A teenage girl, naked and badly injured, is discovered by two fisherman in mountain forest in Macabee County, Oregon. Before lapsing into a coma, she asks for someone called Billy, and dies before reaching hospital. The dead girl is identified as Edie Collier, last known to be living on the streets of Portland after quarrelling with her mother. That's how Summer Zeigler, a newly qualified police detective in the Portland Police Bureau gets involved: she arrested Edie for shoplifting six months before. Then the body of Edie's boyfriend, Billy, turns up in the Nevada desert. His manner of death, a wound caused by a crossbow bolt and the removal of his heart and eyes, links him to several other murders. Summer's investigations will lead her to the strange mansion of software millionaire Dirk Merrit, who made his fortune from a computer role-playing game known as Trans. But cyberspace is no longer enough to fulfil Merritt's grotesque fantasies. He wants to play a real-life version of his game. A game with deadly consequences ...
I'm the author of more than twenty books, including science-fiction, thriller, and crime novels, several collections of short stories, a Doctor Who novella, and an anthology of stories about popular music, which I co-edited with Kim Newman. My fiction has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell award, the Sidewise Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award for best short story.
Before I went over to the dark side and became a full-time writer, I worked as a research biologist in various universities, including Oxford and UCLA, and for six years was a lecturer in botany at St Andrews University. My chief research interest was symbioses between unicellular algae and coelenterates, including green hydra, sea anemones, and reef-forming corals. I'm still a huge fan of all things to do with science, and spend too much time tweeting about weird and wonderful stuff as UnlikelyWorlds; Time magazine listed me as one of their top 140 most interesting tweeters in 2013.
I live in North London, and haven't yet walked down every street in the A-Z. But I'm trying.