Blog Tour/Guest Post: Poetic Justice by R.C. Bridgestock

Poetic Justice Blog Tour Poster_New

I’m thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Poetic Justice by R. C. BridgestockPoetic Justice is the prequel to the much-loved and highly regarded ‘DI Jack Dylan’ crime series.  If, like me, you’ve not read the other books in the series (the first three of which have recently been reissued by The Dome Press in revised editions with more to come), Poetic Justice is the perfect place to start.

I have a fantastic guest post entitled ‘Walking With A Dinosaur’ which you can read below.  Find out if you have the observational and deductive skills to be a detective like Bob! Later today I’ll be publishing my review of Poetic Justice, so look out for that. And, in case you missed the earlier stops on the blog tour, you can catch up here:

Review by Sarah at By The Letter Book Reviews
Review and giveaway by Anne at Random Things Through My Letterbox

Thanks to Emily at The Dome Press for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy of Poetic Justice.  Also to Bob and Carol for their brilliant support of the book bloggers taking part in the tour, including a very special personalised token of their gratitude. I’m honoured to be part of #TeamDylan.

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Poetic JusticeAbout the Book

When Detective Jack Dylan heads home to his wife 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 personal attack is just the start. The discovery of his wife’s death in a road accident also reveals her affair, and his step-daughter is being expelled from university for drug use. Professionally, two teenagers have gone missing and one is soon found dead.

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, relieved by the distraction of newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones.

His determination to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – is to be his salvation, and his relationship with Jen, his ‘Guardian Angel’, will turn out to be the mainstay of his future, both within the Force and at home.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s determination to seek justice.

Format: Paperback, ebook (320 pp.)    Publisher: The Dome Press
Published: 28th February 2019     Genre: Crime, Thriller

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Guest Post: Walking with a ‘Dinosaur’ by R.C. Bridgestock

When you’ve wool on your back, and are ‘long in the tooth’, older police officers are often called ‘dinosaurs’ because they are thought to not like change. So, do I walk with a dinosaur, or just an elderly retired detective who hasn’t lost his touch on reality?

It’s the little things that matter to Bob; the things he calls the ‘Belt & Braces’ of an investigation – the things that you and I, with an untrained eye, don’t see.  Is he conditioned after thirty years as a career detective, if something seems ‘out of place’, to seek answers, follow his gut instinct that it isn’t how it should be, or is he just naturally curious, do you think?

I’ll show you want I mean.

RCB Guest Post Image 1Take for instance the morning walk with our springier spaniel…

RCB Guest Post Image 2In a dew-soaked meadow I see grass. However Bob points out the path, which shows him that someone, or something, has been there before us. If he were chasing someone by following the footprints, the detective would find the entry and exit that the perpetrator took. Do you see that now on the picture above?

So, is there such a thing as a quiet walk with an investigator with thirty years experience? Or are all walks an adventure? My answer? Definitely an adventure!

Soaking up the winter sun and observing wildlife on our walk this morning, I saw five deer; a dozen horses; a new born calf feeding and a field full of rabbits. I was truly in my element. However the former SIO’s conversation related to how the weather could impact on a crime scene and other things he saw that could be important to him, the investigator on a case. In this case, discarded clothing…

RCB Guest Post Image 3“Discarded clothes found close by a naked body doesn’t always mean foul play has taken place,” Bob said. “People in the final stages of hypothermia engage in paradoxical undressing because, as they lose rationality and their nerves are damaged, they feel incredibly, irrationally hot. They strip off their clothes to cool themselves down as they are freezing to death.”

That wouldn’t be a consideration I would make if I saw a naked dead body!

RCB Guest Post Image 4Freezing conditions also stops a body decomposing as quickly. The mind of an investigator must always remain open – everything maybe not be as it appears. Footwear impressions may tell the investigator the brand, the size and again in what direction their wearer had come from, or where they were going.

So, now you get the gist of the investigators’ mind, what does the below picture say to you?

RCB Guest Post Image 5

It says to me that I can post a letter, or catch a bus!

“No, no, no,’ says Bob. “It tells me that the postman has reached his destination this morning. The elastic band on the floor – bag it and tag it! That’s a gift! Potentially it was wrapped around a batch of his letters and due to it still being at the scene, it’s dry, it’s clean. I would think that it hasn’t been there long… This would be helpful to an investigator because it may help him/her to trace the victim’s movements (the postman in this imaginary case).”

A car passes by and Bob can’t help but show disregard for the driver using his mobile phone: one of Bob’s pet hates. In the next car he tells me the woman is not wearing her seatbelt. Finally, a BMW that has tinted windows with four occupants – young lads – drives past at great speed.

“Four-up,” he says with a nod of his head. “They’re up to no good.”

We’re nearly home and he stops and asks me if I remember the colour of the BMW. I shake my head, no why should I?

It’s his turn to shake his head. “It was grey,” he says confidently, “and its registration number was…”                                                                                     © R.C.Bridgestock

RC Bridgestock Author PhotoAbout the Authors

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.

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Blog Tour/Guest Post: Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston

I’m delighted to be co-hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston, alongside my tour buddy, Rachel at Rachel Bustin. Coming Home to Holly Close Farm was published by Aria on 5th February 2019 and is described as ‘addictive, heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny’ and perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell.

If you’ve ever wondered about how authors go about creating characters, then Julie’s guest post entitled ‘Creating, moulding and watching your characters grow’ will tell you everything you need to know.

Check out the tour poster at the bottom of this post to see the other fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour who will be posting reviews and extracts from Coming Home to Holly Close Farm as well as interviews with Julie and other guest posts.

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coming home to holly close farmAbout the Book

Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents. Charlie’s sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is also back home in desperate need of company and some fun.

Their great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house, Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades the girls to project manage its renovation.

As work gets underway, the sisters start uncovering their family’s history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the Farm. A heart-breaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerges, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again too…

Format: ebook (pp.)    Publisher: Aria
Published: 5th February 2019 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

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Guest Post: ‘Creating, moulding and watching your characters grow’

For me, one of the best things about being a writer has to be that I have free reign to create characters completely at will. I would probably argue that all my novels are very much character-driven and the great thing is, I can name these people how I want – within reason, of course: how many times, as a teacher, have I persuaded ten-year-olds not to call their Tudor kitchen-maids Kylie, Chelsea or Tracy? – and have my characters say and do things I probably wouldn’t say or do myself. It really is quite liberating.

I always become very attached to my characters and find it quite hard to let them go. I remember, as a little girl, reading all the Enid Blyton stuff and being delighted when the boy in her Circus stories made a cameo appearance in one of the Naughtiest Girl at School books. There’s something comforting about the reappearance of a character we know and love: Jilly Cooper certainly recognised this when she regularly brought Rupert Campbell-Black back into her fabulous Rutshire Chronical novels. Similarly, Harriet, Grace and Mandy, the main characters in Goodness, Grace and Me and The One Saving Grace have managed to make cameo roles in all my subsequent books. It would appear I have no control over them whatsoever!

While I think, in the main, a writer has to really like her characters, that might not be the case right from the start of the story. We might create someone who isn’t really our favourite, someone we wouldn’t particularly want to spend time with and with whom we may not totally empathise at the beginning. But a good writer should enable a flawed character to grow and develop so that not only does the reader come round to liking her, but is actively gunning for her by the final chapters. In An Off-Piste Christmas I created Vienna who really was quite wonderfully dreadful, but I had great fun with her dialogue and I actually grew quite fond of her by the end of the story.

It was very different with Charlie Madison in Coming Home to Holly Close Farm. I liked her from the start, but she did need to grow and develop and learn something, and by the final chapters I found I really loved her.  Although it’s been pointed out to me that Charlie can’t have been very nice, that she was living with a married man and she should have known better, in Charlie’s defence, I will repeat, she had no idea he was married. She’d been taken in, duped, totally made a fool of. The way that she coped with this bombshell and in having to trail back home North to her parents was by putting barriers up, being a crosspatch and appearing arrogant and full of herself.  Even Daisy, her sister, takes her to task when Charlie comes over as arrogant and condescending.

‘What is your problem?’ Daisy was cross. ‘Those two are lovely, and you came over as an arrogant, supercilious know-it-all. You’ve been offered this wonderful opportunity to develop the most heavenly house I’ve ever seen,’ Daisy stomped towards reception and I had to hurry to keep up, ‘and yet you were bad tempered, miserable, inflated with your own importance.’

‘Anything else?’ I snapped back. ‘Anything else you’d like to add?’

‘Oh, how about condescending, distant, patronizing…?’

We see Charlie beginning to grow and develop as a character.

‘I was feeling guilty. Recognised what a total pillock I’d been. As we walked in stony silence along the corridor towards Granny Madge’s room, I tried to work out why I’d been so awful.

‘I was jealous,’ I muttered to Daisy’s back.


‘I was jealous. I’m sorry.’

By the end of the novel, particularly having learned much about real love, real unselfish love, from her great-grandmother, Madge, Charlie has, I do hope, really grown and developed as a character. As such, I’m not sure we can, or should be, asking a great deal more from the characters we create.

And, I shall, one day I’m sure, give her the biggest compliment of all: resurrecting her character by giving her a place and a part in a future novel!      © Julie Houston, 2019

julie houstonAbout the Author

Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller.

She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

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