Woooo hoooooooo!!!!! I am thrilled to be the last stop on the fabulous blog tour for R.C. Bridgestock’s Poetic Justice! And not only am I reviewing the prequel to the DI Dylan series but I’ve got a quick interview for your reading pleasure!
So without further ado, a massive thank you to Emily Glenister of Dome Press for inviting me on the blog tour and for my copy of Poetic Justice.
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.
A Chat with R.C. Bridgestock
Describe Poetic Justice in one sentence
Personal tragedy hits Detective Inspector Jack Dylan, his downward spiral only stopped when a stranger dealing with their own issues, becomes his friend.
Poetic Justice is a Prequel to the Dylan series – had you always planned to write a prequel?
The simply answer to this question is: no.
However, eight books into the series our readers often spoke to us about their curiosity with Dylan’s previous life, and although they knew a little about Jen’s background we knew there was so much more. So, with a prompt from our agent David Headley we embarked on writing the backstory that we had utilised in the writing of the series. Dylan, Jen and some of the characters have been part of our family for ten years and we know them well. This book has been an enormous pleasure to write.
The prequel is a little different from the usual as the focus is on the characters, although a Dylan book wouldn’t be the same without his work, and crime.
The storyline leads the reader straight into the first Dylan book, Deadly Focus and the subsequent series.
How much do you base the cases on real life events either past or present?
Quite a lot, we enjoy turning ‘fact to fiction’ although we would never specifically use the details of an actual case. In our eyes it is the victims who serve the life sentence, not the perpetrator and we would not want to cause them any more suffering by regurgitating the crime.
We bring the emotional side of events to the narrative through our personal experiences. Hoping that the reader gets a sense of being present with the team throughout the story. The majority of real life events we cover are ones that Bob has dealt with in his detective-led, police career of thirty years. Using original scenes and characters as the base of the storyline. We then strip it back and thereafter change all the circumstances and the characters, making the completed work totally fictional.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
We are workaholics, but we are also fortunate to have a wonderful family including four children and six grandchildren who keep us on our toes! We also have a springer spaniel who loves walking as much as we do. We enjoy eating out, catching up with friends over a glass of wine. But sometimes it’s also fun to take a break and although we aren’t great travellers we like going away for a few days’ R & R in a nice hotel.
You’re a writing couple – how does writing a book together work?
Bob pens the whole of the first draft as a police incident would enfold – that can be 40K or 80K depending on the story line. The more police procedural required, the more words he writes. However, he writes that with the mask of the detective firmly in place, so if we were to submit the first draft it would read much like a crime file – not a story. The inspiration for him is simply a trigger or a memory brought about by reading or seeing something… then he’s off. For him it’s definitely all about correct procedure, and detail as it is in a real enquiry.
This draft a gift to me… I have a skeleton on which to build a story around and include the scenes and characters with the creative hand. I usually add a second layer, the victims life and in the Dylan series a home life for the detective. For this I have to ‘unmask’ the detective and ask Bob to let me into a world that as a police officer he didn’t show others – the human side of how a loving, kind, sensitive family man feels about dealing with man’s inhumanity to man, and how he copes.
Whilst I am dealing with this rewrite Bob will be starting on the next book.
When I finish Bob reads my draft, and then we both sit together and go through the script word for word to ensure anything present moves the story forward and is relevant.
When we are both satisfied that the story is as good as it can be, we submit it to our agent David Headley at DHH Literary Agency – and wait with bated breath for his response. One of the hardest things for us, and many of the writers we know is to hand a manuscript for someone else to read.
And just for fun – if you were on Mastermind, what would your specialist subject be and why?
This is a difficult one as we both would probably rather ask the questions… Although, Bob would be great on the subject of ‘Criminal Law and Procedure’, as he taught the subject for four years at the world renowned West Yorkshire Police training school and he is word perfect at giving the definition of most crimes and he regularly does! Saying that, even with his thirty years working with the police as a career detective, the magnificent advances in forensic capabilities and the digital age can change things overnight so like anyone else, we have to keep abreast of new legislation and procedures.
I think mine would have to be Peppa Pig or Room on the Broom! We’ve got small grandchildren! 😉
Massive thank you to the Bridgestocks for taking the time to answer my wee interview! Brilliant answers!
What Did I Think?
I’ve got to admit, I’ve been meaning to introduce myself to DI Jack Dylan for some time after hearing some fantastic things about this police procedural series.
This book may be a prequel to the series however, I personally think it is an excellent opener introducing Dylan and the team. I really liked Dylan as a character, he’s just as I’d expect a detective inspector to be like. He’s got the back of his team and he’s got their respect. But he’s by no means got a perfect life. He causes friction at work, he’s got problems at home, he’s a man under pressure!
I thought the horror of being the newbie in the office for Jen was portrayed perfectly. We’ve all been there, facing the opinions of others, dealing with the attention from the office perv, working out who is an ally and who will stab you in the back for their own gains. I really felt for Jen but I’ve got a feeling she’s going to be an invaluable member of the team!
I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent police procedural and I will be working my way through this series, getting to know the team better, following their investigations and intruding into their personal lives. If you’ve not met Jack Dylan, this is the best place to do so!
Who Is 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.
You can keep up with Carol and Bob through their social media accounts: