Thomas Locke

Jigsaw Puzzle #4 from ‘Trial Run’

Take a break this weekend and try this week’s interactive jigsaw puzzle, featuring a new scene from Trial Run, my techno-thriller that releases August 4.

Each week’s puzzle is progressively more challenging. This puzzle has 78 pieces.

Tortoise & Hare Awards

Last week’s winners of the Tortoise and Hare awards are:

Tortoise Award: Elisabeth G, at 13:13

Hare Award: Amanda T, at 6:05 (Amanda has won the Hare Award two weeks in a row!)

See if you can “beat” the fastest and slowest times! Be sure to record how long it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments.

Put together previous puzzles!

Week 3 – 72 pieces, quote from Trial Run
Week 2 – 60 pieces, quote from Trial Run
Week 1 – 50 pieces, quote from free ebook, “Double Edge”

Trial Run Jigsaw Puzzle 4

Q&A With Thomas Locke: Do you alter details of real places to suit the story?

Trial Run SettingsQ: Several settings in Trial Run (Santa Barbara, CA, the Italian/Swiss border site) depict real places. How do you select these real-life settings for your stories, and do you alter details of these places to suit your stories?

Thomas Locke: When John Grisham published The Client, a number of readers wrote in to say that he had shifted Washington DC’s geography in several crucial ways. John actually responded in the Afterword to his next novel, saying that it was his right as an author of fiction.

I won’t go that far, but I will say that I researched the area in California where much of the story is set.

The core element of my placing a story is research. And the core element in my research is emotion.

For many people, the ‘take’ that I finally use in the story does not jibe with what they like to see as valid for a particular setting, especially when that place is close to their heart and I have used a more negative perspective. But the facts have been carefully studied.

Santa Barbara, CA

An example from Trial Run is Santa Barbara. For a lot of people who know and love California, this is their absolute favorite place in the SoCal region. And for good reason. It is a lovely town, one my wife and I really enjoy visiting.

For this story, I was granted an insider’s view into the University of California at Santa Barbara, or UCSB. And from the perspective of many students enrolled there, UCSB is filled with hyper-inflated SoCal egos.

The contrast I found between the students with money (and in SoCal, when I say they had money, I really mean they had money) and those who don’t is as sharp as anywhere I have ever been. The student who formed my core source and guide was on a scholarship. He was there to study. He was, to say the least, in a minority.

Everything I described about the school, the bicycle traffic and the events on the beach and the housing, are based on observation. But the perspective was based upon the humorous bafflement with which this student viewed many of his fellow classmates.

Trial Run by Thomas LockeI personally love this aspect of building a story. The research at this emotional level grants me the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes and heart. Being trusted with this, time and again, is part of the miracle process that happens every time I start a new tale.

Trial Run releases August 4, 2015, from Revell.

Question for my readers:

Does it bother you when an author takes liberties with real-life settings?

Tweet it:

Also in this series:

  1. Who is the ideal reader of ‘Trial Run’?
  2. How do you use the ‘Tapestry’ writing strategy in ‘Trial Run’?

Jigsaw Puzzle #3 from ‘Trial Run’

Here’s this week’s interactive jigsaw puzzle, featuring a new scene from Trial Run, my techno-thriller that releases August 4.

Each week’s puzzle is getting progressively more challenging. This puzzle has 72 pieces.

Tortoise & Hare Awards

Last week’s winners of the Tortoise and Hare awards are:

Tortoise Award: Connie Brown, at 13:14

Hare Award: Amanda T, at 4:15 (with a kid on her lap!)

Honorable Mention: Sherry Arni, at 9:34 (with a phone call interruption part way through)

See if you can “beat” the fastest and slowest times! Be sure to record how long it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments.

Put together previous puzzles!

Week 2 – 60 pieces, quote from Trial Run
Week 1 – 50 pieces, quote from free ebook, “Double Edge”

Trial Run Jigsaw Puzzle 3

Q&A with Thomas Locke: How do you use the ‘Tapestry’ writing strategy in ‘Trial Run’?

Q&A with Thomas Locke: How do you weave seemingly unconnected story threads to create a cohesive tapestry?Q: In Trial Run, you introduce several seemingly unrelated threads at the beginning of the story. By the end of the story, those threads have become woven together in an intricate tapestry. Please explain your thought process behind this writing strategy, and also, how you envision your reader as part of this tapestry.

Thomas Locke: One of my favorite authors, a man who taught me a great deal through example, was Michael Crichton. Ever since he passed two years ago, I have wanted to write a story that emulated what I considered to be the finest components of his writing style. Trial Run was this attempt.

Trial Run by Thomas LockeMichael Crichton was a master at weaving the tapestry. The story begins with a multitude of different strands, which at first do not appear to be connected. It is only through the passage of time and pages that the reader sees how they are all absolutely necessary to arrive at the final closure.

One other element is crucial to making such a story work. This concept comes from writing for film, which Michael Crichton did as well – one of the few bestselling novelists who successfully transitioned to this other writing style.

As I begin working on my own film scripts, his example has again helped me a great deal.

This concept can best be summed up by the phrase you often hear a Hollywood producer say: “Where is the cut?”

By this, the producer means, what can you leave out of the script so that the audience must figure things out for themselves?

Instead of spoon-feeding the audience every item required to move to the climax, things are left unsaid. This sense of vacuum draws the audience into the action, and hurries them forward to the story’s close. Michael Crichton was one of the first authors to apply this concept to fiction.

I have tried to do the same in Trial Run.

Trial Run releases August 4, 2015, from Revell.

Questions for my readers:

Does this “tapestry” story structure work for you?

What’s a favorite book you’ve read that uses the “tapestry” writing strategy?


Interactive Jigsaw Puzzle #2 from ‘Trial Run’

Here’s this week’s interactive jigsaw puzzle, featuring a new scene from Trial Run, my techno-thriller that releases August 4.

This week’s puzzle is more challenging than last week’s. This puzzle has 60 pieces in shapes that are a bit trickier.

I’m thinking of awarding a “hare” prize to the person who puts the puzzle together the fastest, and a “tortoise” award to the person who takes the longest.

For puzzle #1, our “winners” were:

Hare Award: Mike Winskie, at 6:00

Tortoise Award: San Salsbury, at 17:32

I loved your comments on last week’s puzzle; it seems that several of you lead very stressful lives (I get that) and enjoyed taking a break to put together the puzzle.

So kick back, try to relax, and accept the challenge! Be sure to leave a comment sharing how long it takes you to complete this week’s puzzle.

Trial Run Jigsaw Puzzle 2

Q&A with Thomas Locke: Who is the ideal reader of ‘Trial Run’?

Q&A with Thomas Locke:  What reader did you have in mind when you were writing Trial Run?Thomas Locke: I suspect there are a lot of readers out there like me, who love mainstream fiction in principle, but are dismayed by how dark it is becoming.

I love to read. I am happiest with a good book in my hands. And most of my purchases are mainstream fiction. Too often, however, I find myself skipping over bits that are just plain not necessary for a good story.

Trial Run by Thomas LockeI wrote Trial Run for readers like me. Passionate about story, yearning for the thrill of a great tale, hoping for something that uplifts as well as ignites.

Trial Run releases August 4, 2015, from Revell.

Question for my readers:

What’s your favorite techno-thriller or suspense novel?

First reader reviews of ‘Trial Run’ techno-thriller

trialrunEarly reviews from members of “Team Trial Run” are coming in. I love finding out what readers think of this first book in the Fault Lines techno-thriller series (TRIAL RUN releases August 4, 2015; you can pre-order it now).

Here are excerpts from reviews by:

  1. Sherry Arni
  2. Dave Milbrandt
  3. Eddie Gilley
  4. Linda Pusey
  5. Robin Bunting

Please click the link next to the reviewers’ name to read their full review.


Sherry Arni, on Goodreads:

As big business, government, and the intelligence community converge at the point where science, technology and “what if” intersect, the result can only be explosive.

In Thomas Locke’s Trial Run, scientific research and discovery push the limits of the human mind and open nearly-unimaginable possibilities.

The cast is large, motives and intentions are often murky, and the ground keeps shifting for characters and for readers as physics doctoral student Trent Major and his partner Shane Schearer find themselves in the middle of a race to control new technology and to eliminate the competition at any cost.

Trial Run is a true page-turner that leaves me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

Dave Milbrandt, on Goodreads:

“Locke is first and foremost concerned about helping the reader connect to fully developed characters and their struggles.”

Eddie Gilley, on his blog:

“The characters “are rich, deep, and slightly problematic. They don’t always measure up to what you hope they would be and yet they surprise us in ways that make us smile.”

Linda Pusey, on Goodreads:

“Locke demonstrates a morality apart from “religion” or characters professing religious faith, but simply those not selling out to greed and hate, a spirit that reaches out toward evil players with offers of escape and redemption.”

Robin Bunting, on Goodreads

“The very idea of being able to affect the tangible with your mind makes for some exciting reading.”

Interactive, Virtual Jigsaw Puzzle of ‘Trial Run’

I thought you’d enjoy something a little different. It’s a “virtual” jigsaw puzzle! You can put it together right here on my blog, or you can click this link to play it at This 50-piece puzzle features a quote from “Double Edge,” the free ebook prequel to Trial Run (Trial Run is my techno-thriller that releases August 4, 2015, from Revell.)

Time yourself and post a comment telling me how long it took you to complete the puzzle. So far, the fastest anyone has completed it is 6 minutes. Can you beat Mike, our current leader?

Also, let me know whether you like doing the puzzle — if so, I’ll post a new one every week and will make them progressively more difficult!

Ready… set… GO!


Video Trailer for Trial Run

Where does perception end and reality begin?

Can your mind actually cause something to happen in the real world?

What happens when we throw out our conception of the limits of space and time?

One thing remains clear: What you don’t know CAN kill you.

Watch the video trailer:

Trial Run: A daring psychological journey from Thomas Locke. Available for pre-order now. Releases August 4, 2015.

Free eBook: Double Edge

Excitement is building for the August 4 release of Trial Run, the first book in my new techno-thriller series.

To help prepare you for what’s to come in Trial Run, you can download the prequel, Double Edge, for free!

Free ebook short: DOUBLE EDGE, the prequel to TRIAL RUN by Thomas Locke

In Double Edge, you’ll discover how — and why — Charlie Hazard first encountered the mystery woman, Gabriella Speciale.

Download Double Edge from your favorite online bookseller right now. Visit this page on my website for links to download it from several online booksellers.

Goodreads reviews of Double Edge:

From Rachael:

Though just a short story, Double Edge packs a punch. It offers a taste of the mysterious, a world of science beyond what the average citizen could ever guess. It is believable science fiction in the same way that Crichton’s Jurassic Park is believable–something close to our world that we could almost imagine is true. Perhaps someone IS developing these mysterious psychological processes, hidden behind closed doors, preparing to test on ordinary people . . . but will it be for good or evil?

Something about the flavor of the story put me in mind of the film Paycheck starring Ben Affleck – those who enjoy that sort of tale will find this story most appealing. It gives us a taste of what is to come yet gives little away, hooking the reader and leaving them hungry for answers. It sets up Locke’s novel Trial Run beautifully.

From Dave Milbrandt:

Having read Trial Run, I was pleased Locke released a prequel to the novel. While it is always nice to get more backstory on well-written characters, Double Edge stands on its own as a good, albeit short, tale.

When you are reading Trial Run, you wonder about the romantic tension between Charlie and Gabriella and Double Edge pulls back the curtain on when they met and why things evolved how they did.

Locke’s description of south Florida evokes memories of Miami Vice and Burn Notice, and his emphasis on solid character development draws the reader into the Fault Lines series well. I am looking forward to book 2 in the series.

From Nichole:

This precursor into the Fault Lines series was completely spellbinding! I can’t say much without giving spoilers, so I’ll just say that this quick-read prequel is a must in my book. I was completely riveted, and I think any other reader would be, too! This book put Thomas Locke onto a whole new plane of writing and far exceeded my expectations!

From Edward Arrington:

I haven’t read much in the techno-thriller genre but this series sounds very interesting. I enjoyed the prequel. It served its purpose – I’m ready to read more. I recommend the book.

Post your review

I hope you’ll post a review to Goodreads or to the bookseller from which you download the ebook.

Share with friends

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