Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray #Extract #BookReview

When Brooke Adams is found battered, bleeding, and barely conscious, the police are at a loss as to who her attacker is or why she was targeted. Then, PI Rod Morgan turns up convinced that Brooke’s attack is the latest in a string of unsolved disappearances dating back thirty-five years. The police, however, aren’t convinced, leaving Brooke and Rod to investigate the cases themselves. As secrets from the past start unravelling it becomes a maze, deeper, darker, and far more sinister than either of them could have imagined. Will they find Brooke’s attacker before he strikes again, or will that one secret stay buried forever?

I reviewed Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray last month and wrote, 'I was really impressed by Blood Ribbon; it's a dark, gripping thriller, with surprising twists and turns, engaging and diverse characters and an often touching focus on relationships and what makes a family'.  You can read  my whole review here. I loved this book so it's a real pleasure to be featuring an extract on Hair Past A Freckle today. Many thanks to Roger and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Context: This scene describes the death of one of the main character's mother. After years of abuse he finally snaps but opens the door to far reaching consequences.

She had taken a couple of steps toward the top of the stairs when sixteen years of pent up frustration had finally been released as, with restrained rage he stood and followed her. She was on the second top stair when she heard him approach and was turning as he screamed out, “Leave me alone, you evil bitch.”

She turned her head toward him and the look on her face was part horror at the words, but mainly glee at the unholy terror she could now, justifiably in her mind, rain down on upon him.

Karma, fate, or maybe plaster Jesus finally having enough of her as well, who knew, but, as she turned, her foot caught under a piece of loose carpet. Instead of stepping forward the trapped foot caused her to stumble backward. She tried to regain her balance, her free foot missing the top step, instead flailing around in space.

She tried to grab the banister but missed and slowly began to topple backward. He stood a foot away from her and watched as, in slow-motion, she reached out her hand, to grab him, or for him to grab her, he was never sure. He almost did, his hand raised and for a moment it looked as though their fingers would touch but he bypassed her hand and pushed with one finger into the center of her chest. Gently but insistently he pushed with his one finger, as she fell back. At last he saw the look he craved on her face; fear.

She tumbled down and landed halfway, her neck snapping with a satisfying crack before her now lifeless body flopped, feet over head, and continued its trajectory to finish bundled up, her head at an unnatural angle, at the bottom of the stairs.

He looked down at his hand, index finger pointing out, still outstretched, and smiled. With a look to make sure that she wasn’t moving he went back into his room and sat down in front of his books wondering what he should do next. She hadn’t made much noise, exiting this life. No shouts or screams the neighbors could have heard. With his door closed he doubted that he would have heard much anyway.

Should he check? He came out of his room and looked down from the landing, she hadn’t moved so he started down the stairs.

Stepping over her as he reached the bottom he went into the kitchen. Her big handbag was sitting in the middle of the small table. Pulling it toward him he opened it and looked inside. Ignoring the purse which he knew would not contain much cash he reached into a side pocket and pulled out a crumpled packet of Winstons and a box of matches. He knew they were there, she’d thought he didn’t know she smoked but he did. He understood the hypocrisy of her. Everything he did was evil, everything that might give him any pleasure was the devil at work. She screamed and ranted at him, then snuck out the back for a smoke when she thought he was in bed.

He took out a cigarette, struck a match, and lit it. Walking back into the hallway he looked down at her lying there and he drew contentedly on the cigarette. He blew out the smoke and smiled.

When the paramedics arrived with the police in tow they were sympathetic and concerned about him rather than her. As soon as they saw her head wedged against the second stair, the side of her neck protruding, they knew. They checked her anyway and her head moved around like a broken bobble headed doll. There was nothing they could do for her except bag her, tag her, and wheel her out of the door.

The cops listened to his story and made notes. They checked the worn and loose piece of carpet on the second top step, nodded to each other, and closed the files as an unfortunate accident. Unless the medical examiner had anything else to say that was the end of the matter.

This is a powerful scene in the book and I hope it's tempted you to read more. I really enjoyed Blood Ribbon and thoroughly recommend it.

Blood Ribbon is published by Undertow and can be purchased here. Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.
Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.
Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.
So here we are, two books published and another on track.
Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.


  1. thanks so much for the blog tour support Karen x

  2. Thank you so much Karen for your support of the tour, very much appreciated :)


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