Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: terminated

T’is the season and I have a couple of early Christmas presents in the shape of a couple of bargain books.  Here they are and I hope you jingle all the way to bookstore.

ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN: Someone is out to kill Josh Michaels. An SUV runs him off the road and into a river. As his car goes down, the SUV’s driver watches only to calmly give him the “thumbs down.” This is only the first of the attempts. With his time—and maybe his luck—running out and no one willing to believe him, Josh had better figure out who wants him dead and why…before it’s too late.

Just $1.99 at Amazon.

NO SHOW: Englishman Terry Sheffield has just arrived in San Francisco to start his new life with Sarah, the investigative journalist he married after a transatlantic love affair. But Sarah never shows up at the airport… When Terry reports his wife as missing, the police chalk it up to a new bride with cold feet. Then one murdered woman after another turns up, all with something in common: they had exposed scandals just before their deaths…and their names appear on a list that Sarah composed. As a journalist, Sarah’s exposed her share of scandals, and Terry realizes that she’s not missing—she’s on the run. To find her before the killer does, Terry must explore the dark recesses of his new homeland and rely on the help of some new friends. But as his search brings him closer to finding Sarah, Terry realizes she’s very different from the woman he thought he married.

Just $1.99 at Amazon.

TERMINATED: Gwen Farris crossed the wrong coworker when she gave Stephen Tarbell a poor evaluation. That was all it took to push Tarbell over the edge. He already believes Gwen stole the promotion that was rightfully his. He won’t let her take anything else from him. Now it’s his turn to take…and take. By the time he’s finished with her, Tarbell plans to take her job, her family—even her life.

Just $1.99 at Amazon.

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February is a bumper month for bargain books.  Amazon has gone to town with a whole host promotional offers on my books!!  Brace yourself.  Here they all are!!

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Zoë and Holli’s Vegas road trip goes wrong when they’re abducted. Zoë escapes leaving Holli behind. A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a murder that eerily resembles her abduction. Her attempts to find justice for Holli brings her to the attention of the “Tally Man.” For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.

The ebook is 99c and the trade paperback is $5.99.

DECEPTIVE PRACTICES: Do you have a cheating spouse?  Has counseling failed?  Want to get even?  Then hire Infidelity Limited to teach them a lesson.  That’s the pitch Olivia Shaw bought into.  When her husband is killed, she discovers that Infidelity Limited is far more dangerous than she ever believed.  Now the prime suspect in her husband’s slaying, she has only one option—take down Infidelity Limited.

The ebook is $1.99 in the US and £1.00 in the UK.

TERMINATED: Gwen Farris crossed the wrong coworker when she gave Stephen Tarbell a poor evaluation.  That was all it took to push Tarbell over the edge.  He already believes Gwen stole the promotion that was rightfully his.  He won’t let her take anything else from him.  Now it’s his turn to take…and take.  By the time he’s finished with her, Tarbell plans to take her job, her family—even her life.

The ebook is 99c in the US.

I hope you’ll take advantage of these offers.  And if you’ve never read any of my books, this might be the perfect time to start.  Enjoy!!


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DECEPTIVE PRACTICES comes out November 15. Not only is it a new book but it’s also the fourth and final installment of the Bay Area Quartet. The series wasn’t linked by character but by location. I wanted to explore my environment so I broke the Bay Area into four sections and put a book there. DECEPTIVE PRACTICES explores the East Bay (my neck of the woods). The other books in the series being PAYING THE PIPER (San Francisco), WE ALL FALL DOWN (Marin County) and TERMINATED (Alameda).

I hope you’ll check out DECEPTIVE PRACTICES and the other books in the series.

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WeAllFallDown400September seems to be promo month for several of my titles.  So please take advantage of several of these month long discounts.  You have no excuse not to pick me up cheap.  😉


The ebook edition of my kidnap thriller filled secrets, lies, mistakes and redemption is £1.00 at AmazonUK.


The ebook edition of my workplace violence themed thriller is £1.25 at AmazonUK.  This book was inspired by an incident at my wife’s old.


The ebook edition of my chase themed thriller is $1.99 at Amazon.  Think THE FIRM but with engineers instead of lawyers.  Seriously though the book was inspired by a series of suicides in the UK in the 80’s.


The trade paperback edition of my bestselling cat and mouse thriller is only $6.99 at the moment at Amazon.  It’s the story of two damaged people who deal with their trauma in completely different ways.

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ronsonI recently finished Jon Ronson’s excellent new book SO YOU’VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED which explores public shaming of all varieties through the medium of social media.  For me, Ronson is a cracking nonfiction writer.  As a writer and journalist he tackles the topics a little left of center, such as public shaming.  Maybe I enjoy his writing so much because he’s drawn to the weirder world as I am.  As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m fascinated by the improbable and unlikely circumstances that exist in our world.  I’m all about the cruel and unusual.

TOTGAThe reason I mention Ronson’s book is because I felt a little relief and thrill reading it in connection my own book THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.  After every book, I always suffer with the collywobbles.  I start to fret about the plotline and whether it’s a little too wild or unbelievable.  The worst I’ve ever felt was with TERMINATED which is about workplace violence and I was a little concerned that the flashpoint for the book—a bad performance review—was a little too extreme.  But after an afternoon of Googling the topic, I found that a bad review was totally in bounds for sending someone ‘postal.’  Reading SO YOU’VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED gave me that same sense of reassurance.  THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY doesn’t deal with public shaming per se but the villain’s reason to kill to punish people for the small/unpunishable crimes that society ignores.  A number of sources in this villain’s particular manifesto influenced me and public shaming played a small part.  I’ve long lamented how depressing it is read the comments feed for any news story, YouTube post, or any online content. It doesn’t take long before it turns racist, contemptuous, negative and flat out hateful.  What gave me reassurance (in a peculiar way) reading Ronson’s book was how the public shaming examples he investigated turned foul and vicious.  They usually ended in a call for violence, especially where women were concerned.  Like I say, it was a peculiar form of reassurance.  I’m not saying I’m all for killing women when they step on society’s toes but the book illustrated how murderous intent could come from one person’s perceived view of bad behavior in another person.  The book even talked about pillories and public stocks.  For people who’ve read THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY will understand my reassurance at that mention.

Like I say, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY isn’t about public shaming because the villain takes it to the next level and executes those who fail to live up to his particular moral viewpoint.  However, SO YOU’VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED did give me a warm fuzzy feeling about THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.  I’m glad my stretch of the imagination only went a couple of degrees further than what is happening in the world…and hopefully will remain that way.

I thoroughly recommend to everyone to pick up one of his books at some point…and any of mine while you’re at it.  🙂

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“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” ~Sherlock Holmes

strangerI’m totally with Sherlock on this one…especially when it comes to the improbable.  I’m drawn to the weird, odd and bizarre.  I’m fascinated by the oddities in life that shouldn’t happen.  It appeals to my imaginative sensibilities.  Blame Roald Dahl and Rod Serling for making me believe in the crazy.  It’s the reason why I’m a rabid fan of the show BANSHEE but not LAW AND ORDERBANSHEE is crazy, intense and over the top and only works when the universe’s cosmic tumblers are off, whereas LAW AND ORDER is rooted in the now and the real, which makes it totally mundane to me (sorry Dick Wolf).  If I want mundane, I can pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news.  I want it weird.  I’m an escapist!  What can I say?

That’s why one criticism of my stories is that they push the limits of believability—and that’s true.  They do.  But for all that limit pushing, they don’t go outside the realm of the possible.  I go out of my way to pay attention to for the strange happening in the real world.   I think I have a fascination with the strange because I possess a small talent for calamity myself.  I have many firsthand accounts of how my life went off the rails.  One example was when I had a near fender bender on a roundabout which then developed into someone filing a fraudulent insurance claim against me.  That led to me being charged with half a dozen driving offenses and was topped off by the police handing me a confession they’d written for me to sign.  Seems a little unlikely but it happened to me…which you can read the complete account here.

So if it can happen to me, it must happen to others.

stranger2I’ve discovered some tragic and cruel twists of fate such as a Sacramento motorcycle cop who responded to a fender bender caused by  an elderly man who pulled out of a turn and tee-boned a car.  The cop felt bad for the elderly man and let him off with a warning instead of citing him.  The following week, the same elderly man did the exact same thing at the same intersection.  This time he struck and killed the motorcycle cop who’d let him off.  The weird what-if game that plays out in your head after that is what inspires my stories.

Things like this have been the inspiration for several of my books.  The trade of life insurance on the living which is the backbone for ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is a real thing.  Private security firms being involved with workplace violence claims which is the foundation for TERMINATED came from something that was happening with one of my wife’s employers.  The disturbing series of suicides in WE ALL FALL DOWN were inspired by similar ones that happened between coworkers in the UK in the 80’s.

And while THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, PAYING THE PIPER, NO SHOW, etc. don’t have any direct link to an actual event, they are inspired by a way of thinking.  Namely, how can a seemingly mundane event get its strange on?

Now I know this outlook might not be to everyone’s liking but if you’re willing to go off-piste and embrace the improbable, then I think you’ll enjoy the ride.

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contaminatedMy wife, Julie, said to me a little while ago, “I’ve been with you too long.”

Goodie, I thought, we’re finished. I can go girlfriend shopping at the weekend. I wonder if that Kate Upton is seeing anyone. But seeing as Julie was talking and I really should take notice of her from time to time, I decided to hear her out and said, “What do you mean?”

“I keep seeing the dark side of things.”

“Tell me more, Haley Joel Osment.”

“Wednesday, I’m looking out the office window while talking to Susan. There’s a man and a woman. The man is holding the woman’s arm. They’re smiling, but he’s gripping her bicep a little too tightly for it to be friendly. Across the parking lot are two guys. The man with the woman waves at the two men. Everyone walks to the middle of the parking lot. The man with the woman maintains his grip on the woman’s arm all the way across the parking lot. Guess what I think?”

“I don’t know—maybe that you should be listening to your boss and not looking out the window?”

“No, I think kidnap exchange. That’s your fault. Years ago, I would have seen friends meeting to chat. Now I see a felony in progress. Because of you, I can’t see the world in normal terms. You’ve ruined me.”

What could I say to this? It’s a hefty accusation. So I just smiled and said, “Love you.”

Actually, I know what poor, confused, Julie means. Telling stories of crime means I tend to look at the world in criminal terms. Now I don’t mean I go looking for evil doers doing evil on street corners, but I do look for oddities in the world around me. If something catches my eye, I’ll concoct a story to suit what I’ve just seen. If I spot someone leafing through a trashcan, I don’t think homeless guy, I think money drop. When I notice a guy sitting alone in a dull sedan, I don’t think guy waiting on his wife, I think FBI surveillance on Columbian drug cartel operating out of a Happy Donuts. If I sneak a peek at a flatbed truck chock full of giant seedpods, I don’t think a horticultural expo must be in town, I think alien invasion is on and I shouldn’t go to sleep.

jane-levy-split-tongue-evil-deadSo how did I repay my lovely Julie for her imaginative thoughts about the goings on in her office parking lot? I used them in a book. In TERMINATED, the opening scene takes place in a private company’s parking lot, not too dissimilar from Julie’s. Things don’t go down the way Julie witnessed, but there are similarities. The theme of the book deals with workplace violence originating from a grudge that escalates and escalates. The scene now features the protagonist being assaulted in the parking lot. Julie shared the chapter with several of her coworkers with gratifying results. Let’s just say people have developed a healthy fear of the trash enclosure located in the staff parking lot. If nothing else, I’ve made people review their approach to safety.

It’s nice to see that I can convert people to my way of viewing the world. It makes for a far more imaginative place, even if people are a little scared to leave the comfort of their own homes.  If I haven’t warped your world view, I hope to do so, real soon…

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Are you British? Do you read ebooks?  Then this the place for you!

Several of my books are being promoted this month and having promotional pricing to go with it.

PAYING THE PIPER is only 99p (in eBook form) this month over at Amazon UK with 40% off the paperback.
“For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families. When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.”
WE ALL FALL DOWN is only £1.49 at Amazon UK
“Hayden Duke just landed a coveted contract gig with Marin Design Engineering, largely thanks to his old friend, Shane Fallon. The dream job becomes a nightmare when Shane takes his own life in a seemingly drug induced stupor. The only clue to Shane’s death is an e-mail with an encrypted file he sends to Hayden. It’s a file people would kill to possess. Now Hayden’s got to risk losing everything…before he loses his life.”
My workplace violence thriller , TERMINATED, is only £1. at Amazon UK.

Stephen Tarbell needed that promotion. But they had to go and give the job to his supervisor, Gwen Farris. Now Tarbell has had enough—and he’s about to put Gwen on notice. She has two choices: give him a glowing review on his performance evaluation or suffer the consequences.  Gwen has already survived one violent attack, fifteen years ago. But even that experience couldn’t prepare her for Tarbell’s relentless fury. Pulling a knife on her was just the beginning. Like a sadist peeling the wings off a helpless fly, Tarbell is determined to pick apart her life using every means of physical and psychological torment. The company’s security firm says they’ll handle the situation, but whose side are they really on? And how do you stop a psychopath so consumed by hate he thinks he’s the one being persecuted?
 ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is on 99p over at Amazon UK.  This was my first novel and after a decade it continues to keep riding the charts from time to time.  I think it’s because of the provocative storyline.
“Josh Michaels isn’t wanted dead or alive—just dead. That fact becomes shockingly clear when a stranger runs his car off the road. Instead of a helping hand, the man gives Josh a “thumbs down” and abandons him to what is almost certainly a watery grave. Luckily, Josh cheats death…this time. But when more harrowing “accidents” threaten his life, it’s clear he’s a marked man.  As his time and luck rapidly run out, he must unmask an insidious conspiracy bent on making a killing—in more ways than one.”
I hope these have whetted your whistle to give them a read…

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Relationships with our coworkers are a vital part of life. Considering that we spend a third of our day in the workplace, they have to be. No wonder we build friendships with workmates. That’s great. Unfortunately, the flipside of personal relationships in the workplace is that they can turn sour–and violent.

I’ve seen workplace violence up close. At my last job, my employer took out a temporary restraining order against an employee after he threatened to harm a number of staff members (myself included). Let’s just say that’s a tad awkward when you bump into that person in a mall. Oddly enough, a restraining order has little power in that situation, but running does. Back in the UK, a firm I used to work next to had a problem with one of their people. When they let him go, he tendered his resignation by throwing an office chair through a second floor window. A few days later, he came back at night and drove a car through the main entrance.

According to government statistics, twenty people are murdered at their place of work every week in the US. Retail jobs top the list as the most dangerous profession and women are the most likely to be killed. Now, the majority of these deaths aren’t committed by one coworker upon another, but it gives you an idea of how dangerous the modern workplace is. By the by, if you want to know which profession suffers the least from workplace violence, its mineworkers.

But it wasn’t incidents like these that became the inspiration for my latest thriller, Terminated, but what companies are doing to combat workplace violence. Workplace violence isn’t good for business. Not only is it disruptive, upsetting and frightening, it’s also expensive. And in the world of commerce, money talks. It’s the expense which is forcing companies to employ some interesting tactics. Some companies in high profile industries are hiring private security firms to handle claims against violent and potentially violent employees. The security firms provide protection for those threatened and their families, but that’s not the intriguing part. The security firms also investigate and run background checks on the accused. If the investigators find any dirt, indiscretions or infractions, this is used to build a case against the violent employee. The evidence is then used as part of a criminal case or it’s just dangled in front of the troublemaker to force that person leave of their own accord, unless they want their dirty laundry aired to the world. The whole notion blew me away. I was amazed at what a company has to do to prevent a potentially volatile situation.

This situation became the inspiration for Terminated. The book chronicles a personal grievance at work that takes on a life of its own. In the book, Gwen Farris has the unenviable task of managing Stephen Tarbell. Tarbell is already bent out of shape because he believes he should be manager, not Gwen. The ignition source for the conflict is an annual performance evaluation. When Gwen issues Tarbell a poor evaluation, he tells her to change it–or else. Gwen goes to her bosses, this only serves to inflame the situation, and it all goes downhill from there.

Now the book’s scenario may come over as extreme, but it isn’t. Looking through reports of real life incidences of workplace violence, the flame that has ignited a firestorm in the workplace have been as simple as an off color joke, a remark about someone’s girlfriend/wife/daughter, a humiliating prank, and an interoffice romance gone wrong, just to name a few. If you can name it, it’s been a source of conflict in the workplace. I came across the most astounding incident by pure luck after I finished the book, which surrounded Marta Bradley and Alan Chmurny. Chmurny was Marta’s boss and they enjoyed a friendship for a number of years. An incident occurred to change that which resulted in Chmurny stalking Marta’s every move for four years. His crimes against her escalated from vandalism to breaking and entering and ended in a failed murder attempt. Chmurny ended up committing suicide in the courtroom after a guilty verdict. What was the reason for all the emotional wreckage? Marta had said publicly that she hadn’t liked Chmurny’s deviled eggs at a company picnic.

Writing this book has been quite sobering. The workplace seems like a safe environment where we feel we know our colleagues, but how well do we really know them? It’s a dangerous world out there and the greatest threat you face might not be from a hostile nation abroad, but the other side of your cubicle wall.

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