Monday, June 24, 2013

The Michael Sykora Series


Title: Killing Instinct  
Series: The Michael Sykora Series #3
Author: Darcia Helle
Published: May 30th, 2013
Word Count: 86,000
Genre: Suspense
Content Warning: Contains strong language, some graphic violence, and dark content. 16+

Sandman built his dubious reputation by turning the dreams and nightmares of others into harsh reality. Now he’s pursuing his own twisted dream; the beautiful Maria Milan. But she doesn’t want to become a player in Sandman’s sordid fantasy.

Michael Sykora is a hit man who kills for justice. Sean Riley is a hit man born to kill. Together, they’re out to take down Sandman and his organization. Whether mercy is given depends on who catches him first.

* Book #3 in the Michael Sykora series. *

Title: Beyond Salvation
Series: The Michael Sykora Series Book # 2
Author: Darcia Helle
Published: September 12th, 2009
Page Count: 252 pages
Genre: Suspense

A teenage runaway disappears from the streets. The only people that care, or even notice, are her two best friends who are also runaways. For reasons of their own, they can’t go to the police for help.

They seek out Michael Sykora, a software designer by day and hit man by night. Known on the streets as The Ghost, Michael has a reputation for taking on the twisted criminals. Rapists. Child molesters. He has never been hired to find the lost. Until now. 

Michael teams up with ex-prostitute Nicki and full-time hit man Sean. Together they bend the rules of the justice system in order to find a young girl few people care about. In the process, they uncover a world where salvation comes with a price tag and God’s words are used to incite fear in a congregation of believers.


Title: No Justice
Series: The Michael Sykora Series Book # 1
Author: Darcia Helle
Published: June 13th, 2009
Page Count: 224 pages
Genre: Suspense

How far would you go to right a wrong?

For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he’s good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.
Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiancé to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.
At one time or another, don’t we all wish we could do the things our Justice system cannot or will not? What would it take to push you over the edge?

Excerpt from Killing Instinct:
Sean Riley looked down at the woman he’d been hired to kill. Even before he’d partnered with Michael Sykora and tamed his deadly skills, he’d disliked killing women. Back then, he’d probably have turned down this job. Not that he’d have altered the outcome. Someone else always stood next in line, wanting the money and willing to kill for it.
Even sleeping, with her jet-black hair scattered across the pillow and a drop of drool slipping from the corner of her mouth, her beauty took his breath away. This woman, whose name was Maria Milan, should be dead by now. Jake, the man who’d paid for her murder, wanted her to die slowly. To suffer. Jake had specified the use of a knife, keeping the plunges slow and only deep enough to shatter her nervous system. Keep her alive until the last possible moment.
Jake did not have balls enough to do it himself.
He wanted photos. A recording of her screams. He’d asked for video, as if Sean was a slice-and-dice movie producer instead of a high-priced hit man.
Sean stood in the shadows of the bedroom, watching Maria sleep. He’d done the unthinkable. For the first time in his long, restless and oddly successful career, he’d had sex with the intended victim. More than that. He’d gotten involved. He’d fallen for this woman who’d been marked to endure excruciating horrors at his own hands.
He shifted in the darkness, wishing he could crawl back under the sheet. He already missed the feel of her skin pressed against his own. With a quiet sigh, he tugged his pants on. He had a job to do.
Fully dressed, he gazed back at Maria. The moonlight fell across her face. She didn’t stir. Her beauty glowed. He knew things about her now. And she knew things about him. They’d become tangled in ways he hadn’t expected.
Sean went out to the kitchen and grabbed the backpack he’d left by the door. He flipped the light on, squinting at the brightness. When his eyes adjusted, he checked the contents. One roll of heavy duct tape. A few small towels for use as gags. Rope. Zip ties. A full syringe. His Black Ops knife. He fingered the metal, thought about the meaning of what he needed to do. What he might not have done a year ago. What it would all mean to him, to his future. To Maria.
He stepped back into the bedroom. Maria had rolled onto her side. Her hair spilled over her cheek. The sheet fell away, exposing flesh he’d lingered over not long ago. A smile played on his lips. He’d enjoy this job, this killing, more than anyone had a right to.
With a last look over his shoulder, he left Maria behind and headed out to his car.

Guest post for the Michael Sykora Series

Is there anything you would change about this series? If so, what would you change and why?

I can’t think of anything major I’d change about this series. Like most writers, I could edit my work ad nauseam. I have no doubt that if I was to go back to No Justice (book #1 in the series), I would alter sentences and make other minor changes. I’d probably be appalled by some of my own words. That book is now four years old, and I like to think my writing has grown in those four years.

All that is minor though, and doesn’t change the overall structure of each story. I’m happy with the characters and the way they’ve evolved. The pacing and plots work both for entertainment and to further the characters’ personal stories.

I worked hard to make each book read well as a stand-alone, so that readers who haven’t followed Michael Sykora from the beginning could pick up any of the books along the way. As a reader, I’m sometimes disappointed in books within a series because I feel a major disconnect with the characters and their stories. Often authors assume readers have followed along from the beginning but, if there are three or five or a dozen books before the new one that catches my eye, I might not want to go back and read them all. Sometimes, even when I have followed a series, quite a bit of time and a whole lot of other books have passed in between. Authors can’t expect readers to remember specifics, and shouldn’t rely on background information in previous books in a series to prop up the stories in later books. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in making the series flow well together, while also working as individual reads.

Anything I’d want to change has nothing to do with the books’ content. I wrote several unrelated books between Beyond Salvation (book #2) and Killing Instinct (#3). While I don’t regret writing those books, I do wish I’d kept better momentum with this series. I’m guilty of shoving Michael Sykora to the back corners of my mind. For me, a big part of the excitement of writing is getting to know new characters and exploring their stories. I stumbled a bit with the creation of a series, thinking Michael didn’t have much else of interest to say to me. As it turns out, I was wrong. Once I decided to listen, I realized he had a lot more to say. So much, in fact, that I already have ideas for the next few books in the series.

One other thing; I wish I could write faster. If I could find a way to change that, I’d be euphoric. 

About the Author:
Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.

Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind.

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
• GRAND PRIZE: Signed print copies of all 3 books - No Justice, Beyond Salvation, and Killing Instinct - US only. If winner is INT they will receive eBooks.
• SECOND PLACE: eBook copies of all 3 books - No Justice, Beyond Salvation, and Killing Instinct – INT
• THIRD PLACE: $10 USD via PayPal - INT

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for letting me hang out on your blog today!


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