Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Facing The Future with Frederick Crook

When it comes to the post-apocalyptic genre, I must admit I've consumed more films than books but it's still a favourite scenario of mine. It raises questions about the human condition: how do humans survive catastrophe; how do they maintain their humanness. Author Frederick H. Crook has just released his adult geared post-apocalyptic crime fiction this month, Campanelli: Sentinel, about a smuggling operation, organized crime, corrupt cops, politicians, preachers and based on the reviews, promises not to disappoint.

Frank Campanelli is a blind Chicago Police detective who depends on his fully functional bio-electronic implants to see and do his job.

After assisting on a botched infiltration of a top human trafficking network, he and his partner, Marcus Williams, are transferred into the CPD’s Organized Crime Division to head the newly formed Sentinel group and bring down the Ignatola family business.

Frederick was kind enough to weigh in. Read on for a glimpse of his writing process, his fave films, and what his personal connections is on bio-electric implants.

Who is your favorite character and why? It’s definitely Frank. He has my tenacity, my humor and my temper, augmented in sort of a Frank Sinatra debonair. He truly is a combination of myself and the character Sinatra played in the movie, “The Detective”.

Since I write time travel I always like to ask-where would u go? Perhaps the bootlegging mob era? I think I’d like to go back to the early 1960’s and write these same works. I think they would have more of an impact on readers. I often feel that I was born 20 years too late.

How did you come to be with Solstice? I struggled to a publisher even after the first novel, The Dregs of Exodus and The Pirates of Exodus. I had joined an author’s showcase at the Villa Park Library this past September where I met Solstice’s Rebecca Frencl. We became quick friends and I submitted Campanelli: Sentinel to Solstice and they snatched it up. It’s been a whirlwind of activity since.

I am a huge movie buff and I went through a phase of being addicted to futuristic movies. Some of my faves are Screamers, Tank Girl, Total Recall, Robo Cop, Surrogates and Minority Report. I also love mob movies, Goodfellas, The Godfather, Untouchables, Donnie Brasco, Scarface, Bugsy and Public Enemies. What is your favorite organized crime movie? Cop movie? And or futuristic movie? Well, like millions of people, I love the “Godfather” movies. Bladerunner is one of my favorite futuristic cop movies, though, unlike “Sentinel” the human race isn’t doing so well.

Is there a personal link to why you made the character blind? Actually, yes. As a four-year-old living in an apartment in Cicero I broke a light fixture in my bedroom. A piece of the heavy crystal pierced my right eyelid, destroying the eye itself and severing many muscles within. Having an interest in technology, I like the fact that bio-electronics are in our future. One day, maybe I’ll have two eyes again. Frank Campanelli is an extreme example of someone who is benefiting from such implants, having lost both eyes in an apartment fire as it was alluded to in Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair.

I love that! Not that you lost an eye as a child. That must have been tough but the fact that you're bringing real life misfortune to the page and offering hope, not to mention putting such a cool twist on it. Kudos! You have a truly unique perspective and what a way to use it. So what is your favorite scene and can we have a teaser? My favorite scene in “Sentinel” is the quick drive to Chicago’s City Hall on the morning of Reverend DeSilva’s Rally. It really describes the full functionality of Frank’s eyes. It’s the scene included in my publicity package as the excerpt.

Frank took manual control of the car and set its alert status to ‘Condition Two’. The car’s computer sent out its signal to traffic lights and other computerized vehicles, clearing the way for them. The blue lights flashed and the siren whooped and warbled to warn pedestrians and non-computerized vehicles of their presence.

Campanelli adjusted his lenses to zoom in just enough that he saw the leading edge of his vehicle’s hood and beyond. This gave him advanced warning of upcoming pavement hazards. He kept his thought commands on visual adjustments, putting them back to default when the car was in traffic and zooming forward again once the road was clear ahead. Frank’s full-service lenses had an advantage over the standard bio-electronic breed. His fully encompassed the surface of the eyes to give him the benefit of peripheral vision. When he magnified his view, it was not merely like looking through binoculars, it was akin to being physically thrust forward a few feet, albeit with some distortion at the edges of his field of view. With this advantage, Frank Campanelli had the reputation of being a rather insane driver, but from his point of view, he simply saw more detail than others and drove to match.

As it was Saturday morning, the traffic was light. As a result, Frank could get the car up to eighty miles an hour at times, broken up by sudden slowing and lane changing to avoid a vehicle or road hazard. This unsettled Marcus Williams to no end, forcing the veteran to increase his serotonin levels as he held on to the door handle and center console while plastering his feet into the floorboards.

The engine whined and whistled with acceleration, alternating with the crying of rubber whenever the brakes were hit hard or the steering yoke was twitched to go around something.

Marcus was just glad they were not in pursuit, otherwise Frank would be in a real hurry.

Campanelli slowed at the corner of State and Madison and hung a tight left. The powerful car accelerated like a shot, but the siren went quiet. Marcus dared to open his eyes and saw that the road ahead was deserted of pedestrians, cars and potholes.

The siren sounded again as they approached the intersection at Dearborn. Dodging around a CTA bus, Frank made the turn and accelerated again, though only briefly as they were close to their destination.

Suddenly, the siren quieted and the motor wound down to its near-silent normalcy. Marcus opened his eyes in time to see the blue lights cycle one last time before going out. The light at West Washington Street still turned green for them, indicating that Frank had set the car to ‘Condition Four’: ‘No lights, no sirens, just an officer in kind of a hurry’, as it had been explained to him once by someone he could not remember.

What are you working on next? I’m working on adapting my short story, Lunar Troll into a graphic novel with the help of my cover artists, Arvin Candelaria and Velvet Lyght. The script for that is done and now I’m writing a short story entitled, Minuteman Merlin. There will definitely be another Campanelli novel and a novel involving one character from The Pirates of Exodus who meets up with the main character from the short story, Runt Pulse.

Get your copy today at Amazon and don't forget to check out his website and like his Facebook Author page. 



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