Bad Pennies – John F Leonard (Book Excerpt)

Kendall Reviews is delighted to offer you an excerpt from John F Leonard’s psychological horror novel BAD PENNIES. A deeply disturbing tale of darkness and need that will stay with you long after reading.


Chris Carlisle is about to experience an everyday horror. A morning that starts out bad is going to get infinitely worse. It’s gonna go to hell.
Wrong place at the wrong time and life takes a wrong turn. But even the blackest clouds have silver linings. He’s going to get a little slice of luck to balance out the horror. Just goes to show, bad often comes bundled with good. Sometimes, they bleed into each other until you can’t tell them apart.

That’s where the strangeness begins, when the miraculous starts to rub shoulders with the mundane and monstrous.

It is only the beginning…
Chris has stepped onto a long road that leads to a hideous and horrifying destination. Dark and dangerous stops are dotted along the way. The pavement is crumbling and craziness shining through the cracks.
Enough for him to question his sanity and come to the conclusion that madness may be the easiest way out. Sometimes need and greed get mixed into a deadly and deceptive cocktail.

He’s going to discover that dark and dreadful things lurk within spitting distance of the ordinary and routine.
That there are levels of horror and layers of knowledge which defy any rational explanation.
Impossible creatures crawl along the shady seams of the world. Monsters wait in the shadows.
The walls of reality are thinner than we know. In places, they’ve been hollowed to a hazy veil that struggles to hold back the horror of what lies on the other side.

Chris is going to get a glimpse of an eternal darkness. Become acquainted with a supernatural hunger that has endured aeons and echoes down the ages.


Chris thought life was grim. He has no idea. He thought he was hard up. He doesn’t know what debt is. They say that money is the root of all evil. They also say that the bad penny always turns up. That’s so true. Those crappy coins have a nasty habit of coming back.

BAD PENNIES is the first book of the SCAETH MYTHOS, a terrifying vision of horror that will haunt your dreams.

Excerpt (taken from ‘Bad Pennies’) – John F Leonard.

The man flew into the air, a twisting whirl of limbs and black apparel that was hard to reconcile as a human being. People weren’t supposed to move in that way. The body went past Chris shedding droplets of blood and bits of itself. He heard something slap the pavement in front of him and felt it nudge his foot as it passed. Glanced over to see something small and square-sided bounce against the garden wall behind him. Sounds followed that Chris would always remember. Bumps and impacts forever stored in his head, whether he wanted them there or not. The thud of the body on the ground as it landed. The squeal of rubber on tarmac as the van vainly applied brakes. The harsh crunch as it fishtailed and scraped a stationary vehicle. His feet were moving without any conscious thought. Toward the scene, toward the downed man. Chris came to a halt a little way short of the body. The arms and legs were at odd angles. The head was the wrong shape for a head. It was damaged. Broken. Blood and small particles that he guessed must be brains and bone. Mixing into an appalling paste. Spreading out from the man’s head like it was desperate to get away. One foot didn’t have a shoe. He looked around and saw it a few feet distant. In the gutter. A lost and lorn shoe lying alone. He found himself standing by it, inspecting it. Good quality. A leather Chelsea boot that Chris knew would cost hundreds rather than tens. Saint Laurent, he could see the name imprinted on the sole. He’d always wanted some designer footwear. They were out of his price range. There were a lot of things in life that he couldn’t afford. It looked to be about his size. The dead man was a size nine, the same as him. A remote part of Chris’s mind contemplated the distinct probability that he might be in shock. He glanced back at the body and considered the shoe again and then vomited. Copious amounts. Lots and lots of lumps and brackish fluid spewing out of him. Some of it speckled the lonesome shoe and when he spied that, he threw up again. “I didn’t see him.” The van driver was a bearded guy on the wrong side of middle age. Short and thick-set. A stockiness that was losing the fight against being plain old overweight. “He ran out in front of me. Did you see? You saw that? He just ran right out in front of me?” Chris nodded and studied the van over the guy’s shoulder.

Frank Right’s Plumbing & Heating.

Stencilled black on white down the side.

When you Need it Done Right.

The red on white strapline below it.

Well, good old Frank had done it alright. He’d knocked down the running man, the mysterious man in black, and he’d done a good job of it. A proper job. Nothing shoddy or haphazard, no half measures. No pissing in the kitchen sink while your water was disconnected. Frank had knocked the fella down with his dull white van and the fella had stayed down. When Frank killed you, he did it the Right way. No gasping last words or lingering death. No, none of that. Lickety-split-skull, you were as dead as a doorknob, brains leaking on the road and your sock on show to the world because you’d lost a shoe on impact. Frankie nailed it first time and moved on to the next urgent call. Chris was trying to shake off the numbness that had descended like a cold fog. Steer clear of the hysteria that was running around in it. There was a stirring of sympathy for Frank, pale and sweating despite the November chill, although good old Frank seemed somehow unfazed by the fact that a dead man was lying nearby. Chris had a suspicion that, beneath the perspiration, Frank was more bothered about being blamed than anything else. Maybe that was unfair, maybe plumbing inured you to death and destruction. It was a possibility. When Chris pulled out his phone, Frank Right touched his arm and shook his head. Told him it was better if he, as the driver of the vehicle, did it. Chris was good with that. His hand was shaking. The damn thing had developed a devilish little life of its own. Right there and then, tapping a number into his mobile, even a three digit jobby, would have presented quite a challenge. A bridge too far.

Buy Bad Pennies – John F Leonard

Amazon UK – Paperback

Amazon UK – Kindle

Author Biography

John was born in England and grew up in the industrial midlands, where he learned to love the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.

He studied English, Art and History and has, at different times, been a sculptor, odd-job man and office worker. He enjoys horror and comedy (not necessarily together).

He has published three books, Bad Pennies, Collapse and 4 Hours, and is currently working on a number of projects which include more tales from the Scaeth Mythos, and new stories set in the ever evolving, post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.

Check out his website:
Catch up on Twitter: @john_f_leonard

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