B.J. Graf is joining us today to talk about her novel, Genesys X. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Part noir science-fiction and part twisted new-take on Greek myth, Genesys X is a page-turning police procedural featuring an unforgettable haunted detective.
Los Angeles, 2041. Derma ads have replaced skin tattoos; the Nike Swoosh is projected onto the full moon, and digital sponsor logos run along the side of every police sedan. But the city is under siege from a gang war which has flooded the streets with green ice, a drug more powerful and deadly than fentanyl. And there’s a new plague; Alzheimer’s disease has spawned a virulent new strain, Alz-X, that attacks children. No one knows why.
Eddie Piedmont, the youngest Homicide Special detective in LAPD history, has a lot to prove. Growing up with an abusive green ice junkie for a father, Eddie is determined to show he is nothing like his old man who was kicked off the force years ago. When Eddie takes on a case of a fatal overdose, he finds evidence that ties the dead woman to a geneticist working on the cure for Alz-X.
When another suspicious death occurs, Eddie is drawn into the nefarious world of cutting-edge reproductive technology, only to discover terrible secrets at the heart of his identity and his family’s history that will pull him much closer to the murderer than he could ever have imagined.
What’s B.J. Graf’s favorite bit?
GENEYS X is part noir-science-fiction, part twisted new take on Greek myth, and my favorite thing in it is the way the past and the future collide over and over again on every level from the granular to the mythic. Sometimes the collision manifests in a thought or simple line of dialogue. Take the time holographic fortuneteller Cassandra accosts my detective hero on the street and offers to predict his future. Eddie, still thinking about the murderer who was just set free via an overturned guilty verdict, riffs on an old Soviet dissident line: “I know the future, Mama Cass. It’s the past that keeps changing.” Eddie’s even more right than he knows about that.
Sometimes the collision between the mythic past and sci-fi future takes concrete visual form like the time Eddie is on his way to an autopsy when he looks up at the still darkling sky and sees that Nike Swoosh projected on the lunar surface. Eddie tries to remember the moon before it became a billboard for global brands. That’s ancient history to him. In 2041, the moon and Nike, the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, are just a way to sell sneakers. Like many contemporary people today, Eddie doesn’t recognize the mythic patterns of the ancient world that reverberate all around him.
But in GENESYS X the collision of past and future ripples through my detective hero in a much more personal and profound way. Eddie knows the pathologist doing the two autopsies in the chapter with the Nike ad on the moon for example. They worked together to catch a serial killer called The Sphinx a few years back. That’s the case that catapulted Eddie into Homicide Special. But one of the two bodies on the slab here is Eddie’s former partner Frank. Eddie saw Frank die in the previous chapter, and he was unable to save his friend. Now Frank’s dead.
Eddie presents a tough and immaculate surface to the world, but he’s got a good heart, and this loss hits him hard. That’s especially true because he and Frank weren’t just partners in the LAPD. Where Eddie’s own father is an abusive green-ice addict and a corrupt cop, Frank was Eddie’s surrogate father, the man who more than any other taught him what it meant to be a man. Eddie knows how much he owes Frank. Or as Eddie puts it in the autopsy scene when he collects Frank’s personal effects: “Such a small box for the man.” The case has become very personal and Eddie’s relentless nature clicks into overdrive. He doesn’t whinge or wallow as I might under similar circumstances. He pushes all that feeling down deep inside, an implosion waiting to happen. Eddie’s going to find out who did this to Frank no matter the cost to himself. And that cost will be epic as Eddie’s past and future collide once more at the end of GENESYS X.
B.J. Graf (aka Beverly Graf) lives in Los Angeles with her family and a menagerie of four-footers. B.J. Graf writes stories that live in the liminal space between Greek mythology, science fiction and fantasy.
In her alternate identity Dr. Graf is an Adjunct Professor who teaches Film Studies and Classical Mythology at Pepperdine, UCLA, and CSUN. Previously, she worked as V.P. of Development for Abilene Pictures where they produced several features and television projects including Primal Fear, Frequency, Fallen, Fracture and NYPD 2069.