When you look just like the long dead mother of a psychopath, and he's noticed you, it's already too late.
Detective Sergeant Mike Bridger is fighting his own battles with inadequacy, alcohol, infidelity, and a mistrust of people in general. When Marion goes missing it is up to him to unravel the twisted path that will lead him on a journey into the past, where even his colleagues come under suspicion.
With Bridger's and Marion's life now intertwined, Bridger bounces from one dead end to another, while Marion hangs, strung up like a marionette, controlled by her captor, and watched by thousands live on the Internet.
She is made to dance, controlled by the whims of the shadow she sees, and from behind his darkness her captor reveals more and more of why she is there, and what she is to do for him. The shadow has written the script, she just has to follow it.
While Marion's resolve to stay alive grows stronger with each revelation, ultimately it’s up to Bridger to overcome his own obstacles to bring Marion home safely, but what it is that’s behind the shadow’s angst will stun them both.
With humanly flawed characters within a theme of violence and how it affects society, this is a crime thriller with a shocking twist that is believably real. Seen through the eyes of each character, Human Frailty will take you on a journey to the very heart of our hidden violent society.
Tell me about yourself?
I am a ‘Kiwi’ who has travelled extensively throughout the world and lived and worked in many different places. I have settled back in New Zealand with my English wife and three young boys. I live in Dunedin which is situated at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand which is also the setting for my novel.
How long have you been writing?
I have only been writing since 2012 which is when I started my first novel. Before that it was only ever at school, and that was a long time ago.
What is your story about and what Genre is it written in?
My novel is written in the genre of crime/police procedural and is based around family violence as a central theme. It portrays the way violence within our families can shape who we are and how we react to the world. It also has a sub theme of general human behaviour and the faults and floors of those that have positions of influence over our lives. Most of all its about a man who has had the worst start in life seeking revenge on those he thought he should be closest too, by kidnapping a stand in/lookalike for his (supposedly) dead mother to pay the price for his past.
Give me some insight into your main character.
The main protagonist in my book is a recently promoted Detective Sergeant in the Dunedin Police who is a man with floors of his own. He has a battle throughout the story with alcohol, infidelity and a mistrust of people in general. Under it all he is just another person dealing with the pressures of modern day living and the depravity of those he deals with on a daily basis.
What makes your book different from others in the same genre?
I think what makes my book different from most others in its genre is the fact that instead of a simple ‘who dunnit’, it’s more of a ‘why he dunnit’. I have tried to portray the story thorough the eyes of each character, bringing their own fears and emotions to the table (including the bad guy).
How did you come up with the title?
The title ‘Human Frailty’ comes from the story line. It invokes the frailty of the human psyche, as well as the characters throughout their lives and the decisions which have lead to the place where they find themselves. The music from the ‘Human Frailty’ album by Hunters and Collectors (a personal favourite) also makes a mention in the story.
What is your favourite part of the book? Without giving away too much.
My favourite part of the book is the interactions between the victim and her abductor. She has been strung up on a series of ropes like a marionette and is able to be manipulated by him. And in his words “I have written the script, you just have to follow it”. What follows is a lot of what the book is about.
Tell me about your writing process.
I don’t really follow any rules of writing, my grammar and punctuation could be better, but I sit in front of my I Pad (yes I wrote my first novel entirely on an I Pad) and start at the beginning with an idea in my head and see where it leads. I didn’t use a structured plan for my first novel; I just mapped it out in my head. Some days I knew where it was going and others I had completely forgotten so it went somewhere entirely different. I guess that’s what kept it interesting for me as I never knew from day to day where the story went.
I am following a similar path to the end of my second novel although I have graduated to using a laptop as it helps with formatting etc.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
The most difficult thing I find about writing (or marketing the book) is finding the time to do it around working full time and a busy family life. It becomes like a guilty pleasure sometimes, stealing a few hours to myself for a spot of writing.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book of all time has to be ‘The magic faraway tree’ by Enid Blyton. This was the first book I remember that captured my imagination and lead to a lifelong love of reading. These days I mostly read crime fiction and anything by Ian Rankin.
Are you self or traditionally published and do you wish you had done something differently?
I am a self published author through platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. I have only published electronically in the eBook format and not traditional print although one day it would be nice to see my work in a physical format. For now I will stick with the sites mentioned above. Both of these sites make it incredibly easy to put your work out there for people to discover. I think this electronic medium suits me as I only write for pleasure and am not in it to make money. I like the fact that people can access my work very cheaply and can enjoy it. I also have total control over what is on the page and if I feel something needs to change I can revise the story very easily even after publishing.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
My advice to anyone wanting to write a novel or any sort of story is just to go for it. Put something down on a page that inspires you or gives you pleasure. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you start something. Not everyone will like what you write but that’s not the point. Everyone’s a critic, but not everyone is brave enough to expose themselves publicly in words.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
If I could have dinner with anyone and discuss anything I think it would have to be Jim Morrison from the Doors. His music played throughout my formative years and I have had a lot of good and bad experiences to his soundtrack.
If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?
For the readers out there I would like to say, if you enjoy a novel (mine or anyone else’s) or not, take the time to provide some feedback if you can. The electronic media is the perfect platform for this as reviews and ratings can be given very easily on most websites providing eBooks. Writers thrive on feedback its how we grow and improve. Even criticism is appreciated if it given constructively. It can also help weed out any future novels that might just be taking up space in the ever increasing world of pulp fiction literature.
Human Frailty, by Mark Bredenbeck, published August 2013, is available at all major eBook retailers.
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