I invited my friend, author Matt Doyle to talk about his brilliant series, The Cassie Tam Files…
Introducing Cassie Tam
The Cassie Tam Files is a science fiction/mystery series set in the fictional new future city of New Hopeland, Utah. As you might have guessed from the title, the main protagonist of the series, and indeed the POV character for each book, is Cassie Tam. But who is she? Well, let’s take a look at some of her key characteristics.
Cassie was born in Vancouver, Canada. While both her parents were also born in the city, her father comes from a Chinese family, making Cassie part of the Chinese-Canadian community. She followed her father into law enforcement, but ended up working as PI rather than joining him in the police force, and eventually moved to New Hopeland after a case went bad for her back home.
Cassie has a love-hate relationship with modern tech. Some things, she can tolerate; For example, her robot gargoyle Bert acts as both a pseudo guard dog and a constant companion for her. Other things though? She’s not so fond of. She rarely touches virtual reality equipment, because the immersive nature of it has seen it become as big an addiction problem as drugs are in our world, and the way it’s used by businesses makes addiction a given rather than a possibility for most people. Given that the city she lives in was built to be the worldwide hub of technological advancement, it’s not a great trait for her to have.
This also isn’t helped by her tendency to lean on paranoia as a tool of the trade. Her reasoning is that since the initial tourism boom for the city died down, it’s fallen into a state of corruption, with criminals holding positions of power. As such, if something feels wrong, it often will be. As Cassie is known for taking on the cases that the police won’t touch, she can on occasion find herself facing off with some nasty people too. In that respect, paranoia is absolutely her friend rather than a hinderance.
Like many of the old pulp fiction detectives, Cassie has a strong moral compass. It may not always synch up with the way the city works, but once she’s decided what the right outcome is, she will doggedly chase that conclusion. This stubbornness also carries over to how she treats her world view; once she’s convinced herself about something, it’s going to be hard to shake it. And if you anger her? Expect snark. Or possibly to get punched. And yes, she does know how to fight. Her dad was a cop, and she herself did go to the academy, so she learned to take care of herself. She is well aware that there are bigger dogs in the yard, but that doesn’t mean she can’t hold her own.
Outside work, Cassie is a big fan of horror films, even though watching them all but guarantee that she’ll have nightmares that night. This isn’t always a bad thing though, she puts a lot of stock into dreams as a way for her to pick up on things she’s missed in the waking world. In keeping her lack of love for the modern world, she mostly listens to retro rock music and jazz. Despite not holding any strong religious beliefs, she does let some older traditions guide her at times. In particular, she has a selection of black ties that have black embroidered designs on them that are near invisible unless you look closely. The designs are all animals, and Cassie often picks her ties based on what the animals means in Chinese folklore in the hopes of the clothing aiding her in her cases.
In terms of clothing, Cassie has a set uniform for herself: plain black trousers and shoes, white shirt, and black tie. It helps her focus on work and create a clear divide between work and non-working situations. Not that she spends much time not working; between spiralling bills and how closed up she is socially, what use would she have for spending too long not working?
And that’s about it. Of course, Cassie grows and changes a little as the books go on, but at the start, those are her key characteristics. If she sounds fun to you, why not give the books a shot and meet her properly.
The Cassie Tam Files Book 1
by Matt Doyle
Genre: SciFi, Crime Noir, Clean Lesfic
When PI Cassie Tam is hired to investigate the death of a local virtual
reality junkie, she thinks it will be easy money. In New Hopeland, VR
junkies die every day, and the local PD already declared it an
accidental overdose on synthetic stimulants. But the more she digs,
the more that things don’t add up.
To make things even more complicated, her client, the deceased’s
sister Lori, is a Tech Shifter – someone who uses a metal
exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal – and Cassie has always been
wary of that community. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t
fast becoming the first person she’s been genuinely attracted to
since splitting with her ex.
Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.
The Fox, The Dog and The King
The Cassie Tam Files Book 2
When PI Cassie Tam and her girlfriend Lori try to make up for their recent
busy schedules with a night out at the theatre to watch the Tech
Shift performer Kitsune, the last thing they expected was for Cassie
to get a job offer. But some people are never off the clock, and by
the end of the evening, Cassie has been drawn into a mundane but
highly paid missing pet case. Unfortunately, in New Hopeland City,
even something as simple as little lost dog can lead you down some
Until now, Cassie wasn’t aware that there even was a rabbit hole,
let alone how far down it goes.
The Cassie Tam Files Book 3
New Hopeland City may be the birthplace of Tech Shifter gear, but it
isn’t the only place that likes to blend technology with folklore.
Now, a new nightmare is stalking the streets…
When PI Cassie Tam is attacked on the way home one night, she expects the
police to get involved. What she doesn’t expect is to be forced
into acting as bait to lure out a lunatic in a tech-suit
that’s literally out for blood. But past actions have consequences, and doing so may be
the only way she can get a clean slate from the city’s law makers.
If only that didn’t mean having to face down a wannabe vampire.
Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual
and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams,
a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To
date, this has included spending ten years as a professional
wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing
multiple works of fiction.
These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories,
blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.
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