Many thanks to BloodHoundBooks for inviting me to take part in Tony J Forder’s blog tour for ‘The Death Of Justice’. For my stop today, I have a guest post from the author himself. Before I share that however, is a little bit more about the book and the purchase link. Enjoy!
One night. Two shootings. Two victims.
When DI Bliss arrives at the scene of the second murder, he recognises the same three-shot pattern as the first. But there is one major difference: the second victim has been decapitated, the head nowhere to be found. When a second headless corpse is discovered the following day, Bliss and his team realise the killer is on a spree – and he’s not done yet.
After Bliss links the killings and forms a task force with officers from Lincolnshire, they uncover further disturbing news: the murders are not the first in the series – there are four more headless victims, and the Lincolnshire team believe they know why. Not only that, they are also convinced that more potential victims are on the killer’s list.
In a race against time to save further loss of life, Bliss constantly finds himself one step behind and chasing shadows. In order to flush out the hired assassin, he and his team have no choice but to put their own lives at risk. But will everyone survive?
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IS THE DEATH OF JUSTICE A CASE OF MURDER OR SUICIDE?
When you’re writing a series book, you have to keep in mind both the past and future while you’re relating the present. It’s a weird kind of omniscience, because as the author you’re able to see the entire cast of characters, everything they do, everything they think, plus everything they are going to do and think. And not just in the book you’re writing at the time. Okay, I’m going to say it – we get to play God (if you happen to believe in that sort of thing).
A lot of decisions need to be made, especially in terms of story and character development. With The Death of Justice I was extremely aware that in the previous book, The Reach of Shadows, I had pulled together multiple strands extending from the very first book and tied them off, a deliberate decision designed to stabilise the main character, DI Jimmy Bliss, and to reset his foundations so that he could continue on into the final stretch of his police career. I was conscious, too, that the first four books weaved complex investigative webs, and that a change of gear might be needed all round.
I think The Death of Justice achieves that, but without tearing down every structure my loyal readers have come to expect from a DI Bliss novel. So, whilst there is only a single case for him and his team to focus on this time, and the pace is stepped up by a couple of gears, the storyline is a bit like an onion in that beneath it there are connected layers of mystery for Bliss to peel away and wrap his head around. I think it both moves on from the previous book and cements the overall theme.
New characters from the neighbouring county of Lincolnshire are introduced, one of whom becomes Bliss’s investigative partner on a couple of occasions. Although she is a rank above him, he is in command on his own patch and it allows them to operate together effectively without egos getting in the way. This was something I had wanted to do anyway, and DCI Diane Warburton became the ideal role for the winner of a charity donation to have a character named after her. I hope she will prove popular.
When I came up with the idea for this book, I was aware that the previous four had relied on the investigative skills and dedication of Bliss and his team in solving those cases, and that police work doesn’t always follow such a steady path. There are times when circumstances change so regularly that the operation mounted veers off course and the team are constantly being caught out and challenged by events overtaking them. I thought the time was right for Jimmy and his colleagues to endure just such a case, and for the reader to hopefully feel their frustrations as things don’t go quite according to plan.
For Jimmy Bliss, this chapter in his life represents a period of stability. Undergoing mandatory therapy in the wake of the circumstances that led him almost to the point of destruction, Bliss reluctantly accepts his treatment – though Bliss being Bliss he regards it as more of a punishment. But clearly the time is right for him to tread water a little, to focus his mind on the job and the job alone. He has accepted his place in the world and is no longer entirely unhappy with his lot. That said, by the end of this book he has cause to question the wisdom of change and the impact it has on him and those around him.
In my notes at the end of The Death of Justice I point out that the idea for the story began when I read an article about an unsolved case in the US. I was fascinated by it, but knew I couldn’t actually write my book about it in fictional terms. Instead, I asked myself what might have triggered the unusual events, as well as what the aftermath could have looked like. It was while I was considering the latter that the storyline fell into place. Rarely – for me at least – the entire story came to me almost at once, including a beginning, middle, and end. Well… almost. It soon became clear to me that the opening chapter would work better as the final chapter, and I am so glad I changed my mind about that, especially given what immediately precedes it.
As for the overall theme of justice, I think it can be viewed in many ways throughout this book, and I leave it to the reader to take from it what they find. To me, there is a related thread running along the spine of the story, one which might prompt people to question the very notion of justice and what it means to individuals.
I’m guessing that the final few chapters are going to provoke the majority of comments. No spoilers, but they are extremely emotional, and I have no idea how people might react to them. I don’t think I’m cutting my own throat, but you never can tell. If I have learned anything over the course of my eight published books, it is that you cannot please everybody.
About the author.
Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler from the Major Crimes unit in Peterborough. The first four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, will soon be joined by The Death of Justice, which will be published on 9 September 2019.
Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on a new novel, and has also begun writing Bliss #6.