A fighter pilot endures years in a POW camp in Afghanistan after his jet experiences equipment failure while on a routine mission. By some strange miracle one day after years of incarceration, Captain Haven Kayd finds a way to escape.
Meanwhile, his wife was informed of his death and has moved on with her life. So has his daughter who has been growing up on her own without a father since his disappearance. To their surprise, they are visited one day by two Marines who are there to inform them that Haven is in fact still alive.
Haven’s return shocks the nation and his life is celebrated while he’s simply trying to play catch up in a world that went on without him. It’s not long before he stumbles onto the truth, a scandalous truth that finds him mixed up in the middle of unbelievable corruption. Not only was his plane meant to go down, but he was meant to die. And that just scratches the surface of how evil this scandal gets.
As the truth comes out, he finds himself pitted against an enemy he once thought was on his side. An invisible enemy that reaches quite high and has resources far beyond Haven’s imagination. But they have no idea how far Haven is willing to go once they threaten the one very special person he has left in his life.
There are bad hackers, and then there are some good ones.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-40
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A few months ago, I was starting to convert one of my screenplays to a book. It's a thriller that I've optioned and thought it would make a great book. As I laid my head down one night to get some sleep, the complete idea for 'The Deeper Dark' hit me and wouldn't leave me alone until I woke back up and wrote it all down.
It started with the idea of hackers helping a man discover the truth. Then, it developed into hackers helping a man find someone who has been kidnapped. I kept everything true and very possible. So, it has really been a fun book to write, and to think that I would have been writing an entirely different book right now if it hadn't have been for that one sleepless night.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Haven Kayd – I wanted the hero to be a POW and to come out of that experience into a world that went on without him.
Lara Kayd – I wanted Haven's daughter to have learned what life was like to tragically grow up without a father and then to be able to reunite with him after years had passed.
Hackers – I wanted hackers to be shown in different lights because they aren't all the same and they're not all bad.
Henry – One of the bad guys, I wanted to portray him as a person who has a family of his own. It's the twist to his personality because he doesn't have a problem ripping someone else's family apart.
“When the world is screaming in your ears, you have to be your own peace.”
They knocked on the door like cops who were coming to make an arrest. They knocked at random times throughout the night to wake up the prisoners and keep them from getting used to any sort of pattern. Their tactics jarred a prisoner’s psyche and dug deep under his nerves so that every moment he spent in their cages was on the edge of a total breakdown. That is if they could get him to finally break down.
Haven Kayd had been on a mission years ago to fly over the area and gather intel with the digital recording equipment installed underneath his fighter jet, a jet also equipped with enough firepower to level a compound if the mission called for it. But the Captain experienced equipment failure that brought his jet down right in the middle of enemy territory. He was able to land instead of jettisoning, but the landing was far from smooth and it attracted a lot of attention.
The next thing he knew, there were AK-47s pointed at his face from all different directions. Ironically, those were the same AK-47s America had supplied the Afghans back in the 80s. Isn’t it interesting how small details like that jump up to bite us in the end?
They covered his head and made him walk miles with his hands tied to ropes attached to his feet. When they finally stepped foot on the compound, they took his flight gear and his boots. One guerilla wrote his name on a shirt they gave him while another recorded it in a logbook. Then, they threw him in a cell with nothing but a drain in the middle of the floor that emitted the odor of old urine from hundreds of prisoners who had been there before him.
Tired, he took a seat on the floor, and just as his eyes started to feel the heavy weight of exhaustion, he felt the shock shoot through his body of the prison guard pounding on the steel door. Just as his mind was about to shut down and allow him to escape the miserable existence he presently found himself in, the pounding on the door would instantly bring him back to his concrete walls and that sharp smell of urine. This had become his reality.
Of course, during the day, there was plenty for him to do. He was escorted to different parts of the compound for various reasons. He was interrogated in one room, and then recorded in another as proof of custody. America seemed interested in saving him, but Haven knew their policy. They were pretty set on not negotiating with terrorists. He was making his peace with the fact that he just might never see home again.
Those were the images that filled his mind whenever he had downtime. He would think of his daughter’s cute smile and when his mind wandered, he could almost feel her hand in his again. She would sit on his lap after a long day and tell him all kinds of stories while his wife sat on the couch laughing at all the detail his little princess muttered through. That’s when Haven would stop himself from thinking, from remembering. He couldn’t afford to think about those times. He had to break his mind free from wanting to be back there, from wanting to ever see them again.
Days became months and months blended into a long blurry string of time. Haven had no idea what year it was. He had missed so many birthdays, he had no idea how big Lara had gotten. His marriage, his small family was nothing but a faded memory now. He had struggled with his will to survive and it had won every time. Committing suicide simply wasn’t an option. But if they killed him, that would certainly do the trick. That would be very merciful, and it would finally end the misery.
In the time he had spent in the POW camp, Haven had picked up on a few things. He knew the guerillas had some patience and could wait out a president. If Haven wasn’t going to be an effective bargaining chip for them under one administration, they could wait until another won the seat. But that was it. They didn’t have too much patience after that.
Without having access to news and having only picked up on a little Persian, Haven wasn’t absolutely sure of what was going on around him. But he could feel the climate and he knew his days were limited. He had watched a few prisoners get escorted out to never return. His was just a matter of time.
He hadn’t confessed to anything and he hadn’t fallen for any of their ploys to trick him into saying something controversial on camera. So, he knew he was of no more value to them at all. When he took itinerary of himself, his situation became even more dire. He had no shoes, and his clothes were hand-me-downs from dead prisoners. The guerillas didn’t even take the time to wash the holy threads before throwing them in Haven’s cell. With very little choice, he put them on reluctantly and that was all he had to his name.
If he was going to try to fight his way out of the compound, it was going to be the most useless attempt. But he was determined that was going to be his way. Where they were planning on taking him was a walk to his gruesome death anyway. He knew the guerillas weren’t nice about it either. They liked cutting throats with machetes. Sometimes, they would stone a prisoner to death. Either way, Haven was sentenced to die. He figured he might as well put up a fight so that if the truth ever got out about him, that story would be his legacy.
It was easy for days to blend into each other. The lights stayed on all the time and there were no windows to tell the night from day. But something had changed. Haven wasn’t sure what it was, but he could tell. There was something different and it was definitely noticeable.
From his cell of three concrete walls and a steel door mostly covering the fourth wall, he had limited access to other prisoners and he could barely see through the cracks around the door. But he knew something was amiss. One day, there was less activity. The prison guards weren’t walking the hallway as much. They had stopped banging on the doors at all hours of the night.
It had been a long time, but Haven finally got a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. His mind was able to totally shut down and the exhaustion completely melted away. When he woke up after what felt like forever, his groggy mind couldn’t quite put it together right away, but something felt odd. When his mind started to clear, he could feel he was a little colder than usual and another small detail struck him. He realized the lights were off.
“How long was I asleep,” he thought as his soul suddenly shook with dread. His mind began to race as the reality of his new situation started to set in. He was no longer a prisoner because there was no longer an enemy holding him captive. The bad part was he had been abandoned and left to rot in a locked cage.
Sure, he may have made peace with them killing him, but he hadn’t made peace with this turn of events. He hadn’t even attempted to fathom a scenario in which he was left behind in a small cage in the middle of nowhere. He had gotten used to not eating. The guerillas hadn’t been too consistent about feeding the prisoners and they hadn’t been very generous with their portions either. But if Haven had known that his last meal was actually going to be his last meal, he might have tried to savor it.
Getting shot or stabbed was one thing but dying a slow death without food and water was just more misery than he could handle. In his desperation, he started to shake the door knowing it wouldn’t magically come open just like the other thousands of times he had tried. When his aggravation ran out, he tried to be more logical about getting out.
<br /><br />
Metal bolts held the metal frame to the concrete wall surrounding it. The concrete wall had little give, but Haven did notice a crack that he might be able to work into an opening. He could only hope it wouldn’t take long. But rather than dive into that solution, he thought he’d look for an easier way if one existed.
“What shape is the lock in,” he asked himself as he started to feel around the doorframe where the lock mechanism was. The only light coming in was from the sun shining through some opening on the other side of Haven’s door. One thing he noticed about it was that it was slowly starting to fade. That was the first time he had been able to tell that it was day and night was coming soon.
He had no idea what to expect. He fumbled with the lock for as long as he could see, but night soon came and that’s when he felt the cold fall on the cell. By morning, it had set into the core of his bones. His shattering teeth woke him up and his shivering body was out of control. It took the heat of the sun beating on the roof above him hours later to finally take off the chill.
His hands stiff and cramped, he did his best to figure out the locking mechanism. He noticed some give and as he played around with it, he also saw that there was a latch on the outside. He was on the wrong side of the door to be able to do anything with it. That’s when the crack in the concrete again suddenly became the more feasible option.
He pushed on the wall and then wrapped his fingers around the edge to pull on it. He pushed a few times in a row and then pulled a few times more. He became more and more frantic with every push and pull but he didn’t let himself lose heart even though the task seemed useless.
He looked around the cell in desperation and then returned to his work on the crack in the concrete. Once in a while, he would put his head down in defeat. Then, he would shake it off and draw in a deep breath. Back to pushing and pulling with no idea if it was even working but he was determined that faith was going to get him through, or he was going to die in that lonely cell.
When night came, the cold set in again and even though Haven tried to keep going, his fingers stiffened and the miserable shiver took over his body once more. Night and day, night and day again, he kept working. He started to believe in what he was doing when he noticed the crack actually getting bigger and concrete debris piling up below him.
After a few miserable days, he noticed the doorframe start to move slightly. His work was becoming more and more effective. He fought with the hunger pangs that would come and go. He fought with his headache and the pain that had set in throughout his body. He was starting to feel the taste of freedom and he was more determined than ever to get out.
Finally, a part of the wall fell away, exposing a bolt. That bolt became his lifesaver. He worked on it, pushing it up and down, pulling it in toward him and then working it out against the concrete wall. He worked it until the head of the bolt broke off. That was when he had his first tool and he used it to dig through the broken concrete. It was easier with a piece of metal than with his fingers. As more concrete debris piled up below him, he gained more faith that he would get out of his forgotten cell.
When a hole formed, he started digging more frantically. The hole that started small was soon big enough for his arm to fit through and after feeling around the latch to figure out how the moving parts worked, he was free. The steel door swung open and out stepped a man of skin and bones. Standing with no shoes and in shredded clothes, Haven didn’t have time to worry about the fact that he was not equipped to face the extreme conditions on the outside of those walls.
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