I released Dead Blind into the world on Tuesday 8th May and it is a book that means a lot to me. A book that I want to do well and that I want readers to connect with and enjoy. More so than any of my other books, I realised. And I got to wondering why that was.
Why was Dead Blind more important to me than any of the DI Hannah Robbins series books? Why did I feel so connected to this book?
Then it came to me, me and the protagonist, DI Ray Patrick, we actually have quite a lot in common.
He’s on a better wage than I was! That certainly isn’t something we share.
But, after an accident at work, Ray is left with the debilitating condition prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness. An inability to recognise a person by their face. This includes their own when looking in a mirror. Can you imagine how scary that must be!
Anyway, Ray has to make a decision, he’s a cop, it’s a job he loves and now he has this condition. It’s his life. He will never be the same. There is no cure. It will affect everything.
And I knew how that felt. I was in the police when I was diagnosed with the genetic condition Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I had to face the prospect of what that meant for me and what it meant for the job. Hypermobile EDS means that my body is more mobile than the average persons and it was possible if I was in a confrontational event, that I could come away a shoulder out of place or other joints. It was a huge relief for me to have the diagnosis. I had been undiagnosed for my entire life. But, I was now more symptomatic and it was going to have an impact on the job I loved.
This is what Ray was faced with. If he disclosed it, what would they do? Would they bench him? Stop him doing the job he lived for? So, for Ray, he kept it quiet. His health was fine and he used, what are called, identifiers, to … identify people he knew at work.
For me, I informed work. And things changed. There were tasks I was no longer allowed to do. The risk of injury was too high. Even though I had been doing them throughout my service, now they were aware they had to cover themselves. My career was over at that point.
The emotion in Ray, it was my emotion. It’s real. But I didn’t recognise it, (much like Ray with faces) until after the book was written and after it was released. His love of the job, the turmoil about the decision, the angst about what he was doing, all of it came from a place of personal knowledge and pain. I had channelled everything I had felt about the diagnosis and the pain of leaving the police, into the book. So, yes, Dead Blind is a special book. It does mean a lot to me. I feel a huge connection to it. To be faced with a life-changing event, one that is your health, and a career you love, it’s hard.
I eventually had to take medical retirement. You’ll have to read the book to find out what Ray has to do. And I hope you can feel Ray’s struggle as he makes his decision and goes along with it.
You can read the prologue HERE.
Buy Dead blind HERE.
How do you identify a ruthless killer when you can’t even recognise your own face in a mirror?
Returning to work following an accident, Detective Inspector Ray Patrick refuses to disclose he now lives with face blindness – an inability to recognise faces.
As Ray deceives his team he is pulled into a police operation that targets an international trade in human organs. And when he attempts to bring the organisation down, Ray is witness to a savage murder.
But it’s a killer he will never remember.
The pressure mounts as Ray attempts to keep his secret and solve the case alone. With only his ex-wife as a confidant he feels progressively isolated.
Can he escape with his career and his life intact?
Melanie Hodges says
My heart really went out to you while reading this Rebecca. I too understand how difficult it is to have to give up a career you love due to failing health but yours more so as I appreciate the level of training and experience you have undergone to reach the position you did. However, I think you have to look on the positive side and realise the difference you made during your service while also considering what you’ve achieved since leaving the force.
I truly wish you the very best of luck and see future possibilities awaiting you.
Take care of yourself
Rebecca Bradley says
Thank you, Melanie. 🙂 x
Whether it is because I know you via social media or what but I could tell in your writing that you were drawing on personal experience being in a job you loved but were faced with an illness that made things more difficult.
Rebecca Bradley says
That’s kind of you to say so, Claire.
Margot Kinberg says
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your story. Writing a book that means so much to you personally is as much a labour of love, so to speak, as anything else. And I really hope that it does very well.
Rebecca Bradley says
Thanks, Margot x