A Healthy Future

by Jeffrey Thomas

In early 2007, Gail Z. Martin and I were among the first wave of authors to release books through the then brand new imprint, Solaris Books. Well, actually Gail headed that wave, as her novel THE SUMMONER was the first novel released by Solaris. My own novel was DEADSTOCK, a science fiction thriller set in my multiverse, Punktown, with a private eye named Jeremy Stake at its center. Gail continued her Chronicles of the Necromancer series through Solaris, and they let me bring Jeremy Stake back for a second outing with BLUE WAR.

Since then, we have both gone on with other books for other publishers. My next novel set in the gritty and dangerous far-future city of Punktown – close on the heels of BLUE WAR – was HEALTH AGENT (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2008). HEALTH AGENT also took the form of a noir thriller, but this time starring “health agent” Montgomery Black, whose role is preventing the manifold health risks Punktown can fall prey to. Black and his partner/lover are given the task of investigating a brilliant but sociopathic performance artist who calls himself Toll Loveland. Loveland’s approach to art takes the form of biological terrorist acts, such as infecting people with a lethal disease. After attending one of his performances, before Loveland’s threat is fully comprehended, both Black and his partner are exposed to and contract the aforementioned deadly plague. With time running out as the disease ravages him, Black hopes to both avenge himself and his lover, and protect the rest of Punktown’s citizens from Loveland’s threats. But Loveland’s monstrous games have only just begun…

Actually, HEALTH AGENT was written in the late eighties, but languished as a handwritten manuscript for years. At the time of its writing, the AIDS epidemic was still something new in the public eye. But this fact should hardly date HEALTH AGENT; I don’t recall AIDS having yet been eliminated, and we are always dreading the next avian flu or even biological attack by some hostile group. Another interesting fact is that I took a year off in the middle of writing HEALTH AGENT, in order to write another novel, but somehow was able to come right back into what may well be the most twisty, tricky, labyrinthine plot I’ve yet devised. In fact, HEALTH AGENT might just be my favorite of my Punktown novels to date.

As I have mentioned, HEALTH AGENT was released several years ago, but I hope it will garner more readers; maybe those who read and enjoyed the more widely distributed DEADSTOCK and BLUE WAR would be willing to check it out. I think they’ll find themselves in for a healthy dose of thrills, scares, and suspense.

So I thank Gail – not to mention J.F. Lewis, Sabrina Lewis, and Tina McSwain — for letting me stand at the podium for a while. Gail’s been very supportive of me over the past few years, by featuring me in her podcasts, so she’s well deserving of my gratitude and indebtedness. Now back to you, guys!

P.S. — If you’re interested in purchasing HEALTH AGENT, please head on over to the publisher’s web site, here: http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/agent.html

You can listen to the audio from when Jeffrey was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Ghost in the Machine podcast here:  http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WXnzLmn4

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