Title: Rubble and the Wreckage (A Gabriel Church Tale #1)
Author: Rodd Clark
Genre: MM Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Driven Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2015
Word Count: ~102,000 words (~254 pages)
Gabriel Church knows you can’t take a life without first understanding just how feeble life is, how tentative and weak it stands alone. If you desire murder, you hold a life in your hand. Whether you release it to grant life or grip tighter to end it, it is at your command and discretion. Gabriel is a serial killer with a story he wants told.
Christian Maxwell studied abnormal psychology in college but chose instead to focus on a career in writing. His background comes in handy when he thinks of writing about a serial killer. He can’t think of anyone more qualified to write the story of Gabriel Lee Church, and do so in the murderer’s own words. It’s been done before, but never with a killer who has yet to be captured or convicted.
There was never anything more than a gentleman’s understanding between the two men that Christian would record Gabriel’s life story. The killer did not ask for his complicity in any crimes, nor did he ever ask for his silence. Christian’s interest in the man, though, is fast becoming something more than academic. When the writer and his subject become unexpected friends and then lovers, the question remains: What is Gabriel’s endgame . . . and why does he want his story told?
“Tell me your story.” Christian Maxwell began, wetting his lips and leaning in. He stared at the killer across the table and rested his forearms on the notepad before him. His look was imploring, he was begging for good and gory details. Gabe stared at him, who was glassy eyed in anticipation; he squinted a bit, in excitement that was too to follow. He had a wanting expression on his face. Gabe had seen that look many times before.
“Better the devil you barely know” Gabe thought. If someone else’s gonna be making money off my story it might as well be this guy.” He remembered the first time the thought of telling his story had first sprung to mind. The memories of it much like this, detached, more after-thought than close consideration.
“Ever been out to the Florida Keys?” Gabe asked. When he only received a nod from Maxwell to his question he continued absently, “For me it was like driving to the keys, a few miles over the speed limit on that old Highway One…you know, the one they called Highway out to Sea…under fleecy clouds with that fresh coastal winds slapping you in your face, under a vast, unending blue on blue…it is rather freeing.” His hands wrapped around the old dusty cover of the book he was holding, more as an effect than something to read.
Christian listened to him speaking with that far-away gaze in his eyes, knowing he was already back there in his mind. He pretended to jot notes down but concentrated more on that distant expression on Church’s face. Sitting so close to him, he could almost feel the wind slapping his hair, the sun beating down as he rode in the passenger seat of Church’s mental trip along Highway 1. He knew it was going to be a good book when he finished it.
He didn’t want to interrupt the narrator but he couldn’t resist,
“But it didn’t begin in Florida did it? I just presumed it happened elsewhere.”
The killer’s posture changed as he replied. He sat up straight in the chair, his eyes narrowed, “If you think you know where it started then why are we sitting around hashing old news?” The killer’s voice was cold. Dampness built under Christian’s armpits.
“Because no one has ever asked you for your side of it, usually a serial murderer doesn’t get a chance to explain why he kills. But I…” pointing to his own chest, “…I want to give you that opportunity.”
“Mighty big of you.” Gabe leaned back in his chair and smiled a grin that could cut through glass, his mocking words and expressive eyes said it all: this might just prove to be an interesting way to spend his free time. He rubbed his rough forefinger across the lip of the wine glass as a carnal abstraction as he watched Maxwell jot his notes, even though they hadn’t even begun his tale.
“Shouldn’t you wait till I start to speak before you scribble down all those pretty words?”
Christian looked up and smiled sheepishly, “…just mood stuff. You’ll have to get used to that…meaning my process, early on.” He put his pen down and folded his hands neatly to hide his notes. “I’m a little fastidious or obsessive at times.”
“No worries…the same has been said of me.”
That bent smile of a killer reappeared and twisted Church’s face into a mocking evil caricature, sending a shiver down Christian’s spine. He smiled back and returned a look that seemed to place them on equal understanding. ‘This was going to be tough’, he thought, ‘but worth it.’ Christian picked up his pen and sent an imploring gaze at his subject of study.
Gabe recognized the untidy anticipation, and reluctantly continued. “Actually it began in Texas…but we need to go back to where the…umm, desires, I guess is the word…first came into clear focus don’t we? I mean you want the full picture don’t you?”
When the man didn’t offer a conciliatory gesture, Gabe continued.
“Before Florida, before Seattle I had been somewhere else… it was a better place for me, because it still held some type of promise, nothing had been carved into stone…if you’ll pardon the pun.” Church’s head lolled back as if he was about to break into a hearty laugh.
He was a dangerous sick man Christian could see that. His reference to the markers of his varied victims, as his nonchalant manner in describing his affinity to murder was unsettling, even for someone as akin to pathology as Christian Maxwell.
In college, his dark sense of humor and an uncomfortably quiet nature was off-putting to most. His so-called friends would jokingly offer that it was going to be Christian who would be famous, but more for the salvo of bullets which hit other students from his safe vantage in some random clock tower or rooftop. The look on Maxwell’s face as he sat across from Gabe was pensive as if he was about to interrupt again but questioned the insolence. The killer had nothing but time, but he didn’t like breaking his train of thought so early.
Rodd lives in Dallas, TX at the moment but hails from the sticks of Oklahoma. Check out his web presence at RODDCLARK.COM. Interested in the M/M Mystery, Romance and Thriller genres but has a varied interest in many books. It has been written, that his writing has a very dark and distinctive voice with a need for deep exploration and analysis. His latest work is the Romance Thriller“Rubble and the Wreckage” and is currently working on the sequel which he hopes to have released in 2015.