When Vinestead engineer Kenneth Barnes takes a business trip to his old hometown of Austin, Texas, he finds himself on the wrong end of a gun in the city’s Old Downtown District. Now laid up in the hospital in a coma, Kenneth’s life begins to flash before his eyes in the form of the House of Nepenthe, an infinitely large construct that contains the sum of all his memories. As he replays moments from his life, he is guided by his Personal Assistant, who shows him the rules of the House and promises to keep him company until the end.
Meanwhile, fellow Vinestead employee and best friend, Patrick Quinn, is notified of Kenneth’s condition by the appearance of an unstoppable tapeworm in the heart of VNet—Vinestead International’s answer to the free and unregulated virtual reality known as the Net. North of Austin, FBI agent Lee Gardner is contacted by his old friend and current VP of Vinestead, Arthur Sedivy, who asks him to investigate the attempted murder of one of his employees. Across the state line in Oklahoma, high school student Raylene Jackson stumbles upon a mysterious construct in the Net, one that contains nothing but a House that doesn’t play by the rules.
Between a Vinestead employee gone rogue, a disgraced FBI agent, and a young hacker in a dangerous situation, will anyone be able to figure out the mystery of the House of Nepenthe before the secret dies with Kenneth Barnes? Return to the Vinestead Universe’s version of Austin, Texas circa 1997 in this mysterious cyber-thriller from science fiction author Daniel Verastiqui.
Featuring: Kenneth Barnes, Patrick Quinn, Lee Gardner, Raylene Jackson
Book Eight | Science Fiction | 2024-12-31
"Filled with murder, mystery & deadly synthetics, Vise Manor is a clever sci-fi thriller that kept me up turning pages well into the night..." - Sarah Orren, Reedsy Discovery
Everything is going exactly to plan when eccentric tech baron Winston Vise finally takes the stage in the conservatory. He has fed his guests, plied them with drinks, and whet their appetites for the technological marvels he hopes to sell them. But when the curtain goes up and the merchandise fails to perform, the night takes a sharp turn into murder.
Now, ten people and Vise’s personal assistant find themselves trapped in an isolated mansion in the New York countryside with no way to contact the outside world. Together, they must hunt a new kind of killer in the countless rooms and endless shadows of Vise Manor.
Featuring: Carter Price, Robert Hargreaves, Adelai Vaught, Diya Singh
Book 7 | Science Fiction / Murder Mystery | 343 pages | 2022-03-01
"Like all good sci-fi stories, there’s at heart here an adventure - with just enough noir mystery to keep us wanting to know more" - Carl, Amazon Review
Most hackers think they’re going to live forever; Johnny San Vito isn’t so optimistic. While snooping around a protected construct in Vinestead International’s virtual reality network, he starts to get the feeling this might be his final visit to cyberspace. To preserve his data and leave a trail for his friends, he manages to prime a Dead Man’s Loop just in time for the network to come crashing down around him.
When the data reaches celebrity hacker Danny “Guns” Montreal and cipher den suit Megan “Tanzy” Riley, it points them to Johnny’s final resting place in virtuality—a seemingly unremarkable strip mall called Brigham Plaza. Getting there will be difficult, and leaving with their lives will be tougher still, but what they find there will rewrite history… and alter the course of humanity’s future.
In the aftermath of Perion City, long after the fall of the Net, the pivotal battle in the war against Vinestead will be fought and decided on the cracked sidewalks of Brigham Plaza.
Featuring: Danny "Guns" Montreal, Megan "Tanzy" Riley, Gordon "G" King, Kaili Zabora
Book 6 | Science Fiction | 351 pages | ISBN: 979-8618450928 | 2020-09-01
Armando Carrillo has always lived with the nagging feeling that the world wasn’t real, but he never expected to wake up naked in an abandoned underground bunker with a computer screen behind him flashing the words CLIENT DISCONNECTED.
After the discovery that his life in Austin, Texas was nothing more than a computer simulation, Armando must unravel the mystery of his true existence and figure out who put him in the simulation in the first place, and more importantly, why.
With ancient generators spewing noxious gasses into the underground facility and massive screens flashing ominous warnings, Armando will have to find a way to escape his cavernous tomb, not only to save his life, but the lives of the three other Austinites who were plugged in with him.
Set in the Vinestead Universe and brimming with twists and clever one-liners, Hybrid Mechanics is another irresistible mash-up of technology, mystery, gunplay, and subtle sexual tension from Science Fiction author Daniel Verastiqui.
Featuring: Armando Carrillo, Will Butler, Charlie Park, Jake Six
Book Five | Science Fiction | 357 pages | ISBN: 978-1790166503 | 2019-04-08
In 2035, the future of synthetic living has finally arrived, but so too has the threat of a global machine war. Rising Hollywood star Sepideh Ahmadi never imagined she would transition to an artificial body, but when her longtime girlfriend Natasha develops a terminal illness, the choices become clear: either give up their physical bodies and stay together, or allow Natasha to die.
As a synthetic woman, Sepideh discovers there is more to being human than just her thoughts and memories. Smells are stronger, sensations are more nuanced. She is no longer anxious or nervous. She is no longer herself, and neither is Natasha.
Now, with a machine army threatening to invade California, crazed fans following her every move, and her new marriage slowly breaking apart, Sepideh must figure out who she will be in the centuries to come.
In a world where immortality can be purchased, will the cost be more than just money?
Featuring: Sepideh Ahmadi, Kagan, Vida, Doyle
Book 4 | Science Fiction, Dystopian
Welcome to Perion City, home to the largest beta test ever conceived. Though its roughly half a million residents all consider themselves human, nearly a third live with the knowledge that they were not born... they were manufactured.
Sava Kessler has spent almost a decade protecting the public image of Perion Synthetics, the world's leading manufacturer of artificially intelligent, synthetic humans. In that time, she has elevated CEO James Perion to the role of national savior, a tech titan with the moral and financial fortitude to protect the country from maligned conglomerate Vinestead International. But now the savior is dying, and there is no guarantee that the next ruler of Perion City will share James Perion's vision of a synthetic utopia.
To ensure the company's survival, Sava enlists a synthetic army to defend a vulnerable Perion Synthetics from corporate sabotage, media scrutiny, and insidious threats from all corners of the city.
Will the world learn the true nature of the coming synthetic revolution? Can Sava keep inquisitive aggregators from the three largest media houses in the country from revealing the company's darkest secrets... and several of her own?
Featuring: Cameron Gray, Cynthia Mesquina, Gilbert Reyes, Robert Gantz, Joseph Perion, Sava Kessler
Book 3 | Science Fiction | 323 pages | ISBN: 978-1495282768 | 2014-04-13
In the 22nd century, augmented reality is no longer a novelty, but rather a way of life for citizens of Easton. Children are taught at a young age to control the ubiquitous layer of reality known as veneer through a process called reconciliation. Those who learn to reconcile live in a constant state of redefinition, of the world and of themselves. Those who struggle are forced to stand by and watch the world change without them.
For this skill, there are no shortcuts, no special glasses or handheld devices. The power to change comes from within.
Deron Bishop wants to live in the augmented world, to perform the magic of reconciliation like his peers, but controlling the veneer has always been a problem for him. Already resentful of the one thing he could never master, Deron doesn't realize how much he needs the veneer until a violent run-in with a childhood rival puts him in the hospital and robs him of his virtual sight.
Now able to see the world as it truly exists, Deron must choose to abandon Easton or fight his way back to the veneered fantasy of his previous life--a fight not everyone wants him to win.
Join Deron, his friends, and his enemies as they discover the truths that will be revealed when the virtual veil finally drops.
Featuring: Deron Bishop, Jalay Chapman, Russo Rivera, Rosalia Collier
Book 2 | Science Fiction | 303 pages | ISBN: 978-1461166221 | 2011-05-20
When a bomb threat shuts down the Vinestead West building in Sacramento, senior developer Rick Diaz' first thought is to head back home, but his new friend Bonnie has other ideas. From a fancy breakfast on the rich side of town to a sim parlor in the tech mecca of Umbra, Bonnie shows Rick that there's more to life than writing code for a ruthless conglomerate. And though Rick is able to forget about his overbearing wife and thankless job for a little while, the passage of the Guardian Angel Bill overshadows the day. The requirement of every newborn and naturalized American to be implanted with Vinestead's Guardian Angel biochip doesn't sit well with a lot of people, including Bonnie.
Where will the day end? In the arms of the strange woman he just met that morning? Or on the battlefield in the new war against Vinestead?
Featuring: Rick Diaz, Kaili Zabora
Book 1.5 | Science Fiction
"Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl falls out of love, so boy makes a digital copy of girl, who turns into a cyber god bent on revenge. Just your typical teenage romance for the digital age, right?" - Jeba, Amazon Review
When X discovers that his long distance relationship with C is about to end, he copies her mind and loads her into a virtual avatar in the Net. But in his haste to preserve his high school sweetheart, X forgets to program the one feature he ends up needing most: how to turn her off.
Now it is up to Natalie and G to rescue their friend from the farthest reaches of the Net. Along the way, they must battle a cipher who cannot be killed, a virus that cannot be stopped, and a global conglomerate that will do anything to seize control of the precious Net.
Featuring: Xavier "X" Ramos, Gordon "G" King, Lily "C" Anderson, Natalie Purcell
Book 1 | Science Fiction | 260 pages | ISBN: 978-1453885413 | 2007-12-01