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I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lifting the curtain on my next novel - Famous After Death

I did it! I completed the first draft of my next novel, Famous After Death.

I still have Mute coming out in 2012 with Silver Leaf Books. I will take that baby through the editing process with my publisher and then we’ll announce the launch date. I haven’t been sitting on my hands all this time. I’ve been writing another intense story.

Famous After Death is a white knuckle thriller that takes murder viral. The storyline has been gathering inside my head for years as I imagined how the trouble I saw kids get into growing up would play out with this recent development of instant online videos. 

The theme can best be summed up by a 2010 column in the Miami Herald by Leonard Pitts. In describing bullying and prank videos posted on YouTube, he said: “There is always some video going around whose calculated effect is nothing more or less than humiliation on a global scale. Technology, it seems, has unleashed an ugliness in us.”  

In Famous After Death, three Miami-Dade teenagers take out their angst over their troubled family lives by setting up a roadside prank for an online video only to see a police officer drive to his death because of their trick. Chris Crawford, a high school dropout whose father ran off to start a modeling agency, and Kelso Stokes, an underachieving skater and son of a famous motocross rider, pressure Jorge Casanegra to post the video online anonymously. Given that his only friends are the horror movie action figures in his room, Jorge chooses to seek notoriety through murder videos to impress his new pals and attract a gothic girl he has a crush on. With an overwhelming number of hits on their video, the teens press on with more viral murders. But they aren’t doing it alone. Jorge solicits help from “Sir Black Market,” who runs a bootleg software website. Soon enough, Jorge’s mentor insists that they strike back at the police officers that are investigating them.

Clyde Deauville pursues online sexual predators with the vigor of his Born Again Christian faith as a “cyber cop” for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He helps Miami-Dade detective Olga “OC” Cohen track the viral killers after her ex-fiancĂ© becomes their first victim. With each new murder, OC becomes more vengeful and self-destructive while Clyde grows increasingly frustrated that the online audience is reveling in the bloodshed. When the teens realize that Clyde and OC are closing in, things turn personal.

In the end, someone will be famous for the wrong reasons. 

This novel won’t see the light of day until it’s thoroughly edited. I’m going to let it sit for a while – let the fruit ripen on the vine – and then dig in with an open mind. At some point, I might post part of it on Authonomy and request feedback from the generous readers/authors on there. 

I hope you don’t mind the wait. Trust me; this one will be well worth it.