Thank you for taking the time to read about this inspirational story.
The author is a criminal lawyer. However as well as practising crime, he specialise in human and animal rights. He also lectures on these subjects and has studied Criminology. written Animals and Cruelty and Law.
He has written an analysis of legal cruelty in Animals Cruelty and Law recently. (See BBC Knowledge – October 2008.)
As a lawyer he deals with serious and complex cases. The areas include animal cruelty, armed robbery, rape, multiple fraud and murder. He has also represented mentally ill defendants in the Crown Court and at Mental Health Review Tribunals.
He was a Facilitator on the Human Rights Courses for fellow lawyers. He has an in-depth knowledge of Animal Law and has written studies such as Violence and Speciesism, and The Animals and Children and the Cycle Of Cruelty.
He has appeared on local and national radio to discuss the legal aspects of animal and human rights.
This book that will not change your life.
It will define it.
Zowie Darrow suffers a serious sexual assault as a teenager. As a result she has a breakdown and is forced to give up her intended career as a singer. Instead she trains to become a lawyer. Time passes and she is briefed to prosecute a very high-profile case of three thugs who torture and burn Molly, a Shetland pony in foal, to death.
Zowie usually known as "Zogger" because of a childhood lisp that caused her to mispronounce her name, is the flawed heroine. She is going through a traumatic period in her personal life and professional life. She decides to make this her last case. As she prepares for Trial she loses her objectivity as a lawyer. Molly's owner is so affected by the incident she falls ill and dies during the trial.
The trio who are violent criminals and known to be guilty, are acquitted. After the verdicts the defendants call Zogger and re-enact Molly's death in front of her in the Court foyer. All the problems in her life cultimate causing her to decide to seek revenge against the thugs.
Zowie is also part of a rock band. They are committed to animal rights as a philosophy. Mainly because of her influence and their ideals they become outlaws, following the guerrilla tactics of their mentor, the criminal lawyer turned criminal freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. Zowie gets inside information from the brief on the abattoir where the trio work. One of the band, her former lover, Deke Rivers, gets a job there by subterfuge.
They torture the thugs and having tasted the anarchy find they like the flavour. The roles are reversed as the band vow to fight their crusade and seek out animal abusers. They visit factory farms and vivisection labs. Their journey takes an unexpected turn when Rivers betray them.
"Though it’s true the night has a thouasnd eyes tonight they might as well all have been lind. For tonight would live on, yet with the shifting sands of time offer no cure for a broken heart or mind."
After reading about a mass horse mutilation in The Times: November 2005 by unknown assailants I dwelt on the offence and the likely offender. The incident had raised psychological and sexual issues as well as the current criminological research, which confirms the connection between cruelty to animals and children.
Zowie Darrow, known as "Zogger", is the heroine. It had to be a woman due to the nature of the story and the emotional osmosis that only women feel and understand.
Her strength and weakness sprung from the same source. Zogger had the insight so that she "Saw deep in the eyes of the animals and the human soul look out upon me." So when the verdict was delivered it was as disastrous for her as if The Moors Murderers had escaped their deserts. Worse, the act that primed her mind was when the acquitted defendants called her name and re-enacted the death of Molly to mock her in the Court Foyer. At that precise moment all their lives were intertwined and changed forever.
I did not want to write the story as a simple tale of conflict and resolution that left the reader with a satisfied mind. I wanted to explore difficult areas of morality. Many great books have at their core a lesson that life is often impure and rarely simple.
I developed that theme for at heart animal rights is concerned with the immorality of speciesism. That is inextricably linked with justice as we discriminate against those who are "different" according to our own prejudice and power.
Zogger understood all too well the ideas Singer postulated were unpalatable truths for most humans. It was the reason she adopted the principles previously espoused by Nelson Mandela. Mandela chose violence over silence; Zogger used his revolutionary zeal to persuade the band to follow in his footsteps.
It is a miscarriage of justice for an innocent man to be convicted of any offence, no matter how serious or seemingly trivial. Yet it is equally a miscarriage of justice for three guilty men to be acquitted.
She is stricken with a personal dilemma because the moment she receives the brief she loses her professional objectivity. Her compass is her prejudice.
When they are acquitted she has a moral dilemma. At the time her life in law has gone stale. She is close to another breakdown and is "Bored by burglars and buggers."
The pejorative use of language to personify women as animals justifies bad behaviour. It is why the thugs re-enacted the death of Molly as a threat to Zogger. It communicated to her their hatred for her. Hence it caused the reciprocity of hater in her.
I needed a character with a strong sense of morality, driven with fervour for a cause she was willing to die for, if she had to make that choice.
Zogger is aware in every sense that she is playing with fire. There is a dichotomy, which needs a resolution, as the defendants are intent on using strategies to avoid justice, added and abetted by a crooked lawyer. The prosecution have to cope with honest policeman who have grown cynical because criminals constantly escaping justice grinds them down.
Zogger has to use her talent to ensure justice is done.
When she fails it is one blow too many for her fragile mind. It serves as traumatic reminder of her own past. Her crisis is magnified.
Although the novel is within the crime genre I have no interest in the straightforward detective story. My aim was to avoid the formulaic and prosaic novel-by-numbers approach. My intention is to explore the concepts of good and evil so as to engage the reader on their own moral journey.
When Toni Morrison was asked what she wanted to from her work she answered…. "How to handle it so the reader is only aware of the rabbit that comes out of the hat and doesn’t see the false bottom."
Strangely when Anne Sexton was asked the same question she replied… "Courage, of course. That’s the most important ingredient."
My novel resonates with Our fate and fortune and future will be forged be the last moral crusade "questioning of identity" that the novel needs in the 21st century. It is of and for our times.
If having had an apetitizer into Hellsucks you would like to read the book there are many ways to purchase this book.
You can purchase online via the websites below:
Alternatively it will be in all well known book stores.
Or you can order direct from:
Alibi, PO BOX 1615, Langton, Bristol, BS40 5WF
Tel Number: 078170 96034
details to follow shortly
Cost of the Book £6.99
Paperback: 360 pages