Tyler made a good living as a Caster - broadcasting his experiences, physical and emotional, through cybernetic implants to millions who accessed him online. But someone wanted him out, and Tyler ended up hustling illegal broadcasts to survive.
Tyler may be out of Casting, but darker players in the industry won't let him go. When Tyler's agent is murdered, he's framed for the crime. He finds out who his real friends are - the only people who don't abandon him are a bartending medical student and an ex-cop gone bad.
Now the lives of Tyler's friends are at risk, and his fate is bound to that of a mysterious little girl. No one will be safe until he discovers what's going on - and who engineered his fall from grace.
"Imagine a world where you not only see the news but you can also experience it while it's happening. Now meet Tyler, a `caster' who would do anything for a great story. After this superstar falls from grace, he begins to see life through new eyes. Jackson does a terrific job creating a world that's sure to put you on the edge of your seat. Not only is the main character well done, but all the supporting characters are finely tuned as well. Even the psycho killer is someone you will love to hate. Take the time to read this adventure packed thriller, a great read and an author worth watching." Extreme Broadcasting
“I have a job you might be interested in,” Manny said.
It took all of Tyler’s willpower to stop himself from dancing a jig.
Manny offered Tyler a smile, one reserved only for someone who could make him money. “I know it’s been a while since you last worked. How are your implants?” the agent asked.
Tyler nodded. “They’re fine,” Manny probably knew what the answer to that question would be.
“And your training?” he asked.
“I’ve been sticking to my diet and exercise plan. I also keep busy so my skills don’t get rusty.”
“Good,” Manny said. The agent reached into his suit pocket for his notebook. He turned the page in the journal and started to rattle off details about the job as he jotted down some notes.
Tyler only half heard what his agent was saying. He had waited a long time to get back into the business after his show was canceled and he was blacklisted. He could finally have his life back. No more busting his ass as a bar back or hustling quasi-legal castings.
Tyler’s moment of happiness was shattered along with the frosted glass door to Manny’s office. The invader filling the doorway was trouble. He held a strange looking device that resembled something out of an old Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon movie serial. Tyler threw himself down and to the side just as the big man pulled the trigger of his ray gun.
There was no beam of light or anything Tyler could see. He felt the wave of heat and intolerable pain during the brief time he was in the thing’s line of fire.
Manny didn’t have the benefit of Tyler’s reflexes. The beam caught him full on. He shrieked like a lobster being dumped into a pot of boiling water.
Tyler snatched a paperweight off of the desk and hurled it at the intruder. It wasn’t the most aerodynamic object in the world but it flew true hitting the man in the side of the head. It didn’t stun the guy but it got the beam off of Manny. Tyler moved fast. He ducked quickly behind the couch Manny used to “audition” some talent.
Tyler heard the man walking. He waited right where he was at. It was his only play. Out in the open, Tyler didn’t have a chance. He wouldn’t be able to close the distance before the man focused his weapon on him. If the big man leaned over the couch or came around the side of it, Tyler would make him regret it.
The man decided to break the stalemate. Tyler could hear him moving away from the couch. “Come out or I’ll kill him,” he said.
“Sod off!” Tyler yelled before he could stop himself. He knew what would happen. The caster had heard a lot of threats. This guy wasn’t bluffing. He would kill Manny if he didn’t come out. Well, it sucked to be Manny. Tyler signed his death sentence with those words.
Tyler heard a crunching noise followed by another long drawn out scream from Manny. Even more disturbing was the large man’s giggle. It made Tyler’s skin crawl. He didn’t want to see what the big man was doing to the agent. He wanted to see the killer’s gleeful expression even less.
When Manny stopped screaming, Tyler risked a peek to see where the man was. The big man was heading for the door. He was bleeding from a small gash on his forehead, yet his weapon remained steady and pointed at the couch where Tyler was hiding. The man wasn’t taking chances. If Tyler tried something, the killer would be ready. Tyler ducked back under cover and waited. The risk of fighting the man wasn’t worth it. Manny was already dead or close to it. Someone else could avenge him. Tyler waited for the guy to leave or to make the mistake of coming after him. Only when he was sure the killer had gone did he emerge from behind the desk.
“Manny, speak to me,” Tyler said.
Tyler’s stomach did a slow barrel roll when he looked at what the killer had done to Manny. He wasn’t sure the agent could see him, let alone speak. His face was a bloody ruin. Tyler could make out part of a boot print where the man stepped on Manny’s face while roasting him alive with his weapon. Smoke still rose from the agent’s clothes where the beam had been focused on him.
Somehow Manny was able to croak “Tyler?” The effort of speaking sent the agent into a fit of convulsions.
“Yeah, it’s me Manny. You’re hurt bad. I called an ambulance,” Tyler said. Even if he picked up the phone to call one, the agent would probably be dead before he hung up the phone. For a moment, he wanted to ask about the job but he couldn’t do it. Manny was dying and he wasn’t going to be a prick to him. Maybe the man wouldn’t have killed Manny if Tyler had cooperated? It was doubtful. More likely, the two of them would be dead.
Manny tried to speak, but the pain and his injuries made his voice incomprehensible. The agent was fading fast. His voice was barely above a whisper as he said, “the journal…..”
Tyler nodded in understanding. Manny’s journal was still on the desk. “What about it?”
Manny was beyond listening. His final act was to point towards the desk then he was gone.
“God damn it!” Tyler yelled.
Joey didn’t like killing people. Sure, he was good at it but it seemed like such a waste. Pain was where it was at. You hurt a man or woman enough and they will do anything to make the pain stop. When it came to hurting people, Joey had a lot of practice.
Manny wasn’t a very satisfying kill. He wanted to take his time with the agent. Joey didn’t expect him to have company. It complicated matters and Joey hated complications. The only thing he hated more than complications were witnesses. He would have to do something painful and fatal to whoever it was after he reported in. At least, he accomplished his mission and silenced Manny.