Monday, August 6, 2018

"Gargoyle" by Christopher Slayton

by Christopher Slayton

Gargoyle by Christopher Slayton

Author Christopher Slayton stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from his latest book, Gargoyle. Make sure you grab your copy while it’s FREE. Also by this author and also FREE: Chaos Company.

Chaos Company by Christopher Slayton

By day Victor Fortune, heir to his family's wealth and assets, was an industrious businessman. But by night, he was the Gargoyle, a masked vigilante who spent his nights protecting his home city of Chicago. One night while off duty, Victor and his brother Elijah find themselves opposed by a dangerous group of people led by a man known as the Judge. Together Victor and Elijah fight off the ambush, but at the cost of Victor's life. With Victor killed Elijah finds himself taking on his brother's responsibilities as the Gargoyle and discovers the harsh learning curve of what it takes to be the vigilante. But in the midst of adjusting to his second life Eli must rise to the occasion of being more than a man in a mask, but a hero, or die trying.

“On your feet, prick!” Francis Wallace said as he pulled the man he had just tackled up off the damp Chicago pavement.
The criminal, who had been beaten within an inch of unconsciousness, was nowhere near able to get to his feet unassisted. He squinted up at Francis through swollen eyes and spat blood onto the Chicago sidewalk.
Francis grabbed the young man by his collar and hauled him to his feet. “I said, stand!” While holding the man with one hand, Francis belted him across the face with the other. The man dropped to the ground again, groaning in pain as he crawled away from him and into an alley.
A wave of nostalgia rushed over Francis, bringing him back to his days as a Chicago Police Officer. He loved the honor that came along with wearing the uniform and the badge and being tasked with protecting his city, his home. At times, Francis was disappointed to leave the force. Being an officer was all he ever wanted to be. But after spending ten years with CPD, he came to the harrowing realization that his home was as broken as the day he was sworn into duty. But even though he left the job behind to become a personal bodyguard, some nights, righting wrongs was like an itch he just had to scratch.
Francis shook his head as his victim tried to crawl away. Francis kicked him, pushing the man onto his back. “This is what you get,” Francis said while kicking him again. “The gang life looks so appealing. . . ...until it’s not.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” The man spat out, along with more blood.
“I’ve been watching you, Luis. It is Luis, right?” Francis asked him, watching the man look away from him in shame. “Yeah, you’re definitely the right guy. I saw you take that bag of cash from that corner store a few blocks back.” Francis pointed at the navy blue bag sitting on the curb.
“I never hurt them. And they handed me that money.” Luis assured him. “It’s for protection. Like, insurance.”
As Luis reached out for the bag, Francis picked him up and threw him deeper into the nearby alleyway.
“They only need protection from you!” Francis shouted at Luis as he used the side of the building to crawl to his feet. As he did, Francis grabbed him by the collar of his leather jacket, while slamming his palm in the wall, inches from Luis’ face.
“Just let me go, man. My people will be looking for me if you don’t.”
Francis cursed at Luis before taking a cheap shot at his gut, forcing him to fall on his knees and double over. Francis then took out his cell phone and offered it to Luis. “Go ahead. Tell your people where you are. I insist.” Francis gave Luis a few seconds to reach for the phone, but as he fell to his side and turned away from the offer, Francis looked up a number in his contacts and sent out a text message:
Got one.”
Location?” Francis’ contact replied quickly.
Francis texted his location and slipped the phone back in his pocket. “Tell me, what clique of shit do you rep?”
“What does it matter to you?” Luis growled, while holding his stomach.
“It doesn’t matter to me.” Francis fired back. “I just figured you’d like to start snitching now before my friend gets what we need out of you the hard way.”
The night was quiet as they waited. Once or twice, the beaten-up man tried to escape, but each time Francis caught him with a push or a punch. Eventually, Luis gave up trying and sat shivering in a puddle of his own blood, which mixed in with the rain water. Meanwhile, Francis had his eye on the sky. His contact never took long to arrive, once summoned, and he knew tonight would be no exception.
The next few minutes felt like forever for Francis. As he sighed in frustration for waiting, he caught sight of a black object passing quickly between him and the moon. Francis smiled, knowing that what had just flew by was the person he moonlighted for.
Francis stepped back as the shadowed figure landed close to him. While the individual was known as a madman to some and an urban legend to others, Francis knew him as the Gargoyle. Even though Francis had been face to face with the vigilante many times, he was still impressed by the Gargoyle’s combat attire, which was black with a red lining down his arms and legs, and a black helmet to match. Francis had seen the Gargoyle in action a few times, and he was in awe of how well the attire stood up to gunfire. Francis witnessed first hand how accurate the masked man was with his pistol, a M9 Beretta, along with the throwing discs magnetically attached to his belt. Francis had never seen a piece of technology as efficient as the Gargoyle’s discs, each with different properties, varying from a taser stun to explosive charges.
But the most impressive thing about the vigilante was his means of travel. Francis knew the vehicle as the glider. Every time the Gargoyle arrived and departed, Francis had seen the drone-shaped device. He had witnessed the hovering device soar through the sky at rocket speeds, moving in unison with the Gargoyle as he stood on top of it and operated it with confidence and finesse. This was the first time Francis had seen the vehicle this close up while it hovered above the pavement and its wings almost touching both buildings on its sides. He never noticed before how the nose of the glider was designed to look like a snarling beast, with horn-like ears curved behind his its head, similar to the Gargoyle’s helmet.
Francis had no clue who was underneath the helmet. The suit provided full body coverage, including voice distortion from the helmet, to mask the Gargoyle’s voice. Francis had his guesses on who it could be, but it could have been anybody. It could even have been one of his former colleagues back at CPD. That made the most sense to him, seeing how the Gargoyle carried himself.
“Who is this?” The Gargoyle gestured to the man on the ground while stepping off the hovering glider, jerking Francis’ thoughts back to the matter at hand.
“His name’s Luis. I caught him collecting protection money from a store a few blocks back.” Francis said. “I figured you’d like to know who he’s collecting for.”
“Who. . . ...who are you?” Luis said in a trembling tone.
“Shut up.” The Gargoyle said in a low tone. He turned to Francis. “Good catch.”
Francis nodded. “Thanks.” He was pulsing with pride.
“We need to know what he knows. Who he works for and where we can find them,” the Gargoyle said, his voice still low while looking at Luis.
“We’re cleaning up this town.” Francis was on a high from the night’s work and felt that nothing could bring him down. “At this rate, Chicago will be crime-free before the decade’s out! How many does this make so far?”
“For you, me, or in total?”
“In total.”
The Gargoyle gazed into the distance. Although it was impossible to read his expression, thanks to the mask covering his face, Francis thought he seemed pensive. “Not enough. Not even close.”
“Should we interrogate him?” Wallace asked. “Maybe try to ID his clique?”
“No. Let’s hand him over to CPD. If he’s in the system, they’ll be able to find who he has ties to faster than we can. We’ll piggyback off their info when they find something.”
“Come on man, not the cops!” Luis pleaded. “I already got two strikes with them! And my people will know if I’m in there!”
“Sounds like a personal problem.” The Gargoyle pulled a spool of fiber-optic twine from his belt and handed it to Francis. “Tie his hands and feet.”
“What good is that?” Francis said in an aggressive tone. “Their file on him will be flimsy at best, if he even has one. We have him right here, right now. Let’s have him show us where his people are and end them tonight!”
“No!” The Gargoyle growled at Francis. “My way is safer. We’ll call in an anonymous tip to have the kid picked up.”
“I thought we were about cleaning up the streets,” Francis protested. “I thought this whole thing was about making Chicago safer, not some glorified catch and release program.”
“Your way is too risky. We need to learn more before making a move on this kid’s people.”
Francis sighed. “Learn more? What is this, an after-school special?”
“What would you have me do?”
“We make him hurt until he gives us what we want. Then, we end him.” Francis said. “Then we go see his people and kill them too.”
A long pause filled the air as The Gargoyle first looked down at Luis and then stared at Francis. A nervous tension occupied Francis as the Gargoyle stepped closer to him. “That’s not how I operate.”
“I've seen you kill before.” Francis shot back as the Gargoyle turned away from him.
“When necessary I’ve killed.” The Gargoyle replied, sharply. “I’ve never gone looking to take lives. I’m not a killer.”
“We could be,” Francis said. “I could be. Just think about it. Word would travel so quickly. Commit a crime in Chicago and you die. Everyone would clean up their act in a big hurry, especially the crooks that run our city's government. And you wouldn’t have to keep doing it forever, either. It would just take a few good moments like this to really get our point across.” Francis paused for a second, thinking out his next words carefully. “And if you can’t handle doing it, then I can. For you. For this city, I can do it as the Gargoyle. Just until I don’t have to anymore. Then we can both walk away from this.”
The Gargoyle was silent for a long time. Francis waited, his breath in his throat.
“No,” the masked man said, finally. “You couldn’t.”
His words made Francis’ stomach sink. “What? Why not?” he asked in a frustrated tone.
“You’re all anger inside, and that’s not good for anyone who lives here. Your ‘any means’ approach could get a lot of good people killed.”
The mugger, bound on the sidewalk, exhaled deeply. “Oh thank God! I’d rather take five years upstate than what this psycho was proposing.”
Francis seethed. “I can do it,” he said.
The Gargoyle regarded him stonily. “Contact the police,” he said. “Let them know what he’s been doing and he's here to be picked up. Make sure they take him into custody. After that, it’s up to them. We’ve done as much as we can, for now.” He turned to walk away.
“Hey!” Francis shouted as the vigilante had one foot on his glider.
The Gargoyle stopped but did not turn back.
“How can you say that? How can you say you’ve done as much as you can and walk off when we both know you can do so much more?” Francis took a step back the moment the Gargoyle turned around, almost bumping into Luis. A trembling fear engulfed Francis as he did his best not to show it. “Look at all the tools you have. All the tech. Imagine what you could do for this city if you didn’t hold back.”
“I hit criminals as hard as I need to. Not as hard as I can. This isn’t a war-zone,” the Gargoyle said. “We do this my way or not at all.”
Francis watched as the masked man stepped onto his glider just before it took off vertically into the night sky, leaving by a low humming noise to bounce off the alley walls.
On the ground, the mugger was still chortling. “Guess the boss isn’t too impressed with you.”
“Shut up,” Francis growled and kicked him again.
“At least if I get sent upstate I can tell my people inside Joliet Correctional I came face to face with the Gargoyle and lived.” Luis uttered a small laugh. “Hell man, that on top of the money I bring in for my people, I should be sitting pretty until I get out. And when I do, I’ll have a bigger name on these streets than when I went in.”
“I said shut the hell up!” Seeing red, Francis whipped out the knife he kept concealed in a sheath on his belt. He dropped to one knee and jammed it deep into Luis’ throat. The mugger’s words turned to desperate chokes as he writhed, his hands slapping at Francis’ shoulder.
Kneeling on the sidewalk, while the dying man watched with horrific eyes, Francis took out his phone and dialed 911.
“911. What’s your emergency?” the dispatcher asked.
“There’s a gang-banger bleeding out,” he replied while meeting the man’s eyes. “Someone should trace this call if you want to come pick him up.” He dropped the phone and walked out the alley. Francis’ hands shook as he thought back to what he just did; challenging the Gargoyle and stabbing the kid. As he walked down the street the faint sound of Luis choking on his own blood, scratched at Francis’ psyche. But as while he walked more lively, as the sound of sirens bounced off the nearby buildings, and he never looked back, because he knew what he did was right. More importantly, Francis knew he needed to repeat the same measure over and over until the residents of his Chicago could see his means were just. Even if that meant coming at odds with the Gargoyle.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
The Gargoyle by Christopher Slayton took me on a trip of adventure and vigilantism, not my typical read yet held my attention to the end, Gargoyle was a nice intro story I would be interested in reading a follow-up novel.” ~ Antwan Floyd Sr.
“Good read. This book reminds me of Batman with more gadgets.” ~ Amazon Customer
“This kept me interested till the end. I highly recommend reading the book. I can’t wait to read more about the Gargoyle.” ~ Tessa Navarro
“This is a superhero style story with Victor Fortune venturing out at night to fight crime and put fear into the criminals. But after a high society party is attacked by gunman Victor and his brother Eli escape down an alleyway, shots are fired. The police want the criminals and the Gargoyle, families want justice, but can everyone get what they want or deserve? A Superhero story to relax and enjoy.” ~ M. Sneyd

Interview With the Author
Author Christopher Slayton joins me today to discuss his new book, Gargoyle.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
16 to 35.
What sparked the idea for this book?
As a huge fan of comic books and vigilantes, I wanted to introduce a character who doesn't have the desire or drive to become a vigilante but is pushed into the situation.
So, which comes first? The character's story of the idea for the novel?
The idea of the novel definitely came first. I knew what I wanted to write about before I started this story. The character came shortly after. But his personal conflicts are important to me because they come from personal experience.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
There is a section in the book where the main character is taken by surprise by a thug. In that scene, I wanted the readers to experience the same sense of fear and loneliness that the main character experiences. The idea of being a vigilante like Batman or Daredevil, or even The Punisher, seems so heroic and righteous. But there is a massive level of risk and fear that isn't displayed much, and that is what I wanted to capture in that scene.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope when people read this they can see that heroes, especially real-life heroes, are just people with the same motivations and fears as us. The only difference is that, when something bad happens, they run towards the danger, even when they are scared, which makes them bigger heroes than we can ever imagine.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me almost nine years to finally write this book. It's something I wanted to dedicate my time to years ago, but life had a different plan for me. But I am glad it took me that long because it allowed me the time needed to form a complete story. And I think by completing my first book Chaos Company back in 2015 the experience I had with that story really helped me develop the story for Gargoyle.
What is your writing routine?
When I'm working on a story, I usually write on Sunday and Wednesday mornings. How much I get done varies, though. It can be anywhere from 1 to 6 pages. But throughout the rest of the week, I'll do what I can, write a few paragraphs here and there.
How did you get your book published?
Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. I used to have a publishing contract with Desert Breeze Publishing, but I was, unfortunately, let go before my book Chaos Company could be released. So both books can currently be found published through KDP. That is, until I can find representation once again.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Writing is a journey, and throughout that journey, you're going to come across more trials than any one person can count. The best advice I can give is to write what you know and/or enjoy, and do so as much as possible.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Physical exercise, like running, weightlifting, and practicing martial arts, are all things I like to do. I find it easier to stay in my room and write after a good workout session. I'm also a fan of playing video games, specifically party games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart,
What does your family think of your writing?
For the most part, they are verbally supportive.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in a family of four, my mother, father, and brother Derrick. I wasn't the most popular guy in school, but I did have a close circle of friends. I remember, as a kid, my parents used to fight a lot. It wasn't until I was twelve that it was revealed to me that my mom would argue with my dad a lot about his addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and women.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Definitely. From Clifford The Big Red Dog to Goosebumps, I read anything that caught my eye. I think my favorite stories to read were the choose-your-own-adventure books. Those were a lot of fun.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was fourteen. My 8th grade English teacher Mrs. Cirino tasked my class with writing short stories every other week. Those were my favorite assignments to do. It was such an exciting thing to do back then, creating a character and putting them through trials and challenges. It's still exciting to this day for me.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Absolutely. I was a big fan of superheroes growing up. My cousin Travis got me into comics at a young age, and that influence can be seen in a lot of my writing. But the hardships, like my parent's strained relationship and my experience with bullies, have affected my writing as well. That being said, I think I've only scratched the surface of infusing my deeper hardships into my writing. But I do look forward to doing so with other stories I plan on writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Tom Clancy, Eric Jerome Dickey, Jay Bonansinga, Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Ryan Coogler, Frank Miller, and Brian Michael Bendis are all writers and storytellers who have influenced my work, just to name a few. Each of these storytellers has a very intense and unforgiving way of storytelling that I try my best to incorporate into my own writing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do, actually. Especially for my book Chaos Company. People are always going on how they enjoyed the villain Liam King and how I plan on raising the stakes in the next book. I'm just now hearing back from people about Gargoyle. Most people tend to like the main character and his arc, commenting on how gripping his challenges are for the readers.
And, of course, publishing my books (especially self-publishing), I get my fair share of criticism. But I know I have to take the good with the bad and use all of the feedback I receive to make my next project even better. Writing, to me, is like practicing martial arts, both are lifelong hobbies that can always be improved upon.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I'm currently getting a team of writers together to publish a series of short romantic stories, so be on the lookout for that. I'm also almost done with the rough draft to the follow-up to Chaos Company, and I hope to have that out sometime next year! I officially got back to writing on the first Monday of August and will be using my social media more often (mostly Twitter) to keep people updated on what I'm working on and when they can expect more from me!
Anything else you would like to add?
If anyone reading this is a fan of action/adventure novels, then my writing is perfect for you! Go check out and download Gargoyle now! And, if you haven't already, go check out Chaos Company as well! Both are free to download!
Thanks for stopping by today, Christopher. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Christopher Slayton
Christopher Slayton was born and raised in New Castle, Delaware. During Chris’ high school years, he earned two All-Conference awards in lacrosse and three national awards in JROTC. Chris attended the University of Delaware, where he earned a B.A. in Psychology. While in college Chris was a UD ambassador, and wrote sketches for his school’s comedy show. Chris was a member of his school’s Tae Kwon Do team, where he earned multiple honors in nine tournaments. Chris has incorporated his passion for both martial arts and video games into his writing, helping him finish his first book, Chaos Company. His latest book, Gargoyle, is now available.
He is looking to create high-octane, adrenaline-pumping stories that are centered in the modern world and focus on gritty and realistic topics, such as crime, political corruption, criminal perspective, love and loss, purpose, friendship, teamwork, and overcoming tragedies.