The Third Rule by Andrew Barrett @BloodhoundBook

Many thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me onto the blog blitz for The Third Rule by Andrew Barrett. Andrew has written a guest post about how his protagonist Eddie Collins was born.

About this book…

Propelled by a wave of atrocities, the government introduces a severe code of capital punishment. They designed The Rules to rid England of serious crime, but they failed. They said The Rules were infallible, but they lied. Christian Ledger, an innocent man and a talented artist is charged with a fatal stabbing. Christian is heading for the ͚slaughterhouse͛ because no one will listen to his pleas. Is the secret he carries enough to save his life? CSI Eddie Collins, a reluctant hero with one failed suicide attempt behind him, suddenly wants to live when the police hunt him down for shooting a colleague. And now he͛s on the government͛s list too, and he͛s running. But they͛’re getting closer by the minute…

Guest post…

Eddie Collins grew from a piece of sharp grit caught in my shoe. Little did I know that that little piece of grit was actually the kernel from which the pearl we all know and love would grow.Don’t tell him I said that, though. To me, he’ll always be a pain in the arse (or shoe!).I designed him to be different from everything else that was out there at the time. He was the punk rocker trashing the set of a string quartet; he was the dog turd on a freshly laid carpet; he was me sticking up two fingers to all the beige lead characters out there that should have been rounded up by a serial killer.Sometimes, perfection is the anti-thesis of reality; sometimes you need a streak of red running the down perfectly white wall to make it interesting. Perfection is the death of creativity.When I put pen to paper and drew Eddie Collins, I’d taken about all I could take in the cliché beige-infested perfect world. I was fed up of blasé – on the part of the writer – characters who were not flawless, but all flawed in the same way, growing a brand new cliché. Writers were looking for a way out of cliché and walking right into another.Not me.I almost fell into the newly created anti-cliché trap by having Eddie being an alcoholic. I put the brakes on that particular flaw half way through the first book because back then in 2003/4 it was already becoming the new cliché (probably not so new even by then). I could have pulled that altogether and removed the drinking aspect of his story… but I didn’t. I’m weak; I thought he would drink himself to death if he could – after what he’d just been through, and what he was going to go through – but in the end, having your character being perpetually pissed or craving a drink is going nowhere fast. Having your character suddenly stop the booze was something new.I wanted my main man to be a loner. But he spends a lot of time with DI Benson at work and his father, Charles, at home. And that’s because if he didn’t have those people to bounce off, he’d be bored, and so would the reader: he needs to show how he deals with people, even if he doesn’t like them, because then the reader gets to see another side of him. Building sides, facades, is the only way to grow your character right before the reader’s eye – no tricks, no smoke and mirrors.Eddie doesn’t like people, because on the whole, people are a pain to be around. Your life becomes ever more complicated the more people you allow inside. And anyway, you risk being hurt if you do let people in; better to be alone, right? This is what Eddie thinks, and he is right.And people think he’s miserable. He isn’t; he’s just deep. He’s always thinking, he’s always seeing things. I know people who don’t become angry when the red light stops them at an empty junction. Why don’t they become angry? A machine is wasting your time for no good reason, dammit, wake up and get furious! And if it isn’t machines making him angry, it’s fate. Fate is when that traffic light sees you coming, and waits to the last possible second to change to red, for no good reason. This would cause Eddie to punch the steering wheel or get out and throw rocks at the red light. He’s Basil Fawlty smashing up his car with a twig.Not me, of course, I’m talking about Eddie here. I’m Mr Passive. It’s him, it’s Eddie, he’s the angry one.People often write to me. And I thank them for it; I enjoy hearing what readers think of my books and of my characters. And one of the biggest compliments I get is how people don’t like Eddie. Good; at least they’re experiencing an emotion. Do you ever hear people say how much they love George Gently? Who gives a damn? At least Eddie is interesting – watching George is watching moss collect on a dry-stone wall.Your lead character should have balls. He should be single-minded, focused on the job, and trying to see it clearly through the crap that authority puts in his way. He should have integrity but not be afraid to inflict himself upon anyone standing in his way. This is Eddie Collins.If I were to compare him to anyone, I’d have to say he’s most like Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, except Eddie frequently takes out his sarcasm knife and stabs people with it. We, I mean him, loves sarcasm. There’s no comedy with Bosch – the only ingredient missing from a stunning character. No way can anyone do this job without humour – even if it’s just taking the micky out of a colleague.Oh, and to finish off what I began about people disliking Eddie. The second line they often write is ‘but he’s great at his job’ or ‘but he’s growing on me’. Either one is good for me, both mean the same thing: he fascinates people; they find him not at all boring.

Meet the author…

Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 200,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.Today, Andrew is still producing high-quality, authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post, and twice interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals and administers justice. Eddie’s series is four books and two short stories in length, and there’s still more to come.Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.Contact: andrew@andrewbarrett.co.ukWebsite: http://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk/Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewBarrettUKFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.authorInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthor/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andrewbarrettauthorAmazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Barrett/e/B0055888Q0/

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jorobertson2015

I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.