The Transition of Johnny Swift – Available now!
After months and months of writing, editing, re-editing, pulling out hair, planning, and editing some more, the day has finally arrived. My latest book, THE TRANSITION OF JOHNNY SWIFT, has hit the bookshelves.
Whoop, whoop. Sooooo excited.
One of the most difficult aspects of publishing this particular book has been to decide into which genre it falls. The book isn’t easy to describe in a so-called elevator pitch (a fabled fifteen-second précis to a potential publisher). Normally things are easy for me on the genre front. A simple, couplet will suffice: ‘crime thriller’, or ‘police procedural’. To coin a phrase, THE TRANSITION OF JOHNNY SWIFT is something completely different.
In brief, the novel is predominantly a psychological thriller. We see the world through the eyes of ‘Fiery’ Frank Brazier. Frank, a racing driver, hides a secret. In times of stress, Frank has visitations. Frank sees a grey, translucent figure he calls the Shadow-man. The Shadow-man doesn’t have a face. It doesn’t speak. It just sits on the nose cone of his car, or floats about the crowds in the grandstand. Frank is putting off telling his doctor until the end of the racing season. He has one more race to complete—the important one, the Championship decider.
There’s a romantic element in the novel too, in the shape of Frank’s gorgeous girlfriend, Jenny. She’s the girl of his dreams, but the day after they become more than just work colleagues, a dreadful accident separates them. The accident threatens Frank’s health and his sanity, and results in Frank risking all in a desperate fight to his sister’s life.
To sum up, THE TRANSITION OF JOHNNY SWIFT is a character-based thriller with psychological, paranormal, sci-fi, and romantic elements. I can’t make it any clearer than that, can I?
To whet your appetite, here are three scenes from Chapter 1:
Race Day – Beginnings
For the last time as a Formula 2500 driver, I hope. The twin dance of fear and excitement speeds my heart and tightens my gut. I love the adrenaline-fuelled kick of anticipation at the start of a race, but can’t stand the waiting.
Traction control on.
A quick glance behind to my right and there’s my only serious rival, Enrique La Tiempo, in the blood-red Ferrari, firing eye-lasers at me. He hates it when I take pole. Hates it more when I win.
Sharp sunlight glints off my car’s bright yellow paintjob and emphasises the bonnet’s black logo, TBR—Team Brazier Racing. As the only TBR in the world, she’s unmistakable. This new baby is the Mark IV, and she’s perfect.
Her engine growls with restrained ferocity as I balance the throttle, keeping the engine note a smidge below the rev limiter. I dab the throttle again, and my powerful little car, Baby, named after a character in my sister’s favourite film, Dirty Dancing, vibrates around and through me, as visceral as a punch to the stomach.
Baby’s as desperate as I am to get on with the race.
Lap twenty-six. Half way.
“Frank.” Pete’s voice is clear. “Crash on turn six. Repeat, crash before the apex to turn six. Take the inside track. Possible debris on racing line.”
“Got it. How’s the telemetry?”
“Front right tyre’s running a tad hot. We’re monitoring it. No worries so far. Come in to plan.”
I don’t respond but drop into fourth and set the car up for the next turn. My twenty-eight second lead on La Tiempo is plenty, despite the pit stop, and he’ll have to pit at some stage too.
This race is mine. I can’t help but start whistling as I ease into the slow corner four. The tune’s a Louis Armstrong favourite, It’s a Wonderful World. Pete had it playing in the car on the way home from the orphanage. It’s been my theme song ever since that landmark day.
Back through the Start/Finish line and into turn one again. No sign of the Shadow-man.
“Frank? Sorry, but that tyre’s falling apart. Come in this lap. We’re ready for you.”
Shouldn’t be a problem, only one lap ahead of schedule.
Where’s that bloody debris?
Shredded rubber, pieces of carbon fibre body panels, and shards of metal. They’re all over the racing line, but it’s not a worry now Pete’s given me fair warning. The carcase of the ruined car is off the circuit, nestled deep and safe in the gravel run-off.
The steering wheel snaps down hard right and flicks left again, nearly ripping from my hands. I try to compensate but there’s something badly wrong.
The suspect tyre implodes, collapses around the wheel. A noise comes next, compressing my eardrums. Baby screams. The aluminium wheel rim touches tarmac. Sparks fly, and the car lurches towards the metal stanchions of a camera tower. My head snaps against the cockpit sidewall.
Sights and sounds fuse into a single tangled mess.
Grass, tarmac, bollards, buffers, gravel, and metal girders mix and tumble. I can do nothing but stare at the approaching metalwork, wait for the impact, and curse the fact that I’ll never get to know Jenny Barratt now.
On the nose cone, Shadow-man smiles.
I’d love you to get to know Frank and Jenny… and Shadow-man, and it couldn’t be easier. Here’s where you can buy from: Buy The Transition of Johnny Swift.
And don’t forget, authors love to know what their readers think of their books, so feel free to drop me a line, chat on social media, or better yet, leave me a review.