Author Peter May has revealed that he is the man behind Flick Faulds Detective Agency. He set up the agency – handling surveillance for matrimonial investigations, stalking and harassment cases, and missing person searches – in order to research the novel Virtually Dead. For more than a year, he worked as a Private Eye with a 100% record of satisfied clients. The book was published in the USA this week by Poisoned Pen Press.
International thriller writer May is renowned for taking his research seriously. Before writing his China Thrillers he managed to get behind the scenes of the Beijing and Shanghai police. For his Enzo Files series, he took a professional course in wine tasting and was inducted as a Chevalier of French wines.
So for his latest book, the standalone thriller Virtually Dead, he spent over a year mastering surveillance techniques, learning how to tail and eavesdrop. His international agency had no borders or boundaries. He was hired by clients from all over the world who feared their spouses were cheating; who wanted him to find missing persons; or who needed help to deal with harassment or stalkers.
“These cases bring you into very intimate contact with clients and their lives. The private detective is the only person with whom they can discuss their fears. And sometimes the truth is the thing they fear the most. I was unprepared for just how involved I would get. Sometimes you feel you hold people’s lives in your hands,” says May.
Just one thing made this research a little different. He did it all, without leaving his study in his home in south-west France. May’s detective agency was based in the metaverse of Second Life.
He not only gained an insight into the life and work of a private detective, but discovered how important the online virtual world is to some of its residents. “People fall in love, get married, and move across the real world to be closer to their ‘virtual’ partners. These relationships become real in both worlds. It’s an appealing and addictive escape for a lot of people. For example, anyone with a disability in the real world can be on equal terms with anyone in the virtual world.”
Where is May now? He’s writing the fifth book in the Enzo Files series, for which he has just spent time shadowing 3-star Michelin chef, Michel Bras in kitchen of his restaurant in France.
With 2 brand new hard cover novels and 5 new paperback editions of his China Thrillers and Enzo Files series being published in the next two months, May will visit the USA in the Spring for a coast-to-coast book signing tour.
Virtually Dead (Poisoned Pen Press, Jan 2010, hard cover isbn: 1590586700 paperback isbn: 1590587081)
Crime-scene photographer Michael Kapinsky, suffering after the death of his wife, is persuaded to enter the online virtual world of Second Life to participate in a new kind of group therapy. Once there, he discovers a chilling connection between crime scenes he has attended real life, and scenes depicted in the virtual world. When he uncovers a series of killings and a financial scam that is netting the murderer millions of dollars, Michael finds that both in Second Life and in real life, someone is out to kill him.