Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: terminated

If you live in the Sacramento area, I’m going to be the guest Capitol Crimes where I will be discussing Dangerous Coworkers…the story behind his novel TERMINATED, the third book in the Bay Area Quartet.  I’ll probably tell some other stories too.  It’s free to attend so bring a friend!

When: Saturday, November 16, 2019, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Where: Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd #1397, Sacramento, CA 95827

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I’ve just finished reading the late Brian Garfield’s short story collection, SUSPENDED SENTENCES. In the introduction, he thanks Ed Gorman for helping him with the book, which I found touching, because I also owe Ed Gorman a debt of gratitude. When my first thriller, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, came out, it was with a small publisher with a small print run of a few thousand copies. In that situation, getting any kind of promotional and industry support was tough. I wrote to Mystery Scene magazine which Ed owned at the time. He liked what he saw and assigned the book to one of his reviewers which resulted in my first trade review. Seven years later, Ed and I ended up being stable mates at the same publisher. He wrote to our editor to say how much he loved my books and to recommend that he keep on publishing my books. The editor forwarded his email to me saying I had a fan. We asked Ed if he would turn his praise into a blurb for my upcoming book at the time, TERMINATED, which he did, saying:

“Simon Wood packs his books with suspense, surprises and superb storytelling.”
— Ed Gorman, author of The Midnight Room

Of all the blurbs I’ve received for my books, this is one of the most cherished.

Here’s the astounding detail about this—we never met. We kept in touch over the years until his death in 2016, but it would’ve been nice to have thanked him in person. This public thank you will have to suffice in its place.

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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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4-title-bay-area

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.  😉

PAYING THE PIPER

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

TERMINATED

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.

WE ALL FALL DOWN

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 ONE THAT GOT AWAY

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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