Woohoo! Thrilled to be hosting M. Sean Coleman’s A HOLLOW SKY blog tour today! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources tours for the invite. First a bit about the book and the author before I share the fabulous guest post on “Small Town Mentality”
About the Book
A SUSPENSEFUL, ATMOSPHERIC THRILLER.
Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded.
The next day, Jane died in her husband’s arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.
When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan’s house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.
Fascinated by Megan’s case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.
A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery
About the Author
Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.
Social Media Links –
Small Town Mentality
I am fascinated by the dynamic of small, remote villages, especially in the UK. Places unencumbered by that tedious need to keep up with the times. Where the trappings of modern life—mobile signal, WiFi, a reliable, continuous electricity supply—are a bonus at best. Where a strong, charismatic figure can become a leader and a lynchpin, and where a set of independent rules for rubbing along together are quietly, but doggedly enforced.
I live in one of these places now, to my surprise and delight, though my village is nothing like those very small communities depicted in the Alex Ripley series. It was inevitable, I suppose, that my fascination with rural village life would one day lead me to write a series of books with strange, isolated communities at their heart.
Each of the stories in the Alex Ripley series is set in a remote village in the UK and I would like to think that the setting is as much a character in the book as the people in it. One reviewer observed the clear fondness which comes across in my depiction of these closed communities even though it is precisely this isolation from society which allows the darkness to creep in unchecked.
Behind closed doors, all manner of secrets lurk. Feuds spanning generations, broiling resentments, family secrets, scandals, betrayals, sin—the perfect setting for a juicy mystery. But despite, or perhaps because of this shared history, there is a sense of support and togetherness which you don’t find in the city, so long as you’re one of the locals.
Of course, I’m being dramatic, but that’s my job, right? I know that for the most part village life, like city life, is largely dull and uneventful, but there is something so enticing about the way a community can close ranks around its own to keep the darkest of secrets from prying eyes. There is something perfect, for a thriller writer, about their innate suspicion of the outsider, the prying stranger with their different ways.
In many ways that stranger is me. I was brought up in South Africa and we moved a few times during my childhood before returning to the UK and moving a couple of times again. It meant that I was always the stranger in a new place, usually where everyone else had known each other since nursery. In some ways I longed to fit in, but in others I celebrated being different and apart.
When you are always on the outside, looking in, you see more. And you learn how to adapt yourself slightly to feel like less of a stranger to people, whether that is a lilting mimicry of their accent or mannerisms, or the expression of a shared belief, understanding or passion. You need to find the shortcuts to get people to accept you and let you in.
That, perhaps, is why I can stand in Alex Ripley’s shoes as she arrives in these strange, small communities to begin her investigations. She doesn’t ever have much time to find those cracks and understand who to trust and who to watch out for. She works off instinct. She understands people, especially in those closed communities, and she knows how to inveigle her way into people’s trust.
She is able to tell the village gossip from the font of all knowledge, and the community leader from the controlling dictator. These characters will feel familiar to anyone who has spent any time in a small village. This protective shell around their own will feel safe, yet slightly uncomfortable. Because there is always a secret hidden somewhere there. And Ripley is able to unpick the threads and ribbons each community have carefully woven around their secrets until their heart is laid bare, and the darkness exposed.
Of course, it’s all just make believe… I hope people in my village know I’m only joking when I tell them not to annoy me or they’ll end up in the next book. 😉
Thanks to the author, M. Sean Coleman for stopping by my blog today – great post! Make sure to follow the rest of the tour here: