By Charles R. Stubbs – Author of the Travis #WebOfDeceit series of Mystery Thrillers
When I think about what inspired me to write my second novel, ‘Retribution’, it centres round how today’s media control and influence what we believe to be true. The news channels and papers provide a running commentary on events, often interpreting information in a way that suits a particular agenda. Sometimes the stories they peddle and publish turn out simply to be untrue, but that doesn’t stop people believing them.
In the UK during the early years of this century, certain newspapers pushed press intrusion beyond the boundaries of what most people would consider acceptable. It was not only celebrities and politicians they set their sights on. Ordinary members of the public found themselves the subject of innuendo, supposition and hypothesis. If an individual’s private life could be linked by journalists to a story, then that person was considered to be ‘fair game’. Some of the techniques used to obtain information were actually illegal.
Concern was raised, in particular, about the practice of ‘phone hacking’: listening to a person’s stored voicemails on their mobile (cell) phone account. The UK newspaper industry’s watchdog, the Press Complaints Commission, investigated on several occasions, and each time concluded that such activity was confined to a handful of ‘rogue’ reporters and private investigators. However, when an external inquiry was eventually set up, it found that the practice was widespread across the industry.
‘Retribution’ sets out to take the reader on a journey through a haphazard and sometimes conflicting series of events, guided only by ‘snippets of information’. This is what happens in real life. When a story first breaks, generally facts are hard to come by, so news organisations and the public alike are obliged to speculate on what might have happened. If the story sells well, a frantic scramble ensues for more information. Every news outlet and title wants to be first with the next development, insight or new angle. Frequently in this ‘race to be first’, corners are cut, facts are not checked: the result can be confusion and chaos.
The readers of ‘Retribution’ experience this at first hand, being invited at every turn and twist in the story to postulate what might actually be going on, based on the information presented to them. By halfway through the novel I want the reader to feel overwhelmed, floundering even, in a state of confusion; yet fascinated enough by the characters and what is happening to them to want to know more. I recognise that some readers will feel frustrated by this approach. But my message is that those who do persevere to the end are rewarded by revelations that I hope will prompt them to seriously question and challenge what they are presented with on a day-to-day basis by the media in their ‘real world’.
You can buy mystery thriller ‘Retribution’ as a Kindle eBook on Amazon for just $2.99/£1.99. Search for ‘retribution stubbs’, or click this link: http://viewBook.at/Retribution.
Early readers/reviewers described ‘Retribution’ as “Amazing!” and a “Masterpiece of suspense”.
Charles’s website is at: http://webofdeceit.org. His blog, which examines how the modern media control and influence our lives, is at http://webofdeceit.org/blogs. You can follow him on Twitter: @charlesrstubbs.