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Released: April 2014
ISBN: 9781311927439
ASIN: B00JU2VOGS
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MACHINES OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE
Series: The Eve Project, #1
Author: Tegon Maus
Length: Novel
Genre: Science Fiction
Price: $2.99

Ben Harris’s sister died of cervical cancer more than three years ago… his best friend and her husband, Roger Keswick, disappeared the day before the funeral. For the next six months everyone from the local police to the Department of Defense searched for him but to no avail… it was as if he had simply fallen off the face of the planet only to reappear at work as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

Then by the purest of coincidences Ben finds himself pulled back into Roger’s life only to discover he has remarried… to Jessica… a woman the looks, sounds and acts just like his dead sister. To complicate things Roger is insistent his home, his car, his life is infested with tiny elf like creatures he calls the Katoy. He claims they run massive machines under his house and watch his every move… every move that is until Jessica is found bludgeoned to death in his living room and Roger is nowhere to found . . . again.

Excerpt
Surrounded by thirty, perhaps forty people, I had never felt so all alone before in my life. It was cold, overcast and I feared it would rain.

“I’m sorry, Ben. We’ve looked everywhere.”

I barely heard the words, just the conformation Roger wasn’t going to be here. The man I admired more than any other . . . my best friend . . . was going to miss my sister’s funeral. He was brilliant, absentminded, but with her being his wife, I thought sure . . . it didn’t matter . . . they were both gone now, both dead to me. I was alone.

Everything in life is about balance: give and take, good and evil, yin and yang, and sometimes . . . the Katoy.

Chapter 1

“Ooooh no. No, no, no. Hold it right there. Please, Mr. Harris, give me a break. Don’t cross this curb.”

“Roy, your boss promised.”

“I know, and we’re taking care of it, I promise you, but you know you can’t go in there. You know what happened the last time,” he said, pressing his hand firmly to my chest.

“Roy, Butch said 7:00 am. It’s now 7:30. You have Margaret and I want her.”

“Mr. Harris please, I’m begging you. I got blamed for the last time you went in there. I almost lost my job after all those cars . . . not to mention the fire. Butch said if you took one step over this curb, he would have my head.”

“Roy, I want Margaret and I want her now and I mean right now.”

“I swear to you, she is in very good hands and will be here any minute. You’ve got to understand. It’s not like we can just run down to the hardware store and get shields for your radio. That stuff has to be ordered and even when we get what we need it’s complicated work.

“Roy, I have appointments, places to go and people to see.

“Please, look! Here comes Butch now, so just hang on okay?”

“Ben.”

“Where’s Margaret, Butch?”

“I need a little more time, say another thirty minutes. Go get a cup of coffee or something. She’ll be ready when you get back.

“I’ve got a nine o’clock in Riverside. I don’t want to be late.”

“I’m no genius, Ben, but your brother-law put some weird-ass shit in her and I can only do the best I can do. I’ll make sure you make your stop on time, but I can’t if I’m out here bullshitting with you. Do me a favor; go see Carmen for a couple minutes.”

“Alright. Thirty minutes and then hell or high water, I have to go.”

“She’ll be ready.”

I had no choice; I had to give him the benefit of the doubt. I hate mechanical problems, but when the radio goes down it makes for a really quiet and long day.

Butch was right, a cup of coffee would be good right about now, but I had mixed feelings about getting it. Weighing the pros and cons, I walked across the street.

“Oh, God! Oh, God! He’s here, Carmen, he’s here,” the young clerk shouted from behind the counter.

For a convenience store clerk he left a lot to be desired. Carmen went through them like tissue paper. I tried to ignore it, tried not to take it personally. I stood at the door and waited.

“Hold it right there, mister. Don’t you move, you know the rules,” Carmen Neva voiced roughly, pointing an angry finger in my direction as she appeared from the back of the store.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m right here.”

“What are you doing here today? It’s not Friday.”

“My radio isn’t working so Margaret is in for repairs. I’ve got a little time to kill. I thought a coffee would be nice.”

“Don’t move and for God’s sake, don’t touch anything. I’ll get it. Cream and sugar?”

“Please. Carmen, you know it wasn’t my fault.”

“All I know is I had to replace a perfectly good ATM machine, twice. Do you know how those people look at you when you ask for a second one in less than a month?”

“You know it was raining that day. You can’t possibly think I would deliberately . . .”

“And coffee machines? Do you know how many coffee machines I’ve had to replace?”

I just stood there and shook my head, uncertain of the answer.

“Eight! Eight coffee machines. I’ve had the electrical system checked, I’ve had the coffee machine suppliers come out, I’ve had everyone short of an exorcist look the store over from top to bottom and you know what they found? Nothing. Not one thing.”

“Carmen, I’m sorry, really sorry.”

“You know when they all went bad? Friday. Every one of them. A month or so apart mind you, but a Friday none the less. Which Friday you ask, every Friday you were here for coffee,” she said, pushing the cup into my hand.

“Carmen, we’ve been friends since high school. You know me. You know I wouldn’t, couldn’t do anything of the kind. It had nothing to do with me. It’s a coincidence, nothing more.”

“Uh-Huh. You want to know what I think? I think they have much better coffee at the doughnut shop down the street.”

“I know you don’t really mean it. You’d miss my ugly mug if you didn’t see me every Friday morning.”

“Not as much as I miss my coffee machine. Now get out of here.”

“Carmen,” I began shoving my hand into my pocket for money.

“On the house, Ben. Now get out,” she said, opening the door for me to leave.

Her expression made me feel bad.

“See you Friday,” she said as the door began to close.

“I’ll bring the doughnuts,” I returned.

I sipped my coffee and made my way back across the street where Butch waited.

“Butch. I don’t see Margaret.”

“The boys are bringing her around now. Here’s the deal. You should be okay for a while, but I can’t guarantee it for long,” he said, tossing the keys in my direction.

“Thanks, Butch. What do I owe you?”

“You do my sister’s drain and we’ll call it even. I take that back. Do the drain and the next time Margaret needs a little something you call me and I’ll come pick her up myself and bring her back to you good as new. You just can’t come here anymore. Deal?”

“Butch, you know I didn’t . . .”

“Ben, I can’t afford the insurance. I’ll come for your truck, just don’t come here anymore. Deal?”

“Alright, Butch, deal.”

Happy to have my truck back, I made for home to pick up a few things and check in with Mrs. Henson before starting the day in earnest. I could also pick up any new jobs that might have been called in while I was gone.

What the reviewers are saying
Cracking Good Read
Why the hell was I grinning like a twelve-year-old sneaking his first glimpse at a Playboy? . . . We have a convoluted plot, frequent bursts of violence, and hard characters. In fact, the sci-fi elements are really kept to a minimum, which I appreciated, since sci-fi is a genre I generally loathe. But the real joy of this book is not the plot itself. The real joy is the way in which Maus keeps his readers constantly off guard, stringing them along for pages before flipping the situation on its head and forcing readers to reevaluate whatever they thought they knew. Normally, that just pisses me off, but the way Maus manipulates his readers makes us squeal with delight at every turn. There is an energy to his novels, a sense of urgency tinged with wonder. We trust that wherever he takes us--and it won't be somewhere we expect--it will be an adventure in the truest sense of the word. And then we have the characters. At the end of the day, it's the characters that make a Maus book what it is. You've got Roger, the brilliant--and probably a little mad--inventor. You've got Audrey, sexy and feisty with a tiny secret. And c'mon, when else will you ever read a book in which the protagonist suffers from bio-chemical electrical discharge? What the hell is that, you ask? A throwaway detail at the beginning of the novel that becomes a major detail by the end. And that's what kept me reading: that sense that something surprising was right around the corner, that someone was going to say something absurd and profound, that the rules were going to change at any moment. ~ Jonathan, Amazon

• • •

No One is What They Seem
Tegon Maus has put together a technological thriller that is quite engaging once one gets into it. The beginning is a little confusing. Maus takes up the story three years into Henry picking up the pieces of his life. While not key to the story, the opening chapters can leave the reader feeling unsettled. Once things pick up, it is hard to put the book down. The book is written in the first person, and the author makes good use of it. There are some adult situations so it would be good for mid-teens and up. ~ K. Spring, Amazon

• • •

Tegon Maus has put together a technological thriller that is quite engaging . . . the opening chapters can leave the reader feeling unsettled . . . it is hard to put the book down. ~ Invincible Love of Reading

• • •

Throughout the drama of the unfolding story phenomenal scientific happenings occur with new inventions produced that have the potential for good or evil and both good and evil persons vying to gain control of them. This science fiction story is filled with quite a few twists and turns. It kept me guessing throughout and left me wanting to know what would happen next. ~ Cathy Geha, B&N Nook

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Intricate and intriguing story!
The plot is intricate and very cleverly written. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction or fantasy. It is a quick read that can be read in a single afternoon. I'm pleased that this is part of a series. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Maus will do with this series. ~ Belinda Wilson, Amazon

• • •

Interesting Read
The science fiction themes are strong, but the character development is even more pronounced . . . Mr. Maus knows how to strike that delicate balance between explaining what on earth just happened and giving the reader a chance use his or her own mind to pull together the most subtle clues. It is this ability of his that makes me quite curious to see what he will come up with next . . . Machines of the Little People is a complicated, thought-provoking, intelligent ride that I didn’t want to end. It’s long enough to cover all of the bases, but short enough to read in one sitting for dedicated science fiction fans. Either way, this is a book worth sampling. ~ Long and Short Reviews, Amazon

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A Good Read
The SF angle was pretty neat, but the mystery is what drives the story. The characters come alive, and the writing is fast-paced and exciting, keeping the reader turning the pages. ~ Virgina E. Johnson, Amazon

• • •

Great Pacing
This is an imaginative Sci-Fi. Tegon Maus has created a world that really draws the reader int. The plot flowed smoothly and I didn't feel like anything was forced or majorly missing. I found the writing style to my liking as well . . . This is one of those stories that will start off with a bang and not let up until the very last page. It really keeps on a great pace throughout . . . There was action, surprises, and a plot that kept giving to the last page. ~ A Life Through Books, Amazon

• • •

The plot is very intricate and kept this reader guessing at who the evil ones were up till the very end. The characters are very interesting and several of them are quite eccentric, which really adds to the story . . . I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very different from anything I would normally read, but I really enjoyed the journey! There was intrigue, secret agents, psychic old ladies, and even a loveable dog all rolled up into a wonderful sci-fi novel. It was an easy, fast read. I read it in an afternoon, partly because I couldn’t put it down after I started it. Thanks for a wonderful journey, Mr. Maus! ~ Belinda, blog

• • •

Cleverly written!
In The Eve Project the protagonist Ben Harris is confused about what is going on with his brother-in-law Roger Keswick for at least the first third of the book. As the reader, you will be too while the author keeps you guessing. Little by little you will discover what is going on . . . This novel is most extra-ordinary in how the author can take something and logically make it to be something else . . . The story is very cleverly written . . . I think you’ll enjoy this author’s wild imagination! It makes for a good read. ~ Kathryn Svendsen, Amazon and Shelf Full of Books

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Compelling Sci-Fi
As this story unfolds the characters are all so amazing, from psychic elderly ladies, to nine ‘sisters’ and sinister spy like characters and agents. Then, if that is not exciting enough, add to the equation a blossoming love affair, secret research projects and deadly weapons and you soon come to realise that this book is captivating from the first page. ~ Susan Keefe, Amazon

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a good read
This book kept you guessing for sure. It's a well written book. I enjoyed reading about Roger and his crazy antics. It's hard not to give anything away so I would recommend this book if your into reading a little bit of a mystery, love story and suspense. ~ Jen, Amazon

• • •

Another fantastic read from Tegon. Taking a left turn from his previous humor tale, Machines of the Little people will introduce readers to an alternate Earth. One where technology has grown by such leaps that it's now possible to live, well, practically forever. Pure science fiction, readers of the genre will find this a unique tale and won told by a man with a way with words. Tegon's voice is a breath of fresh air for the genre, and Machines of the Little People is the perfect story to introduce readers to this fabulous new series. ~ Heart of Fiction

 

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