Something is Rotten
When budding writer Brent Taylor dies a horrific death in the Auckland University Library, his friend, sex worker Jade Amaro, refuses to believe it is suicide. She seeks help from Sam Hallberg, a former government advisor on terrorism, now working as a mechanic.
As Sam reluctantly agrees to look into the death, a hunt for a lost manuscript leads him ever deeper into a complex case of corruption and deceit. Meanwhile, Sam's friend, brilliant business journalist Lynette Church, embarks on an investigation of dirty political dealings with major global implications, and with ties to the Iraq War. It soon becomes clear that something is indeed very rotten…
Beginning in New Zealand, then winding its way around the globe, this clear-sighted and tense thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. The first crime fiction release from Echo Publishing, Something is Rotten is a superbly written morality tale with Shakespearean twists and turns.
Auckland-born Adam Sarafis gained an undergraduate degree at Auckland University before completing post-graduate studies in Copenhagen. He worked as a reporter for various newspapers in Europe and Australasia, eventually becoming a freelance foreign correspondent for some the world's largest agencies. This is his first novel.
Adam Sarafis is the creation of authors Linda Olsson and Thomas Sainsbury
Linda Olsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1948. She left Sweden in 1986 and has lived in Kenya, Singapore, the UK and Japan, before settling in New Zealand. Her first novel, Let me sing you gentle songs (aka Astrid & Veronica) became an international bestseller, and has been followed by three more novels. She divides her time between Auckland and Stockholm.
Thomas Sainsbury was born in Matamata, New Zealand. After graduating from the University of Auckland he pursued a career in theatre, television and comedy. His darkly comic plays have been performed throughout New Zealand and in Australia, USA, UK, Greece and France. He co-wrote the award-winning New Zealand television comedy Super City and the Vietnamese.
Something is Rotten
Author: Adam Sarafis
Interview with Adam Sarafis
Question: Tell us briefly about the plot of Something is Rotten and what you hope readers get out of it?
Adam Sarafis: When we began plotting Something is Rotten we were keen to explore aspects of modern society that concerned us. We decided to set it in Auckland, where we both live, but the plot took us to London, Brussels, Paris, the Middle East and back again. We wanted to demonstrate that we are all interconnected and no country can remain untouched by what is happening in the rest of the world. Something is Rotten is a modern morality tale and we hope that it will make readers contemplate the global political situation. We also hope it will be a thrilling page turner.
Question: How difficult was it to develop the story being co-writers?
Adam Sarafis: It was probably easier than working alone. We come from very different backgrounds so could draw on each other's experiences for inspiration. Writing is usually a very lonely occupation. Having a writing partner was motivating and curbed our tendency to procrastinate. There was also greater quality control because any bad suggestions could be vetoed by the other writer. On the other hand, any good ideas could be bounced off each other and grow momentum far greater than what we could achieve alone.
Question: How did the creation of author Adam Sarafis come about? And will you continue to write under the pseudonym?
Adam Sarafis: We decided to create a pseudonym because our respective other writing is very different from the Matakana trilogy. Once the name was chosen, his character came about quite naturally. Adam Sarafis emerged fully-formed; 40-something, a background in international journalism, well-travelled, with a Greek father and a Kiwi mother. Having Adam as the author seemed to allow us the freedom to explore a different genre. And it proved to be a lot of fun. Adam has a further two books to write in the trilogy. Beyond that, we are not sure what he intends to do.
Question: How much research goes into writing a thriller?
Adam Sarafis: It completely depends on the plot and world of the book. From the very start we decided not to write a police thriller because our experience of police work was non-existent. For Something is Rotten we did research how New Zealand's exports function and also Britain's recent military presence in Iraq. Although this is a work of fiction the setting is as factually correct as we could make it, both geographically and historically.
Question: What was the most interesting part about creating the character of Sam Hallberg?
Adam Sarafis: The awful consequences of Sam Hallberg's past as an expert on international terrorism have left him paralysed by guilt. When Something is Rotten begins, Sam is a car mechanic in Auckland, barely holding onto life. Through the events of the book he is pulled back into the world of the living. He transforms from a barely alive shadow to someone motivated to use his expertise to make a contribution to the world. It was very satisfying to chart that progression.
Question: Why did you decide to begin the book in New Zealand?
Adam Sarafis: Our roads first crossed in New Zealand, where Tom has lived all his life and where Linda arrived from Sweden 25 years ago. Auckland is our hometown. When we started to plot a political thriller it was natural that we wrote about the country we know. We were also interested in the contrast between how New Zealand is perceived – a clean, green, innocent country at the bottom of the world – and the ugly realities of modern politics.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Adam Sarafis: All the characters in Something is Rotten are fictional, but their creation is based on observations of real people. Like most authors, we are magpies. We steal character traits, mannerisms and physical looks and use them as building blocks.
Question: What's next for you both in terms of writing?
Adam Sarafis: We are presently working on the second book in the Matakana trilogy, Tom is developing several screenplays and Linda is working on her fifth novel.