Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday’s Snippets: First Pages: Resort to Murder

  I’m always intrigued by the way story ideas come to writers. It seems to be different for everyone. Novels are born from dreams, from snatches of overheard conversations, from newspaper articles, magazine articles, real life events – indeed, all sorts of different things.

The writerly mind – a twisted thing at best! – plays games with these topics. The What If? game, and soon a plot starts to appear, characters sneak in and hide among the neurons of the brain and begin to whisper…and voila! A Book is born!

That’s been my experience, anyway. Resort to Murder, published by The Wild Rose Press, came in pieces, dribs and drabs turning into a full flood as I played the What If? game. I was working in England at the time and read in the local evening newspaper, The Lancashire Evening Post, that a woman police officer had just been appointed to a Chief Constable’s position. That’s like being Top Dog in a county police force.

This officer was the first female to get that job, and in the article were several comments about the ‘glass ceiling’ and the difficulties a woman law enforcement officer can face in seeking promotion.
And out of that came Ellie Fitzpatrick, a wrongly disgraced officer who had been on the fast track to high rank after solving the case of The Sunshine Slasher, a vicious serial killer who attacked women in vacation resorts around the English coast.

Ellie had been hot on the trail of a criminal gang when she was accused of taking bribes and placed on suspension pending investigation. The criminals had done their work well, planting money in Ellie’s bank account and doing everything they could to discredit her.

Ellie was in love with another officer, a man who was her junior. But when she needed Liam Reilly the most, he was nowhere to be found. Unknown to her, Liam was on a secret assignment in Ireland and knew nothing of what was happening to Ellie until his return.
One day, walking on the beach near Whitby in Yorkshire, Ellie literally stumbles across a dead body…


Falsely disgraced police detective Ellie Fitzpatrick is prepared to face a vicious killer to redeem herself but is she also brave enough to make peace with the man she loves? When her meteoric career crashed and burned after she was accused of accepting bribes from thugs running a protection racket, Ellie is suspended from the job she loves and believes herself abandoned not only by police colleagues but by her lover, Detective Liam O'Reilly. She is called back to work when a biography of a serial killer she arrested suggests the man may be innocent. Reilly vows to protect Ellie from the gang who tried to frame her and the vicious killer who's stalking her. Can she trust him with her life?


A cry was stifled in her throat as the dead woman began to move. Her empty eyes opened. Her dead mouth widened in a terrible silent scream as the white fingers began to claw at the hem of Ellie's coat, pulling her down, down, into a cold embrace. She ran from the nightmare figure until she was caught by strong familiar arms…...
Ellie woke from the dream, her heart pounding in fear and yet with desire flooding hotly through her veins. Her dream rescuer had been Liam Reilly. Cursing demons she couldn't vanquish, she climbed out of bed and pulled on a soft silk robe. Her face was pale in the bathroom mirror, dark shadows under her eyes testament to the early hour. But she wouldn't sleep now, not when the faces of all the dead women would drift through her dreams. She wondered if other police officers ever got used to the sight of the murdered dead. She knew she wouldn’t.
She made a cup of rosehip and orange tea laced with honey, and slipped through the double patio doors onto her terrace. Below the cottage, the restless muttering of the sea, gathering its strength for another tidal assault on the shore, echoed her mood. Ellie leaned against the narrow wooden rail that separated her terrace from the cliff edge, and sucked in a deep breath of salt-tanged air, closing her eyes as she basked in the magnificent silence of the pre-dawn world.
And there he was again, as surely as if he'd materialized from her dream. Liam Reilly. His presence haunted her waking days as surely as the nightmares haunted her nights, because they were inextricably linked. They were opposite sides of the coin of her life.

From TRS: "I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic romantic suspense. The plot was swift and the complex story line was enhanced by the wonderful characters. Beyond the hero and heroine the supporting cast was fabulous with almost no one being quite what they appeared at first. The pace enhances the two main mysteries of the story. The time frame is not dragged out as Ellie tries to separate the bribery charges from the serial killer case and it makes for an intricate puzzle. Liam and Ellie have a complicated relationship that is due mainly to lack of honesty and communication. Both characters were constantly at odds with one another and down right antagonistic. They were forever revealing their true feelings in their private thoughts and denying them out loud. If it were not so skillfully balanced with the suspense this could have ruined the whole story for me. I found the mystery itself to be top-notch all the way from the first paragraph to the ominous ending. I can't wait to see what else this author has in store." - Theresa Joseph

Resort to Murder is available at The Wild Rose Press, or through your Amazon site

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