I stumbled across an unexpected treat when prowling Kindle for free reads. Susan Kaye Quinn, author of the Mindjack trilogy, has a Kindle serial available called the Debt Collector series. Episode 1 is “Delirium,” and it’s free. There are 9 episodes in total — as far as I can see — and you can buy those separately or get the full set for $6.99 on Kindle.
It’s a fascinating future noir series in which debt is balanced against a person’s future potential, with their life energy at stake. Delirium, commonly called Lirium, is a debt collector with the ability to drain life energy from an indebted person and transfer it to someone with far more potential for society, such as an inventor or technological genius. There are regulations in place to protect children from being “cashed out,” as it were, but Lirium soon discovers that most of the laws aren’t being followed. Some collectors, like Lirium, work for the government. Others have been snagged up by the mob to punish and intimidate. Lirium, who has been a collector for just two years, is already in danger of washing out; he’s already to the point that he can hardly look at the dull eyes in the mirror anymore. He feels empty, as he takes life after life and transfers them to the rich and successful.
The series follows Lirium through a journey of balancing good vs. evil, debt vs. life energy, and the realization that he has to make the choice: Be used, like a tool, empty and tormented, or risk his life to try to do some good and change things for the better.