This is a bio-tech thriller incorporating the following themes: harvesting DNA, genetic manipulation, fertility technology and in vitro fertilization, blackmail, and human cloning. Summary: The novel's antagonist has developed a process for offering a literal return to youth using current and near-future technology. But when he realizes his funds will run out before his dream attains enough revenue to become self-sustaining, he leverages today's fertility-industry technology to create a global plan to blackmail the rich and powerful, thus securing the money he needs to realize his dream of life extension. Michael Rader stumbles onto an aspect of the tightly compartmentalized operation when he sees surreptitious DNA harvesting within a famous Hollywood restaurant. As he begins to glimpse the nature of the operation, he realizes he must figure out what's going on and take down the bad guy before he realizes what's happening and takes preventive measures, which would put hundreds of pregnant surrogates and newborns at risk of disappearing forever.
Looking for more ideas? The bad guy even has a web site (for the legitimate part of his tech venture)! http://mariustech.com.
MORE INFORMATION FOR FINALISTS:
Who is Michael Rader?
“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” --Richard Grenier (paraphrasing Rudyard Kipling’s and George Orwell’s sentiments)
Michael Rader is one of those “rough men,” who intervenes when civilization’s predators – those embracing threats, fear, intimidation or force – wield emerging technologies for their gain at others’ expense. Wise-cracking and irreverent, stylish and smart, Rader is nevertheless a skilled and dangerous shadow figure who delights in foiling criminals exploiting new tech before society’s conventional protectors can develop the tools and expertise required to safeguard the vulnerable.
Rader lives completely off the grid, thanks to the gray-hat hacking competence of his best girl and partner, Gabriel Long. Together, they eschew the comforts and advantages of a normal existence for the flexibility and freedom to bring decisive justice – or just maybe a chance at redemption – to the most innovative and dangerous master criminals. Rader’s background and skills make him an apex predator; femme fatale Gabriel Long’s brains, daring and technical cleverness ensure they remain one step ahead of the law. Like the warrior angels whose names they often use, Michael and Gabriel appear unexpectedly, lending their strength and guile to those most in need.
Some additional character info:
* Michael Rader typically does not carry a gun, though he is very competent with them. While there is gun play in the book, Rader typically considers the use of guns in solving a problem indicative of bad planning, with the exception of those rare situations where there’s really no other alternative.
* Gabriel is essential to Michael’s success and his ability to stay off the grid (and off the radar of international law enforcement). Whether she appears on a cover is something you the designer can decide. However, the women readers really like her character, so…
* I ran a poll on the cover design submissions. Of those voting, about half had read the book, and half had not. Quite a bit of voter feedback from those who had read the book indicated readers liked the latitude to imagine for themselves what the characters looked like (based on the story narrative). So cover art that showed too much feature/facial detail actually alienated those who’d read the book. That said, if the protagonist is shown in your cover, he’s tall, lean, athletic. He’s in his late twenties, and typically might stylishly wear a bespoke sport coat over dress t-shirt with slacks or jeans depending on the situation.
* While the “surrogate” in the title is indicative of the threats to society, and to Michael and Gabriel, it also references the use of surrogates as in “one who carries a baby to term for another.” Those surrogates are unwitting victims of a global blackmailing and human trafficking scheme (I include this note so there’s no one thinking the surrogates themselves are the threat).
* Lastly, with respect to featuring a gun on the cover. I’m quite torn. I think the inclusion of one absolutely grabs readers' eyes and helps convey that this is, first and foremost, an exciting action/adventure novel. And there *is* gun play in the book (although Michael, the main character, doesn't actually go to guns himself until the very end scenes). On the other hand, Michael and Gabriel hunt and take down their adversaries using brains much more than brawn (to the extent possible). If your cover doesn't have one, this is not encouragement to add one; conversely, if your submission got this far with a gun featured in the art work, this is not encouragement to remove it. I'm just trying to give you as much information as possible, in case anything here gives you an idea for a final iteration of your design.
In “Surrogate Threats,” Michael discovers a cleverly concealed, surreptitious DNA harvesting operation in a famous Hollywood restaurant. Uncovering one lead after another, he’s soon entangled in a global criminal venture that is leveraging advances in stem cell research, fertility technology, and genetic manipulation to create products that will destabilize the world’s richest countries.