Bray People - - NEWS -

Carol Cof­fey has dipped her toe into the world of crime-fight­ing with the launch of her fifth novel, The Pact.

The Bless­ing­ton au­thor’s lat­est book tells the story of Richmond homi­cide de­tec­tive Lock­lear, who is called in to in­ves­ti­gate the at­tempted mur­der of a young Men­non­ite in a Vir­ginian farm­ing town and he is in­stantly drawn into a web of se­crecy and lies span­ning back to the Amer­i­can Civil War. Frus­trated by the re­fusal of lo­cals to co-op­er­ate with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he re­alises that to find the per­pe­tra­tor he must first solve a 150-year-old mys­tery. With his leads re­stricted to his­tor­i­cal records, the Na­tive Amer­i­can is run­ning out of time to save the or­phaned boy’s sib­lings from a sim­i­lar fate. As the body count in a seem­ing lo­cal feud rises, Lock­lear is no nearer to solv­ing the most com­plex case of his ca­reer.

Be­fore be­com­ing a writer, Carol was a teacher by pro­fes­sion and worked in the area of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion for over 30 years. Her ex­ten­sive back­ground in dis­abil­i­ties al­lows her to bring the world of spe­cial needs to the wider pop­u­la­tion through her writ­ing.

‘I am al­ways keen to in­tro­duce my read­ers to new worlds and new themes,’ she said.

In her de­but novel, The But­ter­fly State, Carol ex­am­ined the re­al­ity of a young girl with Autis­tic Spec­trum Dis­or­der and the dif­fi­cul­ties pre­sented by ev­ery­day oc­cur­rences. The Pe­nance Room pro­vided an in­sight into the im­pact of deaf­ness and its re­sul­tant iso­la­tion on the emo­tional well-be­ing of a child. The book also ex­am­ines the im­pact of im­mi­gra­tion and as­sim­i­la­tion into very dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Win­ter Flow­ers ex­plored the im­pact of gen­er­a­tional dys­func­tion on the de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren, and The In­cred­i­ble Life of Jonathan Doe, delved into our per­cep- tion of iden­tity, about find­ing out who we are and where we truly be­long.

‘ The thread of iden­tity and be­long­ing also runs through my lat­est novel The Pact,’ ex­plained Carol.

‘From birth, chil­dren de­velop a per­cep­tion of who they are through their re­la­tion­ships with their fam­ily, friends and the peo­ple in their com­mu­ni­ties. Hav­ing a strong sense of iden­tity as­sists chil­dren to de­velop a sense of be­long­ing and also, of se­cu­rity.

‘With­out the right in­put, the neg­a­tive views a child might have of him­self may per­pet­u­ate in adult­hood. Chil­dren who ex­pe­ri­enced a dis­rupted child­hood or a child­hood which lacked se­cure at­tach­ments to care­givers often present with emo­tional or so­cial prob­lems in adult­hood in­clud­ing ad­dic­tion.

‘ The Pact’s main char­ac­ter, Lock­lear, is a case in point. The no­madic life his mother sub­jected him to and the ab­sence of fam­ily mem­bers with whom he could iden­tify, learn from and im­i­tate, stunted his emo­tional de­vel­op­ment and led to a life ab­sent of any true emo­tional con­nec­tions and all too typ­i­cally, to sub­stance abuse. As a re­sult of his up­bring­ing, Lock­lear knows noth­ing of his Na­tive Amer­i­can back­ground and his un­ease, when sur­rounded by peo­ple who have a strong sense of place, of race, re­li­gion, fam­ily, etc., is pal­pa­ble through­out the novel,’ said Carol.

As a de­tec­tive novel, Carol said that her lat­est of­fer­ing is quite a de­par­ture from the themes in her first four nov­els but be­lieves that this is a ‘nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion’ for many writ­ers who want to ex­plore new worlds with their writ­ing as they grow in con­fi­dence.

While it is a step into the un­known, it’s one Carol hopes to take again in the near fu­ture.

‘For me, Sergeant Lock­lear is wait­ing for me to re­vive him and tell the next part of his story. I hope to do just that very soon,’ she said.

‘ The Pact’ is pub­lished by Pool­beg Press and is on sale now with a rec­om­mended re­tail price of €14.99.

Carol Cof­fey.

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