Agatha Christie inspired me to write The Freezer. Just as with the first in the series, The Furnace, it is a claustrophobic murder mystery with a limited number of characters, one investigator, and one or more killers. As Michael Crichton is also a big influence on me, I’ve incorporated a scientific element to the story — something the investigator Kyle Tanner must decipher to not only solve the mystery, but also to survive.
I’ve recently tweeted from @TSJ_Author, “Kyle Tanner is having a very, very bad week.” The book begins with the death of someone close to him. An excerpt is here. From this point on, the story is told as a countdown to his potential death. He soon finds himself on an ocean of ice on a hostile moon, amongst a small cast of characters — one of more of whom wants to kill him.
It’s a classic setup, much like an Agatha Christie mystery, but I want to note that you don’t have to read these books in any particular order. Each is a “standalone” murder mystery, or “A Tanner Sequence Novel.”
So the question is, How far would you go to avenge someone you loved? If someone was ripped away from you in the most horrible way possible — as a means to hurt you — what would you do in return? It’s a question that has led many people in history down a dark and chilling path.
It’s also started wars.
Tanner is faced with this dilemma in The Freezer. As an investigator working for the military, he often finds himself dealing with moral issues of this nature. And because his position gives him the authority to arrest and punish criminals at will, Tanner is pushed to the edge of an emotional precipice. It’s a dark and scary mystery, but I like to think that it’s also a compelling page turner. It puts the reader right into the events — especially because it’s written in first person — and I hope it will make you wonder what you’d do in this situation. It also takes place in a very hostile environment, one which mirrors his emotional state.
The question that haunted me as I wrote The Freezerwas: Would a homicide investigator contemplate murder in order to exact revenge?
You’ll just have to read it to find out … but the ending could be the most powerful scene I’ve ever written.
I hope you decide to jump into Tanner’s world, experience the mystery through his eyes, and see if you can figure out this whodunnit.
I stalked back to Module E with the mysterious vacsuit, which I dragged behind me.
Dyson was pale; he could see my fury.
He knew a confrontation loomed.
Once back at the dome, I found the rest of them in the seating lounge near the games tables and consoles.
I threw the vacsuit to the deck before them. Every eye went to it, but no one responded with anything other than bewilderment.
“Whose suit is this?” I demanded.
Lefave shrugged. “We don’t have that type of vacsuit here, Tanner.”
“Dammit, it’s Lieutenant. And I don’t care if it’s not standard. I want to know who it belongs to!”
He bent to examine it. It was large, clearly a man’s. He said, “Why don’t we just compare—”
“What is this, Cinderella?” Cray exclaimed. “If the vacsuit fits, you must be the murderer? That’s ludicrous!”
Dinova shrugged. “Well it’s clearly not mine.”
He spun on her. “Why? You can’t wear something that’s too big for you? Not possible?”
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“It could be you. You arrived from Ceres and then the murders started!”
Everyone was on their feet now, and the tension between them crackled. The killer was there…but who?
Thanks for spending your time with me today.
Timothy S. Johnston
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The Freezer by Timothy S. Johnston
A Tanner Sequence Novel
CCF homicide investigator Kyle Tanner and his girlfriend are on their way to Pluto, en route to a new life together. Just one little death to check out in the asteroid belt first. But when you’re as tangled up in conspiracy as Tanner is, a few hours on a case can change your life. Or end it.
The mystery is a strange one—one man dead, a cryptic message his dying breath. Still, Tanner’s ready to wrap it up until another gruesome murder shakes him to his core. The discovery of a microscopic bomb near his own heart offers the first faint clue, but the clock is ticking. He has four days….
A desperate search for answers takes Tanner to The Freezer, an isolated facility on one of Jupiter’s moons. With anti-CCF dissidents targeting the facility, a team of scientists conducting experiments the military would rather remain hidden, and a mysterious man in white hunting him on the ice, Tanner will have to choose his allies carefully. Putting his faith in the wrong person will leave him bleeding out in seconds.
Timothy S. Johnston’s Bio
Timothy S. Johnston is a lifelong fan of techno-thrillers and science-fiction thrillers in both print and film. His greatest desire is to contribute to the genre which has given him so much over the past four decades. He wishes he could personally thank every novelist, screenwriter, filmmaker, director and actor who has ever inspired him to tell great stories. He has been an educator for nearly twenty years and a writer for twenty-five. Timothy is the author of The Furnace, The Freezer, and The Void. He lives on planet Earth, but he dreams of the stars.
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Order The Freezer from Carina Press.