Amanda Bridgeman is joining us today to talk about her novel, The Sensation. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Last time she investigated the saints of the Solme Complex. This time it’s the sinners of the Sensation… Presenting the second Salvi Brentt novel from award-winning author, Amanda Bridgeman.
A series of brutal murders has the homicide division of San Francisco’s Hub 9 working overtime. But as the bodies mount, they begin to question whether the attacks are random or somehow connected.
When one of their own falls victim, Detective Salvi Brentt and the Hub 9 homicide team join forces with the narcotics and cyber divisions to track down those responsible. They soon discover a volatile new drug-tech experience, involving black market neural implants, has hit the streets, causing the epidemic of violence and missing persons.
With the clock ticking and the bodies piling up, Salvi must go deep undercover in the seedy Sensation club scene to find out who is behind it. But in the secretive playgrounds of the rich and powerful, some will stop at nothing to protect their empire…
What’s Amanda’s favorite bit?
The Sensation, the second book in the Salvation series, follows homicide detective, Salvi Brentt, as she hunts down sadistic killers in a world left divided by a tech-terrorist attack known as The Crash.
In the wake of The Crash, which left early adopters of connected neural implants either dead or brain damaged, some elements of society turned their backs on technology and set up tech free communities outside the cities. Some of these communities are religious, some are survivalist, some are neither. Meanwhile, some elements of society hold on to their tech tighter than ever. And some go as far as to use this tech to control others.
My favourite bit of the Salvation series is my heroine, Detective Salvi Brentt. Like all of us, she is flawed, but deep down her heart is in the right place. She has a cool exterior and tends to keep to herself and shut people out, preferring to always be in control. But she is also a woman who ultimately seeks connection through justice. She takes her job seriously, fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves, particularly the sisterhood; something that stems from her childhood experiences.
In book one, The Subjugate, Salvi investigates the murder of young woman in a religious tech free community, Bountiful. This murder soon turns into a series of murders and the hunt for an escalating serial killer. The case is complicated, however, by a nearby high-tech prison, the Solme Complex, which legally uses neural implants to reform its violent criminals and then set them free in the religious community to serve and repent. But now women are winding up dead. So just who is responsible? Are these criminals truly cured? Just how holy are the members of the religious community? The case borders on personal for Salvi, forcing her to face her past and her prejudices, and find out who she really is.
In The Sensation, book 2, the focus shifts back to the city (San Francisco) and a new drug-tech experience that’s hit the streets, resulting in an epidemic of violence and a spiraling body count. Where book 1 saw Salvi make peace with her past and who she truly is, book 2 has her asking deeper questions about the world she lives in. Though she is not a new law enforcement officer, she hasn’t yet reached the stage of bitterness, where the loopholes and red tape frustrate her. That said, this is something she starts to experience in The Sensation. Just how far does the reach of the rich and powerful extend? Does her badge hold any weight against systemic corruption?
A big inspiration for the character of Salvi Brentt is Clarice Starling (The Silence of the Lambs). Had I written the Salvation series after I had seen Unbelievable (Netflix), detectives Duvall and Rasmussen would’ve also been inspirations. And you might also find a little bit of Dana Scully (The X-Files) in Salvi Brentt too.
There is something very satisfying about seeing a woman in a position of power – in this case, with a badge – seeking justice for others, particularly for other women. Whether it’s for the dead who can no longer claim it for themselves, or those alive too scared to seek it for fear of retribution, this desire to see justice, to stop those who would control or oppress others, has become Salvi Brentt’s creed.
She still has a lot to learn, though. About herself and about the world. Most importantly, she’s learning that she doesn’t need to fight alone. She can let people in, she can accept help. But the biggest lesson she is learning throughout the Salvation series, is just who she can trust…
AMANDA BRIDGEMAN is a Tin Duck Award winner, an Aurealis and Ditmar Awards finalist, and the author of several science fiction novels, including the bestselling space opera/military SF Aurora series, alien contact drama The Time of the Stripes, and sci-fi crime thriller The Subjugate.