BOOK EXCERPT: Andrew Klavan's 'The Long Way Home' (The Homelanders) -- Part 2

Charlie West went to bed one night an ordinary high school student. He woke up a hunted man. Terrorists are trying to kill him. The police want to arrest him for the stabbing death of his best friend. He doesn't know whose side he's one or who he can trust. With his pursuers closing in on every side, Charlie makes his way back to his hometown to find some answers. There, holed up in an abandoned mansion, he's joined by his friends in a desperate attempt to discover the truth about a murder he can't remember-and the love he can never forget.

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Chapter One
The Killer In The Mirror - Part 2


You have to understand: a trained man with a knife is as deadly as anything, even more dangerous in some ways than a man with a gun. You might grab a gun. You might wrestle it away. But you can’t get hold of a knife without getting cut. And if the knife-man knows what he’s doing, he can carve you up with a blade just as fast as a bullet.

And this guy knew what he was doing all right. All the karate training in the world wasn’t going to save me if I didn’t act fast and act smart. If I fell and he came down on top of me, I’d be dead in seconds.

I knew it even as I was falling. The panic raced through my belly. The thoughts raced through my head: I have to do something.

I hit the tiled floor and kept rolling, fast, away from the oncoming killer. I rolled and leapt up, gaining my feet in the back of the bathroom, pressed up against the far wall, the urinals on either side of me.

Before I could even think, he was there, he was on me, driving the knife toward my gut, the black blade glinting in the light.

A cry escaped me in my desperation. I only just managed to leap out of the way, to grab his wrist with my two hands.

But I couldn’t hold him. He yanked the knife back and if I hadn’t let go, he would’ve slashed my fingers off. Immediately, he came at me again. His round, clean face was now a mask of fury. His blue eyes were full of death.

I was losing this fight. I knew it. It was only a matter of time before the knife slipped home. There was no way to overpower a trained assassin like this. No way to outfight him.

There was only one chance. I had to out-think him. Somehow, in my terror, in my panic, with murder hanging over me like a sword, I had to figure a way out.

The killer kept coming at me, the blade weaving before me like the head of a cobra. He kept the point in my eyes so I couldn’t see it clearly, couldn’t gauge the distance. He was forcing me toward the middle of the room, to where I’d be hemmed in between the stalls and the sinks with nowhere to move. I stepped backwards quickly, waiting for the fatal strike.

Then, with snake-like swiftness, the strike came—and at the same time, there came a desperate thought.

As the blade lanced toward me, I spun away, shouldering through one of the stall doors. He tried to come in after me. I grabbed hold of the door and slammed it on him, catching his arm for a second. He pulled free—and before he could force his way in, I slammed the door shut and shot the bolt.

This had to be fast—lightning fast. The door was light, the lock was flimsy. He would break through in an instant.

I didn’t wait for him. I dropped to the floor. I ducked under the gap between the stalls.

There was an enormous crash as the knife-man kicked his way in to the locked stall—the one I’d just left.

I flew out the door of the other stall and in a split second, I was behind him.

The killer already realized he’d been tricked. He was starting to turn from the empty stall, to turn toward me.

Too bad, brother, one mistake is all you get. I punched him fast and hard in the nose. His head flew backward, blood bursting from his nostrils. I didn’t let him recover. I grabbed hold of his wrist—the wrist of his knife-hand—so he couldn’t cut me. With my other hand, I grabbed his hair and bent him forward.

I dragged him out of the stall, turning my body to give me momentum. I slammed him face first into the hard edge of the sink.

His knees buckled and he crumpled to the floor, unconscious.

I stood over him, gasping for breath, amazed that I was still alive.

This is part two of a two-part excerpt. Part one can be read here.

"The Long Way Home" is the second book in Andrew Klavan's Homelander Series. He discussed the series and the first book, "The Last Thing I Remember," with Big Hollywood back in April. You can read that interview here and here.

"The Long Way Home" is available at Amazon.com.


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