Spotlight on The Delphi Effect (Rysa Walker), First Chapter Reveal & Giveaway
Today we're spotlighting Rysa Walker's novel, The Delphi Effect!!
Read on for more about Rysa, her novel, the first chapter reveal, and a giveaway!
Meet Rysa Walker!
RYSA WALKER is the author of the bestselling CHRONOS Files series. Timebound, the first book in the series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Rysa grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where she read every chance she got. On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light.
She currently lives in North Carolina, where she is working on her next series, The Delphi Project. If you see her on social media, please tell her to get back into the writing cave.
For news and updates, subscribe to the newsletter at rysa.com/contact.
Meet The Delphi Effect!
It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.
When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.
“Are you Jerome Porter?”
The man arches one bushy black brow and expels a cloud of cig- arette smoke in the other direction before turning back to respond. “That’s me. Do I know you?”
“No. But I have a message for you.” I pull my phone from my pocket and extend it toward him, trying but failing to keep my hands from shaking as I turn the screen in his direction.
“A message? From who?”
I hesitate, pushing the phone forward again. “It’s a text,” I say. “From your granddaughter. From Molly.”
His dark face tightens, eyes narrowed to tiny slits as he glares down at me. “My granddaughter is dead.”
Porter drops the half-smoked cigarette and crushes it under his foot, his jaw clenched and angry as he disappears into the building.
I sit with my back against the gray cement wall, close enough to give me a clear view of the revolving glass door but far enough away to avoid inhaling the fog of smoke that surrounds the entrance. The door spits out a new body every minute or so. About half of them huddle near the building, zipping up their jackets or wrapping scarves around their necks to ward off the chill, settling in for a short cigarette break before heading back up to their cubicles for a few more hours of work.
The afternoon is windier and colder than it was when I left the house. Colder than it has any right to be in late October. I glance longingly at the café at the end of the block. It would have been nice to watch for Porter from one of the small tables near the windows, but they were all taken. So I’m stuck here, waiting, as the wind whips hair into my eyes and assaults my already chapped lips.
Should we check the back entrance again?
I flex my feet in an attempt to get the blood flowing, hoping her answer will be yes. Anything would be better than just sitting and waiting.
There’s a pause, and then I hear Molly’s voice.
No. He’ll be here.
I stand up anyway and chuck my half-full coffee cup into the trash. Even doctored liberally with sugar, a practice I usually scorn, it’s still too burnt to drink and now much too cold to serve its secondary purpose as a hand warmer.
I think Molly is a bit too optimistic. It’s entirely possible the old guy decided to give up smoking cold turkey rather than risk seeing me again.
I’ve been hounding him on and off for over a week. I’ve mixed things up a bit, depending on my work and school schedule, once approaching Porter in the morning as he left the Metro station, twice in the evening as he left work. Usually, though, I’ve cornered him during his late-afternoon smoke break, since that allows me to still make my usual shift at the deli if I hurry. Each time, Porter has either avoided me completely or, after calling me a few choice names, walked away.
Until yesterday, that is. The music clearly hit a nerve, just as Molly said it would, because Porter didn’t even speak. He just stormed over to where I was standing, snatched the phone from my hand, and went back inside. With my phone.
Several times this week, I dragged Deo with me, but today he had an appointment with Kelsey. He missed the last one, so I told him he needed to go. It would have been nice to have him along, though, both for moral support and as a witness. Despite Molly’s assurances that her grandfather isn’t the type to resort to violence, I got an up-close-and- personal look at his expression yesterday. I’ve seen enough anger to know when someone is one short step from swinging his fist.
Pa won’t hurt you. He’s a good man. He was a cop. He took my phone. That phone cost me two weeks’ salary. He’ll give it back.
Molly’s voice is confident, without even a shadow of doubt, and I
feel a twinge of jealousy. Her life may have been short, but she’d had someone she could count on. Someone she believed in completely. Even the fact that he wasn’t able to save her didn’t shake that faith.
A delivery drone skims the downtown skyline and drops its pack- age on a roof two blocks down. The drone is probably several yards above the building, but from down here it appears to be a precision
operation with mere inches to spare. Once it whizzes away, I look back toward the entrance and see Porter standing a few feet behind the glass, watching me.
He just stands there, a heavyset black man with a moustache and close-trimmed beard sprinkled with gray. He’s wearing a tweed coat over his usual suit, and the buttons gape a bit over his belly. My phone is clutched in his right hand. A pack of Marlboro Golds is in his left.
Usually, I avoid his eyes, but today I meet his stare with one of my own, jamming my hands into the pockets of the threadbare Old Navy hoodie that is, at least for the time being, my only winter coat. I don’t have to be here. I could leave. I’m doing him a favor, damn it.
A few seconds later, Porter slips my phone into his pocket and pushes through the revolving door. He crosses over to me with long, purposeful strides and rams a thick finger in my face. “I want to know how you got this information, young lady. How did you know Molly? Who put you up to this . . . this sick, twisted—”
Tears sting my eyes, from anger or the wind. Maybe both. “Just give me my phone. I’ll leave.”
No. NO, please, Anna, please.
“You’re not going anywhere,” he says, his voice rising. “I still have a couple of friends on the force, and you’re gonna answer some questions. Otherwise, I’m turning this phone over to them and—”
“Fine!” I snap back at him. “Keep the stupid phone. Do you think I enjoy standing here in the cold? Sucking in secondhand smoke? I told her this wouldn’t work. I told her.”
“You told who?” Porter asks, gripping my arm.
“I told M-Molly,” I reply, teeth chattering as a gust of even colder wind whips around the corner.
Porter glances down at my clothes, and his eyes, which actually look a lot like Molly’s, soften the tiniest bit. “You wanna go inside where it’s warmer, Anna? I’ll trade you a cup of coffee for some answers.”
I pull my arm away. “How do you know my name?”
He shrugs. “Your phone is the property of Anna Elizabeth Morgan.
I can put two and two together.”
I move toward the café door. “No coffee. It’s burnt. But I wouldn’t say no to some hot chocolate.”
The café is gloriously warm. Debussy’s Arabesque no. 1 plays softly in the background. Six months ago, I didn’t know Debussy from Devo—both are way before my time—but since Molly came on board, it’s like I have a radio announcer in my head whenever I hear classical music or pretty much anything piano. A lot of it isn’t really my style, but this one is nice. Arabesque kind of reminds me of a waterfall, and I find myself relaxing just a bit.
There are two open tables. One is grungy, but the cleaner option is a booth positioned against the mirrored tiles that cover the wall of the café. I grab a few napkins and wipe the crumbs from the messy table onto the floor. Molly is so close to the front right now, so intensely present, that I know exactly what I would see if my eyes strayed to that mirror.
The day we recorded the song for Porter on my phone, I caught a glimpse of myself in a framed picture near the piano and saw my reflection mostly through Molly’s consciousness. Her brown skin super- imposed over my own pale complexion, the chocolate color of her eyes nearly obscuring my own deep blue. Her black hair pulled back, a few tendrils escaping, and only a hint of my own dark-blonde curls around my shoulders. Like I’m the ghost and she’s the living. Vivid, angry bruises on her neck and upper chest. A small trickle of blood on her left temple, and when I glanced down at the piano keyboard, a red gash where my left pinky should be.
Is that what Molly saw the last time she looked in a mirror? Or was it her last glimpse of her body before leaving it behind? Either way, it spooks me. No mirrors when Molly is wound up like this. And I make it a point to keep my left hand in my lap as much as possible these days. Just in case.
A few minutes later, Porter slides a cup of cocoa in front of me, a glob of whipped cream on top, and takes the other chair. He risked the coffee, despite my warning, and grimaces as he takes a sip.
“I was hoping they’d made some fresh, but I guess not,” Porter says, dumping three creamers into the mug. He takes another taste, frowns, then adds two more.
Apparently satisfied with the brew, Porter leans back, pulling my phone out of his pocket as he shrugs the coat from his shoulders. He doesn’t give me the phone. Just holds it there in the palm of his hand, taunting me.
“So. How come you know that song, girl? You go to school with Molly? She’d be about your age now.”
“You take piano with her or somethin’ like that?”
“I’ve never taken piano lessons,” I say, stirring the whipped cream into the chocolate to cool it.
“Then who was playin’ that song you recorded on the phone?” “Me. Sort of.” My fingers, but more Molly. Saying that would prob-
ably end the conversation however, so I push forward to the key point. “Molly said you’d recognize it.”
“Of course I recognized it. My granddaughter wrote it for me. Well . . . that’s not quite right,” he amends, more to himself than to me. “I sang it to her first, so I guess I wrote it, really. But she’s the one who figured it out on the piano.”
He’s silent for a moment, then continues. “So, let me get this straight. You’re saying you didn’t know Molly before . . . before she died. But yet you know all this stuff somehow. Did she write it down, or
what? I mean, I didn’t see her or her mama much those last few months. If Molly left some sort of message or diary or somethin’ and you found it, why not just give it to me now and save us both a lot of trouble? Are you expectin’ me to offer you some sorta reward?”
“I don’t want your money. I’m not even sure I want to help you anymore. I would like my phone back, however.”
He turns the phone over in his hand but still doesn’t give it to me. “I know you sent that text message to yourself—it’s from your own number.”
“Of course it’s from my number,” I say, rolling my eyes. “You think Molly has a phone? She’s dead.”
Porter glares at me and I look down again, taking a sip from the cocoa before I continue. “It was a lot to remember, and Molly wanted to be sure it was in her words. If I’d known you were going to steal my phone I’d have made her write it down on a sheet of paper.”
“As you just reminded me, Molly’s dead. Been dead goin’ on three years. How’s she gonna be writin’ anything down?”
And we’ve now reached the part where Porter will decide I’m crazy. Mad as a hatter. Nutty as a fruitcake—pick your favorite metaphor and run with it. I’ve tried explaining this before. It never comes out sound- ing sane, even to my own ears.
“I let Molly . . . borrow me. For a little while. I don’t usually do that. But Molly was persistent. She said it was important. That you could find this guy and stop him. That she could help. That other people might die too, if I didn’t.”
He leans forward across the table and looks directly at me, clearly hoping my eyes will dart away or I’ll give some indication of a lie. I hold his stare, and after a moment he leans back in the chair again. “Yeah. Right. So, answer me this. Why now? Why not back in 2016, when there were a few half-decent leads? Why not when they found her body?”
I shrug. “It’s not like she could contact you on her own, Mr. Porter. I didn’t show up at the shelter until late February. That’s where I picked up Molly. The one over on U Street?” He nods, either recognizing the shelter or simply meaning for me to get on with it. “And . . . it took a while for her to convince me.”
That’s a major understatement. I’ll usually help them if it’s some- thing I can do easily, but I don’t contact friends or family directly. Ever. They all have issues, they all have some last urgent message they want to deliver, an I love you or I’m sorry that was never said. I don’t back down on this anymore, because getting involved only brings me trouble—and it’s pretty clear this time is not going to be the exception to that rule.
Porter waits, but I don’t have anything else to give him. Why even bother? I should just go. Does he want to know how I picked up Molly when my fingers brushed the piano keys at the shelter? Does he want to know why she can communicate with me but not with anyone else? I don’t even have the answers to those questions, so good luck, buddy. “Why am I even here?” he asks, echoing my own thoughts. “You need help, girl. Serious help. This kind of harassment ain’t right, and I know you’ve been in the nut hou—institutionalized,” he corrects, “on
more than one occasion. I called your doctor and—”
I push away from the table, sloshing cocoa onto the black linoleum as I get to my feet. “You called my doctor?”
Enough. I reach over, snatch the phone from his hand, and turn toward the door. Molly protests, but I tamp her down, hard.
This isn’t going to work, Molly. I’m sorry, but no.
“Wai-wai-wait a minute, girl,” Porter says. “Hold on. Hold on. I called her, yeah, but she didn’t tell me jack, other than that I’d better return your phone or she’d help you find a lawyer. Said the only way she’d discuss anything with me is with your consent and then only what you authorized her to discuss.” He grabs my arm, not hard like before,
just a gentle pressure, pulling me toward the table. “Sit back down, fin- ish your hot chocolate. Okay?”
Please, Anna! Give him a chance. He was a detective—
nosing around is what he does. Please.
I sit down but stay on the edge of my chair, hoping to signal that this is a very shaky truce.
“Your doctor didn’t betray your trust, okay? I just did some checkin’ on my own—like I said, I still have some contacts on the police force. And you got a long paper trail, given how many years you’ve been in the system. You change foster homes more than most people change their underwear.”
I seriously hope that isn’t true, since my average is five or six months. But he’s correct that fifteen years leaves a lot of paper. “So, you’ve found out I’m a nutcase, Mr. Porter. Also a frequent runaway, occasional tru- ant, and borderline delinquent. Why even bother talking to me?”
Porter’s mouth twists. “After talking to Dr. Kelsey, I decided I’d better return your phone.”
I hold up the phone and give him a tight little smile as I stand. “Mission accomplished, then. Thanks for the cocoa.”
I’m two steps away from the table, and I almost miss what he whis- pers. “It was the music.”
When I turn back, he’s sitting with his forehead cupped in folded hands, rubbing his thumbs against his temples.
“You asked me why I showed up today? It was the music. That recording. Molly—she’d always miss that one note if she hadn’t played the song in a while, and she’d make this little huffing noise ’cause she was pissed that she messed it up, you know? Just like this recording. I listened to it over and over, and it’s her. I know it is. So you gotta tell me where you found it.”
His eyes are sad, pleading, but I can see I’m not reaching him where it counts. “I’ve already told you, Mr. Porter. But you don’t believe me. Unless you want me to invent some lie that fits your take on reality, what else can I tell you?”
“I don’t want no lies from anyone,” he says. “If what you’re saying is true, let me talk to her. If Molly’s in your head or whatever, then let me—”
Yes, Anna. I can convince him. Please, it would just be for
a moment and then—
“No.” I shake my head, adamant. “No way. Absolutely not. Not here.” His sad look is gone, replaced by the earlier skepticism.
“No offense, Mr. Porter. But I don’t know you. I don’t know Molly that well, either.” That’s not really true. She’s been hounding me pretty much 24/7 since February. But I don’t know what Molly can hide from me. What she’s not telling me. “I’m not real big on trust, okay? I only let her borrow me before because Deo was there.”
I have no idea what Deo would have done if Molly had somehow kept control and tried to walk off with my body, but at least he would have known she wasn’t me. And he would have cared. I can’t say the same for Porter. He might decide having his granddaughter back, even a pale, skinny version, is better than the alternative.
“So,” he says, his voice rising slightly, “you only do this on your own turf? Where you can set somethin’ up in advance, somethin’ to make me think it’s Molly I’m talkin’ to? Who’s this Deo? He workin’ this little scam with you, Anna? ’Cause I think you’re too young to be in this all on your own.”
Just hearing Porter speak Deo’s name ignites a ball of fear in my stomach. “Deo’s just a kid. You leave him alone. This conversation is over.”
I move toward the exit. Molly’s screaming at me, and she’s strong enough, angry enough, that my feet feel like lead weights as I drag myself toward the door.
You know what Craig did to me, Anna! You know. It could be you next. It could be Deo. He knows people who are in the market for boys, especially boys like Deo. If he does that to someone else, if he kills someone else, it’s your fault, Anna. Your fault, ’cause you can stop it! You can—
No, Molly. I can’t.
I do the only thing I can in these circumstances . . . stack up the bricks in my mental wall. It won’t block her entirely, won’t get rid of her, but it will quiet her down to a dull, wordless roar.
I’m out the door, and Molly’s still with me, still yelling. She comes with, whether I like it or not.
The Delphi Effect
By: Rysa Walker
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Five winners will receive a copy of The Delphi Effect (Rysa Walker) (US Only).
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I pinned this book. I love paranormal stories, it sounds like something I'd really enjoy.
The cover is very spooky.
This cover isn't eye-catching at all--the colors are pretty, but it wouldn't make me pull it off the shelf. Delphi means nothings to me either other than it's an auto parts company. But the synopsis is great and sounds like an exciting book is underneath the so-so cover.