The Jack Hadley Series
Here's a good article on the 4 most recent novels I've completed. The article gives a brief introduction to all 4 of the novels in the Jack Hadley series:
John Selby approaches our traditional American suspense-mystery genre quite reverently - and at the same time disruptively. The author of the Jack Hadley Mystery series offers 2018 readers a genre-stretching adventure of non-stop action and entertainment with a slight sci-fi edge,. At its core, this suspense series delivers a deadly-serious exposé of where Silicon Valley's new psych-tech inventions might be taking us.
Terrorism has always existed on our planet, as far back as history can see. But right now a new breed of terrorist is perhaps emerging - with supposedly good guys being put in position to do very bad things through new bio-tech inventions. The Jack Hadley Series exposes this internal terrorist threat both by playing out traditional good-guy versus bad-guy thriller/suspense games, and also by disrupting old plot patterns with unique twists and character decisions.
Unleashing several brilliant home-grown scientists-gone-wrong, the Hadley Series delivers hot suspense action layered with deeper levels of professional, romantic, and ethical conflict-resolution.
Something happened historically in the late 1960s. The CIA’s secret and ethically-outrageous MK-Ultra plot was right then at its climax. Specifically, it was operating seven carefully-veiled research centers through NIH funding, attempting to develop new mind-control methods to attack both foreign and indigenous ‘hostile populations’ with new weapons – of the mind.
In John Selby’s suspense series, Jack Hadley’s father Robert worked as a young scientist at one of the 7 historic CIA Institutes, just before it was suddenly shut down in 1969. His life thereafter was strongly impacted by that illicit mind-manipulation research. His cousin Benjamin also worked there; they were both given super-hypnotic lifelong conditions to forget what they’d experienced – but they were programmed to continue breaking new ground in brain science (Robert) and mass-market thought-massage via novels and screenplays (Benjamin).
GOOGLE BETA 3: The first book in the series, Google Beta 3, takes place just a few years in the future. It delivers an insightful insider jab at the ominous power of tech companies like Google - power to grab the emerging potential of psych-tech to manipulate human thought and emotion.
Similar to John D. MacDonald’s McGee/Mayer pals-formula, Jack Hadley has a potent friend (and lover) Mahalena who pushes the suspense story constantly deeper than most thrillers go – challenging the reader to question existing cultural values that can break down in the face of unique psych-tech threats. This novel merges cutting-edge science with ancient Mayan predictions, challenging the young heroes to risk their lives to discover a new way ...
TEN PERCENT MAX: The second novel in the series, Ten%Max, follows Google Beta 3 a few more years into the future with a total thriller tale of ultimate planetary take-over. As with the first novel, Robert Hadley’s son Jack is the hero, struggling to identify and destroy the tech monster that has emerged from his own father’s Stanford brain research. In these first two novels we gain vague glimpses of the early Institute tech breakthroughs that are provoking present-moment drama.
SHOOTING ANGELS: In the third novel of the series, Shooting Angels, we drop back to 1969 as Robert Hadley (then a young man recently ‘escaped’ from the Institute) does battle with the CIA while trying to extricate himself from a most bizarre murder charge. This story follows fairly closely the author's own life experience - in fact, his cattle-rancher father is a central character, as is Alan Watts in his Sausalito houseboat. The Berkeley anti-war scene is dominant in this story, along with two quarts of pure Sandoz LSD that the CIA desperately wants to recover before it's put in the water supply in Sacramento. But primary to the plot is the murder of a young seminary student who has taken LSD, been transformed into a modern-day Jesus - and three days later, shot dead with a bullet in the head. Who on earth would do such a thing? Turns out in this police-procedure plot that there are five people quite possibly candidates for having committed the murder - including RoberytHadley himself.
VIBE TRIBE: In the fourth novel of the series, we finally gain direct insight into what was happening back at the Institute, through witnessing (via cousin Benjamin’s eyes) a most sinister 1980s manifestation of that original MK-Ultra intent. Benjamin is a renown novelist telling his story first-person, with a remarkable powerful female lead who talks English like no other. The story is highlighted by unique prose as well as radical plot twists – in this case a bio-tech plot (that originated at the Institute) to cleverly sterilize women world-wide in order to defuse the population bomb.
Readers can enjoy these four novels in any order (as with the first four Travis McGee novels which were released one month apart). Taken as a larger whole, the four Hadley novels present a larger overview of the birth of psych-tech, and its ominous potential to threaten and even destroy our world culture.
Note: All four of these novels, and also the next three in progress, were first written by the author as screenplays, in order to get plot and dialog solidified before transposing the stories into novel format. The novels read with cinematic flow to match the entertainment mentality of most readers. Each chapter is a 6-8 minute scene, ready for TV drama adaptation.
Also – the majority of American readers are now locked into the narrative logic of video and computer games; the author of the Jack Hadley series satisfies these new gamification hungers by offering four different levels of immersion in a parallel reality, unfolding through each new plot revelation. The intent is to engage readers in the thriller/suspense genre through non-stop presentation of new plot challenge, purpose, discovery, complexity, mystery, and breakthrough - and at the same time to expose deeper issues that we all need to reflect (and perhaps act) upon.
MAHEE SPEAKS: Book five, Mahee Speaks (in progress), begins in outlaw Afghanistan at the same time Ten%Max is happening elsewhere - maybe 5 years in the future. This new story features in first-person the author’s most potent and challenging female hero, Mahalena Bernhardt. After dominating Google Beta 3, she was mysteriously missing from Ten%Max. Finally we find out what’s happened to her.
Into Mahee's extreme post-ISIS prisoner situation comes a new anti-hero, Robert Hadley’s elderly but vital cousin John Hadley, who kicks off a radical exposé of America’s long-term responsibility for the situation in the Near East, a cultural-identity bias that continues to fuel rather than defuse the world terrorist threat. John Hadley is a remarkable character and we hear several slices of his personal history which in themselves make up a great story. But Mahee throughout the book is also a potent explosive presence, being forced in isolation to make spiritual breakthroughs that bring the entire Jack Hadley series into final focus and conclusion.
WHAT'S NEXT? Following Mahee Speaks there are 3 more screenplays in this series awaiting transformation into novel format in the next couple years. The author envisions at least a dozen books in total, each standing on its own as a unique literary thrust – yet all struggling with the same underlying tech themes and highly-relevant questions and challenges.
The dozen or so main characters in this series are all given free room to express their views and fears, inhibitions and intentions. Provoked by universal threats from imminent psych-tech breakthroughs, all the Hadley stories feature newly-emerging heroes to match our generation’s unique threats and challenges.
These action heroes are by genre and design somewhat larger than real life, confronting unique dangers and ultimately making the right choices - ultimately saving us from our own over-reaching devices. Through getting to know several generations of influential Hadley’s via this suspense series, the reader gains an in-depth sense of still mostly-invisible new tech dangers lurking on our shared horizon. An active resident and player in Silicon Valley circles, the author brings to dramatic life a number of universal questions and possibilities we’re all now facing - and he makes it all exciting and fun!