‘Father of Lies’ by Sarah England debuts today on Amazon. A horror in the true sense of the word, this book even comes with a warning! I, for one, however, am immensely looking forward to getting stuck in. I have a feeling this is going to be something of a bestseller! Here Sarah tells us about what inspired her to write it, gives us a synopsis of what it’s all about and an excerpt too. There are buy links at the end of the post if you fancy reading more. Over to you, Sarah…
This book is a culmination of many factors – firstly I originally trained as a nurse and then went to work as a medical rep, eventually specialising in mental health, so much of the medical angle comes from my own background. As part of my my job I worked closely with the psychiatrists treating schizophrenia and depressive illnesses, setting up workshops and conferences, analysing clinical papers and taking a keen interest in the subject area. After I retired from the pharmaceutical industry, I spent over a decade writing fiction – mostly short stories and serials for magazines, but also one novel and a collection of thrillers; and so, when I met a lady who suffered from what used to be called multiple personality disorder (now called Disassociative Identity Disorder), I felt it all came together and was compelled to write, ‘Father of Lies’. Around 90% of cases of DID are attributable to child abuse, and thus, although there is nothing graphic in the novel, there has to be a start – a reason – for my main character, Ruby, to be the way she is. Sadly and shockingly, this still goes on today, and that’s why I describe the root cause as the heart of darkness. I hope that, by looking at the consequences of such evil, a strong message will come across – that we cannot turn a blind eye to what happens to thousands of children around the world, with the resulting damage to both individuals and society. That was the point of writing this book, which also, of course, is designed to scare the reader witless!
Ruby is the most aggressive and unresponsive psychiatric patient ever to be treated at Drummersgate secure forensic unit, situated on the bleak Derbyshire moors.
Admitted nearly two years ago following attempted murder in an isolated mining village, Ruby appears to have no family and no identity. No one knows who the violently troubled twenty-seven year old is, least of all Ruby herself.
Family man, Jack McGowan, Medical Director and Consultant Psychiatrist, decides to try something radical in order to discover the root of her trauma. The staff are exhausted and agree to his idea – using hypnosis in conjunction with LSD.
The results are catastrophic. For Jack. His team. And his family.
However, Ruby makes a miraculous recovery – now displaying clear symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder, which involves switching from one deeply disturbing character to another. Jack had planned to be able to treat her at this stage. Instead, he’s suffering from a bizarre type of mental breakdown – rushing around giggling to himself, cancelling his own appointments before turning up for them, and having horrific nightmares. At least he thought they were nightmares – but as the darkness takes on a pulsating, breathing life of its own, he’s no longer sure.
Specialist Registrar, Claire Airy, contacts D.I.D. expert in Leeds, Dr. Kristy Silver. Kristy has a client with an almost identical profile to Ruby in Leeds – a client who grew up in Woodsend, the same mining village in which Ruby attempted murder. Perhaps there is a connection? Kristy decides to investigate further with a proposed visit to Ruby; and on the way home that evening she decides to visit Woodsend.
From that point on, unnerving events escalate: Kristy has an unwanted, gruesome passenger in her car; back at the hospital Jack has barricaded himself inside his office; and Becky the ward sister, has a sudden and violent accident.
Every mental health professional involved in the case then goes on to experience some kind of inexplicable and de-stabilising incident, and soon a terrifying picture begins to unfold. One which challenges the very fabric of society, and those in whom we put our trust. One which leads us directly back to the heart of darkness, and the Father of Lies.
Excerpt from Father of Lies:
The journey home was a blur of shock. Kristy gripped the steering wheel with ice-numb fingers. Her heart pulsed through her body in thick, sickly waves. Everything was so much worse than she’d feared. The whole visit had been on a whim, a hunch, curiosity…call it what you will, but now…now it was like having walked through the back of a wardrobe into a fairytale horror and not being able to get home again. Something was very, very wrong in Woodsend.
She turned up the heater and flicked on all the lights because at this speed no one would see her coming. The Audi powered at 80 mph through thick, grey fog, driven by a woman with the devil on her back.
On either side, the waterlogged moors seeped darkly. As if in wait for that second’s loss of concentration, a swerving of the wheel, a screech of tyres, and the sucking of metal drowning in the bog.
Squinting into the mist, her eyes flicked to the lit dashboard – how odd – that’s what she thought – the temperature was dropping rapidly. Why? The car had just been serviced. Her breath steamed on the air. Muscles rigid. She wriggled her toes – no, nothing – no warmth from the engine at all. There should have been heat surging through by now. Instead it was getting colder than it was outside. Freezing, in fact.
A creeping awareness was how it started, she recalled later – as she lay awake night after night trying to understand, to rationalise what happened next – a musty smell like unwashed clothes on an unwashed body; a sigh of sour breath on the side of her face; a feeling that someone or something, was on the passenger seat beside her, waiting for her to take her eyes off the road and look round. No, not waiting – willing her to…
A shape. Growing. The sound of salivating, raspy breathing. Like a very old man smacking his gums, drawing air from diseased lungs.
Kristy concentrated hard on the road ahead. This was just fear talking. It had a hold on her mind. Focus on the job in hand – on driving safely home – reduce speed and don’t take your eyes off the road for a moment…The car’s headlights reflected their own swirling white light. A fragment of memory – being in a plane – engines humming in a blanket of grey over the North Sea – the unrelenting aborted landings, one after the other, and being unable to see a damn thing. Then suddenly the tarmac and a crack, a bounce, and the relief of touching ground. Soon the lights of town would be ahead and the fog would lift.
But someone really is in the passenger seat.
The strength of presence grew, along with the irresistible desire to turn and see who it was.
A smell – putrid now, decaying, salty blood and sulphur – permeated the air.
Keep looking ahead at the road – each millisecond more is another moment of life….don’t look around…don’t look…
The presence was squelching – shape-shifting – into a recognisable form. Kristy’s side vision deciphered an old hag with ancient, tissue-thin skin and heavy, gnarled features. She knew the look in the woman’s eyes would be older than time itself, and if she met that look the car would go off the road in a heartbeat.
This was a journey she could never relate to another living soul. No one would believe her. Imagine trying to describe it at a dinner party – a few shudders, some more wine-pouring, meaningful glances exchanged – another psychiatrist having a breakdown…Especially since most of her friends were doctors. Well, all of them. How terrible to be thought mad when you were supposed to be saner than sane. To experience what seems real but cannot be. To have to lock all this inside because you can never tell.
Lock what inside? What was this?
The temptation to look at her passenger grew stronger with every passing second, the pull like a magnet.
Don’t look round – whatever you do, Kristy – do not look…
That voice – it was her late father’s…
And then the sharp descent began. The Audi’s headlights picked out the rear-lights of a truck. The belt of fog broke, and ahead lay the metropolis – a basin lit with yellow lights.
The temperature shot up. And the presence evaporated.
Real fear. Well if that’s what she’d gone to find, that’s what she’d got.
She parked, locked up and then quickly ran up the steps to her apartment block, not daring to look over her shoulder. On entering, she walked briskly from room to room switching on all the lights, then poured herself a double scotch from the bottle kept only for Christmas.
And then another.
Sarah qualified as an RGN in Sheffield before working for nearly 20 years in medical sales and marketing. She has been a fiction writer for magazines for over 10 years now and has a comedy novel – ‘Expected’ – and a collection of 25 tales from the dark side of life – ‘3am and Wide Awake’ – also available in digital and paperback form on amazon. All three books are now either newly published or re-published on EchoWords – her own company, which also offers proofreading services. http://www.echowords.org
*’Father of Lies’ is a supernatural horror novel with content which some readers may find very disturbing, and possibly offensive.
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/oakg7yr
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/nc288rp
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