QSFer Matt Doyle has a new FF sci fi book out:
New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options…
For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.
When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.
Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.
The Cassie Tam Files Book
Guest Post – Character Bio
NAME: Cassandra Tam
PREFERRED NAME: Cassie or Caz
OCCUPATION: Private Investigator
CURRENT RESIDENCE: New Hopeland, a tech-focussed city built on Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert
BIRTHPLACE: Vancouver, BC, Canada
ETHNICITY: Chinese-Canadian (Her mother is Canadian, and her father is Chinese-Canadian)
OTHER INFORMATION: Cassie originally wanted to be a police officer like her father, but found that she was better suited to PI work. After certain events occurred, she moved away from her Vancouver home and relocated in New Hopeland. She has a good relationship with the local Police Department, having worked with them on numerous cases, and classes the moustachioed Captain Hoover a as friend. Despite this working relationship, she also has links to several members of the city’s underbelly. Most prominent among these is local illegal stimulant dealer Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Goldmann, though their interactions have become strained since Charlie broke off their romantic relationship. As a side note to this, Cassie has been reluctant to date since the dissolution of this partnership, and intentionally distances herself from potential lovers as a result.
When it comes to work, Cassie approaches cases with a dogged determination. She is perfectly capable of using some modern detective tools, and often applies reasonable levels of questioning to gather information, but is not shy about using intimidation when required. While this sometimes involves taking physical action herself, she has been known to employ Bert, a metal gargoyle loaded with an AI designed for protection work, in this role. It should be noted however that her relationship with Bert is closer to that of a master and pet than that of a person and a weapon. In part, Cassie’s success has come due to her understanding of how New Hopeland works; she is aware that good people can do bad things and still be good people afterward the event, and she is not above utilising her connections on both sides of the moral divide if a case requires it.
Cassie can be easy to anger and, if challenged on anything, has a habit of becoming stubborn and digging her heels in, even if she knows that she may be in the wrong. Despite this aggressive streak though, she has deep set views on right and wrong, and abhors what she views as injustice. As such, she will often aim the snarky side of her nature at those that she sees as being in the wrong. She cares deeply for those that she considers a friend, and will help them in any way that she can, even if they too can sometimes be targets for her mood. Cassie is uncomfortable when it comes to flirting and is easily embarrassed. She also has a habit of berating herself internally if she thinks that she’s over-stepped the mark or slipped up.
Cassie has a love of horror films, though they terrify her and often leave her suffering from nightmares. Due to being present in the city during the initial prototype release of Tech Shifting Gear (flexible metal exo skeletons used by some to roleplay as animals), she was heavily involved in the police investigations of the resulting murders. Though she is aware that there are now much more stringent tests involved with obtaining the suits, the experience has left her with an uneasy acceptance of Tech Shifters, and contact with the community can also sometimes leave her with nightmares. Cassie is often found drinking beer, but actually prefers coffee as a drink. In terms of music, she has recently favoured Jazz, but also enjoys certain retro rock acts such as The Wildhearts and Shinedown.
Matt is giving away an eBook copy of first self-published novel, WICK. That’s a hybrid genre sci-fi thing with multiple POV’s, one of which is openly gay:
“An over the top performer guarding his companion’s right to life. A genius programmer striving to retrieve her property. An ex-mercenary sick of the abuse that she and her girlfriend receive. A teenage girl desperately seeking to understand her past. An old man intent on living by his own terms.”
Comment on this post below for a chance to win.
I always did like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.
Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.
The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?
More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letter box and a voice. “Hello? Cassandra Tam?”
It’s funny, really. For all the tech advances that the world has made, no one has been able to improve upon the simple open-and-shut letter box. I stumble my way through the dark and wave dismissively at the frosted glass. The light switch and the keypad for the door lock are conveniently placed right next to each other on the wall to the right of the door, so welcoming my apparent guest is a nice, easy affair. The lock clicks a moment after the lights flood the room, and I pull the door open.
“Cassie,” I say, turning and skulking my way back into the room. “Or Caz. Drop the Tam.”
I hear a sniff behind me, and the lady from the letter box asks, “Are you drunk?”
“If I pass out in the next five minutes, then yes,” I reply, turning the kettle on. I’d left it full, ready for the morning, but I guess this is close enough. “Take a seat at the table. Would you prefer tea or coffee? I’d offer beer, but since I reek of it, I guess I must’ve finished it.”
Footsteps creep unapologetically across the room, and a chair squeaks on the floor. Good. If you can’t deal with a snarky response to something, don’t say it all, and if you can deal with it, then as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to apologise.
“Coffee,” the lady says. “So, do you always see potential clients in your underwear, or is it just my lucky day?” Her voice has a slightlyplayful edge to it, but with a sarcastic kick to round it off.
The business portion of my apartment comprises entirely of a small open-plan room separating my kitchen from my living room. And by open plan, I mean an allotted space that encroaches on both territories but is conveniently large enough to house what I need. Or, in other words, a table, four chairs, and nothing else. Since filing went near entirely digital, filing cabinets have pretty much become obsolete, so the two that I found dumped outside the building when I bought the place currently live in my bedroom, and contain a mix of quick access work stuff and personal files I’d rather not have floating on the net. Most things, though, I store electronically, the same as everything else.
I rarely use the business table to eat, read, or any of that junk, so until this evening it’s been entirely empty for a good few weeks. The lady sitting there now is studying me, I can see, and probably wondering if this was a mistake. Whatever she may have expected, a Chinese-Canadian gal of average height in a cami top and a loose pair of sleep shorts most likely wasn’t it. For what it’s worth, though, I’m studying her just the same. She’s a lithe-looking thing, dressed in a casual pair of jeans and a plain black fitted top under a leather jacket. If the metal plugs running down her shaven head like a shiny, rubber-tipped Mohawk weren’t a giveaway for what she is, the light scarring punctuating the outer edges of her pale blue eyes certainly would be. She’s a Tech Shifter, and like most of her ilk, she looks like a punk rocker gone cyborg.
Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.