As well as sharing my review today, I am delighted to also be sharing a guest post from David on why he has chosen to support the work of the Police Dependant’s Trust through his work. Please take the time to read the guest post as it really does highlight the issue of #mentalhealth in our emergency services. In light of recent incidents, it is even more relevant to be sharing this and thinking about just what emergency personnel go through everytime they start a shift!
As a detective on the Anti-Terrorist Branch at the time of the London bombings, I went out to work on the 7th of July and came home two weeks later wearing the same clothes and with fifty-six people dead.
When I look back at some of the events I’ve faced over twenty years in the police, they are just horrifying, but you can’t really comprehend it all at the time.
For most, the shock doesn’t really sink on the day. As professionals, we have a job to do and we get on with it – whether that be dealing with the scene of the Manchester Arena bombing or trying to rescue people from the Grenfell Tower fire. It might not be until months or years afterwards that the full brunt of the trauma is felt.
Today, as a crime fighter turned crime writer, one of the issues that my books address is the state of mental health in our emergency services.
As police officers, we call it ‘stress’. We don’t call it depression or anxiety or PTSD. People don’t want to talk about ‘problems’.
Emergency personnel die young
You will see hundreds of dead bodies during your career, some of those might even be your own colleagues. Thanks to the stresses and strains of the job, many police officers will go on to have mental health issues at some point in their life – possibly as high as one in two. Studies also show that those who’ve had police careers will die far earlier in retirement than those from other professions.
I’ve found writing a really cathartic way to help come to terms with all these events and experiences. I released my first thriller, The Theseus Paradox, at the end of 2015 to raise money for a charity called the Police Dependants’ Trust (PDT).
Because of the Official Secrets Act, I was not allowed to write an autobiographical, non-fiction book. But thankfully the act doesn’t impinge on my artistic rights as a fiction author.
Sales and downloads of my books support the PDT’s National Welfare Contingency Fund which has been made available to support the mental health needs of police officers following a major terrorist, or other national, incident. The fund will allow all affected officers to have a personalised care plan.
The good thing about the PDT is that it is an external organisation. Many officers are very wary of having treatment within the police force because it can be a minefield. Something you say which you think is confidential may go on to be used against you in a disciplinary situation. With the PDT, you could go and have a care package designed for you with counselling or talking therapies and the police wouldn’t have access to it. It means that it’s far more attractive to those who want to get help.
Working in anti-terrorism is a cross you have to bear. Always knowing that something might happen and not always being able to stop it. My thrillers follow the trials and tribulations of lead character Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan.
During the 7/7 investigation and again during the Glasgow Airport attack, he drowns his sorrows using drink, drugs and casual sex in a quest to find out what really happened. Those three activities are the most common methods of release in the police force.
Some crime fiction readers moan that crime novels always feature clichéd alcoholic detectives, but sadly, having worked in the police for twenty years, this is no cliché – it’s real life. DI Jake Flannagan, my lead character, like myself, was never squeaky clean. He made mistakes. He had stress, depression and other mental-health issues. He suffered from PTSD as he battled to uncover the motives behind these attacks.
Mental health in the emergency services is an issue we need to address.
We airbrushed it from the police back then – I refuse to airbrush it from the books I’m writing now.
Thank you for this, David and I’m sure that everyone reading this post will agree that it is an issue that needs highlighting now more than ever before.
Psst, David is also appearing at Bloody Scotland this year alongside fellow self-published authors, Alan Jones and Alison Baillie-Taylor on Sunday 10th Sept at the Curly Coo! This is part of the Bloody Scotland Fringe event this year and I have the honour of moderating this panel of 3 of my favourite self-published authors! For further details check out the website here Bloody Scotland
I read #TheTheseusParadox just over a year ago following some brilliant recommendations from book clubs and I was not disappointed! You can find my review for the Theseus Paradox here When David Videcette asked me if I’d like to read an ARC of #TheDetriment I think I almost bit his fingers off! I had been longing for the return of DI Jake Flannagan for such a long long time! My review is below but let’s just say that Mr. Videcette has smashed all my expectations and left me desperately awaiting the return of Jake in book number three!
What the blurb says:
“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”
June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.
From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked before the past closes in on him.
We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…
DI Jake Flannagan has been sidelined from active duty to the Reserve Room following his suspension from work. It is June 2007 and three seemingly unconnected yet horrific events take place: a nail bomb is planted outside a busy London nightclub; a spy is found dead in his garden after seemingly falling from his balcony and a burning Jeep was driven into the main entrance of Glasgow airport. Frustrated at his current situation, Jake takes it upon himself to respond to an incident involving a suspicious vehicle and this sets in motion a chain of events which see DI Jake Flannagan once again flout, bend and break every rule, policy and procedure in the book to ensure that the right thing is done and the bad guys don’t win. Just how far will Jake go to ensure justice is done this time and to what cost to himself and those around him?
I started off slowly savouring this book and reading a little at a time because I wanted it to last but the tension created by David Videcette was such that I was forced to give up the lingering reading and devour most of it in less than a day! I have literally just put this book down and I feel like I’ve been through the wringer! My brain is completely frazzled and I’m left not knowing who or what to believe anymore! This combined with the powerful and emotional human element of the narrative has ensured that I’m left with a major book hangover today!
The Detriment gives us terrorism, the Arms Trade, organised prostitution, child exploitation, spying, and corruption across some of the most established institutions in the world but it gives much more than simply another “spy/terrorist” thriller, The Detriment also gives a compelling and thought-provoking insight into the issue of PTSD and the very real impact that this has on our Police and emergency services each and every day of their lives and it is this very human aspect of the plot, in both The Theseus Paradox and The Detriment that grabbed me in and hooked me from the beginning and has me singing the praises of both David’s books.
Those who have read the first book in the series will know that DI Jake Flannagan is a very very naughty boy! He certainly raised the temperatures of many a reader in the last book and I have to say that the experience was just the same if not better in The Detriment. Dare I say it but Jake has a slightly more vulnerable and human side to him this time round? I found him to be a much more poignant and reflective character this time round (but don’t worry #badboy Jake is still in there!) as his time in service is uncovered through the chapters and the impact of what he has witnessed over the years is unravelled and gives the reader insight into the real Jake Flannigan and his complex relationships with others. The possibility of a diagnosis of PTSD is something that is explored throughout this book and I thought that David handled this both sensitively and realistically throughout, giving reference to the internal struggle that serving officers must face when considering whether or not to disclose the impact of what they witness to their superiors for fear of being “taken off the job”.
Jake’s relationships with other characters are complex and compelling; his sidekick DS Lenny Sandringham is the one person that Jake really feels he can trust but is Lenny tiring of Jake’s need to sail so close to the wind? DI Mark Castle is a major thorn in Jake’s side throughout the novel and I was willing Jake to kick his ass every step of the way! The Detriment also sees Stephanie, Jake’s ex-wife make contact with him again, is there a chance that their relationship could be rekindled? We also learn much more about Claire, Jake’s on and off girlfriend and her life features heavily in this book but my lips are sealed with this one #nospoilers! Of course, Jake would not be Jake if there was not a little dalliance or two going on in his life and I particularly loved Jake’s visit to my hometown of Glasgow – I’m sure the city would welcome him back with open arms should he ever wish to return again!
The Detriment is perfect for fans of thrillers, police procedurals and those with a love of the human interest element of the story. It really does have something for everyone! It poked and prodded around my brain until my head was swimming and the very fact that it is a novel based on the truth makes the book even more compelling to read. David Videcette tells us that he cannot tell us the truth but he can tell us a story – well David, The Detriment is testament to the fact that you are a damn good story-teller!
To buy the book then click the link below:
About the author:
As a Metropolitan Police detective, David has worked on a wealth of infamous cases. He’s placed bugs on scores of vehicles, searched hundreds of properties, chased numerous dangerous criminals and interviewed thousands of witnesses.
A former Scotland Yard investigator with twenty years’ policing experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, David was a lead detective on the 7/7 London bombings investigation.
He’s been awarded several police commendations, including one for outstanding detective work and perseverance which led to his discovery of a 7/7 bomb factory during Operation Theseus.
David currently consults on security operations for high-net-worth individuals and is an expert media commentator on crime, terrorism, extremism and the London 7/7 bombings.
The question that David gets asked most often is: ‘How do you pronounce Videcette?’ It’s pronounced ‘Wide-set’, just with a ‘V’. (Vyde-set).
The second question David gets asked most often, is: ‘What really happened?’ To which the answer is, ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’
David Videcette’s second detective novel, The Detriment, is out on 29th June 2017. Detective Jake Flannagan returns to investigate a burning Jeep attack on Glasgow Airport in a compelling thriller based on true events.
Sales and downloads support the work of the Police Dependants’ Trust.
Pre-order The Detriment on Kindle here.