Intrigue and mystery set in France. Colette Bataille, a single mother, falls desperately in love with the charismatic and handsome Father Jean Baptiste who grips her into a mystical hold. But she soon finds he is no ordinary Catholic priest. As she starts to investigate the past of this fallen man, her son dies. Colette suspects he has been murdered. She steps up her investigations only to uncover a group of dangerous collaborators. Can she escape this world of deceit and get the revenge she craves? This is a stunning book with vivid characters and a gripping story.
I was not remotely prepared for what the book had in store for me. From the very first scene we have a very powerful and very graphic story about sexual escapades and corruption in the Catholic Church, yet we also get a compelling read through and through. How does she do it?
We all know the things that go on in the Catholic Church, which is not to say that they are the only place for them to happen. The setting is perfect though.
Spedding has created a scenario, not unlikely to happen, and a few amazing characters that won’t let you forget them. A well plotted and edgy piece of art.
What results may be shocking and agonizing to some, it is dark, like Sally Spedding’s other work, and pulls no punches. It’s liberating to read someone so outspoken, artistic in her writing and so absolutely engaging.
Not recommended for the faint-hearted but highly recommended for everyone else.
Here is an interview with Sally and a link to my review of Cold Remains, which won my Crime Noir Award last year.
First up, please tell us about your connection to Wales.
I was born in Porthcawl to a Welsh mother and Dutch father (with German/Spanish origins) Returned to Wales for 18 years and taught at Ysgol Gyfun Tregib in Llandeilo. Back again, to lovely Carmarthenshire in 2007.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
I began writing as a 9 year-old during rows and tensions at my Dutch grandparents’ beautiful but spooky house on the Blorenge near Abegavenny. They’d lost so many of their families in Occupied Holland (who’d insisted on staying) they found it hard to cope, especially as suspicion of anyone with a German surname, was still rife. Even the local vicar kept a rifle under his altar. They’d previously had to hide for 2 years in a cottage in the woods, for safety.
Why did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s)?
Perhaps because of the betrayals I’d heard about, and since experienced. Because I’m fascinated by the duplicity of people and places. Also, that justice is rare.
Tell us about the concept behind your book(s).
My latest psychological crime novel, ‘Cut to the Bone’ deals with the hazards of adoption. Sometimes one doesn’t even fathom one’s own children, never mind someone else’s. When Lionel Shriver was asked why she’d never had children, replied that it was like opening the back door and not knowing who was coming in. Chilling, but it rings true. The book is set near Coventry where a London overspill slum is separated from high-end luxury living by a mere strip pf Tarmac. Rita Martin is my favourite character. She’s brave and determined in the face of huge disadvantage and loss.
What is your life like outside of writing? What makes you laugh and what makes you cry?
My husband, Jeffrey, and artist, makes me laugh, and our lovely granddaughter who can, miraculously, balance a spoon against her face. People who, because of their background and/or religion, are made to feel excluded. Cruelty to animals makes me cry. Ritual slaughter is barbaric and unecessary. As are live animal transports.
Who is your favourite Welsh author?
Picking just one would leave too many out. But they know who they are!
What is the best thing about Wales?
The wild places. The fantastic people I know.
What are you working on now?
A crime series set in France involving wannabe gendarme Delphine Rougier, who’s had a tough life, but is full of ambition. Sometimes recklesly so. ‘Footfall’ is ready to go, and ‘Featherblade’ is still being edited.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is just doing it. The worst is not being able to, for whatever reason.
What is your advice to new writers?
Write for yourself, not the perceived ‘market.’ Read your heroes, and get out there and mingle!
What is your favourite book?
‘The Pledge’ by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. A study in obsession set in a claustrophobic part of Switzerland
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
‘A Song for Drowned Souls’ by Bernard Minier. Paperback.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Fine. At least criticism shows interest!
Conect with Sally on
Twitter – @SallySpedding
Facebook – www.facebook.com/sally.spedding
or her Website – www.sallyspedding.com