Since we’re now a week out from the release of “Hacked Off” (Detective Jimmy Delaney #7), it seems that I should be featuring it on Fractured Fragment Friday, so I am.
So where did Jimmy come from?
It started with an off-hand comment, someone wishing they could just plug a flash drive into their head and get the knowledge and skills they needed without all that work. I’d also seen a lot of articles on what’s coming in brain research, especially reading, memory, and control, and my thoughts tend to gravitate and revolve around mind control. And the idea of an implant to transfer skills into a person’s mind also led to the possibility of being hacked or controlled.
I didn’t intend to write a detective story, let alone a series. Sure, I like to have a little mystery, misdirection and reveal in my fiction, but I write speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), not police and detective who-dun-its. But that’s where the story wanted to go.
In “In a Flash”, Jimmy Delaney was a police detective, a decent one, but changing times, attitudes, and his own aging put him in a position where he felt he needed extra help to keep up with the needed skills for his job. He makes the mistake of getting an implant to help him keep his job, and things go wrong from there.
I identify with Jimmy more strongly than most of the characters I’ve written (No, I did not get my own implant), and after that first story Jimmy just wouldn’t go away. And so here he is in his seventh story, and those implants are causing problems again.
Here’s the Blurb
Jimmy’s relationship with the police seems to have taken a turn for the worse, but it’s not just him. Some of his associates have had strange confrontations with law enforcement. Could someone be manipulating their AugMonitor feeds?
“Hacked Off” is a soft-boiled detective novella with some sci-fi elements, sort of a The Rockford Files meets The Avengers (the old BBC series, not the superheroes.)
And Here’s This Week’s Excerpt
Jimmy had a pretty good idea of who had shouted before he turned in the direction of the voice. Will Santini was in his mid thirties, a beat cop who sometimes came by Kaczmarek’s after his shift. The largest number of people who called Jimmy a hypocrite were the guys and gals of Barnstow’s Finest. Will stood maybe ten feet away from Jimmy, glaring at him.
“This is all your fault!” Santini pointed at the right side of his head, where a bright blue light showed that his AugMonitor was active.
It wasn’t unusual for Jimmy’s former co-workers to blame him for being forced to have AugMonitor implants. If he hadn’t gotten an AugMentor from Dr. Yon to help keep his job, Administration wouldn’t have realized how useful it was to actually see what happened through their officers’ own eyes. Jimmy still had some friends on the force, but the vast majority probably wished that Dr. Yon had succeeded in killing Jimmy when he’d had the chance.
Jimmy had gotten the drop on Yon and Diana, but they had spoken that annoying string of Chinese gibberish that his AugMentor recognized as a command to knock him out. Yon would have finished Jimmy if Al and Josh hadn’t rescued him from the operating table.
It was unusual for officers to leave their AugMonitor active when they went off shift. The device would normally shut down when they were off the clock, although they could choose to reactivate it when circumstances warranted it. Maybe he’d turned it on to make a point.
“Look, Will, your beef should be with the Union for going along with it. I think it stinks that they forced it on you,” he said, pointing at the light.
Santini backed away and drew a Beretta on Jimmy. This was also unusual. The force didn’t usually carry gunpowder weapons anymore – they had shifted to the aptly named Disablers with their high-capacitor rounds, the very weapon that had driven Jimmy to cheat with the AugMentor in the first place. Disablers were designed to immobilize body parts humanely. They still hurt like a son of a gun, but weren’t as deadly as Will’s personal piece.
Someone yelled “He has a gun!”
A couple of women screamed. Tables were knocked over and glassware and plates crashed to the floor as people scattered and ducked for cover.
“Drop your weapon, Delaney!” Santini shouted.
“Are you nuts?” Jimmy asked, and extended his empty hands toward Will, palms up.
“I don’t want to have to kill you, Delaney. Drop it!” Santini shouted again.
Jimmy became aware of another patrol officer with a blonde burr haircut standing off to the side. Corporal Teresa Washburn was still in uniform and on duty. She had her standard issue Disabler drawn.
“Will, you know better than to pull a non-sanctioned weapon in public – this isn’t some wild west saloon. Both of you set your weapons down. Now!” she shouted.
“I don’t have a weapon!” Jimmy yelled.
He threw his hands up as he dove to the left to get behind one of the upended tables. He heard gunfire, and a bullet splintered the bar right where he’d been standing.
“No, Will!” Teresa shouted.
There was the distinctive buzz of a Disabler being discharged twice, immediately before another handful of shots went off from Santini’s Beretta. One went through the table just over Jimmy’s head, and he cursed himself for expecting the flimsy wood to be enough protection, but that was the only bullet that came close to him as he heard glass shattering behind him. The sound from the TV stopped with a pop and a fizzle, and then all was still, except for something banging on the floor.
Jimmy peaked around the table and saw Santini laying on his back, his right arm still spasming from the Disabler, his finger still pulling the trigger on the now empty Beretta. Washburn should have known better than to put a high-capacitance slug in Santini’s shooting arm.
Jimmy stood up, intending to point that out to her. Three quick buzzes put an end to that; it’s hard to carry on a coherent conversation with three Disabler slugs making your body go haywire. He thought how nice it would be if he could move his head an inch or so to avoid the table edge before he struck it and blacked out.
So Jimmy is unconscious again (it seems to happen to him more than is fair) – I wonder where he’ll find himself when he comes to…
The release date is FOR “Hacked Off” is Friday, June 25th. It’s available for preorder now at several online retailers at a reduced promotional price. HOWEVER – you can get it for FREE and read it BEFORE THE RELEASE DATE as a Smashwords Presale.
All the links are at the top of my Current Book Promotions page – CHECK IT OUT HERE. (It also tells you how to get the first Detective Jimmy Delaney story for FREE.)
Honest ratings and reviews are, as always, appreciated. Hope you enjoy it!
Current Book Promotions
For information on my current promotions (including the FREE Presale and reduced price preorders for Cats of War III, my participating books in the 14th Annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale, as well as FREE starter eBooks for my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series and my Detective Jimmy Delaney series), look HERE on my CURRENT BOOK PROMOTIONS page.
William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
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