Who is Elijah Warren?
Kevin
​Cady
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​Author of The Warren Files Trilogy

Who is Elijah Warren?

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kevincadyauthor@gmail.com

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The exciting third book in The Warren Files Trilogy, Truth's Illusion, 
is available now!
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Crooked Principles is here!!!

 "A sinister masterpiece that conjures visceral emotions and stomach-churning images. Cady's stylized prose penetrates the darkest crevices of the imagination.
—Foreword Clarion Reviews

"A dense, riveting tale starring a pair of private detectives who thrive in the murkiest circumstances...It all leads to a labryrinthine third act rife with exposition and confession."
—Kirkus Reviews


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A Solitary Awakening!


   
Truth's Illusion Prologue


               The gun was pressed resolutely into Layla’s throat, the triangular site digging into the roof of her mouth, and blood began down the pistol, small drips onto the cement. Powerless was the only way she’d have described herself, but it didn’t suffice. She really hadn’t seen this coming.
            “Where is Elijah Warren?”
The voice was reptilian; the man holding the gun was finely dressed.
And in a few minutes, Layla’s head would be an abstract puzzle of flesh and brain wetting the room.
            “I won’t ask many more times, Layla.”
The voice again crawled down her spine, tiny hairs on end.
“You know what’s at stake.”
            “I do,” Layla said coolly.
            Time was ticking away, and although Layla did know what was at stake at this point, she questioned her ability to answer the question. Where exactly was Elijah? This was not how things were supposed to go. She ruminated, intermittently gagged by the 50-caliber pistol—overkill in her opinion.
Finally, she put forth a response,
            “I can’t tell you anything.” She paused. “Kiss my ass.”
            The gun was held above her head and came back into her face. She reeled in the chair she’d been bound to, front legs rocking from the ground but a shined shoe stomped the chair back flat and her mouth clicked shut violently.
            SMASH. The butt of the gun came again and knocked several of Layla’s teeth into her throat. She felt them tickling, trickling down her esophagus, and she coughed up thick crimson, sputtered teeth and sprayed blood on the man’s expensive suit and shoes. Her mismatched mouth swelled into a grin, her light eyes vivid, looking pleasantly into his.
            The butt of the gun recoiled again, this time across, like a stiff backhand. She felt her back molar break as she lurched in the direction of the man’s follow-through. More broken teeth sputtered through her pursed lips. Blood ribbons followed. Bruises began.
            “WHERE IS HE?!” the man screamed with primal upset, hands against the back of the chair behind Layla’s shoulders, bits of saliva careening into her bleeding mouth and bruised face. “YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS!” The man’s eyes were red, pulsing, blood vessels surging, his temper lost. “LAYLA, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE IF I DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER!” He paced incessantly. His shoulders rose and fell and his expensive shoes led him capriciously about the room, fingers clutching harder the Desert Eagle with transient seconds.
Despite how she felt inside, the man would know none of it. She’d worked too hard to not enjoy her last breaths; she knew what her strength would do to his resolve.
The man with the gun paced in rampant thrusts, finger a hairline fracture from the gun’s trigger. He began speaking again more calmly, almost gleefully.
            “Layla, you have three seconds before you die. If I get an answer, I might find some sympathy. Hell! I’ll put the bullet through the roof of your mouth. Up through your brain! That’d be better than it splitting the back of your throat. Bleeding out with a mangled trachea wouldn’t be my choice of ways.”
            The man’s fingers twitched and jerked. The corners of his mouth ticked, and he smiled fallaciously.
Layla smiled back as sweetly as she could with her broken teeth and gazed into his eyes, shadows slowly changing perspective.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” she said.
            “Three.”
             He cocked back the hammer on the oversized pistol.
              It snapped into place with a CLANK.
              “Two.”
              The gun was back in her throat and she fought her gag reflex. The blood from her face and missing teeth seeped down between the remaining ones and down the back of her throat, bubbled out onto her chin.
               “One.”
               The man gave her another moment before following through with his promise.
               He hoped he wouldn’t get more blood on his shoes.
    


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"A Solitary Awakening is a feverish orchestration of mystery, violence, poetry, and even love."
—Foreword Clarion Reviews

"Cady’s nuanced prose scintillates and intrigues from beginning to end."
—Foreword Clarion Reviews

"Cady’s gory psychological thriller, A Solitary Awakening, recounts the terrifying pursuit of a mastermind killer...As every piece is unearthed, momentum builds and fear intensifies."
—Foreword Clarion Reviews

"...Cady’s novel is a solid detective story thanks to a meticulous investigation."
Kirkus Reviews​​

​"Rich prose is at its most indelible when detailing perspective from the vicious “man wearing black”; vibrant descriptions are gloomy but no less fascinating..."
Kirkus Reviews

"...characters enmeshed in a diligent investigation never fail to mesmerize."
​—Kirkus Reviews

Or check out the full reviews below!

Kirkus Review
Foreword Clarion Review



 If you missed the book release and signing at Ivywild, stay tuned for more events! 

A Solitary Awakening is available now! Click below to purchase, or read the first chapter further down!

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​Production for A Solitary Awakening starts 4-24!

        A big thanks to the Miami Student at Miami University and Paris Franz for a terrific article on Kevin and the trilogy!

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Miami Article
  ​ 
Chapter One
 
         Solitude never bothered me.  I suppose it’s a good thing with how it all turned out.  As a kid I remember not wanting to force relationships, a clever inclination that they would all most likely come to an end.  I didn’t justify it that way then.  I was just OK being alone.  It’s interesting how the reason for something can stay the same yet age and experience changes its phrasing.  What hasn’t changed is this.  I can’t find much good in human nature, never have liked how people can transform, different company, different faces, versions of self for the moment at hand.
            What happened wasn’t the plan.  Mom and Dad’s hobby consumed our lives and was ultimately to blame for our splintering like irregular shards of glass.  I was eight when we moved from a small town in the US to Son La, Vietnam.  Mom and Dad worried more about the world’s problems than they did our own.
April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended.  On the first of May my family began planning our move.  Their reasons are now clear to me, though, at the time, the change seemed unfathomable.  My eight-year-old brain could only see reasons to stay, and like most eight-year-old brains, I wouldn’t accept that which I couldn’t understand.  I remember hearing that the world needed help.  Turns out it was us, and in the end me, that needed help.  The freedom fighters and their son set off to fight their cause in the spring of ’76.
When it came to education, “our situation” had always been different than that of other kids’, and my home schooling trend from the States continued in Son La.  I wasn’t concerned with the social void, though I couldn’t understand why my attending a normal school was out of the question.  I wanted life to be normal.  I wanted to be.  Despite this disquiet, I’d always loved learning, and the silver lining was that Mom and Dad afforded world-class educators.
            It took them a week or so to hire my in-house instructor, who doubled as my nanny; her name was Luna.  I spent a wide ocean of time with Luna.  She was middle aged and German, a lady that dressed as if recreating a battle from the First War of Scottish Independence.  She’d the stature to be a participant.  Our conversations remained practical.
Occasionally, when Mom and Dad were home early, we’d sit around the fireplace as a family.  It was the one connection I longed for, maybe needed.  It was one such night that all I knew changed.  The fire bounced irregular shadows on our faces, a wineglass glistening in Mom’s left hand, dark liquid sloshing this way and that in Dad’s.  An old Duke Ellington record spun on the player.  My head bobbed and I fell in and out of sleep.  Each partial lapse in consciousness brought a look left and right to make sure they were still beside me.
            You never forget a sound if it spawns an absolute and irreversible change in your life.  A crude bomb smashed through our front window.  Mom swept me up while Dad moved toward it.  I didn’t know what he was doing, but he didn’t seem surprised.  The next thing I knew Mom was lifting open a hatch in our hallway floor, hitherto unbeknownst to me.  She then rushed me down inside of it.  I looked back and watched the flames devour her.  I couldn’t help it, though now it stands as the single regret I’ve borne.  The split second that the door slammed shut still visits me while I sleep.  I remember her face, helpless and tormented.  Time stood for a long moment and I remember thinking that it would be the last time I’d see into her eyes, emerald green and blooming in the flames.
When you lose all you know you begin to discover what you really are.
            As the ambivalence of what had become my reality soaked me, I cowered in a dark crease of the room that existed underneath our new home.  I stayed there after the explosion until the walls stopped quaking, and I can’t recall how long that was, but it seemed forever.
Then I tried to clear my head.  Get back to the door.  I pushed upward with all my tiny body.  The door stayed fixed.  As the idea of being stuck set in, so did my descent into absolute objectivity.
I gave up on the hatch, tried to rationalize. It was the darkest place I had ever been and I knew there had to be a light source.  I needed to figure out where I was in relation to whatever else was down there.  As I felt my way along the walls, they were cold and rough, the floor frigid on my naked feet.
            I ran my hands along the walls and razor thin dashes were seared on the palms and tips of my hands, untreated concrete I guessed.  A quarter of the way about this seemingly endless dark, I felt row after row of cans.  The shelves organizing the cans wove like lines at an amusement park.  I finally stumbled upon a flashlight and batteries, a lifetime’s supply of candles, which revealed a lifetime’s supply of books.  Endless knowledge by candlelight, a tiny flickering flame in a sea of swallowing black.
           I thought long and hard about why that place existed.  Why had we come to Vietnam?  Were we running from something?  With no answers to be had, I settled into a tenuous and volatile balance of neutrality, objectivity.  It wasn’t until I was free that I began to understand the significance of my boyhood curse.  The years that followed were twisted, a gnarled trail after my solitary awakening.    
    
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