Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The What If? Scam | Guest Post by Michael Patrick Hicks

Please join me in welcoming Michael Patrick Hicks to Book Den today!

The What If? Scam by Michael Patrick Hicks

Scams have been at the forefront of my mind lately, and not just because, at the time of this writing, I’ve recently learned that my identity was compromised and fraudulent accounts were set up in my name by a scam artist, putting me through quite the rigmarole of adding extra security protections and additional alerts everywhere. Scams, as it just so happens, are also the precipitating incident of my latest horror novella, Broken Shells.

Desperate car dealerships try to lure in customers by mailing them “winning” Money Carlo tickets. This game board looks a bit like something you’d buy at a gas station’s Lottery counter, and you pull up the tabs to match and win. Thing is, everybody is a winner, at least according to the ticket. Once the ticket has you primed with your initial winnings, you have to go into the car dealership, present them with your game board and the special QR code or whatever, and they’ll determine if you’re actually a winner or not. Well, news flash – you aren’t! The whole goal of the Money Carlo scam is to get you to set foot on the car lot and open yourself up to a hard sales pitch.

Money Carlo is an obvious scam. It’s totally in-your-face with its smarmy scaminess, it’s lurid bright colors, and promise of easy money.

But what if?

What if you’re down on your luck, recently fired, strapped for cash, and have a wife and infant to support? What if, with all that, you get a Money Carlo ticket? Even knowing it’s a scam, there’s still that little voice inside you saying, what if? What’s the worst that could happen, especially when you don’t have much else left to lose?

That’s the position Antoine DeWitt finds himself in during the opening chapters of Broken Shells. In a moment of desperation, he finds himself a lucky winner, and even knowing it’s a scam there’s still that surge of hope brought upon by what if?

To answer an earlier question, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, unfortunately for Antoine, his bad luck is about to get a whole lot worse when he meets car dealership owner, Jon Dangle. Dangle has his own secrets that drive him toward desperation, secrets that are far, far older than either man and that are buried deep within the Earth. Secrets that, if exposed, could—

Well, that’s another what if? for another time.

Goodreads | Amazon


Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His latest release is the subterranean horror novella, Broken Shells.

He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.

In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

To learn more about Michael and his work, visit his website:


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  1. This one sounds more like a horror of people than your typical horror story. Sometimes these are the best kind.

  2. Scams are certainly all over the place these days and it amazes me how smart people fall for the most obvious ones.

  3. Great guest post. I'm gonna have to grab this one. Desperation can make people do some crazy stuff.

  4. I bought this one and am so looking forward to sitting down and reading it!

  5. Had to read this post. I have a family member (not super close, though) who's currently tied up bad with a total catfish scam. It's awful to watch. So many people have tried to help her realize that the young, handsome, wealthy doctor that's currently doing charity work in a poverty-stricken country isn't real, and yet she keeps sending her money to him anyways.
    Scams really are a great basis for a horror story.

    1. That is so horrible. :( I'm so sad for her. I hope somehow she gets out of that situation soon.

  6. This is really true horror isn't it. I don't think you could chuck a stick these days without hitting somebody who's been scammed.
    Lynn :D

  7. Wow, this sounds pretty interesting, actually. Now I'm wondering what the rest of the story's about!


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