As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Williams and
Whiting, 24 July 2019. ISBN: 978-1-91258233-4
Shepherd is used to the sight of dead bodies, both from his previous job as a
police officer and his current work as a private investigator. However, it is a
totally new experience to start the day by discovering the body of a stranger,
shot through the back of the head, seated in his car. Fortunately for Jack, he
is on good terms with Detective Superintendent Harvey Butler, the boss of Avon
and Somerset’s Murder Investigation Team, and this means that the police accept
that he is innocent.
When Jack gets to his office he has to
deal with the subject of another dead body left in a car, but this time the
death occurred three days earlier, when solicitor Avery Wells was found dead in
his parked car. Wells had also been shot through the head. The coroner ruled
the death as suicide but Wells’ sister, Alice, wishes to employ Jack to
investigate further and also to take a second look at the death of Wells’ wife,
three weeks before his own, apparently an accidental death from carbon monoxide
Jack’s day does not improve when he is
invited to a lunchtime drinks reception by a man who has an office in the same
building, Neville Jacobs, a very rich, very successful, malignant narcissist, a
corrupt and evil man, so powerful he can get away with murder. It is evident
that Jacobs knows Jack’s new client, Alice Wells, but that doesn’t explain why
Jacobs has singled Jack out. Whatever the reason, Jack knows that being the
focus of Jacobs’ attention is not a good thing. He does not believe that it is
a coincidence that Jacobs has inserted himself into his life within minutes of
him accepting Alice Wells as a client. Jack doesn’t know what is going on, but
he is sure that Jacobs is involved.
At the reception, Jack is cornered by
Larry Parkland, an unpleasant man who is determined to employ Jack to find the
whereabouts of his wife, Helen, who has left him. Jack refuses. He is sure that
he has made a wise choice when a very beautiful woman called Charlie, who is
acting as a hostess at the party, tells him that Helen has left her husband
from choice and had spent the previous night with Charlie and her husband.
Later that afternoon the police return
Jack’s car. They have discovered the name of the dead man and ask Jack if he
has had any dealings with a photographer called Keith Williams. Jack still has
no memory of the man, but after the police have left, he looks up Williams’
address and goes to check it out. This is not a good decision on a day where so
many things have gone wrong. When he gets to the flat, Jack is attacked and,
when he regains consciousness, he discovers Helen Parkland’s dead body. Again,
Jack has good fortune mingled with the bad. Helen has been dead for several
hours, which makes it unlikely that Jack could have killed her.
However, even a good friend’s patience
can wear thin and, when Jack takes rather too forceful action to deal with a
driver that is trailing him, Harvey Butler is tempted to arrest him. Instead he
allows Jack to travel stealthily to the north of England in an attempt to track
down the one man who can bring down Neville Jacobs. For Jack the whole
experience is a nightmare of danger and frustration as he tries to catch up
with his prey while staying alive himself, and even more important, protecting
the people he loves from being brought into danger by his recklessness. In the
end, the hunter becomes the hunted and Jack is in one of the most dangerous
situations of his life.
Bending the Rules is the fourth book in the series featuring Jack Shepherd.
It is a fast moving, intricately plotted novel, which explores many of the
darker social issues of our time. Jack is a protagonist who is fallible but
determined and, above all, is a man of great integrity. As I was reading, he
reminded me of Don Quixote, and I was amused when Jack likens himself to that
legendary fighter of lost causes. Jack is a likeable protagonist with an
appealing network of family and friends that he cares about deeply and would do
anything to protect. Bending the Rules is a superb thriller and an
incisive social commentary on corrupt and dangerous times. It is a page turner.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
his career working in the theatre as an actor and a director.From there he moved into television as an independent writer/producer/director. Screen
credits include arts series, entertainment features, drama documentaries, drama
series and TV films. Turning crime novelist in 2014, he introduced
Bristol private eye Jack Shepherd in Closing
the Distance.The second thriller, Changing the Odds, was published the
following year.Bending the Rules is the latest in the series. He is a member of
BAFTA and the Crime Writers Association.
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher.She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels,
was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To
read the interview click on the link below.