Reader Buzz
on SWITCH

‘Wow! Loved it … desperately wanted more after racing through the first 130 pages. Fast, thrilling, gripping, scary…When can I read the rest?
Gavin Hilzbrich

This book is so cinematic . . . due to the punchy dialogue and the succession of crisp, sharp images which drive the narrative forward. I want to read more!
Sam Eades

This is absolutely brilliant! A very compelling read but I was upset when I got to the last page because I wanted more!
Jeanette Slinger

I can't stand crime novels that have a long preamble before getting to the action and this one certainly doesn't disappoint in that way. From page one it's straight in there, bish bash bosh and continues on in that vein, so you are frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Sandra Hawe

The material I read was mad, frantic, super quick and entertaining.
Martin Higgins

Gripping… Explosive… Page Turning…
And that’s only 140 pages in!!
Darren Elliot

This was great - I really wanted to read on. Very much made me think of Simon Kernick and Relentless actually - same kind of ordinary guy suddenly finding his life turned upside down when he just comes home from work... Decidedly scary and asks some very dark questions: just how far would you go to save your family?
Sue Cook

Creative liars help love rats with online alibis

Story & Illustration
By Grant McKenzie

With those first cool breezes that signify the return of autumn, the corporate rats’ thoughts turn to infidelity.

     After all, just as the leaves begin to turn colour, so the unfaithful know that in order to have a mid-life crisis affair that will ultimately erupt into very public, volcanic embarrassment in time for the office Christmas party, one must begin soon.

     Prior to setting up my own home office where it’s perfectly acceptable to have a fling with my secretary, accountant and partner (since my wife fills all those roles), I worked in several large daily newspaper offices where scandalous affairs fuelled the daily gossip bulletins.

     Like a large percentage of folks, I met my spouse at work since in those early groundbreaking days of the tabloid newspaper biz it seemed we were rarely ever away from the office. We just happened to do it the old-fashioned way by both being single at the time.

     Fall is also the most common time to begin an affair since recent statistics show that one in three couples have a blazing argument while on summer vacation. Needless to say that with the office demanding their staff put in longer and longer hours, some couples have rarely gone a whole fortnight cooped up in the same tiny RV, cabin or hotel with only each other to talk to.

     Newsweek magazine is also reporting that due to the advent of cyber-cheating on the Internet, an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of wives are now unfaithful, compared to the 50 per cent of husbands.

     Now if the morality doesn’t bother you, I have to imagine that one of the most difficult parts of having an affair is coming up with enough good excuses so your spouse doesn’t become suspicious. After all, how many times can you blame your lateness on the boss calling yet another board meeting?

     To cash in on the skyrocketing divorce rate, a German company has started an Internet service that offers alibis for love rats who want a fling on the side.

     The Perfect Alibi agency has been such a success in providing straying Germans with plausible excuses for a weekend away that it is already planning to expand.

     Perfect Alibi head Jens Schlingensief told Ananova news recently that he gets around 350 customers a month coming to him for the perfect excuse to give their wives, husbands or partners.

     The lies can cost as little as $12 Cdn for a reassuring cellphone text message to be sent to a distrustful spouse, or as much as $65 and up for an invitation to a weekend seminar.

     Schlingensief says his best-selling service is the written invitation.

     “First we send an invitation for a business meeting and include with it a description of the seminar and the costs,” he says. “While the partner believes their loved one has gone to Hamburg for the weekend for example, our customer is free to take their lover wherever they like.”

     Perfect Alibi employees then sit by a telephone all weekend fielding calls from partners by pretending to be the hotel receptionist and then secretly transferring the calls to the customer’s mobile.

     Perfect Alibi also provides background sounds for telephone calls at $30 a time, ranging from the popular “conference crowd atmosphere” and “listening to conference speaker” through to “business seminar”.

     Schlingensief tells Ananova he doesn’t know his clients personally and the majority uses his services over the internet. But he says he does ask for enough information to make sure his alibis are “watertight”.

     “I have to know enough about the client to make sure his or her alibi fits. There's no point sending a fork-lift truck driver to a doctor's conference.” Hmm, he’s obviously never met my doctor.

     The Catholic Church in Germany has condemned his business as "immoral" (Isn’t that unexpected?) but Schlingensief, a former car mechanic, is unrepentant.

     “Most affairs don't last long in any case,” he says. “This way, the partner is less likely to find out and so is spared the hurt.”

     He also adds that almost as many women as men use the company.

     After launching Perfect Alibi from his one-bedroom flat a year ago, Schlingensief now has 170 full- and part-time employees, mainly working for German clients. He provides about 500 alibis a week in Germany and 350 a month in Austria .

     Since any good idea is worth copying, competing businesses are popping up all over the globe to offer similar services. Two British companies have been extremely popular since the moment their Web sites launched on the Internet. In the Alibi Agency’s first year of business, the company received over 10,000 customer inquiries, and Ace Alibi has attracted more than 1,200 members in less than seven months.

     One Canadian website is also popular with the cheating crowd, receiving around 35,000 hits per day. Philanderers.com offers free how-to guides and handy advice (toothpaste is great for removing lipstick marks) from one philanderer to another.

     Would-be cheaters, however, are issued the following warning: “Don't bookmark this webpage. The contents can bury you!”

     With all this cheating going on, I think now may be the time to dust off my Mickey Spillanes and launch my own private investigations firm. Maybe I’ll call it: Oops, he did it again.

Short Stories

An author Q&A,
plus my short Out of Order
appeared in Spinetingler's Summer 08 issue.

My short White Volcano appeared in
Out Of The Gutter 2

My short Ragamuffin Girl appeared in Spinetingler's Summer 07 issue.

My short She Remembers The Future appeared in The Late Late Show's Summer 03 issue.