Unreleased Alternate Cover
“An elaborate and chilling psychological experiment...”
A couple meets in a seedy hotel room for an illicit affair, the rules of which are simple: no names no personal details, the specifics of their lives off limits. It's all very exciting to Lore Cha--the wife of a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur--who thinks their forbidden meetings and taboo sexual encounters are exactly the escape she's been looking for: every single detail is as she imagined. But that's the problem. Phillip Krey anticipates every thought before she has it. He plays out her untold fantasies down to the last detail. His insights are beyond intuitive; they're invasive, even frightening. It's as if he has access into her mind. Across town, Elise Currin, wife to one of San Francisco's most powerful businessmen, is also seeing Krey, and is slowly being driven insane by his ability to tap into her most private desires.
Vera List, a psychoanalyst, discovers that two of her clients (Cha and Currin) are having affairs with the same unidentified man. When List realizes that this man is apparently breaking into her office and reading her clients’ confidential files, she contacts Marten Fane, a former intelligence officer with the San Francisco Police Department, for help. Fane discovers a plot that involves a powerful private intelligence organization that does contract work for the U.S. government. An elaborate and chilling psychological experiment is revealed that has implications that go far beyond what is happening to the two women.
“I had intended it to be a story that reaches far beyond itself.”
This novel has a long, frustrating history. I'm particularly pleased with the story and the characters. I like everything about it. But originally I had conceived of the book not as another mystery/thriller "series", but as something quite different. I had intended it to be a story that reaches beyond itself. Even though it is a self-contained story, I intended it to be much more than that: the first "chapter" or "episode" of a single, much larger story that would unfold over the span of multiple novels. Therefore, Martin Fane wouldn't be the protagonist in a novel series, rather he would be the protagonist in a serial novel.
I also intended for the story to take place on several platforms: on a website, on the Internet, and in book format, with the plot of the larger story playing out, from different points of view, simultaneously on various platforms. I spent several years trying to make this idea a reality, even investing a lot of time (several years) and, yes, a lot of money, on a website and writing drafts of novels that would never be published. Unfortunately, I couldn't sell the idea of a multi-volume, multi-platform serial novel to the people who make things happen in the publishing industry.
So, Pacific Heights stands alone. A story unto itself.