Tag Archives: detective

Off to the Races

30 Nov

ferret-files-cover-smlWith the final set of tweeks out of the way we’re off to the races. The Ferret Files will be available to purchase from your usual friendly ebook retailers by the end of this week.

A quick check of Amazon and its already there.

Now, how do I sign the first edition of an ebook? All suggestions gratefully received…

 

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What’s in the Box?

18 Jun

The Ferret Files

Thanks to Richard Argent over at ArgentArt, we now have a cover.  I’m very pleased with the result, which took a lot of work to get right.  It’s not what I originally had in mind, but that simply didn’t work in the real world – and besides, this is much more fun.  Richard took inspiration from Will Eisner’s work on ‘The Spirit’ comic.  The composition is spot-on, and there’s a lot going on, hidden in plain sight which relates to the novel.  You’ll have a great time decoding it all, I’m sure.

For now though, the big question is what’s in the box?

You’ll have to read The Ferret Files to find out.  Not long now, honest.  I know I’ve said that a few times over the last six months, but this time it’s true.  I had a misfire with a copy editor who didn’t perform as expected, so had to draft in a replacement, who did a much better job.  However, it’s cost me two months in wasted time to find another editor and work through all the comments.

Fingers crossed – I’m aiming to be ready for the first week of July.

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Now I’m excited…

26 Apr

Things are now proceeding with pace.

I received the manuscript for Ferret back from the editor’s yesterday, with only two flags raised, neither of which are red. Both potential libel, apparently… There are only so many things one can say about celebrities. I thought I was being insulting, but the editor thinks differently.

Ho, hum. No biggie.

Onward!

We’re aiming for e-publication in June, just waiting on the cover art.

Ferret in Highgate

The (In)competent Secret Society

20 Jul

knights_templar

I’ve been fascinated by secret societies ever since I read a book called ‘The Holy Blood & the Holy Grail’, back in the 80s.  Dan Brown took the fabric of this investigative piece of work, added a plot and called it the Da Vinci Code.  If you happen to be a fan of the secret society genre, you’ll find that the Knight’s Templars, the Freemasons and the Jesuits are pretty much responsible for everything that’s happened behind the scenes from the twelfth century onwards.  In fact, the more you read, the more brain knots you’ll end up with, as each author argues persuasively that it was their favourite society who were responsible for this or that event, and not another author’s.  Fast forward to today, and the vast array of secret organisations attempting to control the world are mind boggling, including in their number the Trilateral Committee, the Knights of Malta, Skull & Bones, Bilderberg, etc.  All of these societies are presented to the layman as totally omnipotent, in control of our lives from the day we’re born.  Occasionally, member’s lists sneak out, and lo & behold – everyone who’s anyone is a member of them all.

Before I go any further, let me state that I am not and never have been a member of any secret society, although obviously, if I was, that’s exactly what you’d expect me to say.  D’oh!  I was once a member of Round Table, but that’s: a) not a secret club, and b) a charity organisation.  What I discovered from that experience is when you throw a load of successful businessmen in a pot, add a framework for the purposes of imposing order, and stir, what comes out the other end is not necessarily as successful as its constituent parts.  This is mainly thanks to infighting and vested interests.  The same can be said of Parliament and the Senate – MPs and Senators do what is right for them and their backers, not the people who put them in power.

Back of the US one dollar bill.

Back of the US one dollar bill.

Given that this is how things work, I have to ask whether the idea of the all-seeing, all-powerful secret society that cannot be beaten and never makes a mistake is fact the truth.  Perhaps that what they want you to believe, because the truth would shatter their carefully concocted image.  Certainly, if everyone who’s anyone is a member of every society going, then their vested interests will conflict between societies, causing proceedings to grind to a halt.  Plus, the Anyones will never have any time to do any real work, because they’re so busy with their secret society schedules, they can’t fit the day job in.  Just a thought, but it’s one I like very much – the incompetent secret society that blunders its way through history, screwing up every major deal it’s involved in.  When they try to hint how powerful they are, even that continually goes wrong, with the result that they’ve never been mentioned in print for the whole of their 200 year history.

City of LondonWith most of the protagonist Vs Secret Society plots, the hero is desperately trying to outwit the bad guys and solve a mystery before their men get him.  Now flip that on its head.  What if the protagonist is a member of an incompetent secret society who find it difficult to recruit new members because no-one has ever heard of them.   The only thing they’ve been able to do is infiltrate the world of finance (City of London), and they’ve made a massive dog’s dinner of that, thanks to corruption, vested interests and plain stupidity.  This is the world in which Ferret finds himself – he is that protagonist.  And he’s had enough of taking ridiculous orders, he wants out.  What happens when one tries to leave an incompetent secret society that has a habit of handing out concrete flippers to those who want to leave?

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You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

 

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Ferret goes to Highgate Cemetery

17 Jun

Here’s a sneak peek at the second illustration for the Ferret Files, courtesy of my good pal Richard Argent over at www.argentart.co.uk.

Cemetery scene

We were working on this scene, busily rewatching old Hammer Horror films when the sad news of Sir Christopher Lee’s death was announced.  I suspect that Ferret & Emily may well be making their way into the world of merchandising…

 

Boo to Banksters

10 Jun

Bankster: what a great Portmanteau word which succinctly communicates everything that’s rotten with our current financial system.

Bowler hat The first time I laid eyes on the City of London, it was the early 80s and everyone wore bowler hats.  Fast forward to the late 80s, when I started working there for real, and double breasted suits with red braces were the fashion of the day.  I confess, I couldn’t get into one of those suits – immortalized by 1930s Chicago – fast enough, although red braces were a step too far.  The City was pure madness, fueled by a mixture of greed, never ending bonuses, drugs, champagne, fast cars and loose women.  Sadly for me, I didn’t live that lifestyle, I simply helped support it with IT systems and software – anything to make stocks and futures move faster.  Looking back, it’s probably a good job I wasn’t a trader, as I’d either be dead or else hulking around a collection of knackered organs, bludgeoned into failure through massive overindulgence.

Michael Douglas as Gordon ‘Greed is Good’ Gecko in the movie Wall St epitomized the world of finance in that period of time; more recently the role of monied bad boy was reprized by Leonard Di Caprio in the movie Wolf of Wall St.  Both films portray the period as one massive hedonistic binge, which resonates with my experiences.  We all knew there were some bad people working the system, but they were our bad people, people who’d fought their way up from the bottom, displacing the Old Boys in their bowler hats.  It was all one big splurge of harmless fun.

GerkinSomewhere along the route that all changed.  Once the bankers in their bowler hats had been thoroughly displaced, the financialization of everything began in earnest.  Our people, with their wide boy attitudes and disregard for regulations paved the way for an influx of used car salesmen and outright crooks, who in turn begat bigger crooks.  Under their tutelage, finance became a massive part of the economy, the search forever on for ways to make ever bigger profits.  It should come as no surprise to discover that once the real crooks found their way in, they clamored for looser regulations.  When government employed useful tax inspectors, the financiers offered them more money to change sides.  The bought the regulators; they employed rocket scientists to create financial mechanisms that no-one but other rocket scientists can understand.  The party went from a few mates and a few beers, to neighborhood riot, advertised on Facebook.  Instead of stopping it when called, the police joined in and the party got larger still.

And here we are today.

Johnnie-WalkerIf you follow the financial news you’ll see fines for LIBOR rigging, fines for rigging the currency market, all shrouded in a culture of denial.  It was one bad apple, guv – honest.  The truth is, the banksters moved in and slowly but surely they captured every market and bought off the opposition.  They hypnotized government, then bought them off too.  Rigging markets is like you and your teenage mates drinking a bit of your dad’s scotch when he’s out.  To hide the crime you top the bottle up with water.  You get away with it, so you do it again and again, until it becomes impossible to stop.  Soon, the scotch is all gone.  So you fill the bottle with cold tea and hide it at the back of the booze cabinet.  Then you start on the gin and vodka.  Pretty soon the entire booze cabinet is colored water.  Next you spend all your time thinking up ways to keep your dad out. In the end, you leave home and when the crime is discovered, blame it all on your baby brother.  I know he’s only 5 dad, but hell can he drink!

I propose that the international crime syndicate that captured our financial system operates as a secret society, thoroughly ingrained in the City of London and Wall Street.  Ferret, the hero of The Ferret Files belongs to said organization and knows many of their secrets.  As we’ve previously established, he’s a charming consultant who works in the City and thanks to insider trading has become very wealthy.  Now he’s bored and wants to follow his childhood dream of becoming a detective.  However, his friends are having none of it and unless he starts earning again quickly, he’ll soon discover how his superiors deal with foot soldiers who they deem are no longer of any use.

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Hurrah for Consultants

1 Jun

Firstly, in order to remove any confusion, the consultants referred to in the title of this piece are of the Management variety, and not their more respectable surgical cousins.  I’m sure they both share many characteristics – that’s what the comments section is for.

I’ve spent many years working in corporates and the echelons of government, both as a consultant and an employer of consultants, so when I say that the chief characteristic of a great consultant is the ability to charm your pants off, you better believe it.  You know you’ve met a mediocre or poor consultant when at the end of a meeting you still have your pants fastened firmly around your waist.  The great consultant leaves with two pairs of trousers, and you’re so befuddled you don’t even realise until you get home that you rode the tube in socks and underwear.

smileWith great charm comes a great smile.  It’s that smile that acts as an anchor to the feelings you had during the first ever meeting with your new consultant chum, so much so that as soon as you see them, you take your own pants off and hand them over, along with your jacket and wallet.  With a wink, the great consultant hands you back your tube pass.  The mediocre consultant, meanwhile, is still trying to figure out how the hell the really good guy has a different suit for every day of the month.

Great consultants need great hair.  This is more a guideline than a rule, as it’s possible to make it as a baldie, but here’s the inside rip: you have to have a really nice shaped head.  One consultant pal of mine had lost a lot of hair, and if he let it grow even for a couple of days, he became invisible in a crowd.  Shaved right down, he had the IT factor in bunches.  His trick was not so much the collecting of pants, as the collecting of bras and frillies, although truth be told he was so smooth, he undoubtedly had a wardrobe full of client’s pants too.

A great consultant dresses the part.  Not over-the-top $10,000 suits like you find in banking circles, all that does is serve to alienate them from the average client .  A great consultant working in media dresses down, wearing smart casual.  The same great consultant working in advertising wears a nice fashionable suit.  The great consultant working in banking comes home with three of four $10,000 suits on their first day in the job, setting them up for the remainder of the week.

Finally, like all consultants, a great consultant speaks a proprietary language comprised of grandiose, highfaluting technical and business terms that sound utterly believable when they purr them out, but somehow manage to turn into utter twaddle when you try to repeat them in the lunch queue.  The ability to utter choice phrases as though your very pants depend on them is a confidence thing, something the mediocre consultant can’t grasp and mere mortals swoon over.

tubeI can’t claim to be a great consultant myself, on the grounds that I’m still buying my own trousers after twenty years.  But I am good at giving solid advice.  FYI – the type of advice not to give is: ‘your dress will look great on me’, even if it’s the truth.  During one charm offensive I did once swap clothes with a female client in an office with the shutters down, but that led to all sorts of horrible complications when she left to get coffee and didn’t come back for an hour.  She went on to join a top consultancy by the way, and still has my suit to this day.  I call her occasionally and ask for it back.  She tells me to pop over, which I tried the once.  Kindly, she let me keep my tube pass.

Anyway, the point of this article is to say hurrah for consultants.  Love them or hate them, the world would be a much more boring place without them.  So much so, that I’ve taken all the great consultants I’ve ever met and rolled them up into one character called Ferret.  A wayward consultant who’s great at his job but is gagging to become a detective.  Let’s call him a detecting consultant.  He has a wardrobe full of pants and a collection of frillies.  Nothing can possibly go wrong for him.  That is, until the day he loses his charm…

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