Today I’m the next stop on the blog tour for When The Killing Starts by RC Bridgestock. RC. 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. Interestingly the couple are the storyline consultants on BAFTA winning BBC 1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott & Bailey. This is the seventh book in the DI Jack Dylan, and it’s an absolutely “must read” series if you’re a fan of police procedure books. RC Bridgestock have kindly written a guest post for The Book Review Café
You know when you feel like you’ve done something good, how you hug that warm feeling – life can’t get much better can it? We feel like that when we know we have inspired someone to read or write. Or we raise money or awareness for one of the five charities we are honoured to be Patrons/Ambassadors for…
A former top West Yorkshire, English detective Bob Bridgestock took charge of the investigation into 26 murders, 23 major incidents including drive by shootings, over 50 suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults in the last three years of his 30 year career. One time Senior Investigating Officer and retired superintendent Bridgestock and his wife Carol have now harnessed their 47 years police service to write the Detective Inspector Jack Dylan police procedural/crimefiction series and the seventh novel When The Killing Starts is out 30th June.
The books are set in the imaginary town of Harrowfield, West Yorkshire the county where the couple worked, where Carol was also a civilian employee for 17 years. So you may catch a glimpse of Leeds and surrounding areas in the novels, along with some interesting true facts andmyths thrown into the mix too.
How autobiographical the experience of lead character SIO Jack Dylan is, as he confronts his worst nightmares, is not clear. But the knowledge of how murder investigations are carried out and how they affect the principle characters has the ring of authenticity.
The last thing on their minds when they retired was writing – never mind becoming International authors and consultants to BAFTA winning TV series such as BBC 1 Happy Valley and ITV 1 Scott & Bailey. However fate had other ideas and the Isle of Wight has had it’s fabled relaxing ect on this non-stop policeman and his wife in ‘retirement’.
The couple want everyone to feel the joy of writing and the thrill of achievement. Carol is a warm northern lass, a devoted wife and mother who loves feeding everyone and Bob, despite his lifelong profession, has an irrepressible humour and is a natural raconteur. ‘We’d watch crime drama on TV and he’d say ‘that would never happen,’ says Carol. ‘I’d say he ought to write it as it is.’ Bob eventually shocked the family by enrolling them both on a course at the Isle of Wight College – aptly named Write Your First Novel. Encouraged by the tutor, they turned Bob’s life’s work as a policeman and the couples home life during that period into fodder for fiction. ‘All the people on the course got on well and the tutor suggested we start our own writing circle,’ Carol explains. ‘None of us felt confident enough to go to somewhere with accomplished writers who knew what they were talking about. So the Wight Fair Writers Circle was born, and seven years later with its gentle but constructive approach now has a waiting list and is credited with five published authors. ‘We’re happy to help people start their own group,’ says Carol, who came up with a plan to share the group’s love of writing more widely, by running competitions for charity which has reached as far ‘up north’ as West Yorkshire. The plan was seized upon by the writing group, in particular one lady who, who shares Carol’s undaunted approach to life. She used redundancy to open a community bookshop in Newport, Isle of Wight, which has proved a useful generator of interest for writers and readers alike. To make the competition appealing Carol persuades local newspapers and magazines to publish winning stories and this is now done on an annual basis. The couple also provide three RC Bridgestock trophy, one for Leeds Academy, another for Hipperholme Grammar Schooland a third for Calderdale College Make-up artist students.
Already the competitions have bucked the ‘boys aren’t interested in fiction’ trend and have raised over £8,000 for several charities. Carol knows exactly which levers to pull to get what she wants. ‘Schools are really keen. It ticks their Ofsted requirement to work with the community, and they all like to have a published author among their pupils,’ she said. Inspiring stories abound like the dyslexic man who’d been told all his life he was a failure and, bursting with pride, brought his family to the presentation evening. And the disabled lady whose stories about her cats had impressed the judge, People Friend’s short story writer Pat Thornborough, not only with the structure of the plot but with the detailed characterisation. ‘The lady was too ill to be presented at the Minster so we came to her, and she said she felt like a queen!
The couple, so thankful for their great #TeamDylan reader following are taking the ‘When The Killing Starts’ book launch tour this year to West Yorkshire where they are Patrons for B.A.S.H (Brighouse And Surround Homeless) http://www.bashlocal.co.uk – Winners of the Yorkshire Choice Awards 2016.They are planning fourteen events in fourteen days, including a Murder Mystery Dinner – themed Cluedo (last years Gangsters and Molls is still thetalk of the town), four of these events will raise much needed funds.
Also they will be raising money for Bradford Police Museum by doing a talkin the old Courtroom that is used by many TV and Film companies: most recently by ITV Emmerdale.
Carol and Bob are also Patrons for – Isle of Wight Society for the Blind -http://www.iwsightconcern.org.uk – Winners Queen’s Voluntary Services Medal
2015RedLipstick Foundation – http://www.redlipstickfoundation.comAmbassadors –
Bethany’s Smile – http://www.bethanyssmile.orgAmbassadors – The Forget Me Not
Children’s Hospice – http://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk
Last year Carol and Bob were honoured in the Dick Tracy Hall of Fame and voted #8 by WHS readers as the Best Crime Writers of All Time. They are credited for their work on Radio 4’s Punt PI The Disappearance of Albert Lowenstein and often heard discussing recent police issues on BBC Radio Leeds.
About The Authors
RC. 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.
Bob was a highly commended career detective of 30 years, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent.
During his last 3 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 dealing 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 on BAFTA winning BBC 1 police drama Happy Valley and series 3 of ITV’s Scott & Bailey.
In 2015 The Gate Films optioned the crime series featuring DI Jack Dylan (which begins with Deadly Focus) written as R C Bridgestock, to develop as a television 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.
R C Bridgestock appeared at number #8 in the best crime and thriller authors of all time in a W H Smith poll voted by the public in 2015.
Links to RC Bridgestock
Crime is a way of life for the Devlin brothers. Groomed at an early age and trained as criminals by local gangsters, the Devlin brothers get their thrill out of creating fear among their victims. They have a macabre pact; not to be arrested or caged.
Brutality hits the town of Harrowfield when the scourge of the community is found dead, his companion slaughtered. The locals react with praise for the killers.
The same day firefighters respond to a fire but lose the fight to save Merton Manor. Amongst the debris two bodies are discovered; executed.
As Dylan struggles to cope with the pressure, armed officers await his judgement call.
Can he remain professional or will he release his anger?
If you enjoy a police procedure story, that’s as dark and gritty as it gets then look no further. When The Killing Starts is the 7th in the DI Jack Dylan series, I have managed to read the first two in the series which I really enjoyed, but unfortunately I haven’t had the time to read the other books due to the amount of TBR books on my ever growing pile, I was able to read this book as a standalone, but I’m sure I have missed the evolution of character through the previous books, which was a shame. When The Killing Starts is a gripping and a very disturbing read, the murders are graphic to say the least and made for a very uncomfortable read, and it’s definitely not one for the faint hearted. I think the authors experience and involvement in high profile cases has provided the fuel that brings their writing to life, as they certainly don’t “sugar coat” the hideous crimes the killers commit.
The Killing starts features heavily on the police procedure side of things and it so well described that as the reader I felt very much part of the investigation, the tension and feelings of urgency to solve the case added to the suspense. It was also interesting to see the effects such investigations have on the very people involved in the case. The protagonist DI Jack Dylan struggles to balance his personal life along side the demands of a very challenging job. Di Jack Dylan is a very likeable character he is tenacious, intelligent and relentless in his pursuit to catch the killers, so much so at times his job seems to come before his family and his health, as I’m sure this is the case for many DI’s up and down the country. Unusually you learn who the killers are almost from the start, so When The Killing Starts focuses more on the police procedures involved in bringing the criminals to justice. The characters in the team are well developed, the dark humour and banter from the team, add some light relief to this gritty tale.
The fact that the authors have worked in the police force is as always very evident and the wealth of knowledge comes across clearly in making the story and plot lines believable at the same time as giving the characters real depth. Although it really does have its moments – this isn’t an edge-of-your-seat hardcore thriller, If you read it with that expectation, you just might be a tad disappointed, but on the other hand if you are a lover of authentic and well plotted police procedural novels then I would highly recommend this book.
Print Length: 315 pages
Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing (30 Jun. 2016)