| Chapter One of Cal Leandros Book 8



Chapter One of Cal Leandros Book 8

24 Apr 2012, Posted by Rob Thurman in Blog, Rob Thurman's Twitter

It’s a year away, but here’s a teaser to keep your motor revving: a little taste of the first chapter of Cal 8. Half the book is set twelve years ago and half is  present day. Twelve years ago Niko was fifteen and Cal eleven (for those confused by the difference in ages–4 years vs 2 years–you’ve forgotten that time runs differently in Tumulus where Cal was lost for 2 days here/2 years there.)  In this little snippet, Niko comes home after school and work and Cal fills him in on the news of the day. Enjoy! (And if it inspires fan art…I do love fan art.)


 Twelve Years Ago





“Our neighbor is a serial killer.”

It was that kind of day.

There had been tutoring no-necked football players lacking enough in brain cells that I was surprised they didn’t have calluses on their knuckles from walking on them. It would’ve gone well with their gorilla grunting. Following that had been the food poisoning caused by a casserole brought in by Mrs. Cornelius. The teacher’s lounge had been liberally labeled a biohazard. The color of which is not orange like they tell you, but the bile green of non-stop vomiting. I stood witness to that. I’d gone through three mops.

And now we had a serial killer.

I closed the door behind me and locked it, not because I was immediately on board with the serial killer comment just issued, but we rented in a bad neighborhood. For us, an average neighborhood would be a more truthful way to put it. We’d not lived in better and we’d sometimes lived in worse. This cramped little house with a pronounced lean, no insulation, and cracked windows in east New London, Connecticut was nothing special in one way or the other. When we didn’t stay anyplace longer than five or six months, thanks to our mother’s ‘occupation’, it was all the same. I put my duffle bag containing my school books and janitor uniform by the door and took off my worn, but warm Salvation Army coat to hang from a rusted hook by the door.

With everything in its place I moved to the kitchen table, which wobbled, where my little brother with pencil and paper sat in a chair, which also wobbled. I lightly ruffled his black hair, shaggy in length but with a gloss like silk. Thanks to Cal being a good brother, he let me without complaint.

“Are you doing your homework?” I asked with a little disapproval for him to hear. It was six PM—although I couldn’t make it home at the same time as he did, I made it there before dark. Always.

The homework that he should’ve been done with by now. There was also a pan crusted with burnt Spagetti-Os in the sink, some less scorched fake pasta in spots on the cracked linoleum floor, and a purple handprint, Grape Crush probably, on the door of the groaning refrigerator.Cal was a good brother, but there are all sorts of definitions for good when it came to an eleven year old.

“Yes, Nik. I’m doing my homework. Watching the serial killer made me get behind.” I didn’t have to see his eyes to know they were rolling with the disdain and sarcasm only an eleven year old could manage, and I gave him a gentle swat to the back of the head.

I took the other chair and sat down. “All right. Tell me why our neighbor is a serial killer,” I said with a patience I didn’t have to fake. I listened to Cal when he had something to say. I always listened to him. I had even when he was three and thought a monster lived under the bed, because in our world….

In our world, there was every chance that he wasn’t necessarily wrong.

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  • HazelG

    OH.MY.. I LOVE it when we get a Niko POV! He’s such a good older brother who believes in Cal no matter what. And I love that we are going to get more of their past.. I love it when we get flashbacks to their childhood.. This is one of my fav series and its all because of the love between these two brothers. I can’t wait til this comes out.. waiting a year is going to be torture!

  • SKorsak

    These brothers are seriously adorable. A whole year, huh. Well, I’m sure it will be very well worth the wait. You’ve yet to disappoint. Thanks for the preview. Very sweet.

  • Traci

    Thank you for the preview. I love the Leandros brothers. This is my favorite series. I can’t wait to read another book with all of Cal’s kickass, sarcastic glory!

  • Chevix

    Just found out that this had been posted when I was looking for updates on my waiting for new releases list and absolutely had to read! Half of it set in their childhood? I can’t wait to read more! I’ll be at the bookstore waiting for it to open again I know it 😀

  • Julie

    Great little teaser for the next book! At first, when I got the snippet notification, I wasn’t going to read it because I knew it’d make the wait for the book suck that much more. Then, several days later, I finally got sick of sitting in my little emo corner rocking back and forth in the fetal position from the Leandros withdrawals and finally read it! XD
    I’m very pleased about Niko’s POV being brought back! I do get the feeling Goodfellow won’t show up as much, but more insight on the daily lives of young Cal and Niko makes it worth the sacrifice. Kinda. Come on, we all know we’d miss Robin if he didn’t show. XD
    The year-long wait’s gonna seriously suck, though…

  • Theresa

    It’s the All Seeing Eye that will keep me from probably fatal withdrawls from a Cal Leandros lack. GREAT snippit – Niko never was a child, Cal is right…Cal didn’t get much of a childhood but he DID get some thanks to Niko. Wondering (with glee) exactly what the brothers will do to and about the serial killer – Cal practicaly destroyed the nurse he conned into getting Niko antibiotics for his infected arm. Loved the image of a big eyed, cute little Cal ruthlessly exploiting her.
    I also agree that we do need a few more snippits here and there. A year is a long time.

  • Gilraen

    Great! Can´t wait for the rest of the book!

    But I would like to ask one question, why is in Nightlife Niko five years older than Cal and in other books only four years?
    Thanks for answer.

  • Kat

    Great! Can’t Wait! more CAL soon, Please…….posted on FB and sent to all my friends too!

  • Kat

    LOVE it, more CAL soon, Please…….posted on FB and sent to all my friends too!

  • Val

    Love it!

  • Leah

    I am fairly new to the Cal Leandros novels. Blackout and Doubletake are my first two (did not realise that Blackout was part of a series) Love, love, love these books. I am truly hooked and intend to go back and read them all. It will give me something to do while awaiting the next novel!!

  • Josh

    The very first book of this series that I happened to pick up at my very limited department store back in 2009 was Deathwish. Though I know it’s quite hard to grasp jumping into the midst of a series, and such a complex one as the Cal Leandros Novels, I did so with abandon. From that point on all patience I had ceased to exist.

    I went online to find the first three novels and went in search of more immediately. Miss Thurman has never failed to deliver. The Trickster Novels and the Chimera series sated me between Cal’s adventures and I never tire of the sly, penetrating perception and wit of the emerging Byronic heroes. Cal is the little voice that we all have demanding not to take life seriously simply because life is all too serious. And Niko, always the voice of control and the even more intensely ignored voice of self-aggrandizement.

    After wrapping up Doubletake and looking forward to this next novel I’m deeply interested in hearing about the intervening years prior to Cal’s kidnapping and what compromises Niko made to uphold his moral values while instilling his brand of justice in the world around him. We all know he has no issue killing when it’s needed, but where was the line drawn? A serial killer next door sounds like the perfect test and I can’t wait to see how he handled it.

    In conclusion, as a loyal fan, I will wait this out. I know without fail the end result will satisfy in a fashion I’ve only come to expect from Rob Thurman.

  • Mad Bonnie

    Ah, the foundation of what makes Niko great is already laid out: tutoring knuckleheads, being a full-time student, working a job, and uber-responsible for Cal. Plus he idealizes Cal a little, still: seeing him as ‘good.’ Heh – just wait a dozen years or so…

    And Niko as a janitor? I lol’ed. That must have been the cleanest school ever!

  • Tracy

    Oh yeah, did I mention how thrilled I am so see Niko POV again? YES!!!! I’ve been waiting for him since Deathwish (my personal favorite of the series so far). Niko POV deserves it’s very own SQUEE!!!

  • Cassie

    This made me die inside several times and squeal at a pitch only bats can hear. Wee!Cal! Wee!Niko! I always loved the flashbacks and now we get HALF A BOOK FULL OF THEM? Rob, you are too good to us.

    Only…. I can’t wait another year. It’ll kill me. When do we find out the title? (I’m already going through possibilities in my mind and they all suck….)

  • Mouse

    Thank you so, so much for the teaser!!!!! I don’t think I can wait another year though, I hardly survived waiting for Doubletake. When I got it in the mail I pretty much did one of those fangirl screams that make peoples ears bleed and I didn’t let the book out of my sight until I was done rereading it for the third time. And now the 8th book teaser… thank you thank you thank you!!! I would post fan art, but alas, I do not have a scanner yet to upload pics. That, and I can never seem to draw Cal correctly.

  • Peg

    Yay! Love snippets! And more Cal and Niko! And more Trixa/Leo/Zeke/Griffin! and more Stefan and Misha! and wondering if there’s any word on when we can look for more Scotch and Seven? and I am looking forward to “All Seeing Eye”. Thanks for this! 🙂

  • Renee

    Dude are you trying to kill me!!!! You don’t offer a beer to an alcoholic. You don’t offer a Lortab to an addict. You don’t offer chocolate to a nightshift nurse at 3am. And you most definitely, absolutely, never-ever-ever give a snippet of Cal to an angst-crazed, bromance loving, card-carrying-half-monster-loving-freak of an obsessed crazed fan. ACK!!!!!!!
    This is going to kill me… I need more!!! Is the neighbor a serial killer or has Daddy been leaving Cal presents at night that Niko hasn’t found first (which I know is probably a ridiculous thought) or… oh there so many wonderful angst filled options to choose from… and that’s just what my mind can come up with…. that beautiful twisted mind of yours will shock me I am sure.
    Here I am still trying to get over the last book because you broke me so many times… broke me – stopped on the pieces – and had Cal toss what was leftover through a gate to Tumulus just to finish blowing my mind!
    Seriously there is no freakin way I am gonna make it another year so when can I expect the next longer snippet (hint,hint). Why don’t we just agree to a fair trade? I promise not to go crazy waiting for the next book and bring on the zombie apocalypse early and you promise to post a new snippet of Cal every holiday? Seems fair doesn’t it? Okay? Okay.
    So I should inform you that tomorrow is Arbor Day… and as trees are very important to the world I think we can all agree the night before such a big day is important so I’ll expect my Arbor’s Day Eve snippet to pop up in a few hours. And tomorrow’s snippet should be posted after your morning coffee or caffiene beverage of your choice as I wouldn’t deprive anyone of their daily fix. And Saturday…. well Saturday is “Treat a Fan to Fic” Day which I’m sure you’ll want to celebrate appropriately. And Sunday is “Sleep Late, Pet Your Dog, & Love a Freak” Day so obviously another post.
    Thank goodness we’ve worked out this system. I feel much better now!

  • Chys

    Hah! I get pizza AND a Cal snippet today! Oh yeah. Great day. Awesome teaser.

  • Tracy

    Let’s all say AWESOME!!! Thanks for that little snippet Rob. I can’t WAIT for this book! Awww, Cal got a hair ruffle. LOL! LOVE IT!

  • Gloria Oliver

    SQUEE! They’re just so CUTE!

  • Nicole

    That is sooooo awesome!

    I had the bad idea of reading this in the college’s student center and am now trying not to squee out loud ;P


  • Brooke

    Niko is so responsible, it’s hot. Can’t wait for this to come out! I’ve always wanted to know more about what they were like as kids.

  • Kat

    I don’t wanna wait till Feb/March 2013! I love delving into Nik and Cal’s past. Can’t we get preview chapters as long as we promise to buy when the book comes out? I’ll sign any letter of intent on the bottom line. 🙂

  • Leigh Ann Wallace

    Seriously? We have to wait another year?

  • Andi Byassee

    Niko. Already pretty cool and collected at eight years old. I’m excited to see more of the brothers as kids. All kinds of awesome. And in the meantime, well, there’s rereading and there’s All Seeing Eye coming up. Still gonna stretch my patience, though! Thanks for the snippet.

  • Kellan

    Okay, just gimme a second. Gonna hop in my TARDIS and….. *whirring noise* Ah, got it! Okay, so… What?!?!

    “Dear reader, due to technical difficulties, this novel has been pushed back another year. Please enjoy this refresher snippet and keep an eye out of the upcoming (official) Cal novel “Pwned”
    Sincerely, Rob Thurman”

    There is what is written above and then the next three hundred pages is “hahahahahahahahahah…” Not cool, Rob.

    Okay, seriously, this is amazing! Can’t wait for the next book!!! 🙂

  • Jennifer

    I need to catch up…

  • Elizabeth

    Squeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I read this yesterday and again today! Add more when u feel like! I cant wait for this book!

  • Jon Owens

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Can’t wait; but I suppose I will have to.

  • Carol

    Great start! Of course there could be a monster under the bed, but it’s well known that blankets and Teddy Bears are an awesome defense. 😀

  • Cat

    And Niko thinks to himself, A serial killer? Is that all?

    Awesome snippet, thank you for the incipient fangirl apoplexy:)

  • PeorthMoon

    Just when I thought we wouldn’t see our old friends, Cal and NIko, for a very long time. Thanks for the early birthday present. Definitely going to be looking forward to this book, for the rest of the year!

  • jen

    Seeing this is the best thing to happen to me all week- thanks for the awesome present!

  • Amory David Day

    Looking forward to it!

  • Cal's_Girl

    LOVE IT!!!! So excited for Niko’s POV!!! Thanks for the smidget of awesome!

  • Karen

    Oh the torture! A year…*sigh*. And thanks for the snippet. I do so love Niko’s POV.

  • Kin13

    *gurgle* *choke* Whaaa??? More Niko and Cal, already?? Oh, my motor is revved alright. Rob, you are the best 😀

    I love the Niko POV! And I’m intrigued by this idea – half the book being set in the past and half in the present. I’m guessing there’s something that ties both halves together? A nasty villain of some sort? I’m going to miss Goodfellow, I fear. But I am excited for this – I always loved the childhood flashbacks, and now we get a whole half a book, and with Sophia in it as well. Gah, these brothers just rock.

    Well… I guess now I’ll just… wait until next year.
    *sits down and gets comfortable*

  • Thomas

    This was simply amazing, I can’t wait ’til the whole book comes out!

  • Deidre

    I don’t think it’s entirely possible I can wait another year…