Shamus-Award winning crime novelist Andy Straka breaks new ground with this near-future science fiction thriller in which a former pilot and the ex-infantryman who saved her life search for justice in a world where surveillance by micro-drones is fast becoming the reality.
Former Army helicopter pilot Raina Sanchez is plagued by nightmares. She can’t erase the memories of being shot down in Afghanistan, of losing her foot in the crash, and the death of her commanding officer. When asked by an ex-military contact to participate in a secret drone operation with ties to the war, she jumps at the chance to exorcise some of her demons.
She joins Tye Palmer, the decorated ex-infantryman who rescued her from the flaming wreckage of her Kiowa chopper. As civilian private investigators, together they embark on a sensitive, risky effort: using cutting-edge micro air vehicle drones in an attempt to expose the son of media mogul Nathan Kurn as a campus date rapist.
But as Raina and Tye come closer to the truth about Kurn and his powerful allies, Raina’s loyalties take a potential detour when she begins to understand a chilling reality. In a world where surveillance devices as small as tiny insects are being piloted into places most would never imagine, public and private forces both large and small are maneuvering to control them with inevitable consequences. For Raina and Tye the danger didn’t end when they finished their military careers−the threat has just begun.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I love stories. I love to read stories. I love to write stories. I love to tell stories. Detective novels, techno-thrillers, and science fiction have always been among my favorites and when I finally decided to try to sit down and write a book, detective fiction was the genre to which I gravitated first. My first published novel, A Witness Above, was the result.
What books have influenced your life the most?
The Old and New Testament. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway. A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Neuromancer by William Gibson.
What are your current projects?
I’m working with a new co-author, Durrell Nelson, on the second book in the Dragonflies series called Dragonflies: Visible Means. We plan to have it out as an original ebook before the end of 2013. I also just finished The K Street Hunting Society, Book #6 in my Frank Pavlicek private eye series. It will be published in trade paperback (Cedar Creek publishing) in March 2014 and as an ebook. Finally, I’m in the middle of a new standalone thriller that I hope to complete by the first quarter of 2014.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have added an additional chapter to Dragonflies: Shadow of Drones so as to not leave people hanging quite so much at the end. Since the screenplay was done on the heels of the book, the goal was to approximate the opening episode of a TV series, but what works for one medium doesn’t necessarily work for another, and we might have overdone the cliffhanger a bit. We’re working to improve the balance with the second book and—this is the beauty of an original ebook—we may go back and create a new addition of book 1 with the additional material and offer it for free to anyone who has already purchased book 1; we may also look at ways to combine books 1 & 2 in a separate edition.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
All criticism is tough. But I’ve learned to absorb it and move on. I never want to take for granted the fact that people are interested enough in my books to read them and comment on them and I’m always striving to better serve my readers.
What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment I can ever receive is people buying my books and reading them, whether they love them or not. Of course, I’m always hoping and betting that they’ll love them.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Yes, I do. In a word, write. I’m not being facetious. Too many people want to call themselves writers who don’t actually write, or at least not all that much. I’m not suggesting the most prolific authors are necessarily the most genuine, but the writing process itself shapes and makes a writer; it’ an experience that can’t be duplicated by taking classes or reading books about writing or attending conferences or writer’s groups, etc. It can only be earned in the crucible and discipline of the actual writing. So write. The more you write the more you will begin to find your voice and the better the chance you will improve and evolve as a writer as we all do.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Wow. I suppose it would be the willingness to continue to pursue and tell the truth, wherever that may lead. I try my best to do this.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
That’s easy. I wish I were better organized. My wife has been a big help and an influence on my in his regard. I’m far better organized than I used to be.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just to say thank for the opportunity to share. For more information, readers and/or aspiring writers can visit my website and blog “Prepare For Turbulence” at www.andystraka.com.
Publisher’s Weekly has featured Andy Straka as one of a new crop of “rising stars in crime fiction.” He writes the bestselling Frank Pavlicek novels starring an ex NYPD detective turned private eye and falconer (A WITNESS ABOVE, A KILLING SKY, COLD QUARRY, THE NIGHT FALCONER, FLIGHTFALL) and is the author of two widely-praised thrillers, RECORD OF WRONGS and THE BLUE HALLELUJAH.
Andy retired early from a career in medical sales to pursue his passion for writing. A licensed falconer, he lives with his family in Virginia where he hunts, hikes, and rails against the powers that be. He has also managed to survive a longstanding stint as a stay-at-home Dad, which makes neurosurgery look like tiddlywinks. An admitted technogeek, he opens a new series in 2013 with the near-future Sci-Fi thriller DRAGONFLIES: SHADOW OF DRONES.