Author of Shattered Minds, Laura Lam, shares the story of the book, which is published in paperback on 8th February 2018. 

Shattered Minds is set in the same world as False Hearts, but you don’t need to have read False Hearts first to dip your toes into the newest Pacifica novel. I’ll briefly introduce you to this world and the characters you’d meet in my latest near-future thriller.

Pacifica used to be the west coast of the United States of America. When climate change reached a tipping point in the Great Upheaval (in roughly 2030-2050), all technological innovation came to a standstill if it didn’t involve working together to save the planet. Space exploration stopped. Technology for personal pleasure slowed and nearly halted. They needed to repair the ozone layer and refreeze ice caps to control the rising sea levels.

After the Great Upheaval, the world might have been saved, but international tensions were still tense and things fractured, including the United States. Pacifica consists of Oregon, Washington, California, and Hawaii. The middle of the country is called the Great Plains, and the east coast has become Atlantica. Throughout the world, maps have changed, yet a new peace has emerged. Wars have calmed down. Resources are redistributed—the 1% had most of their wealth taken away and used to cure poverty and gross inequality. The clean energy boom mean hover cars are commonplace, skyscrapers can house orchards, and the bay glows green at night with algae used to bolster the food supply. Replicators mean you can order what you want and put it back to be recycled. Minimalism is in. Gross displays of wealth still appears, such as with Los Angeles celebrities, but it is a lot more restrained than before. There are breakthroughs in medical advancements and prosthetics. In many ways, this brave new world looks perfect.

Perfection has a way of being ugly under the surface. Surveillance is now pervasive. The people are not as free as they believe. Underground crime still flourishes, and megacorporations have started pushing at the boundaries of what is possible, and what is right.

This is the world that Carina Kearney, the star of Shattered Minds, lives in. She used to work for one of these big corporations, Sudice, but fled when she discovered what they were really doing. Illicit experiments were just one of their many horrible things they did. She left, but as a result of what the company did to her, she’s overrun with the violent urge to kill everyone she meets. Instead, she decides to become addicted to the dream drug, Zeal, which is still developed by Sudice (of course), but it means she can kill people in her imagination that adhere to her rules. She kills criminals of all stripes, pretending that she’s enacting justice instead of serving her own selfish pleasure.

So that’s where the book begins. And things continue to go wrong for Carina.