Hi everyone, this is author Philip Wyeth, here to announce the release of my seventh novel, which is called The Incomplete Artist. It’s the second book in the Ashley Westgard series of detective stories, although it was written as a standalone, so you don’t have to have read the previous book to jump right in.
The setting is unique, so I’m going to provide some background information to get you familiar with Ash and her world. Writing-wise, it’s a mix of murder mystery, science fiction, satire, fairy tale, and character study. I’m exploring big ideas, but always keep things grounded in the tactile urgency of a criminal investigation.
The series takes place in 2045, and is set in the City of Jacksonville, Florida. The back story is that twenty years ago, in 2025, a convergence of technological breakthroughs and political changes began a process of rapidly transforming the world—basically, giving everybody what they say they want, and then exploring just how malleable human nature actually is.
Automation plus drug decriminalization have merged to jump-start a green industrial revolution where hemp-fueled, self-maintaining machines work to build out, clean up, and beautify the world. At the same time, the development of artificial wombs and the pinnacle of women’s empowerment created a female ruling class that oversees this project.
People often say that “the future is female,” so I made that a feature of this world to see how it might actually play out. Would matriarchal rule be nothing but wonderful accomplishments, or are the temptations of power an equal-opportunity corrupting force? Here, after two ambitious decades, the first cracks are starting to show… just as a younger and more spoiled generation inherits the reins from the original visionaries.
Our eyes and ears into this perilous moment in time belong to the beautiful Detective Ashley Westgard, who is both a beneficiary and victim of her decadent age. While pursuing the murderers who defy and belie this would-be Utopia, she as a female cop often finds herself spared from the consequences of her own reckless off-hours behavior.
Series debut Hot Ash and the Oasis Defect was a wild neon-, sex-, and drug-fueled romp. It also weaves some of the back story into the murder plot so as to efficiently convey the overall scope of this 2045 reality. It’s a crazy book full of laughs, high drama, and some steamy moments.
I think that this series has real potential to grow into something culturally relevant, and maybe one day be something people would want to see on TV. It’s a fully realized future world that projects out many of the biggest issues facing us today.
Now, for this second book I made the conscious decision to express a distinctly different sensibility, while also exploring new themes. You may find that The Incomplete Artist reads more like Agatha Christie than Philip K. Dick. I zoomed the lens in on one quirky sub-culture of this world where automation is encroaching on so many aspects of people’s lives and professions.
The plot centers around a self-described anachronistic art colony called Movement 24. They reject being rendered obsolete by “titanium Picassos,” which can replicate any painting style of the great masters. They defend the value of human creativity, and assert our unique process of discretion, doubt, and calling on distant memories while tapping into the universe’s primordial energy as we create. In some ways, this book is very much a treatise on the philosophy of art as well as a mystery.
Ash herself is attending a live auction of M-24’s works while out on a first date with Thomas Templeton, a preppy and debonair art collector whom she met at a police charity gala one week prior. All seems to be going well on this opposites-attract night… until a dead body is discovered inside the gallery!
Now Ash must set down her wine glass, put her Cinderella dreams on hold, and instead flash her badge while taking control of the crime scene. In the process of tracking down a killer, she must also face some of her own worst faults. She is both complex and enigmatic, and I look forward to developing her character in future books.
Right now The Incomplete Artist is available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback, and Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for free. I’ll be adding the paperback to other stores in the coming weeks as well, including Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The first book is already available wide everywhere, including as an audiobook brought to life by the talented and versatile narrator Cheryl May.
You can find all the retail links and learn more on my author website, PhilipWyeth.com (and that’s with one L). The series itself also has a dedicated website called OasisDefect.com. I welcome your feedback once you’ve read the books—and I’ve got half a dozen other storylines in the works, so stay tuned for more immersive, imaginative, and intense Ashley Westgard adventures!
Video was originally uploaded on March 21, 2021.