Writing a series of full-length suspense fiction is somewhat different from writing a standalone book. There are two storylines and two sets of characters that one needs to develop.
First you have the story of your particular book, which I shall call “the episode storyline.” In The Reckless Engineer this is Jack Connor’s story and the story about the murder. The main characters of this episode story are Jack Connor and the four beautiful but very different women that are in his life––his wife Caitlin McAllen, his ex-wife Marianne Connor, his ex-girlfriend Sally Trotter, and his latest but newly murdered squeeze, Michelle Williams. Jack’s powerful father-in-law Douglas McAllen, his brother-in-law Ronnie McAllen, his two sons, his step-daughter, and his manager, Allan Walters, are all characters that belong to the Episode Storyline.
One needs to start the book at a point of significant tension in the Episode Storyline and develop the tension steadily and rapidly, weaving in the background information at strategic points. One also develops the Episode characters rapidly and forcefully in the foreground, with bold introductory paragraphs, such that the conflicts between them add to the mounting tension and suspense.
While this is going on, there is a series storyline that one cannot ignore. This storyline has a series lead who, in the case of a mystery, is one’s amateur sleuth, and he has some recurring characters in his life. Generally there is a sidekick or a partner. In The Reckless Engineer series our lead Jeremy Stone has a sidekick, Otter, who will be developed further in this role in the next book. In this episode, his partner is the criminal defence attorney, Harry Stavers, who duals expertly with the police, the prosecution, and the media hounding his clients and leads the defence of the case in Crown Court while Jeremy blends in with the Episode characters and gets down to the business of solving the mystery to “who dunnit.” There is also a second partner, Stephen Barratt, who is introduced at the very end of the story ready to be brought forth in the books to follow in the series.
We introduce and develop the Series characters gently in the background through the story. Their characters are revealed in discussion with the Episode characters gradually. Jeremy, the Series lead, also has a personal life with characters Maggie Harris and Annie Wren in it. Their story develops on the slow boil on the back burner, ready to come to the foreground and play out in the next books in the series.
The Episode storyline starts at a
of tension, rapidly
develops, climaxes at the few paragraphs and the end, and drops to a satisfying
ending of zero tension. In the meantime the Series storyline develops
with slowly mounting tension, peaks, and then drops a little to a level of
intermediate tension at a level a little higher than the start, ready to rise
in tension again with the next book. high point
The two storylines, Episode and Series stories, merge where characters from the Episode storyline, if any, join the Series storyline as recurring characters in future books. How this happens the reader would need to read The Reckless Engineer and find out.
The Reckless Engineer
Can you forgive betrayal?
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the
married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his
two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the
Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law's
extreme engineering company in oil & gas. He loves his two sons from his
first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife, Marianne
Connor. Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when the alluring
Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair, is found dead and Jack
is arrested on suspicion for the murder. Portsmouth
Jeremy Stone brings in a top
attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend's defence. London
Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim's house? Who is the "KC" that Caitlin makes secret calls to from a disposable mobile? Has the powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter's first partner, and is he capable of killing again? Is Caitlin's brother's power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame him? Is the divorce from his first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be? Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance? Who are the ghosts from Caitlin's past haunting the marriage? What is the involvement of Jack's manager at Marine Electronics?
While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers' expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend's life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense tale of love, friendship, power, and ambition.
Excerpt: Saturday, October 16 – One Day Later
Despite the comfort and luxury all around him Jeremy was woken from a night of disturbed sleep by the sound of the dogs barking. It was Saturday morning. There were voices downstairs in anxious chatter. His room (huh, he thought of this as his room now, did he?) was a first-floor en-suite with a bath. Actually it had a shared bathroom separating two twin rooms, but the second one had never been occupied whenever he had been here.
Jeremy washed his face quickly and hurried to the cupboard. Caitlin had laid out some clean clothes. He set his oversized laptop case, in which he carried a sleek laptop he had enhanced to pack in massive processing and memory power, so compact it hardly took any space, on the bed. Into the remaining space he generally packed various gadgets and electronics equipment he needed at client sites, including some “emergency” underwear and socks.
He pulled on a pair of black slacks and a blue Polo T-shirt from the cupboard. They must be Ronnie’s. Being slightly over 6 feet tall and having a wider frame, he did not fit so well into Jack’s clothes. He stepped out of his room and followed the voices downstairs.
One of the boys who worked in the stables and on the land, a brown lad in muddy
boots, was talking
animatedly to Caitlin, who was still in her dressing gown, in the kitchen. Wellington
‘There is police again at the front gate, sénora,’ he said with a heavy Spanish accent. ‘I put Molly and Max in the stables, ha?’
Caitlin and Jeremy hurried to the front reception with little Bubbles the puppy Lab running circles around them. There were two police cars at the gates.
‘If you could open the gates, Caitlin, I shall handle this,’ he said, thinking how lovely and vulnerable she looked with no makeup on and with tousled dark brown hair some length between short and medium. Something about a damsel-in-distress in silks stirred a man’s loins.
Jeremy went back to his room, splashed his face with icy cold water, and put on his shoes. He stepped out as the police cars pulled up outside the front door.
About the Author
Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and
and works in Cambridge . Jac studied English
literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry,
drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken
afternoons and Saturdays for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing
classes taken during the university years.
A published poet, Jac's first passion was for literary fiction and
poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts. You will find these influences in the poetic
imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation. England
These passions - for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering - have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer. There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the
, the US , and
the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment
bankers, and corporate lawyers. High
drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every
day. Yet there are hardly any books that
tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with. Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in
The Reckless Engineer series. UK
Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary
called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called England . Some of the tales have an added element of
suspense similar to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. The collection is published as individual
tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers and Thomas
Hardy's Wessex Tales. The first tale,
The Closet, accompanies the author's first full-length literary suspense title,
The Reckless Engineer. Wessex
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