The final book in our Kindle Worlds launch is Brainwash, co-authored with Edward G. Talbot. Maddock fans will know Ed from his work on Liberty and Justice, both part of the Dane Maddock Origins series.
When a friend is kidnapped, Dane Maddock and Bones Bonebrake set off in hot pursuit, but find themselves ensnared in a deadly game where nothing is as it seems.
Interview with Edward G. Talbot, co-author of Brainwash
Tell us a bit about Brainwash.
This one is a bit tough to summarize without giving anything away. It’s all about how and where the action unfolds, not why. A friend is kidnapped and Dane and Bones go after the kidnappers. They eventually discover that they are being played by someone with truly ruthless goals. By the time they discover this, they are trapped in a place they hadn’t even realized they were in. And they have no idea if their friend is even still alive. Reality itself starts to disintegrate.
If anyone can overcome this and escape, it’s Dane and Bones. Of course they do, but let’s just say the ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel.
You’ve written previous books in the Dane Maddock Origins series. Was writing this story different?
Yes and No. How’s that for a cop-out? Mostly it was similar in that David and I worked out a story, went back and forth, and things changed along the way from what we originally planned. The original idea started with me, but then David had a couple of suggested improvements which led to changing both the setting and the motivation. Then once I went heads down on the writing, I ended up coming up with a few new twists. This is how all our books together have gone. And the writing challenges are fairly similar from book to book, especially making sure to get the right balance with Bones. He’s a wisecracker but when the chips are down there’s no one you’d rather have. He talks like he’s ignorant except that from time to time he’ll say something that shows he’s really pretty bright. He digs at Maddock repeatedly but then has moments of acknowledging the deep friendship.
Writing this story was different in a couple of ways. First, there’s no major historical mystery. The Origins books I wrote were both centered on U.S. historical mysteries. The mysteries/revelations in this one are all current. In some ways it’s a bit more of a standard thriller plot, though it includes enough unexpected situations to retain the David Wood/Clive Cussler feel. The other thing that made the writing different is that the book is shorter than the others. It’s really a long novella rather than a short novel. This was more difficult in that I had to resist the urge to include more threads in the plot. But once I got rolling past the first three chapters, the writing was perhaps a little easier because I didn’t have to keep as many things straight in my head. Plus, I was able to focus purely on moving the action forward and not worry about scene setting as much as I would in a longer work.
What keeps you coming back to the Maddock world?
Writing Dane and Bones is fun. Especially Bones. I don’t make a living from my writing at this point, so I don’t write anything unless I really want to. And it’s a source of pride for me to be able to work with David to produce a really good story. Writing Dane and Bones also exposes me to new audiences who haven’t read my work before. All in all, there are a lot of reasons for me to keep coming back.
If a Maddock reader hasn’t tried your novels, which one would you suggest they start with and why?
That’s like choosing between my children. Which isn’t tough for me since I only have one child. I’d recommend reading the first one, New World Orders. The writing in more recent books may have gotten slightly more refined, but this book has the most humor of all my thrillers. I wouldn’t really say it is “similar” to Dane and Bones stories, but readers may react in some of the same ways emotionally to Dane and Bones stories as they do to this story.
In one sentence, the plot posits that killing Kennedy was only the beginning. It’s about the vast conspiracy and shadow government you suspect is really controlling things but don’t ever see. The main character stumbles onto it and soon the bodies start to pile up. But the conspirators aren’t after anything as mundane as world domination and unlimited wealth. To find out what they are after, you’ll have to read the book.