Genre: Crime Fiction
Blood Rites is the latest gripping DI Paul Snow thriller from renowned crime writer David Stiart Davies. 1980s Yorkshire. DI Paul Snow has a personal demon. He is a homosexual but is desperate to keep it secret, knowing it would finish his career in the intolerant police force. As this personal drama unfolds, he is involved in investigating a series of violent murders in the town. All the victims appear to be chosen at random and appear to have no connection with each other. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case for not finding the killer but continues investigating the matter privately. Gradually, Paul manages to determine a link between the murder victims, but this places his own life in great danger. Can Paul unmask the killer as he wrestles with his own demons?
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blood Rites! I have a fantastic guest post from the author to share today.
Paul Snow is homosexual. He is also a high ranking police officer. In the 1980s when Blood Rites is set, to be gay in the police force was not something one could admit to without the admission having a detrimental effect on career and standing within the force. It was an era when gays kept their sexual preferences under wraps. As Peter Tatchell observed: ‘In the past, LGBT+ police officers were closeted and repressed. They were agents of a homophobic institution and lived in fear of being outed and sacked’. Indeed Snow has the constant worry of being outed. As a result, he lives a celibate life and fuels all his passions into his police work, but the danger of exposure is always present. There is another danger, of course: that of dropping his guard and giving way to his natural impulses. He tries hard to prevent this happening, but sometimes fate intervenes. Paul is only human after all.
In Blood Rites, however, Paul has a girlfriend, Matilda, of whom he is very fond but his emotions go no further than that. She does not interest him sexually. He feels guilty in his relationship with her because he realises it gives him a shield of acceptability behind which to hide. He is aware that a man in his thirties without a wife or a girlfriend may very well raise suspicions within the police as to why this might be the case. Things become even more complicated when Matilda’s brother arrives on the scene. He is also gay and takes a shine to Paul and this stirs our hero’s emotions.
Of course there is more to Paul Snow than his sexuality. He is a bright, dogged and perceptive policeman and he certainly has to be in Blood Rites, which concerns a series of murders in Paul’s patch, the Yorkshire town of Huddersfield. There is no apparent link between the victims which gives him nothing to go on in tracing the killer. After the fourth murder, he is removed from the case, but continues investigating the matter privately. It is a matter of pride with him now to solve this case and bring the murderer to justice. As he comes closer to a solution both his private and professional life spiral into free fall and the climax of the novel is shocking in the extreme.
Snow is a good man and a good police officer but sometimes circumstances force him into behaving badly. He is tall and thin, gaunt even, which reflects his Spartan life style. In general, even in police work, he keeps his own counsel. He dresses simply but smartly in a conventional fashion. While not exactly good looking, he is quite attractive. He a sensitive quiet and a gentle man. Despite his weaknesses and failings, I do believe the reader will side with him during the course of the story.
As a writer, I conjure characters out of my imagination but I believe it is essential that they ring true as real people. As soon as I began to sketch in the character of Paul, I found him a fascinating fellow. He is an iceberg creation. There is much more below the surface than is visible. During the course of the novel as we learn more of Paul’s thoughts and motives, we are allowed to dip below the waterline a little. But even I, as his creator, have not yet been able to probe all his feelings and secrets. That is what makes him such a fascinating character. I hope you get to meet him.
Oohh Paul Snow sure sounds interesting to me, I’ll definitely be adding Blood Rites to me TBR!