There’s no third-person description of Howard Seaborne here. This is just me. If you’re reading this, it’s possible you have a professional interest in the DIVISIBLE MAN novels. So, if I may, I’d like to take a business approach to this author’s bio.
THE WRITING: The quality of the writing is easily determined by reading the books. You’ll form your own opinion and nothing I say will change it. If you haven’t read the books, Kirkus Reviews did, and they said nice things. I don’t pretend to be Eudora Welty or Stephen King, but I make it work. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I don’t write to examine my inner truths or embark on a solitary journey of self-discovery. I write to entertain, to create a place that I like to visit full of people I like to spend time with, and to make bad people pay for the bad things they do. I like surprises. I like satisfying outcomes. I also like to upend entertainment industry clichés. Here's my favorite: I have a protagonist who is not only married, but madly in love with his wife. You don’t see that a lot, unless it’s a device for tragedy.
THE PRODUCT: We live in the ongoing age of superheroes. DIVISIBLE MAN introduces a character who can vanish and fly. And it's not as easy as it sounds. Beyond that, he’s a fairly regular guy (he got a kick out of discovering that when he pees while he is in the vanished state, it’s funny to see a stream coming out of nowhere). The superhero origin story is the best story. That’s why Hollywood regularly remakes them. In the DIVISIBLE MAN novels, every story is an origin story, because Will Stewart is still trying to figure out what the hell is happening and how to use it. I’d also like to point out that NOWHERE in any of the four books written, nor in any of the unwritten books lined up in my head, does the word “Inv*s*ble” appear. It won’t. Will is not the guy who disappears and then reappears with no clothes on. This is something else. I’m told that the books have a good narrative voice and have “heart.” Read them and see if you agree. I’m told that the books have assembled a realistic cast of characters, the kind of people you might enjoy meeting over a beer. TIME Magazine, in a recent issue devoted to Harry Potter, said, “Reading is about spending time with characters and entering a fictional world and playing with words and living through a story page by page.” Yup. That’s the reading I grew up with. That’s the reading I love. That’s the reading I want someone to experience when they pick up a DIVISIBLE MAN novel.
THE INVENTORY: Any business discussion should address Productivity. I wrote DIVISIBLE MAN between June and the end of September in 2017. I wrote the second book between the end of September and early December of the same year. I finished the third book the following February. The fourth in October. The fifth would be done, too, if I didn’t also have to work for a living, didn't love to spend time flying, and find myself busy setting up a website and an author’s Facebook page. The sixth is lined up in my head and pestering me to get started. I have a lot of these in mind, and I can produce them with a certain alacrity without (I believe) diminishing the quality. Although the novels are sequential and it’s a good idea to read them in order, each DIVISIBLE MAN novel stands alone.
THE MARKET: DIVISIBLE MAN is genre-defying and can touch almost anyone. There is crime. And action. And aviation. And love. And humor. And police procedure. And politics. And what you might call revenge. It crosses lines, which invites readers across lines they may not have otherwise considered. And yes, the protagonist has a unique ability, the after-effect of a terrible aviation accident. But these aren't just stories about someone who can vanish. The first in the series confronts the opioid epidemic and urban gang control of the trade. The second exposes the terrible power of the money behind politics. The third sends our heroes in pursuit of an insidious scheme raking in millions at a terrible price to innocent lives. The fourth uncovers a massive deception in the political world perpetrated by those who manipulate the public for a profit. The books are full of timely content. The stories draw the reader into battles fought in today's world against today's villains, and offer satisfying outcomes. They're thrill rides told with heart, humor and a cast of characters my readers say they love to visit.
THE BIO: I started writing stories in spiral notebooks when I was ten. I never stopped. But I am also a farm-raised Midwesterner with a work ethic that mandates a real job to support and raise a family. It was hammered in early: pay attention to life first and play with things like writing later. So, I’ve been a farmer, a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor, a charter pilot, a dental laboratory technician (don't ask), had a career in advertising as a graphic artist/designer/writer/creative director and television/radio writer/producer, and I’ve been the owner of an automotive data and software company…oh, and a novelist. I know the value of good editing (all of the DIVISIBLE MAN novels employed a professional editor). DIVISIBLE MAN isn’t my first novel, but it’s the first with marketing potential that warrants the light of day. And the good news is that there might be some money in it for a savvy agent, a smart publisher, and a guy who just wants to fly and decided to write about it. If that’s why you are still reading this, drop me a note and let’s talk. HWSeaborne@gmail.com.
“Well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and an intriguing hero...A crisply written thriller...A great read.”
– Kirkus Reviews
In Seaborne’s sixth series adventure, a pilot who can turn invisible and fly tackles a tangle of crimes, including serial killing and extortion.
It’s been a jam-packed year for Essex County Airport charter pilot Will Stewart since the midair collision that should have killed him. The crash left him with an amazing ability: he can float invisibly, no longer “subject to the laws of inertia and mass and gravity.” He’s called on this power, which he calls “the other thing,” to uncover truths and right wrongs committed by otherwise untouchable malefactors. While he’s invisible, Will can make other people float, too, which has allowed him to perform amazing rescues. Although he’s tried to keep his gift a secret, a small group, including his police detective wife, Andy, is in the know, and they’re concerned that online-retail billionaire Spiro Lewko has gotten his hands on the only surviving piece of debris from the mysterious object that collided with Will. Lewko intends to study the object at his highly secure, state-of-the-art research facility. Meanwhile, a vicious serial killer is murdering isolated farm families and threatens to keep doing so unless he receives $100 million from the Stewarts’ wealthy friend Sandy Stone. To raise the money, Stone must sell a valuable lakeside property that a National Football League star is currently renting. The athlete was recently arrested for providing alcohol to minors, so he’s broken the lease—a convenient situation for arrogant real estate developer Emilio DeSantorini, who wants to buy the property. Once again, Will must employ his special talents, join with allies, and investigate interrelated cases to ensure that justice is done.
Seaborne shows himself to be a reliably splendid storyteller in this latest outing. The plot is intricate and could have been confusing in lesser hands, but the author manages it well, keeping readers oriented amid unexpected developments. He captures a particular cultural zeitgeist by using bitcoin and the dark web as story elements, and he offers original characters that call to mind real-life figures, such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Donald Trump. His crisp writing about complex scenes and concepts is another strong suit, as when he describes Lewko’s laboratory, “a set director’s dream for a science fiction picture” where “sequential lights glowed in the floor, throbbing like weird luminescent water flowers sunk in an acrylic pond.” The fantasy of self-powered flight remains absolutely compelling, each installment bringing new revelations regarding its possibilities and origins. As a former charter pilot, Seaborne conveys Will’s delight not only in “the other thing,” but also in airplanes and the world of flight—an engaging subculture that he ably brings to life for the reader. Will is heroic and daring, as one would expect, but he’s also funny, compassionate, and affectionate. While embracing a troubled woman, for example, he reflects on his own feelings: “It wasn’t attraction, but it was love….The kind that hides beneath the skin of humanity and peeks out when tragedy reminds us that everyone around us reflects the face we see in the mirror.”
A gripping, timely, and twisty thriller.
Pub Date: May 4, 2020
Page count: 414pp
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: June 4, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020
When Russian oligarchs try to meddle in American politics, a pilot who can fly invisibly tries to thwart them in this fifth installment of a series.
It’s been almost a year since the small-plane crash that pilot Will Stewart barely survived. It should have killed him—but instead, the accident has left Will with the gift of invisible floating, a phenomenon he calls “the other thing.” Over time, he’s learned more about his gift and how to control his flight with mechanical devices, although he’s still working on propelling himself through thought alone. He’s used the other thing to help his wife, police detective Andrea “Andy” Stewart, solve cases. He’s rescued innocents, intimidated criminal bigshots into better behavior, and—through a still-mysterious process—cured some dying children. Will finally has medical clearance to return to work as a charter pilot for the Essex County Air Service in Wisconsin, but a quiet life isn’t in the cards. Special Agent Lee Donaldson turns up wanting Andy’s help with Josiah James, a racist talk radio host and conspiracy theorist. Since Will last saw Donaldson providing private security for a billionaire criminal, he’s not sure whether the agent can be trusted. But James’ hatemongering played a role in a local tragedy, giving the Stewarts motivation to look into him. Their investigation takes a turn when James is assassinated at a rally by an old man, leading Will and Andy into a complicated maze of conspiracy, the dark net, Cold War spycraft, and Russian interference in United States politics, all while attempting to protect the secret of the other thing. Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Seventh Star, 2019, etc.), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, continues his winning streak in this series, offering another page-turner. By having Will’s knowledge of and control over his powers continue to expand while the questions over how he should best deploy his abilities grow, Seaborne keeps the concept fresh and readers guessing. Information about what actually happened during the crash (which Will can’t remember) has been doled out by the quarter-teaspoonful, which is enticing—and sometimes frustrating. But the thriller nicely thinks through matters like Will’s being the perfect spy: “I don’t speak Russian. Or Arabic. Or any other language. I can’t read the Russian signs that say, ‘This Way To Secret World Takeover Laboratory.’ People don’t sit around chatting about their evil plans.” Meanwhile, Will’s enemies are becoming aware of him and perhaps developing techniques to detect him, which makes the question of how he can protect himself while doing the most good a thorny one. The conspiracy is highly dramatic yet not implausible given today’s political events, and the action sequences are excitingly cinematic. It does seem past time for Will to make some kind of plan instead of reacting to events, giving readers much to anticipate in the next volume.
Another compelling and hugely fun adventure that delivers a thrill ride.
Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2019
Page count: 396pp
Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019
In this fourth thriller in a series, a pilot with the gift of invisible flight investigates the links between a suspicious death, a dangerous fugitive, and a powerful lobbyist.
A lot has happened in the six months since 33-year-old Will Stewart, a charter pilot for Wisconsin’s Essex County Air Services, miraculously survived an unexplained accident that crashed his small plane. Even more miraculously, the mishap mysteriously left Will with the ability to turn invisible and fly. Currently grounded while waiting for medical clearance, he’s been perfecting his self-powered flight and developing gadgets to help with aim and propulsion. He’s also used his abilities to make some amazing rescues and has helped his wife, Essex County police detective Andrea “Andy” Stewart, solve several crimes. Three weeks ago, someone tried to kill her sister Lydia, believing that she was Andy. The suspect is Mannis Rahn, who’s connected with the previous book’s case, which involved a high-society robbery and lobbyists for private prisons. Now it’s Christmas, and Lydia’s lobbyist husband, Davis Bates, whom she’s divorcing, has been found dead. It could be suicide—but more likely, it’s murder. Andy and Will investigate in Washington, D.C., and follow up leads connected to Davis’ lobbying firm, Rahn, and a mysterious redheaded woman who may have a crucial piece of evidence. Will faces several tests of character that challenge him to use his abilities for good, including a situation involving a possible school shooter and another involving an immensely powerful player in American politics. As in this series’ three previous books, Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Second Ghost, 2018, etc.), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, proves that he’s a natural-born storyteller, serving up an exciting, well-written thriller. He makes even minor moments in the story memorable with his sharp, evocative prose, as when he describes a parking lot in which “Evenly-spaced lamps all around us cast down cones of lighted mist—creating a magical forest of transparent Christmas trees.” Every reader will be able to relate to the fantasy of being able to fly, and Seaborne keeps that idea fresh by allowing Will to find new and different ways to master his ability. Will’s smart, humane, and humorous narrative voice is appealing, as is his sincere appreciation for Andy—not just for her considerable beauty, but also for her dedication and intelligence. As before, Seaborne does a fine job of making side characters and locales believable. It’s deeply gratifying to see Will deliver righteous justice to some very bad people; a nice scene on top of a municipal water tower will have readers wishing that they could step into Will’s shoes. Readers of the series so far will enjoy seeing Will’s horizons grow as he considers the use of his powers, which seem to have effects beyond invisibility and flight. He also expresses reasonable fears that his powers could put him at risk from others who may want to use them for either humanitarian or selfish purposes.
An intensely satisfying thriller—another winner from Seaborne.
Pub Date: June 1, 2019
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: April 12, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019
A man with the powers of flight and invisibility uses them to help investigate a sex-trafficking ring in this third novel in a series.
Five months ago, Will Stewart, 33, a regional pilot for Essex County Air Services in Wisconsin, survived the crash of his small plane—an accident that remains unexplained. He’s still waiting for a medical evaluation to clear him to fly again and restore his pilot’s license; his neurologist, Dr. Doug Stephenson, is concerned about some imaging results, which show a tangled, wiry structure in Will’s brain. But what Stephenson doesn’t know—and what almost no one else knows—is that the accident left Will with a strange and wonderful gift that he calls “the other thing”: He can become invisible and float in the air. Over the past months, he’s been perfecting a set of hand-operated propulsion devices that give him more control over his ability, which he’s used in two previous adventures to help his 20-something wife, Andrea “Andy” Taylor, a police detective, solve crimes and rescue innocents. Now, one night in early December, Will and Andy are having a rare date night when they get an emergency page from teenage Lane Franklin. She’s in on the secret, as Will used the other thing to save her from abduction a few months before; now his abilities are desperately needed to prevent Lane’s distraught friend from shooting herself. The girl, Sarah, is being blackmailed by someone who has a nude photo of her, taken somehow without her knowledge. Will quickly solves the immediate threat, but the investigation into how the picture was taken points toward a larger, more serious criminal enterprise targeting female high school athletes. Will must push his abilities to their limits in order to bring down the bad guys. As in the previous two outings, Seaborne (Divisible Man: The Sixth Pawn, 2018), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, delivers a solid, well-written tale that taps into the near-universal dream of personal flight. Seaborne makes the other thing integral to the plot in a way that never feels gimmicky, and three novels in, the protagonist is still discovering new and intriguing aspects of his gift. Will’s narrative voice is engaging and crisp, clearly explaining technical matters while never losing sight of humane, emotional concerns. The environments he describes, from regional airlines to big-city police departments, feel absolutely real. Also, as before, the side characters are well-drawn, including Will’s fellow pilot, 22-year-old “Pidge” Page, who’s feisty, foulmouthed, and game for anything—the more dangerous, the better. The plot moves along briskly and has a satisfying conclusion, although the girl-in-trouble plotline is a bit similar to that in the first installment of the series. It also doesn’t follow up on the ending of the second book’s story, which suggested bigger plans for Will’s gift than reconnoitering and rescues. As the protagonist gains more control over the other thing, it would be nice to see him dream a little bigger.
Another intelligent and exciting superpowered thriller.
Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2018
Page count: 382pp
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018
In this debut thriller, a pilot survives a crash and discovers that he’s developed strange abilities, which come in handy when someone kidnaps his friend’s daughter.
Will Stewart, a 30-something pilot for Essex County Air Services, wakes in an Essex, Wisconsin, hospital with a broken pelvis, lucky to be alive after his twin-engine airplane accident. He remembers nothing—but what’s more unsettling is the fact that he’s floating 6 feet above his bed, his body invisible. When the moment passes, Will initially chalks it up to a morphine-induced hallucination. Later, he’s not so sure, but he’s hesitant about testing himself further. For one thing, he doesn’t want to give his 23-year-old police-sergeant wife, Andrea “Andy” Taylor, anything else to worry about. However, Will can’t resist using his new powers, especially after he’s home from the hospital. With practice, he discovers that he can control his invisible floating, and that anything he’s wearing becomes invisible, as well. For a man who loves flying planes, it’s a huge rush: “I felt joy in its purest form. First solo flight joy. First time popping up through the clouds joy. First love joy.” Will perfects his floating technique a bit slowly, but it’s enjoyable to watch his growing mastery. Then disaster hits when gangsters kidnap Lane Franklin, the 14-year-old daughter of the air service’s office manager, in Essex, where she and her mother live. A member of the gang later tells Andy that Lane was “selected by someone big, someone on top.” The cop joins the hunt to find her, and Will feels “the dawning of a brilliant, and possibly insane idea” involving his new abilities. If he can pull it off, he’ll save an innocent girl from a terrible fate. Seaborne, a flight instructor and charter pilot, vividly evokes the world of charter airlines and those who populate them, particularly with his well-drawn character sketches. For example, he ably evokes the owner of Essex County Air Services, Earl Jackson, who sold his lucrative business and now “prefers to spend his days sitting in a tiny office crammed with maintenance manuals and pondering fuel purchases.” The book offers lots of information on aviation and law enforcement, but it’s nicely counterbalanced with warm human relationships, such as the one between Will and Andy. The novel’s latter half shows how Will’s practice sessions pay off, offering several satisfying outcomes. However, this second part lacks the plausibility that Seaborne so carefully constructs in the first, and more closely resembles an extended action sequence in a superhero tale, although, in this case, Will is still learning to control his powers. The thugs are standard issue, and with few candidates to choose from, the main villain’s identity isn’t hard to guess. That said, Milwaukee is well-described, from its boarded-up inner-city houses to its luxe mansions on Lake Drive. Altogether, this book is a strong start to a series, which will continue in Divisible Man: The Sixth Pawn.
Well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and an intriguing hero.
Pub Date: June 6, 2018
Page count: 319pp
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: May 26, 2018
In this novel, second in a series, a pilot who can float invisibly helps his police-sergeant wife investigate a violent wedding robbery.
Married couple Will Stewart and Andrea “Andy” Taylor aren’t movers and shakers. He’s a regional pilot for Essex County Air Services in Wisconsin, on temporary suspension until the accident that injured him and wrecked his plane is fully investigated. She’s a police sergeant in Essex County, Wisconsin. Nevertheless, they’re attending a society wedding filled with billionaires because Andy belongs to a book club with the bride, kindergarten teacher (and Sen. Bob Stone’s daughter) Sandra, who’s marrying Todd Jameson, a political up-and-comer close to the governor. But the fancy wedding ends in tragedy when masked gunmen burst in, stealing cash gifts and terrorizing the crowd with gunshots—one fatally wounds the bride’s father. Since his accident, for still-unexplained reasons, Will can become invisible and float like an astronaut in space, but he lacks propulsion and is limited by the need for a tether, though he’s been trying to perfect a more reliable propulsion method for “the other thing,” as he dubs his ability. Doing his best, Will uses the other thing to get closer to the bad guys before their escape, and he learns a few details. The one in charge, for example, has a neo-Nazi tattoo on his hand. This clue helps lead Andy to a rural hideout for white supremacists, but signs point to a larger, more sinister political conspiracy. With Sandra now in danger, Andy, Will, and fellow pilot Cassidy Evelyn “Pidge” Page, 22, mount a daring rescue that will test Pidge’s aviation skills to the utmost. But the real behind-the-scenes player remains untouchable thanks to wealth and power—unless Will can bring off a bold and cunning plan. Seaborne (Divisible Man, 2018), a former flight instructor and charter pilot, once again gives readers a crisply written thriller. Even minor observations are sharp: A midcentury motel, for example, looks “like a row of shoe boxes, glued together side by side.” Self-powered flight is a potent fantasy, and Seaborne explores its joys and difficulties engagingly. Will’s narrative voice is amusing, intelligent, and humane; he draws readers in with his wit, appreciation for his wife, and his flight-drunk joy. The dialogue throughout is snappy and does a fine job of revealing character, as, for example, when Earl Jackson, Will’s crusty but heart-of-gold boss, tells Sandra “Your dad and I never fight. I enlighten. He chooses not to be enlightened.” Action, too, illuminates character; for example, a dangerous flying maneuver shows Pidge’s badass, death-defying skill and bravery. Seaborne chooses his villains well, with timely links to torn-from-the-headlines issues like for-profit prisons. The book’s several action set pieces are well-orchestrated and exciting, with big emotional payoffs. The ending is surprising and offers deep satisfaction while also suggesting a new, intriguing direction for Will to use his abilities. Readers will be impatient for the novel’s planned sequel.
Even more entertaining than its predecessor—a great read.
Pub Date: June 6, 2018
Page count: 326pp
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: July 3, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018
A pilot endowed with self-powered, invisible flight takes on a ruthless conspiracy in this seventh installment of a thriller series.
In his previous outings, 34-year-old pilot Will Stewart has helped thwart several serious crimes by using the special ability he calls “the other thing,” which allows him to vanish and float in the air. He must employ hand-held, battery-operated props, which he keeps tinkering with, to control his direction and velocity. Called in to pick up a passenger for a charter pilot job, Will learns that his client is famed actress Lonnie Penn, who wants to be taken to an isolated South Dakota motel. An anonymous caller has demanded half a million dollars in exchange for the Mexican grandson she didn’t know she had or he’ll be deported. But at the handover, Lonnie is attacked, and there’s no child to be found. Since Will’s wife, Andrea—called Andy—is a police detective, he asks her to investigate. Meanwhile, FBI Deputy Director Mitchell Lindsay invites Will and Andy to a meeting at his island vacation home. He’s in on Will’s secret and wants to discuss how the pilot might help the bureau. But before talks can get under way, Lindsay is assassinated on his way to a separate meeting with Aaron McCauley, a high-powered lawyer whose Washington, D.C., firm represents sketchy clients. One is a group of Russian investors tied to organized crime. They’ve bought out a Mexican cartel, supposedly to shift it to legitimate activities. Another client is “a cabal of ruthless military officers” in democratic Ghana, aiming for control of its gold resources. Will, Andy, and law enforcement allies work to unravel these tangled threads in the United States and across the border, hoping to unmask a conspiracy that aims at the heart of the American judicial branch.
Fans of the series may find that the premise is getting familiar. However fascinating, the details of how Will works with the abilities and limitations of his gift remain much the same from the previous novel. This volume also doesn’t provide any new developments in understanding the source of the other thing, nor does it further explore another facet of Will’s unusual powers: curing children of leukemia. That said, Seaborne is never less than a spellbinding storyteller, keeping his complicated but clearly explicated plot moving smoothly from one nail-biting scenario to another. As the tale goes along, seemingly disparate plotlines begin to satisfyingly connect in ways that will keep readers guessing until the explosive (in more ways than one) action-movie denouement. The author’s grasp of global politics gives depth to the book’s thriller elements, which are nicely balanced by thoughtful characterizations. Even minor characters come across in three dimensions, and Will himself is an endearing narrator. He’s lovestruck by his gorgeous, intelligent, and strong-willed wife; has his heart and social conscience in the right place; and is boyishly thrilled by the other thing.
A solid series entry that is, as usual, exciting, intricately plotted, and thoroughly entertaining.
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Trans World Data
Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021
DIVISIBLE MAN: THE THIRD LIE: Kirkus Star
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