I can’t believe it’s almost three years since husband and wife writing duo R.C. Bridgestock last featured on Linda’s Book Bag and I would like to thank the authors and The Dome Press for inviting me to be part of #TeamDylan and to take part in this blog tour for Poetic Justice.
You can find my review of another #TeamDylan book, When the Killing Starts, here.
Today I’m thrilled that, alongside my review of Poetic Justice I have an extract to share with you too.
Poetic Justice is the prequel to the Jack Dylan Series and was published by The Dome Press on 28th February. It is available for purchase here.
When Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing.
An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.
He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.
Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.
An Extract from Poetic Justice
‘And, when the car left the road? You think that was intentional too?’
Frank pulled a face. ‘I don’t know. After the car had hit the third post it didn’t recover as easily, it hit the crash barrier, then rocked from side to side before heading towards the opposite side of the road towards the ravine. I knew there was an almighty drop over the edge. I admit to closing my eyes. Only when I opened them did I see the brake lights come on. You wouldn’t bother braking if you intended to do it, would you?’ Frank spoke quickly, anticipating her question. ‘God, it gave me one hell of a shock to see it flip over and spin out of control down the ravine. There’s no way I could get down there with my bad hip, but I know this road well enough to know there’s a telephone box near the next lay-by, so I got to it as quick as I could, praying it hadn’t been vandalised.’
PC Clare gave him a quick nod of agreement. ‘And, rang three nines.’
‘I feel bad that I couldn’t do any more.’ He nodded down towards the hillside. ‘I hope they will be alright.’
Frank paled suddenly and his shaking became uncontrollable. It was clear to the seasoned police officer that the old man was in shock. Mentally noting what he had told her, she caught the attention of one of the medics and called them over.
‘Can you make sure he’s okay when you get the chance?’ she said in a whisper. She saw Frank’s eyes narrow, his deliberate intake of a deep breath. She reassured him that he had done the best that anyone could have done in the circumstances. The medic arrived with a blanket to wrap around his shoulders, but his eyes could not be drawn from the activity down the ravine.
‘It looks very overgrown and pretty inaccessible to me. Can you imagine if you’d attempted to get to them and injured yourself?’ PC Clare nodded slowly. ‘No, you did the right think, Mr Bland.’
He turned to her. ‘Frank, please,’ he said, running a bony hand through his white, wire-brush hair. Suddenly he yawned, and she offered him a seat in the police car. He declined.
A burst of frenzied voices told them that the rescue teams had reached the upturned vehicle. There was a rush of people at the road surface then quick, fleeting glimpses of equipment being lowered down to those rescuing it. The shouting, although controlled, held great urgency.
‘Is he alive?’ A strong, incisive voice asked.
A shrill reply came. ‘I have a pulse.’
The pause wasn’t long enough to prepare Frank for the disembodied whisper that followed this news. It was quieter and seemed slower to reach the onlookers, as if it had been suppressed along the way. ‘She’s not breathing…’
The Saab had a personalised number plate: JDYN 1. The vehicle was now a mangled, contorted heap of metal, and even though some paintwork still showed signs of the cosmic-blue colour in places, collectively it looked like it belonged in a scrapper’s yard. There was the gut-wrenching smell of blood; but the underlying smell of petrol was more of a worry to the rescuers.
(And I have to say that this piece is brilliantly representative of the whole of Poetic Justice!)
My Review of Poetic Justice
When an elderly man witnesses a car accident, this is just the start of a terrible chain of events.
Poetic Justice is a real tour de force. Fast paced, complex and multi-faceted there is something for every crime thriller or police procedural lover between its pages.
Although it isn’t over dominant, I loved the sense of place created by the authors so that Yorkshire becomes an integral part of the story. This effect is created with a lightness of touch with descriptions that are natural and which support the action perfectly. I think it’s obvious that the authors are used to working with television dramas as they fully understand the most effective way to engage the reader with a location, especially through sight and scent.
Also hugely successful is the way in which the multiple strands of the story and the complexities of Jack Dylan’s life illustrate the realities of police work in a large county. I felt there was a pleasing authenticity to the narrative because there is no let up in pace – much as I imagine working in this environment to be. Indeed, Poetic Justice races along at a breath taking speed, making for an exciting and engaging read.
As this is a prequel to other Jack Dylan stories, I found the creation of character, particularly of Jack Dylan, fascinating. He really does come across to the reader as a real man, as well as a dedicated police officer, so that I cared about what happened to him. Occasionally I found I was having to concentrate on the number of participants in Poetic Justice to remember their place in the story properly and again this felt like a genuine representation of what it must be like to have several investigations on the go at once. Having been a police lay visitor in the past, I felt each of the people I met between the pages of Poetic Justice I’d also seen in the custody suite of my city’s police stations because they were so authentic.
However, the real success of Poetic Justice for me is the way in which the entire gamut of life is held within its pages. Society’s concerns and issues of mental health, crime, corruption, different forms of abuse from sexual to drug and alcohol, relationships and identity all form part of the rich tapestry that underpins plot and character. This may be a fairly short novel but it is packed with action and issues that give plenty for the reader to think about. I really enjoyed it.
About R.C. Bridgestock
R.C. Bridgestock is the name that husband and wife co-authors Robert (Bob) and Carol Bridgestock write under. Between them they have nearly 50 years of police experience, offering an authentic edge to their stories. The writing duo created the character DI Jack Dylan, a down-to-earth detective, written with warmth and humour. The ninth book in the series will be published by The Dome Press in 2019, along with their backlist. A further crime series is presently being scripted by the pair, which has a strong Yorkshire female character – Charley Mann – at the helm.
Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. During his last three years, he took charge of 26 murders, 23 major incidents, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults. He was also a trained hostage negotiator with suicide interventions, kidnap, terrorism and extortion.
As a Detective Inspector he spent three years at the internationally acclaimed West Yorkshire Police Force Training School where he taught Detectives from all over the world in the whole spectrum of investigative skills and the law. On promotion to Detective Superintendent, Bob was seconded to a protracted enquiry investigating alleged police corruption in another force. He worked on the Yorkshire Ripper and Sarah Harper murder, and received praise from Crown Court Judges and Chief Constables alike for outstanding work at all ranks, including winning the much-coveted Dennis Hoban Trophy.
As a police civilian supervisor, Carol also received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work.
The couple are the storyline consultants / police procedural on BAFTA-winning BBC1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott and Bailey, and are presently working with Scott Free Production scriptwriters on two commissioned TV drama series.
Carol started and chaired the Wight Fair Writers’ Circle in 2008, along with Bob, where she created an annual charitable community writing competition to inspire others of all ages. This event has raised over £10,000 for Island charities.
The couple pride themselves on being up-to-date on past and present day UK police procedures, and as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents etc. They have also taken part in BBC Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I.
Together they can regularly be seen as speakers at a variety of events in the literary world and work with colleges in schools in providing writing seminars and workshops, and they also work with International TV / Film make-up artist Pamela Clare, to help inspire her students at the White Rose Colleges.
Eight annual R.C. Bridgestock trophies are annually awarded to students.
Carol and Bob are also patrons and ambassadors for several charities.
Find out more about Bob and Carol on their website, on Facebook and by following them on Twitter @RCBridgestock
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