Here’s another social issue I slipped into After. This snippet comes from chapter two, where Sgt Marie Wood ponders why Josie Ford may have decided to take some time out.
She turned her thoughts to Josie. Why would an apparently happily married mother of two teenage boys disappear first thing in the morning? Well, she was a teacher. The things they had to put up with would be enough to push anybody over the edge. Teachers didn’t get much respect these days and it was becoming fashionable to blame them for everything that was wrong with today’s young people. So much for parental responsibility. Now it was all some teacher’s fault for not disciplining little Johnny or not teaching him properly. Parents were even going into classrooms and threatening teachers when their little darling was called to account for his latest outburst of anti-social behaviour and it wasn’t just the boys mucking up in schools. Just last week she had attended the local high school when an angry parent had turned up and threatened to shoot the principal.
There are times when it feels like taking the law into your own hands is the only option you have for obtaining justice. Fortunately, most of us resist the temptation to act on that impulse and put our trust in the justice system. Sometimes, though, people take the other option.
The opening story in Twisted Justice explores what happens when Trent Mitchell takes that option and administers the justice the system refused to give him.
I’m sure very few people take that option lightly, and Trent is no different. He’s agonised over his decision for years but there are only so many sleepless nights and tormented dreams a man can endure.
Whistleblower: someone who informs on a person or organisation engaging in unlawful or immoral acts.
We hear about the more sensational whistleblowers, like Edward Snowden, who take their stories to the media. Most public service whistleblowing is nothing like that. It’s routine and done behind closed doors far away from the media spotlight.
Whistleblower starts with the routine reporting of a suspicion that something is not quite right in the Office of State Supply. However, the whistleblower makes a mistake that alerts those involved and puts him in harm’s way.
The story explores a simple premise: the whistleblower has his own secret that leads to his death after he lifts the lid on the secret dealings of the Office of State Supply.
But, as anyone who’s read the other books in this series will know, it won’t be that simple. You will find several stories wrapped together in this tale of murder and intrigue. Continue reading “Reading Whistleblower”
The initial thought behind the writing of Holy Death was imagining a victim of child sex abuse taking the law into his own hands and dealing out retribution, and wondering what would happen after that.
One complicating factor I decided to include was having two victims of the same perpetrator take action independently on the same night, using very different methodologies.
One takes direct action and murders the abuser priest. The other takes a more indirect approach and kills the abuser’s closest friend, another priest, hoping to inflict a sense of the loss he has suffered. Continue reading “Reading Holy Death”
The Holiday came from me wondering what would happen if an old man and a young boy took off for the weekend without telling anyone, in the hope that their action would bring the boy’s parents back together, and then everything goes wrong.
To help things go wrong, I gave the old man, Kieran Moore, a dark history that puts his great-grandson, Toby, in danger through being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kieran gets killed. Toby gets kidnapped because he’s a kid and Kieran’s killers can’t bring themselves to kill a ten-year-old boy. This storyline ultimately leads to Clare’s story, which we will come back to in a minute.
Yes, it has a crime and a police investigation with complicating factors, and it’s a murder mystery with all the twists and turns you might expect. But, the police investigation plays second fiddle to the main story, which is Paul’s story.
While Inspector West and his team work on solving the mystery of Josie Ford’s murder, you’re taken into the world of Paul Ford to explore the impact an unexpected death has on the family of the victim. Continue reading “Reading After”
The stories are more about people than crime. They are a way of exploring human behaviour.
Crime stories allow us to look at why people commit acts, like murder, and at the impact of those acts on others, especially the people tasked with bringing the perpetrators to justice. Continue reading “Crime novels”