Guest Post/Virtual Tour with Giveaway ~ Snifter Of Death by Chris Karlsen

Writing the story I swore I wouldn’t!

After a satisfying twenty-five-year career in law enforcement, nineteen of which were as a detective, I retired. When the job was exciting, it was very exciting. I'd met many interesting people, had a lot of laughs, and ended it happy and healthy. I looked forward to the free time retirement would give me and the opportunity to take writing lessons. I'd had a historical romance in my head for a long, long time and couldn't wait to tell it. The one thing I didn't want to write was a contemporary cop story. I love to read them, especially Joe Wambaugh, Mike Connelly, and John Sandford. Writing one myself held no interest for me. I never, ever thought I'd need to think about police work again, other than to watch NCIS, Bosch, Murdoch Mysteries, and Foyle’s War.

That belief held true until book 2 in my historical romance series, Journey in Time. In that story, the heroine, a modern London attorney caught in a time warp and now in Medieval England must present a case before King Edward. She is both prosecutor and defendant. I found myself reliving my trial experiences in criminal court. It started with the scene of the crime where she defended herself but is accused of provoking the attack. She must choose what can be used as evidence in her case against the attacker.  More important, she must choose what to use in her defense. The year is 1355. As there is no science to aid her, I had to make good use with what evidence was on hand: an altered gown, a whip, and a disputed ring.

In my Bloodstone series, I’ve done what I swore I wouldn't—I wrote a cop story. I just chose a historical setting. The character came to me while writing another book. Everything about him was crystal clear in my mind from the beginning. My protagonist, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone (Ruddy), is a Victorian man. He is a detective with London Metropolitan Police Service and the year of Silk (book 1) is 1888, the year Jack the Ripper appeared on the scene. Ruddy does not investigate the Ripper murders. I wanted him to have a serial killer of his own to discover. My current release, Snifter of Death is set in 1889. Once again he is pursuing an unusual serial killer.

He had many of the same issues as my heroine in Journey in Time: he lacked the benefit of forensic science. These settings are shortly before even the rudimentary study of fingerprints. Once more I went back to work I thought I'd left behind. Except this time, I didn't have forensics to rely on either. As I had Ruddy walk through the crime scenes, I "shadowed" him, noting what might be useful as evidence. We both had to rely on old fashioned police work to glean what we could from the scenes.

I gave him the ability to do ornamental iron work, a skill he learned from his blacksmith father. He creates pretty garden furniture and gates as a hobby and to make a little extra money. He works off sketches and uses his artistic ability to draw suspects from victim and witness descriptions. In Silk and Snifter of Death, he also uses his skill to recreate crime scenes for comparisons to photographs. (I allowed Ruddy the luxury of a young constable who admires him to take crime scene photographs) In Snifter of Death, he also is able to sketch suspects from victim description, predating the use of official police sketch artists.

Ruddy is from a working class family. He’s a war hero who doesn’t think of himself as a hero. His dog, Winky, was a starving stray he adopted, he likes music halls and has a lady he’s fond of that is a music hall actress. Diplomacy when dealing with influential people is not his strong suit. He has a sometimes healthy, sometimes problematic disregard for politicians and administrators.  

One of the problems that arose in the Jack the Ripper investigations was conflict between the two different London police agencies involved. Another was how media presented the handling of those cases by the police. They’re stumbling blocks for Ruddy to overcome both professionally and personally.

Some people have mentioned a comparison to Sherlock Holmes because of the timeframe. Ruddy is not the perfect investigator Sherlock is and I like him all the more for his mistakes. He follows the wrong leads, as do real life detectives. I think it makes him plausible for the reader. Sherlock had the keen aid of Dr. Watson who the perfect companion for Holmes, very handy as he is a trained medical doctor.

I don't think Ruddy ever needed fellow detective Sherlock Holmes but at times I'm sure he'd have welcomed Dr. Watson's help. He might not have used it, but I think he'd take his suggestions into consideration. Ruddy knows he has a reliable partner in Archie Holbrook. Archie isn’t a skilled doctor but he is keen-eyed, affable, and even tempered with a strong moral code. He is a perfect foil for Ruddy. Ruddy has a sharp tongue and short fuse, which can land him in a pot of jam if he isn’t careful. Archie is the voice of reason that keeps Ruddy’s temper in check when other forces are working to fire him up.

Silk and Snifter of Death have been so much fun to write, in spite of my initial reluctance to write a cop story. Starting with the setting: Victorian London, what better place for murders? It has elegant black carriages drawn with a matching team of horses. They pass by colonnaded Georgian townhomes with expensive Palladian windows. They carry well-dressed couples on the way to dinners where footmen and butlers will serve them platters of delicacies. Then there’s the East End riddled with poverty. There gaunt children with hungry eyes stare out from doorways, desperate women sell themselves for pennies in order to have a roof over their heads for the night. Coal soot covers rat infested tenements. The class structure is so deeply embedded in the culture it is as much a part of the landscape as Stonehenge.

There’s an abundance of choices I can pick from to encompass Ruddy’s environment. I love filling Ruddy’s world with colorful characters and flushing out his personality by showing how he interacts with them and the events in his life.   

Series: Bloodstone Series, Book 2
Publisher: CreateSpace (April 8, 2017)
Genre: Historical Suspense
ISBN-10: 1545211094
ISBN-13: 978-1545211090
ASIN: B06ZZ262S7
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository

snifter-of-death

The summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner. They had a sexual pervert loose. The man didn't actually harm women but threatened them at knife point, fondling them, and ultimately stealing their stockings. Far more serious were the murders of influential men, which appeared random other than they were all killed by arsenic poison. Never had he and his partner had cases with so little workable evidence. Also, the rivalry between him and his detective nemesis at London's other police department was intensifying. That nemesis was the boxing champion of their department and looking to challenge Rudyard, who never trained as a boxer. Besides Rudyard's pride being at stake, and the pride of his station, his nemesis also had in his possession a scandalous photograph of the women Rudyard cared very much for. The new lady in Rudyard's life had captured his heart and he'd fight the devil himself to save her reputation.

There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card.

Giveaway ends on December 4th


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I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

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Excerpt ~

“What address do you show for the Cross family?” the Vicar asked. Her mind went completely blank. Finally, she blurted the only one that came to her, which was no doubt wrong. “Park Lane.”

The Vicar smirked. Not smiled. Smirked. That meant it had to be wrong.

“I suggest you start there. In the meantime, I will have my housekeeper escort you out. I don’t know what you’re playing at but I don’t care for mischief. You’ll do your soul a good turn to drop a coin in the poor box on your way to the street.” He rang a small bell on his desk and the housekeeper came. “See this lady out.”

Graciela stood on the top stair of the chapel cursing her luck when a man’s disturbingly familiar laugh interrupted her thoughts. She took a quick step to the left and flattened herself against one of the portico pillars. The horrible laugh rippled over from close by. It sounded like Detective Bloodstone’s from the morning she’d bailed out Addy. He’d said something that sent the shine boy scampering away and had all the detectives snickering, including Bloodstone.

Taking a deep breath, she peered around the edge of the pillar expecting to see the detective. His presence would’ve been the perfect end to this entire St. Jude’s Chapel mission-turned-catastrophe. To her great relief, it came from a carriage driver. She hadn’t noticed a group of them gathered at the corner waiting to be hired. Graciela, you had no reason to be frightened. You’d done nothing wrong. Stop being such a ninny.

She left the church and headed home. Zachary would be getting up from her nap soon. The whole way home she questioned her luck. A dozen people are murdered every day in London.

How hard can it be to kill someone?

***

Excerpt from Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.

Tour Schedule

11/01 Review @ The Literary Apothecary
11/02 Interview @ Mythical Books
11/03 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape
11/03 Showcase @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
11/04 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook
11/04 Showcase @ Chill and read
11/06 Showcase @ Buried Under Books
11/07 Guest post @ Aurora Bs Book Blog
11/08 Showcase @ 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News
11/09 Guest post @ Loris Reading Corner
11/10 Showcase @ Readaholic
11/11 Showcase @ Books, Dreams, Life
11/13 Interview @ CMash Reads
11/14 Interview @ Writers and Authors
11/14 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
11/15 Showcase @ Tome Tender
11/21 Review @ sunny island breezes
11/28 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
11/29 Review @ Lets Talk About Books
12/01 Review @ just reviews
12/04 Blog Talk Radio w/ Fran Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Great post!  Such an awesome bio!

  2. I want to thank Lori's Reading Corner for the opportunity to showcase Sniter of Death and to share my thoughts on writing my Victorian detective, Rudyard Bloodstone.

    Chris Karlsen

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