Posts Tagged ‘US Army’

KANSAS CITY, Mo.Sunbury Press has released Pink Crucifix, Johnny Strife’s first installment in The Passion Plaything Trilogy.

pc_fcPink Crucifix is a darkly comic romance with horror and fantasy elements. The story of courtship between a vampire and her thrall endeavors to be analogous to that of a young man’s awkward attempts to maintain a relationship with an emotionally distant, much older, much more powerful woman. The story spans one night, but stretches back ninety years into the past, through the recollections of various characters. Ian Raith is an American soldier stationed in the medieval Bavarian town of Bamberg. Since his unit is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan soon, he and his friend and subordinate, Nikolas Skandalis, take advantage of an Easter training holiday to abscond to the Netherlands. There, they score a large quantity of “Pink Crucifix” ecstasy from the Bosnian drug dealer Omar Amsterdam, in the hopes of selling it to their buddies downrange at a vastly inflated price. While sampling the pills in the Red Light District that night, Ian encounters a lovely German girl named Lorelei Böse, who appears to be surrounded by a glowing red aura. Enchanted and besotted, he follows her into the darkness, and quickly descends into a maelstrom of death and destruction, in which everything he has is taken from him. But Ian might discover that sometimes, one must lose everything in order to find the one thing that matters.

This is Johnny Strife’s first novel. He spent most of his adult life in the army, and is now focusing on writing full-time.

I was cresting a chemical-induced wave of euphoria from three hits of Omar Amsterdam’s “Pink Crucifix” ecstasy the first time I laid eyes on Lorelei, so it didn’t strike me as strange that her alabaster arms and legs glowed with an eerie iridescence in the neon night. Her heels were clicking quickly toward Nikolas and me as we meandered down Bloedstraat, a narrow, crowd-congested artery running through the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The litter-strewn street was rimmed with crimson-lit show windows exhibiting bored whores in various states of undress and stages of gender reassignment.

I nudged Nikolas on the shoulder. “Check her out,” I semi-shouted into his ear to be heard above the pulsating din of polyglot prattling.

“Check who out?” asked Nikolas, looking as if I’d roused him from some placid reverie. He hadn’t dropped any of the X yet, but he’d smoked a fat joint after our dinner at the Café Remember, and his angularly handsome Greek features exuded that beatific beaming he only evinced when stoned. “All these chicks are dimes.”

“The girl in the black dress,” I said, motioning with a sideways nod toward the raven-haired pixie that was just then hovering past us like an apparition.

Nikolas, never one for subtlety, turned mid-stride and unabashedly ogled her up and down. He nodded noncom-mittally. “Not bad.”

“Not bad?” I replied, somewhat surprised. “She’s glowing, dude.”

Nikolas’s guffaw rattled my drug-addled jaw. “You’re X-ing like Malcolm, Sarge.”

“Al-Khalil did not lie,” I said. “This shit is intense.”

“Al-Khalil never lies,” agreed Nikolas. “Unless you’re a teenage runaway looking for a place to stay.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Khalil Kaya, a Turkish pimp and narcotics dealer we’d befriended back in Germany, had the skewed brand of honor that only exists among reprobates.

Nikolas—professionally known as Private First Class Skandalis—was my soldier, and as close to a friend as I’ve ever had. Our unit, Charlie Battery, First of the Thirty-third Field Artillery, was part of the First Infantry Division of the United States Army, stationed in the small Bavarian town of Bamberg. It was in that medieval municipality, in a soapsuds-soaked techno rave held in a seedy basement discotheque, that we’d first met Khalil.

Our unit was scheduled to ship out to Afghanistan three weeks hence, and Nikolas and I had taken advantage of the four-day Easter-weekend training holiday to drive up to the Netherlands and purchase one hundred grams of ecstasy pills, which we planned to sell to our brothers in arms downrange. It had been Khalil who had facilitated our clandestine transaction with the Bosnian gangster known as Omar Amsterdam earlier that afternoon, in an abandoned, malodorous windmill in the southeastern Dutch city of Maastricht.

Pink Crucifix
Authored by Johnny Strife
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
220 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066003
ISBN-10: 1620066009
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers

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