Corruption – the story behind the story

For the third novel in my #VisionFor2020 #PublishTwelveNovelsAYear challenge, I’ve just released “Corruption – A page-turning political thriller linking big business to the heart of government”.

Here’s the blurb:

A young woman works hard to build her business and care for her disabled child.
But she is forced into making uncomfortable decisions.
And thus begins a spiral of corruption, where business and politics meet, and where innocents like Caroline Trafford are treated as pawns in a bigger political game.

This is a politically-based story, but I wanted to show how good, hard-working people can get corrupted. When they are guided by people whose morals are, to say the least, questionable. And when they are cornered into lying to cover up mistakes made by others in order to keep their life on track.

In this novel, I introduce Caroline Trafford, an architect, building up her business and providing for her disabled daughter. But one of her employees makes a mistake, and as a result, a worker on a building site dies. She knows that if she admits to the mistake, it would mean the end of her business. But a colleague and friend shows her that there is another way – to put the blame onto someone else, and thus keep her business and continue to care for her child.

Enter Jerry Sanders, a tired and jaded journalist, languishing in a local newspaper in a small town after a career in the national daily newspapers. Acting as court reporter, he hears a case where the name Caroline Trafford comes up. She is now the local MP, but the story behind the death of a building site worker might involve her. His interest is piqued, and he investigates her past, and the connections she now has. 

His efforts are thwarted, but he digs in, uncovering information, talking to various people involved. He enlists the help of some old friends, and slowly, the true story begins to emerge. A further tragic accident occurs, but once again, the big cover up is under way. Sanders begins to break down the animosity between himself and Trafford, and he can see she is a victim of circumstance, taking pity on her.

We all make decisions, based on the information we have at the time. But so many of them are compromises, and it was interesting to explore how far someone would compromise their ideals for the sake of their business and, ultimately, their family.

Jerry Sanders, and his friends, are such good, strong characters, that I am making him a series character for a set of cosy / cozy mysteries, some of which will be coming out later this year. The stories require rewriting to be based around them, but I feel it will be worth it. The stories need to be rewritten anyway, and brought up to a professional standard. 

Watch out for the Jerry Sanders Investigations, later in 2020!

In the meantime, links for both the ebook and print book versions of “CORRUPTION” are:

UK ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corruption-page-turning-political-thriller-government-ebook/dp/B0854L6XZG/

USA ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Corruption-page-turning-political-thriller-government-ebook/dp/B0854L6XZG/

UK print book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0857BHKBF/

USA print book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0857BHKBF/

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MELTDOWN – how and why?

Welcome to another blog post, where I give some insight on how I come to write a particular novel, and where I get the inspiration.

There are a number of themes running through my thriller writing.

One is environmentalism – I do fear that we’re sleepwalking into a potential disaster. The rise of vested interests and selfishness – society as a whole being unwilling to take the steps needed to save the planet – means that action is restricted to a very few, who are castigated and ridiculed by the seam of populism running through our lives. Sometimes, the selfishness runs into nationalism – the narrative beingL why should WE do something that adversely affects our lives, when THEY aren’t doing anything at all?

Another theme is corruption – selfishness on the part of those in power (both politically and financially) ensures that their needs are met and enhanced, to the detriment of others without the power.

Having said that, story comes from character. I want my readers to understand and empathise with the characters – be able to put themselves in the mind of my characters, to see and understand what the characters are doing, and why. Ideally, I would like readers to say: “Do you know what? I can see me doing that sort of thing”. At all times, I want the characters to be ordinary people, in ordinary situations, doing extraordinary things.

Thus it is in Meltdown.  I have written several situations, each of which in isolation is innocuous, and wouldn’t necessarily cause a problem. This story is partially inspired by the nuclear disaster at Fukusima – where the problems caused by an earthquake were adequately handled by the existing procedures. Until, that is, a 39-metre tsunami, caused by the earthquake, flooded the buildings the safety equipment was housed in.

I have a character Carl Hayes, who was kicked out of the Navy for trying to help out a friend by ‘taking the rap’ for misbehaviour. Now he’s working at a nuclear power plant as a maintenance manager, where the Operations Manager is cutting back on his team, on their overtime, trying to keep the plant profitable during the final years of its life.

I have a local businessman, Keith Chambers, who runs a caravan park on top of a cliff. He’s worried about coastal erosion cutting into his land as the cliff erodes away. As time goes on, he will need to keep moving his vans back from the receding cliff edge of the park, and eventually removing some of them, which will reduce his income considerably. He’s heard of projects where the cliff edge is protected from the sea, but the local conservation groups insist that the cliff remain ‘natural’, and are uninterested in his business concerns.

And I have a shadowy group of people who are only interested in highlighting the dangers associated with nuclear power, and want to create a protest demonstration where life could be threatened.

All of these could occur in isolation, and I wouldn’t have a story. But putting them together means that disparate actions by different people come together to being about a result that none of them, individually, foresaw.

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Release of MELTDOWN

I have published and released MELTDOWN, an apocalyptic thriller.
“MELTDOWN is an apocalyptic thriller, bringing climate change, corruption and personal anger into a thrilling race against time.”

An ageing nuclear power station, run by a company trying to stretch out its final years.
A maintenance worker, bearing a grudge, with a new and mysterious girlfriend.
A local landowner, prepared to bend the rules in order to protect his investment.
And the heaviest rain for years.
What could possibly go wrong?


The buy links (Amazon) for the UK and USA are:

UK Ebook https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0847T8DR1
UK Print book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0849T1P5C/

US Ebook https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0847T8DR1
US Print book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0849T1P5C

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