Tell us about your protagonist’s inner struggle and ability to cope. What is his besetting sin and how do you plan having him address that issue?
I think his main struggle concerns the fact that he is stranded in a no man’s land of his own making between the spiritual world of being an RC priest and the secular one of his job as a busy DI, not to mention his desire to live a normal life with a wife and family. Thus far, he has a foot in each camp. The ceremony of laicization would free him from his priestly vows and allow him to live a normal life. He hasn’t yet been able to bring himself to take this irrevocable step. His faith is not a constant but in a state of flux. His besetting sin is that he is impatient and impulsive and has an inner volatility and temper that, for the most part, he manages to conceal though the careful veneer he has constructed is prone to shatter under extreme stress. His mental state also worsens under stress and he is haunted by the fear that his mental illness might reoccur. He goes running to combat these stresses. It calms him physically and mentally.
Is this a series? Yes, the second book in the series is called Perfect Dead and will be published on 15th June 2018 by Killer Reads. Thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, Terry. I wish you and your readers all the very best for the coming year!
Here’s the Blurb for Dead Man’s Prayer: Former RC priest, DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood fifteen years earlier. With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inextricably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when twin boys go missing. One twin is recovered in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother? As Farrell investigates the two cases he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.
You can find Jackie on the web here: www.jackiebaldwin.co.uk
Extract from Dead Man’s Prayer
Father Ignatius Boyd lifted the crystal tumbler to his mouth and gulped greedily at the brandy, his shaking hand causing the glass to knock unpleasantly against his teeth.
The ruby velvet curtains and gas fire did nothing to dispel the chill he felt in his soul. It had rattled him seeing Frank Farrell at mass this evening. His past mistakes had been haunting him of late as his body began to fail him. It would not be long until he met his Creator and he had a feeling he would be found wanting. He had recently travelled to Rome to confess his sins to an anonymous priest but it had not brought him any comfort. His penance had not been the anticipated repetitions of the rosary but a harsh command to reveal what had been hidden and to make what restitution was in his power. Until he completed that penance his immortal soul remained in peril.
When he had seen Farrell at mass this morning he had felt it was a sign. Before his courage failed he had hurried after him but his shouted greeting had fallen on deaf ears.
Another letter had been waiting on the mat when he returned home. For a moment he had the insane idea it might have been left there by Farrell but on reflection he acknowledged it wasn’t his style. He picked it up from the floor where he had flung it in a rage and studied it helplessly for some clue as to the sender’s identity. The paper was cheap and flimsy but the words meant business.
It was eleven pm. He walked over to the window and moved the curtains a fraction so he could peer out. The darkness pressed against the window as though it was trying to get in. He opened his bedroom door and listened intently. All was quiet and as it should be. Father Malone and the housekeeper did not keep late hours and had already retired to their rooms. Remembering the stricken expression of the young priest earlier he felt a slight pang of remorse. He could have handled the situation better.