Amanda McCarter grew up reading the works of Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Frank Herbert and dozens of other fantasy and science fiction writers. As time went on, it occurred to her to write her own fantastic stories of faraway places and distant lands.

Encouraged by her mother and her family to write, a one time hobby became an obsession and a passion. An obsession she hopes to one day make full time.

Currently, Amanda lives in Tulsa, OK. When not dreaming of faraway places and distant lands, she spends her time knitting, reading, and playing video games.

Frostbite and Fire by Amanda McCarter

On the streets of 22nd century London, gang war looms when the body of a member of a prominent crime family goes missing.

Evin thought it would be another routine autopsy. Scan the body, run the DNA, and hope to hell the burned remains on her table didn't belong to someone important. Then it went missing and her life turned upside down.

The mystery brings her to the handsome Detective Inspector Ortega, and Juniper, a young woman with cybernetic augments no one her age has any business running. Conspiracies and lies put them all in more danger than any could have imagined. Caught between a psychotic mobster and an assassin from an ancient secret order, Evin must choose.

Does she stay loyal to her job and bring the gangs to justice or follow the mystery to its conclusion? Even if it means a vicious killer goes free?



  • "Fantastic characters, fantastic world building, great story. I wanted to immediately start on the next book as soon as I finished it. So now I'm aggressively waiting for book 2."

    – Reader review



The body came in from a warehouse fire in Lambeth late that morning, accompanied by evidence bags from the ruins and a 3-D holographic scan of the crime scene. It lay inside a body bag on one of two stainless steel tables in Dr. Evelyn Stirling's forensic lab. A second body she had just finished occupied the other.

Evin took the second body, detaching its suspensor gurney from the catch on the top of the table, and pushed it into one of the nine refrigeration units in the wall that separated her lab from her office. The office, an alcove just around the far-right side of the refrigeration wall, was little more than a room for a desk. It was where she handled notes, emails, and private matters. Most of her work was done in her lab.

She stripped her gloves to prep for the next exam. Talcum powder residue from the latex mottled her brown skin. She washed at the sink between the cooler and the exam tables, using the blower to dry her hands.

A wayward strand of her dark, curly hair had popped free. She tucked it back under her cap before donning a fresh pair of gloves and looked around the lab.

Directly across from her office was a heavy steel door leading to a safe room in case the police station above her was ever attacked. She'd never had need to use so it doubled as storage for cleaning supplies and archaic autopsy tools.

She was already backed up from a shooting, some bloke who died in his car, and a little girl found in a ditch outside the Royal Botanical Gardens, chucked over to Scotland Yard by some pencil pushers at Richmond upon Thames. They said it was high priority and a potential scandal. She was the best, they said, so if she could put a rush on it. Like she didn't have enough work already.

The warehouse body got pushed up to the top of the docket, though, knocking Richmond's request back down the list. From the notes, she saw the burn victim was most likely a low-level mobster and the police suspected foul play, which could lead to more violence, or an all-out gang war.

Judging by the state of what little evidence she had – a couple of burned rags, some scraped residue from the basement floor, and a bucket of ashes – she didn't expect to find much on the body. So even with their fears written in black and white, she didn't see much point in rushing it.

She thought back to the little girl and how desperate her parents must be to find her and how heart-broken they would be once they knew the truth. At least, that's what Evin hoped their reaction would be. She'd seen a lot of horrible things in her time as a medical examiner, but she still hoped for the best.

However, she was ordered to make this exam a priority, so that's what she would do.

Evin opened the body bag and reeled. Mentally, she had prepared herself for what she would find, but there was no coping with the initial smell of burned human flesh. It was the odor of rotting barbeque.

She took a tub of menthol vapor from her kit and smeared it under her nose using a cotton swab. In retrospect, she should have started with that, but she was deep into her work groove, and it had slipped her mind. Now with a shield between her and the fetid stench of badly grilled meat, Evin unzipped the rest of the body.

"Dolli, start recording," she said.

Her AI assistant, a fully automated spherical drone made from recycled, white plastic, using a similar suspensor technology as the exam tables, and measuring a half meter across, beeped to life and whirred into the air beside her.

"Standard autopsy, Dr. Stirling?" Dolli asked. Her voice was cool and professional. Evin wanted to feel like she was working with a colleague, not using a tool.

"That'll be fine, Dolli."


Evin pressed a button on the gurney and received measurements of bone lengths, facial structure, and weight. The table brought up averages based on gender and race.

"Subject has third-degree burns over ninety percent of the body. Based on initial measurements of the skeleton, I would sex the subject as male, most likely Caucasian. Gender unknown. For the sake of simplicity, subject will be referred to as male unless evidence is found to the contrary. Age, indeterminate due to severity of the burns. I will now take a sample from the subject for analysis."

Blackened lips curled back over charred teeth. She scraped some tissue and residue from the deceased's skin and deposited it into Dolli's chem scanner. She checked each hand and under what was left of the fingernails. The hands were just fragments of flesh really, both sticky and flaking. A glint of something metallic embedded in the remnants caught her eye. She snatched up a pair of tweezers.

"Let the record show I have found trace evidence under the nail of the left middle finger. It appears to be some sort of metal. Further analysis is required."

Dolli popped out a second tray and Evin dropped the evidence there with an audible tink.

The scanner chimed. "Analysis of chemical compound from skin scraping complete. Trace remains of a petroleum-based accelerant found."

"Read out?" said Evin.

Dolli's screen went blank as the little AI bot displayed molecular and chemical compounds on an embedded screen.

"High-octane petrol," Evin said. "Not easy to get. Not cheap either."

Most petrol came from reclaimed plastics and illegal drilling. The processing alone drove the cost up beyond what most people were willing to pay. Evin doubted much was needed to burn a person alive, but it was still a high-quality fuel.

"Would you like me to compare foreign elements for origin?"

"You're welcome to try, but I'm not sure how much is left," said Evin. "I'm amazed you found anything off what we have. Have you identified the metal?"

"Negative, ma'am. I am still searching."

"Very well then," said Evin. "I'm starting the holo-scan."

The holo-ray stood three meters high with an adjustable arm that could raise or lower as needed and articulate three hundred and sixty degrees on a horizontal axis. It was probably more than she needed to scan her subjects here in the lab, but she liked to have the option.

Evin wheeled it to the table to examine the organs and let out a sigh. They'd be cooked, no real evidence left, but she was meticulous if nothing else. She would record her data, submit her findings to the lead investigator and get on to her next case.

The ray came into focus and began building a detailed copy of the body.

While the scanner was doing its work, Evin inserted the holo image of the crime scene into Dolli's emitter. Light shimmered in the air as the scene unfolded around her.

A large warehouse appeared. It was mostly empty, save some palettes and discarded boxes. The metal pillars nearby were rusted and there was a wet sheen on the walls farthest away from the fire.

It was obvious where this man burned. There was a large, blackened circle toward the middle of the warehouse. Several candles stood around the circle and there were signs of other religious iconography.

Evin zoomed in and knelt in the charcoal of the burn ring. She could see where the body lay as it burned.

"I don't suppose there are any thermal echoes?" she asked no one in particular.

"I'm sorry, Dr. Stirling," said Dolli, "The fire seems to have overpowered any residual heat signatures."

"Meaning they didn't stick around to make sure he was dead," she said.

Just then, the ray buzzed to let her know the scan was done. Evin stood and turned off the holo of the warehouse. She could overlay the image of the body onto the crime scene later.

She flipped the switch to display the results.

The emitter began building the 3-D copy of the body. Once it was fully constructed, Evin turned the setting to begin sheering away holographic layers of tissue to expose the internal organs without disturbing the body.

She caught her breath when the image cleared.

"That can't be right," she said, zooming in.

She flicked the ray on and off again and brought the man's organs into focus.

"A problem, Dr. Stirling?" said Dolli.

"His heart is frozen solid."