Novels

The Joe Mayfield/Louise Napolitani series currently includes three novels. Fatal Score and Skins and Bone are complete.  Fail Deadly is in rewrite, to be complete in fall, 2018. A fourth novel, Fatal Cure is in development.  None are published … yet.


Fatal Score
:  Joe Mayfield’s happy, ordinary life comes apart when his wife is denied cancer treatment. It’s a few years from now.  All critical data is stored behind a national firewall called the Yak.  Genetic research has created HealthScore, which determines medical treatment.  When Joe’s wife’s HealthScore is slashed, it becomes a death sentence.  Frantic to save her, Joe hacks into the Yak and becomes the target of Phoenix, one man’s plot to skim billions in medical payments at the cost of thousands of lives.  Joe’s wife dies, and Phoenix sends a pair of toughs to erase Joe.  He goes off the grid, living on cash in out-of-the-way places. But his hack attempts pique the interest of a brilliant Yak tracker called Weezy.  She runs him down, skeptical of his good intentions, but becomes an ally.  Finally, in a single wide trailer in Panacea, Florida, Joe and Weezy work to destroy Phoenix before Phoenix destroys them.

Fatal Score is a debut novel about big data, the future of medicine, the pain of loss, and the power of redemption.

In Skins and Bone, Joe Mayfield lands his dream job:  Move from Florida to New York, go to work for the respected investment bank ZCG, fly with the finance eagles—and be a train ride away from Weezy, his lover, who is chief tracker for the national data base called the Yak.  ZCG uses complex financial derivatives called ‘Skins’ to craft protection for firms working in politically unstable regions.  Strangely, disaster seems to follow creation of Skins, and someone is raking in millions.  Joe, curious, begins to dig. Murders follow. Undaunted, Joe and Weezy dig deeper.  A financial conference in Vienna and a sumptuous cruise down the Danube to Budapest provide the opportunity for the man making the millions to eliminate Joe and Weezy.

Skins and Bone is a thriller with an eye to international finance, European elegance, and simple greed.

Fail Deadly: HelioCorp’s public offering is going to be the tech finance deal of the decade—cheap and easy solar power for all.  Joe Mayfield has engineered the deal and is on his way to a weekend with Weezy, hacker extraordinaire and his too-long-distance lover.  The HelioCorp project crashes.  The lights go out in Maine, then Georgia, and a ransom note demands one billion dollars. As Weezy, Joe, and the government struggle to find out what’s going on, Weezy gets a cryptic note from a hacker friend, HoHumJr.  He has been kidnapped by a Russian mafia group called Sobaki, but has managed to send the address of a file that will destroy them, wrapped up in a fail-deadly he hopes will protect both him and Weezy.  Sobaki captures Weezy. Her disappearance makes her the NSA’s prime suspect. Joe is soon a Sobaki prisoner, too, the better to force Weezy to keep the file hidden.  Weezy is tortured but stands firm. Weezy’s hacker friends zero in on her location, and the NSA rescues her. She is freed, but not from the cruel agony of her torture and the she must lose Joe.

Fail Deadly is a thriller that speaks to a current threat to our country and to the strength of  two lovers’ bond.

Fatal Cure: Gene therapy is a wonderful thing.  But all good things can be turned to evil purposes …

Background: The Mayfield/Napolitani novels take place a few years from now. Technology has marched forward, rolling computers, pads and phones into a device called an e-pad; replacing earbuds with bluetooth modules that attach to the mastoid bone; building semi-self-driving cars … nothing too surprising.  Except the Yak and HealthScores.

The Yak:  Election tampering in the United States and Europe has been followed by a tidal wave misinformation and infrastructure attacks spreading across cyberspace.  In the wake of fires, dam breaches, power-grid failures and a small nuclear episode, the United States has rushed to develop a national firewall. Called the Interagency Channel, or IAC, it has become the Yak in popular speech. Critical information about infrastructure, the financial system, the military, and medical files for all citizens has been pulled inside its protective shell.  The designers recognized that algorithms can’t always deter hackers; thus, the Yak includes a cadre of anti-hackers called Trackers.  Louise Napolitani – Weezy – is the best of the Trackers.

HealthScores: Advancing genetic research has provided markers for many fatal diseases. The private sector has used these advances to calculate probabilities of successful treatment called HealthScores.  Treatments have become ever more successful but ever more expensive. Congress has seen the opportunity to “rationalize” health care cost using HealthScores.  A high HealthScore for a disease means expensive, cutting-edge care; a low score, painkillers and prayers at the end.

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Publish

I have decided to self-publish Fatal Score, the first book in my Mayfield-Napolitani series, this November.  It has been a difficult decision, a long time coming.  I have sent many queries to agents, mostly unanswered. I’ve queried a handful of small publishers, mostly answered but no takers (though one expressed interest for a 2020 release).

As I toted up the rejections and ignores, I kept thinking the way we hopeful writers do, “Maybe next time. It’s not that my book isn’t good; it’s just that I haven’t found the right match at the right time.” Underneath it all, though, believing that to self-publish would be to admit failure.

A couple of years ago, a thought began whining in my ear like a Minnesota mosquito: maybe the traditional way of getting published is not for me.

And now I’ve decided: I’ll self-publish through my micro-publisher, Gotuit LLC, and release in November.

I am going to reorient this blog to track progress with weekly or bi-weekly comments on the many moving parts of the process.  Mark Twain called the exercise of writing about writing “chloroform in print.” I am grateful to the 250 readers who have been thus anesthetized over the several years of me reporting on my learning experience. I hope the process of publishing will be a little more interesting. If that proves true for you and you have not already done so, I hope you will sign up for e-mails (right margin).

Most important, I will look forward to your comments.

Next week:  The industry

 

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