Harvey Smith's new book Big Jack is Dead is now available on Amazon.com, and it draws quite a bit of inspiration from his own life. As Eurogamer points out, Smith didn't have the best of childhoods; in a rather poignant interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun awhile ago, he revealed some of the many trials he's had in his life – including his mother's overdose and his father's suicide.
The novel focuses on a young boy growing up in the Gulf Cost in the early 1970's and later in Silicon Valley in the 1990's when the tech bubble popped. Amazon offers the following description of the book, but I encourage you to read the first few pages too:
"Jack Hickman is an antisocial software exec who designs team-building applications in the late 1990s. Controlled and calculating, his world begins to splinter when he learns – in the middle of a corporate meeting – that his father has committed suicide,"
"Returning home to the Gulf Coast, Jack struggles with a host of unresolved feelings as he buries the man he hated most. Interwoven throughout the novel, chapters set in the 1970s depict Jack as a boy, chronicling his relationships with a storm-tossed mother and a menacing father, living in the shadows of the petrochemical plants scattered along the Gulf Coast. "
The novel highlights the differences between life in California at the end of the dotcom era and life in blue-collar Texas during the 1970s, contrasting Jack as a man and as a child, and showing how the people who bring us into the world shape us forever."
You can find the book on Amazon as a paperback for $12.99 or for Kindle for $9.99.
In case you don't know, Harvey Smith has worked on some pretty great games including Deus Ex, System Shock, and most recently Dishonored.