Monday, February 26, 2024

False Haven by Rebecca Rook Virtual Book Tour


False Haven
Rebecca Rook

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Hellebore House
Date of Publication: February 13, 2024

ISBN: Print: 979-8-9894253-2-7 
ISBN: e-book: 979-8-9894253-3-4
ASIN: B0CNDX3SBY
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Paper & Sage Designs

Tagline: Her last chance may end her life.

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart.

With her mother recently dead, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. To cope, Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, and after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

When Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her motley crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.

Excerpt:

Five faces looked up at her entrance: two girls and three guys. They sat around a conference table in office chairs that were sleek, professional, and out of place in the rustic lodge. An open box of cheap pastries rested at the center of the table, surrounded by water bottles, sodas, and napkins. A pile of hiker’s backpacks rested in the corner of the room. Viv cast the others a quick glance, then placed her pack next to the pile. She picked a chair at the end of the table, closest to the door.

Viv found five pairs of eyes studying her. She felt grubby after a long day on public transportation and tried not to squirm under the scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” one of the girls demanded.

“Viv.” She didn’t inquire about their names. None of them were there to make friends.

The girl who had demanded Viv’s name opened her mouth to say more but was interrupted by the arrival of a woman in her thirties with thin black hair pulled into a low ponytail, nut-brown skin, and a stocky, muscular build. The woman walked with authority and purpose, her shoulders back and her head upright, and when she came to a stop at the head of the conference table, she cast an assessing gaze over Viv.

“You must be Vivienne.” It wasn’t a question.

Viv nodded.

“Welcome.” The woman didn’t smile. “I’m Helen Whiteaker, and I run this program. You will report to me for the duration of your time here.” Helen’s dark eyes held a steel promise of order.

Viv found herself sitting up a bit straighter.

Helen swept a glance around the room. “We’re all here, so let’s start.” She then eyed the pastries in the center of the table. “I’d eat those if I were you. Our meals over the next six weeks won’t be spectacular.”

One of the boys reached for a Danish.

This seemed to satisfy Helen. “Welcome to the Conservation Corps for Teens. Let’s discuss what you’re here to work on for the next six weeks. At the direction of the Bureau of Land Management and the local county council, we’ll be providing the grunt labor for the demolition and cleanup of Grafton Stake, a local institution with several old buildings. We will also build a trail system, campsites, and recreational day sites around the area. The goal of our work is to help create a park-like setting for a future campground and visitor’s center.”
Helen paused. “Does anyone have questions?”

No one responded. The boy with the Danish ate loudly, without closing his mouth. Viv winced at the sight, then looked away. The squelching noise turned her stomach.

Helen eyed Danish Boy with a flicker of amusement in her eyes before continuing. “We have a tight schedule and will need to work fast. We work eight hours a day, every Monday through Friday, with lunches and breaks. Weekends will be spent at the campsite, or in town for short durations.”

Helen paused again and looked around the conference room with her eyebrows raised. When no one said anything, she sighed. “I’m going to be blunt: none of you are here because you want to be here.”

Viv felt the impact of the words like a dash of cold water across the face. She saw the others react, too, shifting uncomfortably in their seats or staring at the floor or the ceiling.

Helen stared at the table. “For various legal and privacy reasons, I do not know the specifics of why you are here, but I will not tolerate any insubordination or disruption on my team. If you misbehave, I will ship you home without a second chance. This is a job. You will be paid a stipend at the end of the six weeks—or a prorated amount for the time you’ve spent in this program. I expect professional behavior from each of you, towards me and towards each other.

That means no sex, no drugs, no shit talking, and no fights.”

The conference room was still. Viv’s stomach roiled with anxiety. She almost admired how efficiently Helen had asserted control over the group.

“Really?” Helen cast a skeptical glance around the room. “No questions at all?”



About the Author:

Rebecca Rook is a hard of hearing person who designs tabletop games, manages a little free library dedicated to sequential art and comics, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two wonderful dogs. A 2021-2022 Hugo House Fellow in Seattle, WA, she also attended the 2021 Tin House YA Fiction Workshop in Portland, OR. Prior to this, she completed the wonderful Yearlong Workshop for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction at Hugo House. She writes young adult fiction in the fantasy, thriller, and horror genres.








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