi/cyberpunk detective series, author Austin Dragon shows why you never want to meet a cyborg in a dark alley. Liquid Cool is a cross between Blade Runner and the Maltese Falcon. There is plenty of gritty action, suspense, thrills, and even a few laughs.

It’s cyberpunk reimagined—an ever-rainy world of colossal skyscrapers, hover cars, flashy neon streets, and futuristic mechanization. Metropolis isn’t a bad place, but it isn’t a good one either. Uber-governments and mega corporations fight for control of the fifty-million-plus super-city, but so does crime.

We meet Cruz, our private eye (and unlikely hero), in this super-city with a million victims and perpetrators. Watch out for tech-tricksters, analog hustlers, and digital gangsters—psychos, samurais, and cyborgs aplenty. Visitors have a way of becoming permanent attractions.

Welcome to the high-tech, low-life world of Liquid Cool.


Metropolis. Everything that was seen or heard, every smell, and almost every feeling belonged to it. Skyscraper monoliths with their side lights rose into the near-perpetual overcast sky one way, blink-blink, and the lukewarm downpour fell onto the neon urban jungle the other, drip-drip.  

From the ground, looking up, on those days that were as clear as it could ever get, buildings seemed to have their own halos, courtesy of the rooftop lights. On normal rainy days, that same illumination gave the sky a faint glow. Also from the vantage of the streets, the city’s lighted buildings pulsated in all the many psychologically-tested and focus-group-researched colors to mitigate the street’s base griminess, despite the ever-rain. 

The flashing neon signs screamed every second of every day; their soft-sell, quasi-hypnotic consumerist cons of Big Bad Business and government public service aggravations (PSAs) of Big Bad Government. But people were numb to it all, no matter how outrageous or provocative.  

The crowds on the streets moving about were like a collective lifeform. Everyone clad in their gray-toned or black slickers, and for those carrying them, umbrellas with glowing colored handles. Most had their ears covered with headphones, their heads covered with hoods, and everyone had their eyes covered with glowing colored glasses. 

The masses were in the world, but mentally someplace else—away from it, never a part of it, unless there was a reason, and there rarely was a reason. Tech-tricksters, analog hustlers, and digital gangsters, at least, had purpose.  

The masses had only one concern—to exist, get to the end of the day unscathed, and then do it all over again the next day. Maybe smile a real smile a time or two in life. Escape was only possible if you could buy or trick your way Up-Top or, of course, when the Grim Reaper came a-knocking.  

Til then, for most, there was plugging the ears into the music, and the eyes (and brain) into the virtual television. For too many others, it was also about jacking the body into the drugs or the mind into the cybergames.  

Everything in an attempt to stave off the dark emotions and conventional madness that accompanied the daily grind of life in the 50 million-plus, supercity of Metropolis, and the many, many other metropolises exactly like it, though smaller, on Earth. 

Yo, yo, yo. Easy Chair Charlie! What’s the street talk, E.C.? a voice called out. If it were not for their glowing colored glasses, the three street kids would have been invisible through the drizzle of the night.   

Easy Chair Charlie stopped his musically-influenced stroll through the streets, pulling his headphones down around his neck. He wore his favorite embroidered, black slicker that flowed behind his tall, lanky frame. 

He also had the attached clear hood pulled over his bleached-white spiky hair and wore glowing, dark blue-black shades, but looked out from the top as if they were bifocals. 

A neon sign flashed, and he could see the kids clearly—flapper hats and chia-pet bubble-coats—squatting on the corner. What you playin’? he asked.  

The boys looked like gorillas with the heads of old World War I fighter pilots. The water-resistant, faux-fur of their coats kept them toasty warm in the rain. Just a game of street jacks to pass the time, Easy, answered the same boy.

Easy, what’s the street talk? You always know the low-down. If we get something, we’ll give you a cut like always. Easy Chair Charlie was a hustler of some distinction.   

His racket was the numbers, and he had the inside scoop on every professional and amateur, major league and minor league sports game, hover car race, horse race, dog race, boxing match, or martial arts match there was and every illegal and back-alley one, too.  

But he was branching out from his old racket, though he still had the touch and threw a tip here and there to the street kids he liked. No action now. But I may have something for you later, he said. 

Righteous, Easy. You always come through for us. You always come through for me. The street looks out for self. You know it, Easy. Catch me later. You got it, Easy, they said in unison.  

Easy Chair Charlie returned his headphones to his ears and strutted away to his tunes. He gave them the thumbs-up as he disappeared into the rain.  

Downtown loved to tout the ethnic diversity that was the melting pot of Metropolis. It was true; everyone felt equally miserable, and that they were being melted into a pot—a big wet one. With so many millions in the supercity, there were more ethnicities, nationalities, and languages spoken here than any other place in the world. 

In the old days, groups fervently protected their neighborhoods, but legacy housing changed all that, some say, ending the traditional ethnic communities forever.  

There were still the ethnic enclaves of old, but often, they were not run by the nationalities that originally created them, back when Metropolis was just a city, let alone a mega-city or the supercity center it was today.  

The suave, hipster Old Harlem, with more historical landmarks than any other part of the city, was run not by Blacks anymore, but Italians. Most of its buildings were not as tall nor as massive, but many argued it had the best clubs and restaurants in the city. It was also the center of the cigar aficionado world, one place in particular. 

Joe Blows was where Easy Chair Charlie was going—the world famous Joe Blows Smoking Emporium on Sweet Street. He was out of smokes and needed to replenish his stash. It was a lucrative storefront, but also an official historic landmark of the city. 

In the old days, movie celebrities and megacorporate playboys made up its famous clientele, but though it no longer featured in the papers and trades like back then, everyone knew it as the establishment for all cancer-stick connoisseurs, and people came far and wide for a stash.  

There wasn’t an exotic, classic, or premium cigarette or cigar in the world that they didn’t carry. But no narcotics. If you wanted that, any corner dope daddy or drugstore cowboy on speed-dial could get you that.   

Joe Blows was for those who loved smoke—the taste and feel through the lungs, nose, and mouth. For the true connoisseur, that was the high.  

It had its main store, but the real action was the adjoining smoking rooms, where old-time smokers sat around chatting it up for hours and doing deals as they smoked and joked over drinks, dinner, poker, or a game of pool with beautiful waitresses around.   

Joe’s was strictly a straight joint—male chauvinists and babes only, though nowadays, a quarter of its clientele were female smokers. 

This is a public service announcement to remind you that the Metropolis Surgeon General says you can double your life expectancy by ceasing the use of all tobacco products, said one of the baby-faced agents in a suit, but without a lick of style.  

The government’s cigarette police would stop by every month or two to pass out anti-smoking flyers, but were met with howling laughter and men stuffing the flyers— in front of the agents—into their butt cracks or in the front of their jock straps.   

However, today was one of those bad days, and Easy Chair Charlie entered the smoking room as the two meek college kid agents—paid government volunteers— were practically running out as smoking room customers threatened them with obscene gestures, jeers, and curses. 

The entire establishment was yelling at them to leave. Easy Chair Charlie chuckled, carrying his two just-purchased boxes—his stash of exotic cigars for the month—from the main store to the sitting rooms. Easy Chair Charlie! a booming voice called out.   

Fat Nat, a large pot-bellied man, waved to him as he stood up from a card table of other men. Easy waved back with a smile and then gave him a salute. He walked to the table and set both boxes in the center, on top of the men’s cards.  

The men grinned at the words on the boxes. Havanas, Easy? a seated man asked. How the hell can you afford a box of those? One of those is worth a king’s ransom, and you got two boxes.  

This is Easy Chair Charlie. He knows how to get things, so he can sit back easy like in his chair, Fat Nat said. They listened keenly to the sounds. Easy carefully cut the outer plastic wrapping from one cigar box with his switchblade and asked, May I perchance offer my good comrades a genuine Havana? 

The men stood from their chairs as Easy lifted the lid and then slit the inner plastic covering to allow the aroma of the cigars to rise from the box. Each man pulled a glove from a pants pocket and put it on their right hand.  

One by one, the four men grabbed a cigar and inhaled deeply as they were passed under their nostrils. This, Easy…is what heaven smells like, Fat Nat said. Easy took one himself. One of the men pulled another chair from a nearby table for him.  

Easy, set yourself down in an easy chair. Easy smiled as he and the five men sat. Fat Nat pulled a box of old slow-matches from his chest pocket and struck one. He lit Easy’s first and then each friend’s cigar with its steady, slow-burning, tiny flame. 

He left his for last. The first puff of the cigar. Easy leaned back in his chair to savor it. Easy is like no other. Fat Nat lifted his Japanese whiskey glass. Here’s to Easy and easy living in this wet, rainy, modern, miserable world.  

The men drank. Easy Chair Charlie stifled a slight burp. Gentlemen, I may have something for you. The street knew Easy for his take-it-to-the-bank betting tips, but few knew of his new, more lucrative, racket of the acquisition. Not a finder.  

They only told you where an item you desired was, but Easy found it and delivered it right to you. Acquisition experts, like him, were in high demand and insanely compensated. He could make more with the successful acquisition of an item in one year than his old gambling racket.   

His specialty was acquisition of items from Up-Top—where the wealthy and powerful of the planet lived. That’s where the astronomic cash was to be had. Something good? Fat Nat asked. Easy did a slow exhale. If I play my cards right, I’ll be able to make it all the way to Up-Top myself. 

Not just get things. And you know how generous I am to my friends. The men smiled. How Easy? Fat Nat asked. Easy Chair Charlie leaned back. How indeed.  

He took another draw from his cigar like a king. They all heard a low hum. Easy clenched his cigar gently between his teeth and said, Excuse me, gentlemen, my pants are vibrating. A couple of the men grinned as Easy stared down at the display of the mobile phone in his hand. 

He answered it as he got up from the table and walked outside. Something good must be callin’, Fat Nat said to the men. From the roof of a skyscraper, a silver-and-black body-armored policeman stood with a high-powered binocular attachment over his visored half-helmet, watching.  

To him, two miles away was turned into five feet away. Easy, Fat Nat, and the boys were back at the card table, laughing and joking. From the darkened sky, a policeman slowly descended via rocket pack, the yellow flames glowing from the double exhaust nozzles.  

The word PEACE was visible on his black chest body armor. Two more policemen descended from the sky and then another half dozen. Foot police arrived on the ground, and people crossed the street or double backed to walk away from them—something bad was about to happen. 

In mere moments, the busy street was empty, except for the police and an arriving police cruiser that appeared, hovering six feet from the ground in stealth mode. Joe Blows also had its main bar—a big bar. 

Members always got their first drink free, and all members, besides their love of smoking products, loved to drink. And Joe Blows only served alcoholic drinks. If you wanted coffee, green tea, or another girly man non-alcoholic, then you needed to get in your hover car and go someplace else. 

 Hyper, waiting on my drink order! the waitress yelled out. The bartender behind the counter seemed to float on air as he moved to her with a tray of clear and colored drinks. She smiled, and he smiled back. 
Your slowing down, Hyper. Normally, you’d have my order before I started my sentence. If you say. He continued to get bottles and glasses, pour alcohol into glasses, get trays, and then set drinks on the bar and on trays for pick-up. He moved like a machine.  

I thought you were off tonight— she began. A pulse-round of white light exploded her tray of drinks, sending glass and alcohol everywhere. Another blast hit Hyper in the shoulder, knocking him back, and ripped through the wall behind him. 

The waitress screamed as more rounds whizzed past, hitting the bar counter and the wall. She stood in place, yelling hysterically. Everyone in the bar dived to the ground for cover. Get down, Tab!  

Hyper yelled from behind the counter. Big G was about to throw his card on the table, when a pulse-round blasted through his hand and the cards. Fat Nat kicked the table away and pushed his friend to the ground from the chair. All the men were flat on the ground as the pulse-rounds ripped through the establishment.  

They could hear screams from patrons and things being blasted apart. One of the old-timers got to his feet and ran to the side entrance. Stay on the ground! Fat Nat yelled. Another customer jumped up and ran to the main entrance, also in panic; others jumped up, following.  

A pulse-round ripped through the wall, knocking the left leg off one man’s body and grazing the head of another, sending both patrons to the ground in shock. ’Nuff of this! Fat Nat bolted away on all fours.  

Nat, where you goin’? Tab, the waitress, kept screaming, frozen, as multiple pulse-rounds whizzed closer and closer to her head on their way to blast the front bar area to pieces. Fat Nat appeared from around a corner, crawling fast. 

He stopped and pulled his piece from his back waistband. The rifle auto-unfolded; he aimed and then fired at her. The waitress fell, crashing to the ground on her back and her screaming never ceasing. 

You want to get killed! A round hit the wall above his head. Hyper, you alive? I’m good, boss. Now, I can get that bionic arm I always wanted—for free! Who’s shooting my place to hell! Fat Nat was red with anger and stood to his feet. 

Nat, get your ass to the ground before you get yourself shot in the head! one of his card buddies hollered as he was crawling into the bar area on all fours. Fat Nat yelled at the top of his lungs, Nuke attack! 

Emergency Nuclear Blast Doors activated, answered the overhead computer voice. The sound of several-feet thick alloy walls rose from the ground in a slow rumble as they sealed Joe Blows up like a tomb. The barrage of pulse-fire continued, but were just a melody of taps from outside, rather than projectiles of death and destruction. 

Fat Nat stood to his feet with a deep frown on his face to survey the damage. He walked to the bar and peeked over the counter. There was the kid, Hyper, lying on the floor, missing an arm, in a puddle of blood, but smiling. 

I’m good, boss. He gave a casual salute with his good arm. The blast cauterized the wound, so there’s almost no blood. Tab? Fat Nat yelled. Yes, boss. What’s your disposition? I’m shot and lying on the ground. 

Any major damage? How would I know? You were the one who shot me! Would you have preferred to be shot by me and alive or shot and dead by unknown bastard gunmen because you were too dumb to put face to floor? Is that supposed to be a trick question, boss? 

Fat Nat continued his inspection of his place. His card-mates appeared and joined him. What’s Big G’s disposition? Fat Nat asked. Big G will be needing a new hand. Fat Nat, what are you going to do? 

The other men looked at him, and they could see Fat Nat seething as he walked through the establishment—damage, debris, and bodies everywhere. Make sure no one’s dead, Fat Nat said to his friends. What will you be doing, Nat?  

Nobody shoots up Joe Blows, my place of business, and gets away duty-free. I’ll be back.No, Fat Nat. Not the Terminator stash. You can’t be shooting up the streets with machine guns. Nobody shoots up Joe Blows! Nat, said another man. 

You can’t be running around Old Harlem shooting up bad guys. This is our neighborhood. If it were somebody else’s, I’d say give me a piece too, and let’s go. But you don’t be shooting up your own neighborhood. What’s wrong with you?  

There was one loud, muffled metallic knock, then several more pounds from outside. Someone was knocking. The men looked at each other. This is the Police! Sweet Street was totally shut down. 

Thick, neon yellow police tape—POLICE LINE. DO NOT CROSS—cordoned off the entire area and it was a light show of red and blue flashing sirens. People crowded the slick sidewalks and streets outside the tape, while media arrived in force. One hover ambulance after another landed on the scene. 

Fat Nat argued with the policeman, but was gently restrained by his smoking buddies. I demand to see the body, he yelled again at the policeman. Sir, this is now an official crime scene— Yeah, I should know, Fat Nat interrupted. 

I was one of the ones inside getting shot at, watching my employees and customers get shot up and my place of business get blasted to hell. Sir, I understand you’re upset, but we have to maintain the integrity of the crime scene.  

Showing me the body of the supposed one-man, crazy gunman is not going to mess up any crime scene. Let me make it simple. Do you want to show me the body, so I can see who this mook was, or should I shuffle my fat self on over to the media cameras and talk about the deep psychological trauma I’m experiencing—yeah, I can feel it coming on. 

I might need to call my lawyer or a doctor, or my lawyer and doctor at the same time. Lawsuit settlements come right out of the police budget nowadays, never city hall— Wait here, sir. The policeman walked over to a superior talking with three other policemen. 

After a few moments of speaking, one of the policemen gestured to Fat Nat with his index finger: Come here. The white blanket was lifted from the lone gunman, lying dead on the sidewalk. Do you know this man?” the policeman asked. 

Fat Nat stared at the body for a while. He looked up and said, Never saw him before. Fat Nat’s smoking buddies also stared at the body. What about any of you gentlemen? the policeman asked. They all shook their heads. 

We’re sorry we were so jerky about this. Sorry we can’t identify him for you, either, Fat Nat continued. So this mook shot up the place with pulse machine guns? High-powered, the policeman added. He gave us quite the gun battle.  

Fat Nat shook his head. “And this is supposed to be a safe neighborhood. Well, I have lots of calls to make—hospital, insurance, and so on. I got to get my place of business made whole. Joe Blows has never been closed in sixty years, and we’re not about to start now.  

I should have the ambulance guys check me out, too. Sir, we’ll have the shift detectives contact you tomorrow for a full statement, the officer said. Thanks, officer. Tell us when you need us at the station. Fat Nat gathered his buddies and led them away towards the crowd.  

The policemen watched them. Looks like they know more than they’re sayin’, said one officer. People always know more than they’re saying, especially when they’re the victims. Fat Nat and the boys stopped in front of the police-tape line.  

Nat, that was Easy Chair Charlie, one of the men whispered. Easy Chair Charlie never touched a gun in his life! Those— Shhh! Fat Nat turned his head briefly. 

 The policemen were still watching them. Fat Nat smiled at them. They ducked under the neon yellow police tape and disappeared into the crowds as a light rain began again.


Get Your Copy of Liquid Cool Right Now.

Title: Blade Gunner
Series: Liquid Cool #2
Author: Austin Dragon
Genre: Cyberpunk Detective Thriller

The Cyberpunk Detective Thriller Blade Gunner Keeps You on the Edge of Your Seat!

Liquid Cool is the action-packed (and funny), debut cyberpunk detective series.

Who is Blade Gunner?

In the next installment of the sci-fi/cyberpunk detective series, author Austin Dragon shows you when two forces of evil want to kill each other—get the hell out of the way! 

Men are canine and women are feline. I always remembered that phrase. In my high-tech, low-life world of crime, cases were also canine or feline. The canine ones required so much vigilance, because they were so damn dangerous. 

The danger was physical, extreme, right in front of you, and in your face—but you didn’t only see it. You heard it and felt it—hopefully, not in the form of a laser blast between the eyes. 

Feline cases were just as dangerous—deceptively so, even at their most calm and cerebral. Quiet one moment, and then the violence came at you in a flash. Then all was quiet again, like a wily cat sitting on a ledge, always watching you with one eye. Cuddly and soft, but razor-sharp claws right beneath that fluffy fur.

I was planning to present my next case of note—a feline case—to show off my suave intellectual skills, since so many people think private street detectives are all a bunch of doofuses. 

But there was a canine case so outrageous in its violence and frenzy, I don’t know how the hell I survived. 

I did everything I could to avoid the violence, but somehow always found myself in the middle of it, as if I were some kind of cosmic magnet for the stuff. 

The case was that of the Blade Gunner. I had a lot of favorite sayings, like “the grime and crime of Metropolis,” but that case gave me another: Sometimes, I don’t know which is crazier—the criminal—or the client.

The seedy spousal surveillance case doesn’t look so bad after all, but it’s too late to go back. You haven’t read a cyberpunk novel like this.

Welcome to the high-tech, low-life world of Liquid Cool.



Earth. The universally recognized image of the planet—big, blue, and pristine—took up the entire digital screen of the space station’s interior wall. An orange number “10” appeared in the center and silently counted down—finally 3, 2, 1. 

The screen disappeared and revealed the true view of the planet below through the massive view port—an Earth covered with colossal storm clouds, and encircled by millions of satellites in every shape and size. It was an orbiting, man-made, metallic sea of space junk. 

The proceedings began again as the parties re-entered the cavernous courtroom. The Five Judges, each in flowing white robes with red, upturned, pointed collars, and red cuffs from the wrist to the forearm, looked on from their hover benches, hanging several feet from the floor.  

The twenty-something female defendant, Sarah C, was floated in effortlessly, in the weightless environment. She wore a simple white outfit, her wrists handcuffed in front of her, each arm held by one of two white-uniformed women with white police hats, all three of them standing on a hover platform. 

Three attorneys in dark suits flew in on another hover platform, a few feet off the ground, facing the Judges. The bailiff’s computer voice sounded over the system. Case Number 102684 is back in session.  

The Lead Judge in the center, the only one wearing a red judicial cap, stared at the defendant for a moment. Sarah C was smart enough to remove the smirk from her face, but a smirk briefly flashed on the female Lead Judge’s face before she spoke.   

The Chamber has completed its deliberation, and you, Defendant 102684, have been found guilty of all charges. However, mere moments ago, a plea agreement was agreed upon, and entered into the official record, avoiding the prescribed sentence of execution by summary spacing. 

You will, instead, as part of the plea agreement, be sentenced to permanent exile. You will be taken from our paradise here up above, and sent to live your full and final days on the rock below, known as planet Earth. 

Additionally, the Chamber was informed that as part of your plea agreement, your sentence would be carried out a year from the final adjournment of today’s proceedings, which this court sees for the ruse that it is. 

Undoubtedly, time to allow your cunning attorneys to find a way to circumvent your exile, as deftly as they circumvented your scheduled death sentence. That is the message from this scandalous case.  

For a blood member of a Founder,laws and consequences are mere annoyances to be defied after the fact—even high crimes against Utopia itself. This court, however, rejects that notion with all the contempt we can summon from the pits of our souls.   

The Chamber has no authority to change the commuted sentence, but it does retain the authority to decide when a sentence begins. Your family is not the only ones with power here above.  

The Chamber, hereby, unilaterally revokes the one-year stay, and your sentence will be carried out this very second—now! No! Sarah C yelled. Her three lawyers, a few feet away, looked at each other, not knowing what to do. They protested as the two police agents flew the struggling defendant out of the Z-gravity room. 

The rain was heavy as the spaceship descended from the overcast sky. It didn’t land, but hovered a few feet from the ground as an exit door opened. A woman clad in a hooded, fitted, white coat was pushed out. 

She picked herself off the ground, and stood with her head down as the spaceship rose, the vapor smoke, and turbulence engulfing her.  

The ship was soon gone; the vapor cloud quickly dissipated. She finally looked up at the spaceship, craning her neck as far back as it could go. After moments of watching, she looked back down to the ground, then fainted.  

Thirty years later. She was clad in a black slicker, the hood fastened tight around her head. She sat on the monorail with a weary face pressed against the glass, watching, buildings and neon signs flashing by. 

There were only two other people in the car—an elderly man sleeping with his head tilted back, snoring loudly, and a sidewalk johnny who seemed to have a permanent smile on his face and, every so often, burst out laughing for no apparent reason. 

The monorail stopped, and Sarah C got up from her seat, with a long rectangular box marked Roses tucked under one arm. She exited onto the platform. It was sheltered, but the rain was so heavy that she still needed her umbrella, which popped open as she walked to the elevator capsules.  

A yellow hover taxi appeared above the entrance and descended. It touched down on the ground, and a passenger exited. Out stepped a finely-dressed woman—faux-fur coat, black mesh veil hat, pleated dress with black nylons, and neon-tipped heeled boots.  

High class. The woman slowly walked up the stairs, and into the building as Sarah C watched. Sarah C held her box of ‘roses’ tightly, waiting. She had it planned out in her head: Give the woman time to get to the elevator capsules, and off on her way.

 Then, she would make it to the Liquid Cool offices. There, she—Sarah C—would be this Cruz, the detective’s final client of the day.


Title: NeuroDancer
Series: Liquid Cool #3
Author: Austin Dragon
Genre: Cyberpunk Detective Thriller

To be a freelance private detective in the supercity of Metropolis. Not owned by any uber-government agency, mega corporation, or shadowy criminal cartel. 

That was the status I enjoyed, after more than a few deadly dangerous cases in the relatively short tenure of my Liquid Cool Detective Agency.

But I didn’t want to be known for my gun play or getting shot—the latter a skill I seemed to excel at. I wanted to be known for not using my gun—brain work. Feline cases were what I called them; I had had plenty of canine cases with everybody trying to kill me, bullets and lasers flying. 

I wanted to be the suave, sophisticated operator to go after the butt-in-chair, Japanese-whiskey-in-hand, brainiac criminals. Anyone could go after the crazy maniacs. I wanted to do battle against a higher class of criminals. 

Why should the big corporate detective firms corner that market? I wanted to show off my suave intellectual skills and prove this private street detective wasn’t the stereotypical doofus.

My last case of the Blade Gunner had given me such a strong desire to avoid any outrageous violence and frenzy for a while. 

Unfortunately, in Metropolis, there would be no such luck for me, as the case of the NeuroDancer would prove. 

I was a permanent cosmic magnet for violence. The violence didn’t have to be overt. Subtle violence—quiet, plotting criminals—could kill you as effectively as killer terminator robots and super cyborgs. I was accustomed to the hulking, scary-looking, skin-crawl-inducing criminals. 

But I had learned the hard way that they could wear silky nylons and neon lipstick, too.

Which is crazier, indeed: the criminal—or the client?


The only sound was that of the rain hitting the window behind me. As I sat behind my desk, I knew I was in trouble from the moment she walked into my office.   

The high-fashion, two-piece black slicker outfit she wore was tight enough to be a second skin, and wrapped around her eyes was a clear red visor.  

Those piercing eyes locked on me and never let go. The Dame sat in the chair directly facing me and crossed her legs. Mr. Cruz, I’d like to hire you, she said in her sensual voice. 

Miss, I gotta ask. Is it dangerous? Dangerous, Mr. Cruz? Yeah. What do you want to hire me to do? Does it involve…gangsters? Cyborgs? Killer robots? I don’t do dangerous.  

Dangerous means I get shot. I don’t like to get shot. Oh, no, Mr. Cruz. I’m just an innocent damsel in distress, who needs a little help from the local private detective.  

I said to myself, Yeah, sure. I knew I wasn’t gonna touch this case with a 10-foot pole. It had danger written all over it, back and front. Miss, I’m sorry, but I actually won’t be able to take your case. 

 I— Oh, I forgot one thing, Mr. Cruz, the NeuroDancer added. What’s that? I asked. The only thing my eyes focused on was the slim briefcase she opened and laid on top of my desk. It was filled with stacks of beautiful currency. When do you want me to start? I asked. 


Title: The Electric Sheep Massacre
Series: Liquid Cool #4
Author: Austin Dragon
Genre: Cyberpunk Detective Thriller

Liquid Cool is Blade Runner meets the Maltese Falcon. 

In the next installment of the sci-fi/cyberpunk detective series, author Austin Dragon takes our private detective from the wild, concrete wastelands outside the supercity Metropolis across the Great Ocean to London Prime (that’s what they call it in the future) to the most dangerous place in the world—virtual reality, where all of a sudden people are killing and dying.

Welcome to the high-tech, low-life world of Liquid Cool.


Only .99¢

Austin Dragon is author of the After Eden Series, including the After Eden: Tek-Fall mini-series, the classic Sleepy Hollow Horrors, and the cyberpunk detective series, Liquid Cool. 

He is a native New Yorker, but has called Los Angeles, California home for the last twenty years. 

Words to describe him, in no particular order: U.S. Army, English teacher, one-time resident of Paris, political junkie, movie buff, campaign manager and staffer of presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, Fortune 500 corporate recruiter, renaissance man, and dreamer.

He is currently working on new books and series in science fiction, fantasy, and classic horror!

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