Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Serious Crimes - Coming This November

I’ve dotted the ‘i’ and have drunk all the tea, now it’s just making sure that the events from Books 2 & 3 all tie in to Book 1. Serious Crimes will be out this month, probably in the next week or two.


Even after the apocalypse, crimes must be solved.

Strike A Match

They called them Artificial Intelligences. Sentient viruses were closer to the truth. They spread throughout the world until every networked circuit was infected. Then they went to war. Millions died in the nuclear holocaust that brought an abrupt end to the AI’s brief reign of terror. Billions more succumbed to radiation, starvation, and disease. But millions survived, and they rebuilt.

Serious Crimes

Twenty years later, a ceremony is being held to mark the first transatlantic broadcast since The Blackout. The Prime Minister of Britain and two of the Presidents of the United States will speak to an audience of nearly ten million people. Not all are celebrating. Crime is on the rise, and power is once again a prize worth murdering for.

Ruth Deering, a new graduate from the police academy, doesn’t care about ancient history or current affairs. She only joined the force in order to escape the smog-infested city. Those hopes are dashed when she is assigned to the Serious Crimes Unit, commanded by the disgraced Sergeant Mitchell. Her first case seems like a simple murder, but the investigation uncovers a counterfeiting ring, and a conspiracy that threatens to destroy their fragile democracy.

Serious Crimes is a transatlantic thriller set in a world of rationing and ruins, democracy and despotism, steam trains and smart phones. This is not the story of how the apocalypse is survived, but of what happens next. The investigation will continue in Books 2 & 3, out this winter.


Setting - Southern England (Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole, Milford, The New Forest). Books 2 & 3 should (I’m still in the draft stage) take us to the mobile mining city currently ripping coal from the verdant soil of Glamorgan, the new lighthouse near Kirkwall, and far, far beyond... (wait, I said it’s a transatlantic thriller, didn’t I? Ah, I did. Well, you can probably guess where the story goes.)

Genre: - A socio-economic, political, police procedural, detective thriller set in a post-apocalyptic democracy struggling against conspiratorial dystopian despots, piracy, banditry, and artificial intelligences. With lots of ersatz tea. [It’s a post-apocalyptic / conspiracy thriller]

But, though there are dystopian elements to the story, the society I’ve created isn’t a dystopia. It’s certainly not a Utopia, but a struggling democracy of the kind we’re all too familiar with. I like dystopian novels. I’ve written one and plan to write more, but in almost all of the apocalyptic futures portrayed in fiction it’s the tyrants, despots, and psychopaths who rule the land (and often in some quasi-medieval society.) What if it was different? What if an honest politician and an honourable Admiral grouped together with other good people to try and preserve democracy? Well, other people would try and seize power, and not care how many people they murdered to do it. And that, in part, is this story.

This began... actually there were many beginnings to this story. The largest part comes out of those plots and themes I wanted to include in Surviving The Evacuation but couldn’t due to the undead; steam trains, rooftop chases, people wandering the devastated landscape, sleeping out under the stars, picking over the ruins of the old world, hoping to create something better but being grateful that things weren’t getting worse.

By setting the story twenty years after the apocalypse, and in a low-tech world, I’ve tapped into the more traditional (or pre-technology) detective novels, requiring our heroes to rely on their wits more than criminal databases and forensic technologies. Firearms can be issued to all police without anyone batting an eyelid, thus allowing some fun action sequences that would be completely impossible in our contemporary society (not without our heroes spending the entirety of Book 2 visiting lawyers, psychiatrists, and the police complaints commission.) As to whether it’s plausible for Britain to become the dominant power after the end of the world? I live in the UK, that’s why the books are set here.

This conspiracy has an absolute definite ending, which should be in Book 3, but it might be in Book 2 depending on whether there’s enough material for two more novels or not. I won’t know this until I finish drafting them. I’ve a few ideas for titles, but I’m going to keep them to myself for now. When I put out Surviving The Evacuation, Book 4: Unsafe Haven, I included in the back that Book 5 was going to be called Reunion. That tied me to ensuring that the reunion actually occurred in the book. I don’t know if it would have been better if I’d kept the reunion until Book 6, but I would have been able to release the novel sooner had I not been tied into that specific ending. Lesson learned, and the titles will stay secret for now. I’m aiming for a winter release of Books 2 & 3. More on that soon.

There will be more books in this universe (assuming you enjoy this trilogy, and if you do, please consider leaving a review), beginning with a standalone murder mystery set during the time Detective Mitchell was wandering the British wasteland, bringing justice to the bandit tribes. There’s also a series of short stories. These are the articles written by a Canadian journalist, working for an American newspaper, sent to Britain to write human-interest stories. He’s the first journalist sent overseas for twenty years, so I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in his articles. I was planning to release this alongside the novels, but I’ve learned from Zombies vs The Living Dead, and plan to focus on one task at a time. These stories will come, and when they do I’ll get around to redesigning this website, with the intention of publishing them here. For now, I’ve some more tea to drink, some locations in Newfoundland to double check, and a table of contents to insert.