The perfect gift for the grad student in your life, A Slow Cold Death tells of murder in big science

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The first work of adult fiction issued by independent Altadena publisher Bitingduck Press, Susy Gage's A Slow Cold Death gives a chilling insight into scientific competition that can lead to data theft, fraud, and murder. Although entirely fictional, it was inspired by several high-profile cases of academic violence, one of which shaped the author's career path.

Slow Cold

Slow Cold Death

A fictional look at scientific competition that leads to data theft, fraud, and murder

An emerging fiction author has put a new twist on the academic mystery. In the light-hearted, satirical but chilling cozy mystery, A Slow Cold Death, your jovial physics professor might just be trying to kill you.The author, Susy Gage (not her real name) is a science professor who hopes to remain anonymous until tenure or death, since the instances of scientific fraud portrayed in the book are loosely based upon real events.

A review on Science Niblets says, "Gage portrays the department and its members with such realism that I researched whether such murders happening in the novel actually happened in real life. (They didn’t)." The reviewer is correct--the story is fictional, but the culture of win-at-any-cost that pervades big science is all too real.

"I was an undergraduate when the shooting in the Iowa physics department took place," says Susy. "I lost a mentor there, and the incident has haunted me ever since. In a way the book was inspired by it, though the plot ended up taking a very different turn. This work is dedicated to all victims of academic violence, from harassment to sabotage to murder."

The book introduces ex-Wunderkind Lori Barrow, who has recently rejoined her old alma mater as a professor of physics. At 32 is expected to settle down, stop rollerblading to work, and solve her problems through the legal office instead of with secret cameras and illegal radio broadcasting. But old habits die hard, and when the department's only female graduate student is found frozen in a cold room, only Lori believes that it's murder. She is also convinced that the murder was not personal but political, a warning to her and her colleagues to stay away from the rocket lab. At stake is a six hundred million dollar grant that gives the winner control over all the university's South Pole physics.

Under her real name, Susy has published over one hundred physics articles and has traveled to both polar regions. All of the experiments in the novel are based upon papers that she and colleagues have published. She will be promoting the book with a nationwide radio tour on December 4 and December 12. The book is currently available in electronic format on Amazon, and will become available over the next few days on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Overdrive, as well as in print (distributor: Ingram).

Bitingduck Press specializes in fiction and non-fiction by and for scientists. The editors, all science PhDs, are always on the lookout for more stories portraying the culture of science and academia. Submissions guidelines can be found on the press's website.

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