Posted 22nd February 2018
I set off to write a series of crime fiction novels under the title, The Human Spirit Trilogy. The idea was to celebrate how we have progressed as a species and made the world a better place over the last two hundred years using scientific discoveries and technological advancement. The books would be positive, upbeat and would leave the reader entertained and inspired. Good will always prevail over Evil and the baddies will get their comeuppance.
In addition I wanted to explore our staccato approach to that progress. We now know more than we have ever known yet there is so much more to learn. We have an innate curiosity; an appetite for learning and discovery which has created vast improvements in the quality of our lives and even in life expectancy itself.
But we have inherent human failings that get in the way of progress and, to some extent, are holding us back. Despite all the advancement, the big questions remain:
Why isn’t there a cure for cancer? How do we end world poverty? What will eradicate the destructive nature of addictive thinking and behaviour? How will we feed 9 billion people without destroying our precious planet?
I love crime fiction!! Fast paced, action packed, page turning adventure books that transport the reader out of the every-day and into a world where anything can happen. It stretches the imagination and makes the impossible seem achievable. It also keeps the reader on their toes with the various twists and turns in the plot.
My heroes are the writers of thrillers where the problems are solved by intellect and reasoning, or teamwork and intuition, rather than by high powered weaponry or brute force. My shelves are full of books by John le Carre, Dan Brown, Jo Nesbo, Michael Robotham, Stella Rimmington, Hugh Howey, Camilla Lackberg and Peter May, among many others.
Crime fiction enables the author to put fictional characters into real world situations. The characters can then say the things that need to be said. Also, using true-life stories, the basis of truth is already established. Then, with extensive research to back up the storylines, it is possible to create solutions to real-world problems that would be entirely credible.
The other big advantage is that these are works of fiction – they are not intended to be text books. But they allow the big questions to be asked and can challenge the status quo, with the intention of sparking a debate.
So why hasn’t the World Health Organisation offered a substantial prize to anyone who can identify a scientifically proven cure for cancer? I’d love to ask them. Crime fiction allows that question to be asked without the author being ridiculed for their lack of medical training.
This is the first book in the trilogy, published in April 2016. The title is a double entendre with a music theme running through the book. The clef is also the secret key to unlocking the C-word: Cancer.
The action takes place over five days in present-day Europe with references back to a darker time in human history. We visit New Zealand, Australia and the UK on the journey.
The C Clef explores the corporate world of cancer research and a pharmaceutical industry dedicated to finding highly profitable treatments to keep cancer patients alive, rather than to finding a cure for this deadly disease or a means to prevent it.
Today the spread of cancer is at epidemic proportions. There will be 13 million new cancer patients across the world this year. In New Zealand, it is the single biggest killer disease with over 7500 deaths per annum – that’s 22 people each day. If 22 people were killed on the roads each day, there would be a public outcry! In the UK someone dies every 4 minutes from a cancer related disease.
But cancer is a devious, nasty disease that protects itself from the body’s own immune systems. Now it is protecting itself from society’s immune system – the white heat of public attention and debate. Something has to change or the misery and human suffering will just get worse.
The two main protagonists are thrown together in the book and forced into unlocking the secret behind the cure for cancer. The tension builds to a spine-tingling crescendo when they come face-to-face with the evil force behind their ordeal.
I am donating $1 per book sold to support the Malaghan Institute for Cancer Research in Wellington and the great work they do to help cancer sufferers.
The second book in the trilogy will be published in October 2017. We catch up with Hannah and Lawrence, our two main protagonists, a year later. They are attending a diabetes conference in India when they meet up with someone Lawrence has known through his Rotary connections for over twenty years.
The drama soon unfolds when a dead body is discovered in suspicious circumstances. The ensuing investigation takes them deep into a web of corporate greed, racial prejudice and a seething hatred for a new world order.
Poverty is the worst form of violence, as Mahatma Gandhi once said. The social weaknesses exposed in society by excruciating poverty create opportunities for making money through child slavery, prostitution and human trafficking. This is Evil on a global scale and leads our two heroes into life or death situations when they are forced to confront a truly sick mind being slowly ripped apart.
Again the solution to the problem of poverty is to be found in a breathtakingly simple scientific breakthrough. But who owns science? And for whose benefit is scientific advancement being pursued?
Litany is set in a modern-day European summer and takes us on a roller-coaster ride from Stockholm to New York, through the poorest villages and wealthiest cities of India, into the backstreets of London and on to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland. The pace is relentless and the twists in the plot uncover secrets and conspiracy theories about prominent figures in the history of science.
I am donating $1 per book sold to support the Save Our Sisters Charity Project being run by the Rotary Club of Mumbai Necklace. The project will provide a shelter for the survivors of human trafficking and prostitution in the slums of Mumbai and assist their rehabilitation back into mainstream society.
The third book in the trilogy is called More: it is scheduled for publication in October 2018.
We catch up with Hannah and Lawrence a year after their previous adventures in India. They are about to announce a major breakthrough into the causes of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, following extensive research at the Klinkenhammer Foundation in New York.
As Hannah explains, there will be more food consumed in the world between now and 2050 than has ever been consumed throughout our history. This reflects expected population growth and our constant desire for More. Inevitably, the pressure is on to increase yield ratios, total food output, productivity rates and utilise genetic crop modifications.
Diabetes is set to become one of the biggest killers on Earth. The anticipation, therefore, over an announcement about finding a cure for this disease combined with a means to treat current diabetics and prevent the spread of diabetes has created a media firestorm.
More will examine the root causes behind human addictive behaviour and why the pursuit of wealth doesn’t correlate to the pursuit of happiness. The action explodes with a brutal murder in New York but the investigation soon goes cold as key witnesses become reluctant to co-operate for fear of their own lives.
Two lines of enquiry discover a link between the remote islands of Scotland, a deeply religious sect and a scientific discovery in the Amazon rainforest.
I will be supporting a charity project through book sales that relates to the fight against addictive human behaviour.