What if we could no longer trust DNA profiling, the silver bullet of our criminal justice system? For years, we’ve relied on it to solve decades-old crimes, convict the guilty, and liberate the innocent from death row. But what happens to that trust when a crime lab scientist is leaned on to manipulate the evidence or, worse still, lose it altogether?
Ruthless Seattle mayor, Patti Rainsford, announces her candidacy for state governor. She’ll do anything to succeed. When her son is arrested for the rape and assault of a seventeen-year-old girl, Rainsford’s political career is in jeopardy.
Detective Linda Farrell is assigned to investigate. After twelve years working in SPD’s sexual assault unit, her career is drifting, not helped by the single-minded detective’s contempt for police protocol and the pressure of her failing marriage. The high-profile rape case is a rare chance to shine and maybe even get her life back on track. Nothing will stop her seeking justice for the young victim.
With a mountain of personal debt and his wife’s business on a knife-edge, Clark Stanton is facing financial meltdown. Then a stranger offers him a lifeline in return for a favor. As the manager of Seattle’s crime lab, all Clark has to do is make the rape kit evidence against the mayor’s son go away.
1. Which character would you like to be in this book?
It has to be Detective Linda Farrell, who heads up the investigation into the rape allegation against the mayor’s son. I love her rebellious character, her disdain for arrogance, and her unstinting search for justice. While she makes mistakes and takes decisions that appear reckless at times, her heart is always in the right place.
2. Do you always take a book/e-reader wherever you go?
My Kindle comes with me whenever I’m travelling. As I live in both Canada and the UK, that means it has probably clocked up more air miles than I dare count. Strangely, when I’m reading at home, I still prefer paperbacks. They are easier to flit backwards and forwards. As I read, I like to go back and reread sections to see how an author has dropped clues along the way. I find that difficult with an e-reader.
3. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
Probably the bad guy. It seems everyone remembers the bad characters. If you think of one of my favourite crime thriller films, No Country For Old Men, everyone remembers Anton Chigurh, the antagonist played by Javier Bardem. Whenever, friends ask to be a named character in one of my novels, inevitably they want to be a bad guy. What does that say about us?
4. Do you prefer to read/write standalones or series?
So far, I have written only standalone novels, mainly because the story ideas have come to me before the main characters. Having said that, I’ve already had a few readers ask me what happens next to Detective Linda Farrell from Crime And Justice. For the first time, I’m thinking whether a future novel should develop her story. I like her character, so it would be fun to see what she gets up to.
As a reader, I’m a big fan of John Grisham’s novels, and, generally speaking, he has stuck to standalone stories. I guess if you create a character like Ian Rankin’s Rebus, it must be comforting to know there are already readers who are waiting to find out what happens next.
5. Where can I find you when you are reading?
In the summer in Canada, I have a favourite spot on our patio where I can sit in the shade and only be interrupted by the drone of hummingbirds as they hover at our feeder. In the UK, you can normally find me in a Caffe Nero, reading a quick chapter over a skinny latte.
6. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
My wife and I are keen walkers. When we are in the UK, we love nothing more than hiking a country trail and then stopping for our reward: normally a slice of Victoria sponge and a cup of tea. In Canada, we’re a little more careful. Where we live in BC, there are bears and cougars, so walkers have to be alert. That said, most of our Canadian friends seem quite relaxed about the wildlife. Maybe, it’s because we are both Brits and so grew up never having to consider predators. I don’t remember ever hearing stories of ramblers being savaged by a wild sheep in the UK countryside!
7. Can you walk past a bookstore without going inside?
Only when I have forgotten to bring my reading glasses. Where we live in BC, one of the nearby towns is known as the book capital of Canada. Apparently, it has more bookshops per capita than anywhere else in the country. I’m always nipping in and out of them. I try to buy my print books from local bookstores. I’m happy to pay a bit extra to keep them going.
8. What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud to have celebrated forty years of married life recently. While I’m proud of my achievements during my first career in finance, and then discovering publishers who liked my work as a writer, in the end, sharing a lifetime with someone you love puts everything else in the shade. I count myself a very lucky man.
9. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
Oh no, I have to write another one now! Sure, it is a thrill to see the best part of a year’s work in print, but don’t underestimate the immense effort involved in writing each book. I remember watching a documentary a while back, in which they followed Ian Rankin writing Standing In Another Man’s Grave. I was heartened to see how one of the masters still finds it a challenge to start the marathon of creating a new novel.
10. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t worry too much about the nuts and bolts of writing. That will come with experience. Concentrate on what makes a great story for the reader. My advice is to read as much as you can in your genre and then try to understand the techniques writers have used to create a compelling story. While it’s an old one, I still recommend budding authors buy Techniques Of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. It’s for aspiring novelists what Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day is to guitar students. Aging rockers will understand that one!
Thank you, Martin Bodenham and Damppebbles Blog Tours
About the author
Martin Bodenham is the author of the crime thrillers The Geneva Connection, Once a Killer, and Shakedown. Crime And Justice is his latest novel.
After a thirty-year career in private equity and corporate finance in London, Martin moved to the west coast of Canada, where he writes full-time. He held corporate finance partner positions at both KPMG and Ernst & Young as well as senior roles at several private equity firms before founding his own private equity company in 2001. Much of the tension in his thrillers is based on the greed and fear he witnessed first-hand while working in international finance.
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