#BlogTour Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents – Lee Cockburn

Thank you to Rachel of Authoright for inviting me to take part in the #BlogTour for Lee Cockburn’s #PorcelainFleshOfInnocents. And thank you to Lee for her guest post on what influences her writing for this spot on the tour.


Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by [Cockburn, Lee]

Guest Post – Lee Cockburn

My real life experience and the influence it has on my writing, where fact merges into fiction, but unfortunately, it doesn’t I‘m afraid.

The rules with being in the police are that the content of my novels must be fiction, other than procedures that are the common knowledge of the public, that’s if they chose to know them, the characters are fictional and the crimes and scenarios are purely fiction too.

Saying that I have seen many horrible things in the course of my duty, death is a regular thing for police as they attend all deaths in the city, whether they are the result of a crime or not.  Some peaceful, some premature, some not noticed, all of which are unpleasant in their own way.  The sadness for the family that loved them, sadness for those who didn’t have anyone to notice that they had passed away, just sadness all round.   Premature death from the misuse of drugs, misadventure, young lives taken too soon, their families devastated at the loss, as a police officer, every single death affects me in some way, whether it was expected or not.

I have never encountered someone as evil as the perpetrator in Devil’s Demise, and hope I never do, but watching some of America’s real-life crime dramas, there seems to be an abundance of severely deranged, sadistic serial killers over there and he was more like one of them.

Re Porcelain, we all know there are crimes committed against children all of the time, which is very harrowing, as they are so vulnerable and defenceless and have no voice. The moral of this story is that children are emotionally and physically scarred by what happens to them, but they will not be children forever, and can they forgive and forget their past!!

Re the characters, I can see a little of myself in Taylor, not quite as striking or efficient, but in my early years, a little flirtatious, I made a few mistakes and suffered the consequences, and I have definitely learned through experience.

I just wanted to write books that were terrifying and thought-provoking, with a little passion thrown in to give the reader a little respite from the horror.

What the Blurb says

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving paedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

My thoughts:

This book comes with a warning that it is “deeply unsettling” and it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The subject matter is harrowing that is for sure and this book is graphic in content throughout.

The plot centres around revenge attacks on wealthy men who have links with paedophile rings in Edinburgh. It opens with the story of Amy and Nathan, two five-year-old twins subject to the most horrific and sadistic level of abuse by their mother and her partner. The twins feature heavily in the story and the reader learns of the impact that the abuse has had on them throughout their formative years as well as the effect of being separated and taken into care when the abuse was discovered. Running alongside this storyline is a sub plot involving  DS Taylor Nicks and her relationships following a harrowing attack (which took place in the author’s first book). It moves along quickly, at times perhaps a little too quickly for me. I think the reader would benefit from having read the first novel to get a better sense of Taylor’s character, as the attack she and her colleagues experienced was referred to quite often throughout.

Amy and Nick were two characters whom I could empathise with and I recoiled at the trauma that they had experienced as children. I felt that these two were the strongest characters in the book and that their story was one that deserved to be told and to be resolved. I did, however, struggle with DS Nicks and her insatiable sexual appetite which was fed, in great detail, in every other chapter. As a reader, I was left feeling slightly uncomfortable about her character and her predatory approach with her colleagues, it just didn’t sit right with me given the nature of the storyline and I felt slightly tawdry when reading it. At times it felt as though the scenes were simply added for titillation and gratification as opposed to any depth to the storyline and I felt that her relationships could have been covered with a less attention to detail.

I was intrigued by the blurb, I do have a strong stomach for most things (which is just as well given my chosen genre really!) but I have to be completely honest here and I struggled with this book in places. In-depth scenes of Taylor Nick’s sex life interspersed the horror and trauma of the abuse and this left me feeling slightly uncomfortable, not because I’m a prude, but because I thought it felt slightly wrong in the context of what was being written. The blurb promised much but for me personally, as a reader, it failed to deliver. I think that this book would appeal to fans of erotica and crime fiction.

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