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"In my experience, the only thing more dangerous than an angry T. rex is an angry T. rex with a gun."
A terrorist bombing in Washington creates a state of fear. A sabotaged airframe causes a plane crash in the Congo. A raid on a narco gang dealing the public's drug of choice results in the disclosure of a Russian bioweapons program. Unrelated events? US Government Agent Lucas Davenport doesn't think so. In each case, the larger event was the cover for a theft. Lucas senses a pattern, and, if he's right about the timeline, he knows what's next.
When the InGen Micro Computers offices in Minneapolis are burned down in an apparent arson attack, Lucas knows it's just a ruse. Everything's pointing towards a criminal organization with a huge sphere of influence. But will anyone believe him? The odds on that, he realizes, are low.
Virgil Flowers suspects that it's all related to dinosaurs. Lucas thinks it's crazy, but he'll know soon enough that Flowers has an instinct for this sort of thing. One that should not be ignored.
April 1, 2017
Explaining the Joke Ruins the Joke
by Roswell Camp
So I'm working on the April Fools' covers. I've got five done, at least in rough format, and I need the sixth. I'm silently cursing myself at setting the standard at six per year. Why not five? Five is a good number . I could handle five. If I do more, quality starts to slip.
I've already pushed aside the Doctor Who parody, Prey of the Daleks. Too much sci-fi already. I need something different. Westworld? That's western. But it's also sci-fi. Can't fit "Prey" in there anywhere natural. Breaking Bad? That nearly is a Prey story already, or maybe a Virgil one .
Out of nowhere, the title Jurassic Prey enters my mind.
No. No. That's stupid. Stupid. What would it even be about? Dinosaurs in Minneapolis?
I look up at the clock. I'm running out of time. I'm running out of energy.
No. Not dinosaurs in Minneapolis. That's far-fetched. I mean, yeah, okay, not as far-fetched as Lucas fighting the Justice League. Or Lucas being a Jedi. Or flying a Klingon ship.
The clock ticks. Dinosaurs in Minneapolis. Not so far-fetched as the others. But I don't want to. That's not clever. I need to make something clever. Like... like... like... taking the titles of a bunch of Michael Crichton books he's written dozens and hiding them in the synopsis. Something like that.
The clock ticks. Time is running out.
Another web browser window opens, and another. Jurassic Park (the film) in one, the Wikipedia article on Michael Crichton in the other. Scroll down to Works. List of novels.
Scan the titles. Airframe. Disclosure. Sphere. Yeah, this could work .
Time running out. Dinosaurs it is. I open up Photoshop and Lightroom, grab some generic clouds and forest it's central Wisconsin somewhere, that's all I remember and mash them together. Add a T. rex fossil outline from somewhere.
A noir-movie -style phrase runs through my head. "The only thing worse than a T. rex... is a T. rex with a gun." Look up some gun silhouettes. AK-47? Too trope, and it'd look weird with the tiny little T. rex arms. A pistol, then. 1911? Classic, but it'd be too small. Do it anyway. The T. rex is now holding a gun. To scale, it'd be about three feet long, but nobody's going to care .
Time running out. Quality control. It's good enough. Jurassic Prey.
I'm so, so sorry .
1. If you've ever read the Illuminatus! trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, you'd also know that five is an important number. I'm not really sure why I went with six. I mean, sure, six is an okay number, but it's not five.
2. The thing is, Walter White could be straight out of a Virgil story, but the events don't quite have that kooky Virgil nature. The crimes are more Lucas-novel-esque.
3. In order: State of Fear, Airframe, Congo, Dealing, Drug of Choice, Disclosure, Timeline, Next, Micro, Sphere, and Odds On. Plus, InGen is the corporation from Jurassic Park. I had to work that in somewhere.
4. One rule of writing crime fiction is that if you screw up a gun fact, someone will notice. In this case, the M1911 pistol the T. rex is holding is way, way too large. But I'm pretty sure, given the ridiculosity of the situation, that I'll get a pass on this one.
5. I'm not actually sorry at all. Writing a stream-of-consciousness version of "how I did this cover" was actually kind of refreshing. It's not really that accurate I wasn't under a huge looming deadline or anything but I've been in moods like this before working on Sandford stuff, so some of that carried over.
No particular disclaimers for this one. The Jurassic Park logo has been parodied many times, and they don't own the typeface. Still, that was the inspiration. I'm not going to deny it.
5 April 2018
The Prey series, the Virgil Flowers series, the Kidd series, The Singular Menace, The Night Crew, Dead Watch, The Eye and the Heart: The Watercolors of John Stuart Ingle, and Plastic Surgery: The Kindest Cut are copyrighted by John Sandford. All excerpts are used with permission.
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