18 Mar 2014
by Jeffrey Thomas
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You can’t keep a good mutant shape-shifter down.
In 2007, Solaris Books released my novel DEADSTOCK, set in the far-future, crime-ridden, alien-infested city of Punktown. Its protagonist is Jeremy Stake, a former soldier in the Blue War, now a private detective with the ability to physically imitate any human (or humanoid) he’s looked at for long enough. In DEADSTOCK, Stake goes up against a Lovecraftian entity that starts out as a seemingly innocent bioengineered child’s toy.
Stake returned in 2008 in BLUE WAR, also from Solaris Books, this time caught up in a situation that might escalate into war on a blue-forested world in another dimension, where he is reunited with a blue-skinned female soldier who was once his lover.
I’ve written about Stake in several short stories, as well, but now he’s back in his meatiest adventure since BLUE WAR…my novella RED CELLS, released today from DarkFuse.
RED CELLS finds Stake fallen on hard times, so desperate that for a fee he agrees to imitate another man and serve his six-month prison sentence for him. But this is no ordinary prison. The prison in question exists in a man-made pocket universe, insuring that the inmates can’t escape. But once in the prison, Stake discovers that a series of violent deaths have occurred: a number of inmates have practically exploded inside their locked cells. When the inmates discover Stake’s identity, they prompt him to investigate these bloody deaths…and the unearthly answer to the mystery is far beyond anything Stake expected.
I started writing down ideas for RED CELLS while vacationing in Vietnam in the winter of 2009, in the home of my former in-laws, usually while I was watching over my then-infant daughter. I ended up filling many pages of my notepad. But due to other projects, it wasn’t until the winter of 2012 that I finally got around to writing the story. I chose the novella form, this time around, to keep the story tight and rapid-fire in delivery.
I’m very proud of RED CELLS. Shining reviews have been pouring in, making me all the prouder. Here’s a sample review:
(Click to see a review of RED CELLS in the Examiner)
I predict this won’t be the last time you’ll be hearing from Jeremy Stake. Why, he might be lurking right beside you at this very moment, wearing the face of your loved one. Or your own.
(There was a 100-copy print run of beautiful limited edition hardcovers, but your best bet is to catch RED CELLS on the Kindle. JUST CLICK ON THIS LINE TO GO THERE!)