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Lancaster man co-authors new crime thriller

Lee Francis at Lancaster's Waterstones store.
Lee Francis at Lancaster's Waterstones store.

A Lancaster man has co-authored a new crime thriller which also tackles the grittier aspects of our everyday reliance on technology.

Lee Francis, 31, who lives in Fenton Street, has co-authored Playing With Death with Norfolk based writer Simon Scarrow.

Lee, who is originally from Kent, studied a Masters in Marketing at Lancaster University, before settling in the city.

He said: “Playing With Death is a fast paced crime thriller that also tackles head on the grittier aspects of our everyday reliance on technology. I’m trying to avoid too many spoilers here, but one of these aspects is Virtual Reality/VR, another is Artificial Intelligence/AI.

“Both these concepts are not new, but putting them in a contemporary, exciting fast paced hunt for a serial killer with technology evolving beyond our control... That’s exciting to us!

“Simon and I started formally developing this project together back in 2013, when VR was still very much a far fetched concept.

Lee Francis

Lee Francis

“Simon actually conceived of the initial idea of a ‘Skin’ way back in 1995.

“When we finished writing Playing With Death in 2016, what started as science fiction is now verging on a contemporary reality. In our story, VR is also used as a metaphor to explore broader concerns that FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has to tackle.

“Our access to digital words is now only a tap away, but what does that do to us as human beings?

“What happens to our lives in the real world if we spend so much time in artificial ones?

“Will we get critically dependent on these things, to the exclusion of everything else? Moreover, how will our interactions with AI develop? For better, or worse?”

There is also a prequel “app” to Playing with Death, called Catch a Killer.

Iy is available on iOS and Android and allows you to ‘message’ a serial killer and start the story. We wanted to offer an immersive experience for the reader, with more to explore than just the book.”