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Deprivation by Roy Freirich - Book Tour + Giveaway

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DEPRIVATION by Roy Freirich
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
SUMMARY: A gripping psychological thriller from the author of Winged Creatures.
August, Carratuck Island, New York: a silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching
a handheld video game, and residents and tourists alike find themselves stricken by relentless insomnia.
Denied the outlet of dreams—fears, guilt, and primal urges find other ways to surface. 
A teenage girl competes in an online game: who can stay awake longest?
The bleary police chief struggles to keep order. The local doctor battles the ghosts of his past to find
the cause and a cure for the epidemic, and face down the violent mob that blames the child.
Cut off from the mainland, the island plunges into chaos, murder, and suicide.

This morning Cort has been following a new hashtag, #sleepless43, with silent alerts, and now the tweets are coming faster, buzzing her cell as four of her high school classmates in a quick row join the game—Jenn and Cami in the Hamptons, Deena stuck in Bayshore the whole break, Evi on the far, tony end of Carratuck, from her music exec dad’s mansion on a gated dead end. The whole thing is crazy stupid, but harmless enough, so why not? She checks the time in her screen’s corner and quickly thumbs, “here”—all that’s required, every fifteen minutes on the quarter hour, to stay in the game.
Hands on a Hardbody—that was the old documentary movie everybody downloaded to laugh at how pitiful those rednecks were, standing in some shopping mall with their hands on a Ram Runner or Doredo, or whatever monster truck, to see who would let go last and win the gross, gas-guzzling, planet-killing thing. This contest isn’t so different, a virtual version, more like, with nothing but bragging rights to whoever tweets on schedule the longest to prove it. A prize, in fact, would probably ruin everything, since somebody would get the bright idea to team up and tweet from each other’s accounts in shifts so they could split up whatever they won, or else figure some automated workaround with a client app, which someone probably has already.
Cinder, a Junior and a year ahead but dumb enough to get left back, started the whole dumb thing and is a famous complainer and kind of a hypochondriac. Her dad is mean, she has a stomachache, or she barely cut her foot on a pop-top or a shell and the doctor at the Urgent Care made her wait. Her eyes are dry, or her ears hurt from her earbuds. Cort can’t remember if the “43” is supposed to mean forty-three hours straight, as a goal, or what—but who has time to scroll back? 
She double taps her home button and brings up messages; pathetic, because it shouldn’t be all about whether or not Tay is here yet—for god’s sake, get a life, right?—but she checks texts for the tenth time in as many minutes and twitches her sunburned shoulder beneath her shirt and scratchy bikini strap. Probably she has gone with the wrong suit—this tiny retro madras with little boy-short bottoms—since it does nothing for her broad, too-flat chest, which Tay seemed more distracted by last year than not, glancing and glancing away, as if she didn’t see. The boy-shorts ride up plenty, though, and she has caught some looks and had to adjust to avoid the complete wedgie disaster when she steps out of the surf, before she even wipes the salt from her eyes or twists the water out of her hair.
Last year, she met Tay at a full-on run from halfway down the boardwalk, across the dunes from the marina to the bottom of the main beach stairs, so lame, even though his smile seemed really glad before he downshifted back into his cooler, blissed-out surfer self. This year, she knows better, to go with a vague shy wave as she glides up, distracted, with maybe an eye on her cell or, even better, someone else to wave to on her way to him.
For Mom, who hates all boys, Cort has the perfect alibi this year: the chattery, kind of tweaky lady with the crooked lipstick and her big-eyed eight-year-old boy at Roscoe’s Market looking for a babysitter, staying in a weekly bungalow on Spinnaker just a few lanes over. The little boy was so cute, with eyelashes a mile long, holding a little GameBox, smiling and saying, “Hilo,” like a combination of hi and hello. Cute, but maybe a handful; the woman had left a wacky, stressed message begging Cort, but that was already days ago.
Mom will never check up, anyway, and just needs to hear a story, and the little details here are plenty enough to sound real and make total sense with Carratuck’s house-share and hook-up mania. Not so great to lie, but better than sitting on their patio with iced teas all day, listening to Mom’s running commentary on every passing person’s sad lack of physical charm and fashion sense: “Whoa, sunburned muffin-top—lipo and bronzer, anyone?” or “Greg Norman called and wants his lime-green pleat-fronts back.” 
Cort glances up to see the local doctor guy who gave her a tetanus shot last year biking by and almost waves, but BLIIIING!—incoming! In a little blue rectangle on her cell’s screen:

Just got here! East Beach!!!?

She promised herself she wouldn’t, but how can she not? So she does, over the broadest straightaway of the boardwalk, by the old Skee-Ball parlor and the ices stand, down a worn beach ramp and past a patrol Jeep and a group of families of kids and dogs, to his hard arms and the light of his deep green eyes, she runs. 
A silhouette against the flash and glare from the sea, he stands with his shortboard leaning against a shoulder, a hand draped around the nose, the other thumbing his cell. She slows to watch the light find him as she does, approaching to see the sheen of his half-peeled, soaked wet suit and the smoothness of his broad caramel chest, drops of water shimmering there, and a spike of wet hair hanging over his forehead.
Last second, he sees her, but she is already near enough to bump him with a hip and laugh, so she does, and his eyes squint as his face completely lights with gladness to see her. Her.
“You!” They shout witlessly at each other.
He yanks her into a one-armed half hug, the rough shoulder-bump of guys, but with his eyes happy instead of hooded and cool.
And now they are simply regarding each other with smiles like laughter that cannot be stopped, as a group of tweener girls goes by, teasers in tiny halter bikinis and hushed pursed lips at this boy and girl standing like it’s just so completely on, as his eyes stay with hers, only hers, and he asks, “Where to?”
“I gotta stay low, told my mom I was babysitting.”
Her cell buzzes and she curses softly, yanking it up for a glance. “Oh, fuck.”

“Don’t ask, it’s too dumb.” Rolling her eyes, she thumb-types back, like answering roll call in homeroom.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Roy Freirich leads multiple lives as a writer.
He adapted his novel Winged Creatures for the film Fragments, and has written screenplays for Fox
Searchlight, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, and Sony. His lyrics have been sung by legends
Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and Patti Labelle, among many others.
He lives with his wife, ever-patient editor and frequent cowriter, Debrah, in Malibu, California.
Visit him online at

AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY: $150 Book Shopping Spree!

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