Beth Chandler works in a government research institute, and is accidentally replicated in a flawed experiment. The replica has no official existence, and when she overhears plans to liquidate her, goes on the run. Homeless, penniless and pursued by MI5, she has to learn how to survive on icy London streets. Meanwhile, the original Beth, unaware of what has happened, becomes romantically involved with Nick Cavanagh, the spec op she believes is there to protect her. In fact, he’s hunting her double.
What will readers like about your book?
Replica is a thriller crossed with romance, an exciting page turner.
Why did you self publish?
I self-published my first book, Remix, and liked the immediacy of it, and the control I have over every aspect. Having sold 18,500 copies of Remix, I know readers out there will probably like Replica.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I’ve often wished there were two of me to cope with everything I want to achieve. I’ve also wondered what would have happened had my life taken another turn.
Then, in early January 2010, my bike slipped on an icy speed cushion and I fractured my shoulder on the only bit of double kerb in the street. I wasn't able to ride my bike for ten weeks. During long, cold walks between home and workshop, the seeds of this novel germinated.
I brooded about how my broken bone had diverted, I hoped briefly, the course of my life; I noticed all the useful stuff Londoners throw out; and I trespassed inside an unfinished, abandoned and vandalized block of flats on my way home.
Nick drove too fast along Kensington High Street, cutting up other drivers and speeding through amber lights, tailgating anyone who in his opinion should be driving faster.
Ollie waited till they had to stop at a red light. “What’s the rush? Paul and Dario are there if the target turns up. They’ll think it funny us arriving two hours early, anyway.”
“I don’t give a toss what they think. They let her get away.” Nick’s fingers drummed on the steering wheel. The lights changed, and he accelerated, making a woman jump back to the safety of the traffic island. “If I’d been there I’d have got her. Pete should have sent us.”
“He didn’t expect her to turn up at her flat.”
“No, and I bet when she did Paul was making a cup of tea and Dario was going through her underwear drawer.”
Ollie laughed. “So what can we do they can’t?”
“We’re going to do it better. Stay out of sight in the van and wait for her to turn up again. Follow Beth One wherever she goes. Getting to her has to be what replica Beth is playing for.
The two Beths talk to the press, it’s out, nothing we can do, game over.”
“So we’ll be off our other jobs for as long as it takes, I suppose. Nice break for the terrorists.”
Nick was quiet for a while, then he said, “Maybe.”
“How d’you mean, maybe?”
“Just, I can’t see Pete throwing in the towel. Saying, oh, all right, now you two totally unimportant secretaries, who just happen to have got mixed up in this top secret research we’ve spent millions of pounds on know about each other, we’ll accept it and go public.” Nick braked hard to avoid collision with a cycle courier, then hit the accelerator. “There’s no way he’ll risk that happening.”
Ollie gripped the handle above the door. “Take it easy, Nick.”
“D’you ever worry about the ethics of what we do?”
“Not a lot. I’m too busy worrying about your driving.”
“Okay, but what about this; supposing catching her is harder than everyone seems to think? He isn’t going to keep all of us running around after her forever. I’d give it a week, maybe two, tops. He’s a ruthless bastard. I reckon, if we don’t find her fast, the original will go missing. Then if the copy turns up, it’s like, boring secretary loses marbles, gets persecution complex, thinks MI5 are after her, goes on the run, ends up in padded accommodation with no one believing a word she says. To be honest, I’m surprised he hasn’t done it already. He must be going soft in his old age.”
Ollie smiled at Nick. “If we can’t catch her in a week we’re not trying. Are you worrying about the ethics of it, then?”
“Me? No. I do what I’m told, I get paid. End of.”
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