Relic of Death was my first read from David Bernstein, an author I’d not heard of before and another intriguing novella from the Darkfuse stable.
Sal Diamente and Bruno, two Armani suited, Rolex wearing hitmen have just made Danny “The Blade” Kilpatrick dig his own grave, bullet to the head, fill in the hole and they’re back on the road to Brooklyn. A quarter of a mile after dumping the evidence into the river, the SUV breaks down leaving them stranded, no phone calls of course, Sal is too clever for that. The only option left – They walk.
An hour later, they come to empty residence that is heavily fortified, someone’s put a lot of effort into stopping people breaking in, interesting and it’s now almost a challenge to see what’s in that house. One sledgehammer and some heavy swings later leads to an old fashioned safe hidden in the basement. Getting into that safe is now all that exists in their world.
The only thing in the safe is a briefcase and it’s filled with diamonds and that leads to a test, one of friendship, a test of loyalty as their minds sink to unfathomable depths. Their future depends on the decisions they now have to make and Sal thinks his friend is going to ruin it all.
The briefcase contains what the Keepers call the Relic of Death, it feeds on your inner most desires and corrupts them, leaving death in its wake. The story introduces various characters, giving us enough history to care what happens to them as the briefcase passes from one to the next. A Relic that once in the possession of man will leave a path of destruction behind it.
Relic of Death is certainly a dark enjoyable story and a decent introduction to David Bernstein’s work.