The Reckless Engineer
Author: Jac Wright
Published: November 2013
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Classic Mystery, Legal Thriller
Can you forgive betrayal?
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law's extreme engineering company in oil & gas. He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife, Marianne Connor. Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when the alluring Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.
Jeremy Stone brings in a top London defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend's defence. While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers' expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend's life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense tale of love, friendship, power, and ambition.
Saturday, October 16 – One Day Later
Despite the comfort and luxury all around him Jeremy was woken from a night of disturbed sleep by the sound of the dogs barking. It was 8:20 Saturday morning. There were voices downstairs in anxious chatter. His room (huh, he thought of this as his room now, did he?) was a first-floor en-suite with a bath. Actually it had a shared bathroom separating two twin rooms, but the second one had never been occupied whenever he had been here.
Jeremy washed his face quickly and hurried to the cupboard. Caitlin had laid out some clean clothes. He set his oversized laptop case, in which he carried a sleek laptop he had enhanced to pack in massive processing and memory power, so compact it hardly took any space, on the bed. Into the remaining space he generally packed various gadgets and electronics equipment he needed at client sites, including some “emergency” underwear and socks.
He pulled on a pair of black slacks and a blue Polo T-shirt from the cupboard. They must be Ronnie’s. Being slightly over 6 feet tall and having a wider frame, he did not fit so well into Jack’s clothes. He stepped out of his room and followed the voices downstairs.
One of the boys who worked in the stables and on the land, a brown lad in muddy Wellington boots, was talking animatedly to Caitlin, who was still in her dressing gown, in the kitchen.
‘There is police again at the front gate, sénora,’ he said with a heavy Spanish accent. ‘I put Molly and Max in the stables, ha?’
Caitlin and Jeremy hurried to the front reception with little Bubbles the puppy Lab running circles around them. There were two police cars at the gates.
‘If you could open the gates, Caitlin, I shall handle this,’ he said, thinking how lovely and vulnerable she looked with no makeup on and with tousled dark brown hair some length between short and medium. Something about a damsel-in-distress in silks stirred a man’s loins.
Jeremy went back to his room, splashed his face with icy cold water, and put on his shoes. He stepped out as the police cars pulled up outside the front door.
From the Author
I wanted to create an engineering hero and a series centred around an engineering firm. The last hero in fiction who was an engineer was Barney in Mission Impossible (the TV series). There is Q in the Bond series, but he is an old and geeky supporting character working from a bunker. There are so many legal and medical dramas, but where are the dramas centred around engineering firms? I want to bring an engineering drama to life treated for an audience not from the profession the same way that legal and medical dramas are.
The environment of an engineering firm in reality is just like in the book, so much so that this could be non-fiction but for the murder set in the middle of it. The characters are very realistic. Jack Connor, for instance, is of a somewhat smaller physique, who seems to over-compensate for it by going after glamorous women. Women are somehow attracted to his brilliance and confidence at his work and well as the security and the respectability society assigns him because of his profession. Then there are people like Alan, Jack and Jeremy's boss at Marine Electronics, who make it to management positions because they have more people skills, are extrovert, and are better looking. Jeremy's character is still coming into its own and is in transition through the book and the series. He is emerging as a manager and a leader from the subordinate position he has been in so far. And then you have the super rich owners of these engineering businesses like the McAllens. There is also the occasional female engineer like Sally who is very introverted, outmanoeuvred at every opportunity by the much more glamorous and outgoing Michelle. These characters are a cross section of people you get in an engineering firm in reality.
One important reason I wanted to create a hero like Jeremy was to attract youngsters to the field. I know that this particular story is not suited to a YA audience because it deals with infidelity. If I had a younger sister I wouldn't particularly want her rosy world clouded by such gritty (though realistic) subject matter; I would want her to read of gallant and loyal heroes only. The future books in the series, however, will be very YA suited. I want young adults to know how entertaining, satisfying, powerful, and glamorous the engineering field is so that they will be attracted to the profession.