Publication day is finally here — a bit early. Dec. 10 was the original release date for my debut novel, a crime procedural with a bit of biotech intrigue starring Boston Police Lieutenant Jonas Brant.
However, Even the Wind is now available on Kindle in the Amazon store and through Kindle Unlimited, meaning you can get it free if you subscribe. The paperback version will follow shortly.
Why the early release?
It’s simple. The subject matter is topical at the moment and getting hotter every day. You’re going to be seeing and reading a lot in the coming weeks about a gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9. Since CRISPR plays a somewhat prominent role in Even the Wind, I thought it would be a good time to get the novel out.
First, a bit of spoiler-free background. CRISPR-Cas9 is the world’s most powerful gene-editing tool. It gives scientists and researchers the ability to swap out and replace sections of the genome at lower cost and much more quickly than has ever been possible in the past.
CRISPR-Cas9 uses enzymes that are able to cut out specific gene sequences from DNA with the help of another molecule known as RNA. Think of it as a kind of surgical scalpel used to operate on the double helix with extreme precision.
Now, think of using this technique to introduce genetic change to an entire population of a species. This is known as a `gene drive’ and it’s been used recently to modify the DNA in a group of mosquitoes to the point where they no longer carry the malaria parasite.
Good stuff, right? Yup, but the ability to change an organism’s DNA at the fundamental level without too much fuss and then introduce it back into the wild has huge implications. We need discussion. More importantly, the general public needs to be informed so that we can participate in the debate.
The problem is that much of the world doesn’t really regulate what can and can’t be done to the double helix. Using CRISPR-Cas9, scientists in China have already attempted to modify human embryos. Yikes!
So what does this have to do with Even the Wind? This is the world and these are some of the issues Jonas Brant finds himself wrapped up in as the investigation at the heart of the novel moves forward. Brant’s a cop. He’s smarter than average, but he’s a relative newbie when it comes to biotechnology. I like the idea of following a character as he or she embarks on a learning process through unfamiliar terrain. I hope the reader of Even the Wind enjoys following Brant as he takes this journey.
More updates to follow shortly on what I’m up to and what to expect from Lieutenant Jonas Brant in the near future. Hint: short story by Christmas. (fingers crossed)
If you have a fellow reader who might be interested in Even the Wind, please share this blog post. Better yet, have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include them on the mailing list for the newsletter. I love to get reader comments, so if you want to drop me a line, please feel free to do so.
Finally, if you’ve read Even the Wind, please consider posting a review at Amazon giving your honest thoughts on the book — good or bad. Doesn’t matter if the review is short. Every little bit counts.
Until then, enjoy whatever you’re reading.