The Arranger: A Futuristic Thriller

Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy

By L.J. Sellers

Publisher : Spellbinder Press

ABOUT L.J. Sellers

L.J. Sellers
I’m an award-winning journalist and the author of the Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, and Dying for Justice. My novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene and Crimespree magazines, and all five ar More...



The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life.

The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?

Where do you get your ideas? That’s what readers often want to know, but for this unusual story, it’s more true than ever. Typically, my plots spring from social issues I feel passionately about or from intriguing criminal concepts, but The Arranger started with the opening scene. One day as I watched paramedics carry a patient from a home, I thought: What if those paramedics witnessed a crime? Or heard a deathbed confession that made them a target to be killed? I visualized such a scenario as an opening scene for a crime fiction novel. I became so intrigued by the idea, I decided to see if I could develop a plot. At the time, I was considering writing a futuristic thriller, one of my favorite genres to read, and I realized Detective Evans from my Jackson series had a background as a paramedic. Those things came together to give me a time frame, a character, and an opening scene. As for how the rest of the plot developed, it was a complex combination of ideas that eventually melded. The underlying themes in my stories are almost always rooted in my fears. Because I try to be optimistic—and fearless—in my personal life, my fiction gives me a way to process fears that I otherwise try to suppress. One of my greatest concerns now is what will happen if high unemployment continues and the economy stagnates. In such a scenario, ten or fifteen years from now, I envisioned that jobs would become a premium, valuable commodities with the inherent capacity for corruption. Once I had that idea, my second character, who’s both a protagonist and antagonist, quickly developed. At first, I envisioned Paul as a sociopath, but as I began to write his story, I empathized with him and he morphed. I began to see him as someone who felt powerless and invisible, yet wanted desperately to be seen and loved. Paul is a decent man who is presented with an opportunity to change his life. And he does. But as a result of an interesting set of circumstances, he goes too far in his transformation. The real protagonist, ex-detective Lara Evans, already had a background established in my fifth Jackson book, Dying for Justice. She is intensively physical with impulsive tendencies. From that, the idea of a national endurance competition with jobs as the prize emerged as the ideal scenario for Lara. Her impulsiveness also gave me an idea for what had happened to end her law enforcement career and give her the driving motivation to win the Gauntlet. Now all I had to do was bring the diverse ideas together in a way that worked with my opening scene. It required a few brainstorming sessions, but then the story seemed fall into place. Still, it was the most difficult novel I’ve written yet. In some ways, The Arranger is less complex than my mysteries, but the characters were more challenging, and the Gauntlet scenes were out of my league. Yet writing them was the most fun I’ve ever had, and early readers say those scenes left them breathless. Early readers have asked if The Arranger is the start of a new series, hoping that it would be. I honestly don’t know. My plan is to write two more Detective Jackson novels, then see what comes up for me next. If “future Lara” proves to be popular, she could make a comeback.

“L. J. Sellers is again in top storytelling form… with twists and turns you won’t see coming.”—

“L.J. Sellers weaves an intricate web of action, intrigue, and romance in this near-future thriller.”—Scott Nicholson, bestselling author of Liquid Fear

“Another great read from one of my favorite authors.” —Jack Quick, reviewing for

“Sometimes I hate picking up a new book—when I discover that I have to fight with myself to put the book down, the times when I find I can’t go back to work or can’t go to sleep because the book has grabbed me and simply won’t let me go. Such is the case with The Arranger, the new thriller from L.J. Sellers.

I reviewed Sellers’ writing earlier, calling her a 5-star indie author. The Arranger simply cements her 5-star status. The Arranger stars Lara Evans, a homicide detective in the “Detective Jackson” series, now retired and working as a freelance paramedic.

The Arranger is different in every way from the Detective Jackson series, but it is as satisfying as any book in the series. The characters are well-formed and interesting. The story is compelling and believable. The writing is gripping and refused to let me go. The ending had a twist, one that I never expected. Let me clarify, however, that this is a thriller and not a mystery. The difference is that in a mystery the author tries to keep you guessing who is the bad person; in the thriller, it doesn’t matter if you know or if you figure it out early in the book. What counts in a thriller are the relationships and the causes and effects.

In The Arranger, Sellers has written a top-notch thriller. If you like thrillers, The Arranger is a 5-star-sure-to-please-can’t-put-down read.”—Richard Adin of The American Editor blog: