Sunday, 6 January 2013
Blood Passage, the first Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel
As 2013 swings into gear, we're pleased to see that readership of The Overnight Bestseller is steadily growing. We recognize, though, that everyone's time is severely divided these days and that new blog readers don't often have an opportunity to explore the archives to play catch-up on past posts.
In the spirit of bringing back to light relevant information that may lie buried beneath the silt, we thought it might be fun to do a refresh of the Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series, beginning with Blood Passage.
Would you believe a small boy who claims he was murdered in his previous life?
A university graduate student researching past life memories experienced by small children arrives in Glendale, Maryland to investigate reports that little Taylor Chan has begun to talk about his previous life as Martin Liu, his mother's cousin, who was shot and left to die in an alley four years ago. Taylor recalls details about unfamiliar people that Martin knew. He asks questions about the strange bird tattoos on the chest of Martin's cousin, "Uncle" Peter Mah, which the boy has never seen because they relate to Peter's affiliation with the local Triad brotherhood. He also remembers the names of the men who shot him and left him to bleed to death "when he was Martin."
When the graduate student is beaten up for asking questions in the wrong places, Homicide Lieutenant Hank Donaghue and Detective Karen Stainer find that the Martin Liu cold case has suddenly become hot. However, while they go back through the murder book and begin the investigation from scratch, Peter Mah follows clues supplied by little Taylor to track down the men responsible for Martin's shooting, and he exacts his own revenge, throwing the local Asian community and his Triad brothers into turmoil at the same time.
The Inspiration for the Story
Taylor Chan and his memories of his past life as Martin Liu were inspired by Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives, by Dr. Jim B. Tucker (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005). Dr. Tucker, medical director of the Child & Family Psychiatry Clinic at the University of Virginia, is a child psychiatrist who directs research into the past life recollections of small children, an ongoing project founded by Ottawa native Dr. Ian Stevenson in the 1960s. To the best of my knowledge, their research has never led them into an open murder investigation, but the subject immediately appealed to me as a great premise for a crime fiction novel.
What You Need To Know
Blood Passage is a police procedural, meaning that its primary focus is on the homicide investigations of Hank Donaghue and Karen Stainer. Every attempt is made in the novel, and the series as a whole, to depict police activities as accurately as possible, with a little artistic license built in to allow for the fact that the Glendale Police Department doesn't actually exist! The policies and procedures followed by the GPD are influenced by several U.S. municipal police departments (whose SOPs are actually available online), FBI guidelines, and general law enforcement policies and procedures with which I'm familiar from various sources, including my own experiences during 15 years with the Canada Border Services Agency.
It's not necessary to believe in reincarnation to read and enjoy Blood Passage. While Taylor Chan and his past-life memories echo real-life cases reported by Dr. Tucker, and while these cases present some very compelling evidence suggesting reincarnation as a possible explanation for these memories, you are not expected to accept that Taylor was, in fact, the reincarnated spirit of Martin Liu. The central characters, with the exception of Peter Mah, do not necessarily believe in reincarnation at the end of the story. The theme is presented to entertain, and also to make you think, but not to convince. What you believe is up to you.
Blood Passage, as is the case with every novel in the series, has been very carefully written, edited, and produced. Attention to detail is a way of life for us. The manuscript is reviewed by multiple sets of eyes in each stage of preparation, and while human error can never be completed overcome, the book you buy is as clean and error-free as we can make it. Blood Passage contains two typographical errors of which I'm aware: a missing space, and a word that should have been deleted in the "About the Author" blurb at the end but wasn't. If you can find another one, I'd love to hear about it. I might even send you a free t-shirt.
Where to Buy It
Blood Passage is available in paperback from any bookstore that has online access to the Ingram Catalog. They can order it for you right away. It's also available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sources throughout the world.
Blood Passage is available in ebook format from Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, iTunes for any Apple device with an e-reader app, Kobo, and Sony.