Jools Cantor, signed by author
Debbie Peck is a conflict mediator struggling to make ends meet in Chicago’s near future. Conflict is everywhere, but jobs are scarce, so when her headhunter calls about an open position at the prestigious Jefferson Trellis, she jumps at the opportunity. She lands right in the middle of an active murder investigation, a tangle of half-truths and broken promises, and a growing snarl of danger and dread. But a job’s a job, and at least this one offers health insurance. As Debbie navigates her new position and Detective Melody Jackson investigates the murders occurring around the Trellis, they each untwine the tendrils of a secret creeping through its corner offices. Like the botanical gardens at the Trellis’ base, their worlds weave between the lush, the stark, the delicate, and the deadly. Dancing between mystery, science fiction, and nail-biting suspense, THE TRELLIS layers a decade or two of decline to the current American condition. Whether it’s drone swarms, deepfakes, or the growing divide between the have-it-alls and the have-nots, the technology predictably improved while the people predictably haven’t. Debbie’s world is both familiar and fantastic, both funny and frightening, but calling it a dystopia would damn our own to the same definition.