A simple-minded woman, totally dominated by her husband, Hattie Raines emerges in Relentless as a central, albeit flawed character. She is pivotal to the plot. Were she not exactly who she is the story could not have proceeded as it did. Although she appears to be a rather dull, unimportant character she is exactly the opposite. Because of her conflict-avoidant nature she fails to protect her child which is central to our heroine’s decisions; and because of her naiveté, Hattie is manipulated into the dangerous role of killer’s secret-keeper. Hattie is first and foremost Earl’s wife and he rules his family with an iron fist. Accommodating to him is her life-long pattern and to maintain that pattern she is determinedly narrow in her focus. Uneducated and removed from the world around her, Hattie persists in maintaining fixed, rigid ideas about herself and the people in her life only questioning her perceptions at the very end.
In some ways, Hattie Raines represents ‘every-woman.’ She embodies the plight facing many women in the world today, those who are bound by culture, religion, economics or tradition, who are dominated and controlled by their husbands or fathers, who are rigidly role-bound and unable to see beyond the constraints of everyday life. As I wrote about her, I saw a woman caught up in moral dilemmas she didn’t even notice. And I think had she but seen one of these issues, had she but recognized one place where she could change, she could have turned the whole situation around. Earl knew that, most dominators/abusers do. They keep their women hidden away from other people, away from institutions of learning, away from books, newspapers, TV. Anything other than ‘their way’ is regarded as a threat to the status quo and the status quo is what preserves their power so it must be maintained at all cost.
If we look at Relentless from this angle, Hattie and Earl Raines represent flaws inherent in the human condition but they also highlight the importance continuing growth, learning and expanding beyond the boundaries of yesterday.
It’s easy to sympathize with Gina, to support her and cheer for her as she copes with her fears and summons up the inner resources to confront them. It’s easy to admire Elisabeth as the strong, caring therapist and leader she is, but what about some of the other characters that make Relentless the compelling novel it is?
What, for example about Custer? A sad, victimized character caught up in a whirlwind of forces and events he never seems to understand. One of my favorite characters to write about, Custer, was totally unplanned. He just happened. A fledgling character, he epitomizes the foundational conflicts embroiled in the plot. Identified with the underdog, Custer just wanted to belong somewhere, but found himself swept along with the forces of evil as he automatically replayed his childhood roles trying to appease the alpha dogs and stay out of the line of fire. His inner dialogue offers an accurate perspective of gang dynamics as he observes his ‘buddies’ struggle and tries, ineffectively, to guide the powerful psychopathic gang leader in different directions. Custer is fundamentally a likeable guy with a good heart who is ultimately controlled by his fears and insecurities. In the plot, he serves as the truth-teller, given other life circumstances he would have turned out differently. In the end, Gus speaks to the character’s essence as he wonders ‘what would have happened if he had given the kid a little job’ in his diner. Good point, Gus, that’s something we can all wonder about.
A few months have passed since RELENTLESS, An Elisabeth Reinhardt novel hit the marketplace and perhaps loyal fans and followers of Elisabeth Reinhardt, PhD have been wondering what’s next for the famed psychologist aka head of a secret underground rescue organization. Well, wonder no more. Coming soon to an Amazon.com near you is SEEING DOUBLE. In this adventurous spy thriller, Elisabeth continues to go beyond the call of duty for her patients and this time it’s way beyond as she and her crew, evade extremist pursuers and head toward the Middle East where they become entangled in the complex world of jihadists, Mossad, covert Russian arms dealers and foil a madman’s ill-conceived plot to destroy the known world. SEEING DOUBLE, the second book in the Elisabeth Reinhardt series, will introduce you to the charismatic characters who take the lead in our spin off series The Olive Branch, which will focus on the multifaceted, fast-paced and dangerous world of nations in conflict.
You’ll meet new and compelling characters and become invested in their lives and fates as this complex plot unfolds from page to page. SEEING DOUBLE will compound your reading pleasure in more ways than one, just you wait and see!
Coming to an Amazon.com near you is my first novel in the Elisabeth Reinhardt series, its action packed, mysterious and an interesting study in psychopathology, all at the same time. A complex plot weaves together the lives of a young doctor, the killers who are obsessed with her, the lawmen trying to stop them and the therapist who is trying to rescue her in more ways than one. Characters are well-developed and described in striking detail through a winding plot and a surprising ending.
Hardback and digital copies will be available through Amazon.com soon to be followed by the audiobook narrated by the author, herself, available through Audible.com and iTunes.
Readers have called Relentless “…a great read” and others have said they “couldn’t put it down.” I’d love to hear what you have to say. So please read it and feel free to leave me a comment here, or visit me on Facebook. I can’t wait to hear from you!
I am often struck by what appear to be coincidences between what I’m writing and what is actual and real. For example in Razor’s Edge I was writing about a place where a certain object was manufactured without knowing a) if such an object even existed and b) where in the US it might be manufactured. As I was writing fiction, I described the object and randomly selected a city where that object was manufactured. Several days later I was ‘Googling’ and decided to see if this object indeed existed and lo and behold it does exist and it is indeed manufactured in the exact city I had selected! In writing Seeing Double, I had a similar instance where in I randomly described a doomsday scenario, its location and specific locations in different countries that were involved. About a week later I ran across a CNN piece paralleling what I had described in my novel, including international responses that paralleled the novel. Scary?
While it can be thrilling when these coincidences occur it is also a bit weird. It feels a bit ‘para-psychological,’ a bit ‘whooo-whoo,’ but those feelings don’t make the fact of these experiences any less real. Sure there could be other explanations like ‘I read something about it somewhere’ but that’s not the reality. The best I can come up with is coincidence, luck or fluke but none of these words quite capture the experience. It’s more like ‘a gypsy fortune teller’ saying ‘you will meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger,’ and you run into Ian Somerhalder at Starbucks and you’re the fortune teller! Perhaps it’s telepathy though I don’t consider myself to be telepathic and yet those who are might say that we all have the inherent capacity to be telepathic but are socialized to spurn those ideas/abilities. We are trained as children to be more reality and fact-oriented, to develop practical skills. Children are naturally more fantasy-oriented, their unformed minds are imaginative and creative. Perhaps the coincidences that I’m describing occur when my mind is in that free flowing state. When I’m typing without regard for hard core facts; I’m just ‘in the moment’ with my fingers on the keyboard. It occurs at those times when the words just flow and ideas accumulate forming and reforming like so many clouds moving with the wind.