When I set out to write my debut novel I had the idea of a man looking to right an injustice. I wanted it to be more than your typical tale of revenge, and tackling the judicial system rather than just the criminal seemed the right approach. As it turned out, I had inadvertently woven a tale that gave many a reader food for thought. It wasn’t my deliberate intention, but perhaps deep down I wanted people to consider the way criminals are perceived as being treated with a lot more compassion than their victims.
Here are just a sample of some of the reviews I have received for Gray Justice:
“In crafting this tale, Mr McDermott raises a number of important issues about our British 'justice' system. We are asked to consider the extent to which it's fair to the victims and the scenario are all ones which the ordinary reader will be able to relate to. Differences in treatment between terrorism and criminal acts are also highlighted; an issue which many seem to overlook.”
“The storyline made me think really hard about the justice system in today's society, and its failings and what should be done about it.”
“I found myself going through a whole host of emotions throughout the book. Having been a victim of crime myself I could really empathise with the main character's issues with the justice system and I found myself constantly torn between agreeing/disagreeing with him and applauding/opposing his methods throughout the book. It certainly left me with a lot to think about.”
“As an ex-pat who follows the British papers closely, I can relate completely to the intent of the novel. My own family have expressed frustration about the laxity of the justice laws, and how the laws seem to favour the criminal and not the victim. This book clearly demonstrates the shortfalls, with a very creative solution - that I think could really work if politicians took the time to really listen to the people who voted them in.”
It certainly seems to have struck a chord with many readers. In fact, I have been asked in a couple of interviews whether the actions of the protagonist, Tom Gray, reflect my own view on criminal justice in the UK. All I can say in response is that Gray Justice is a work of fiction, and that the protagonists ideals are his, and his alone.
I often wonder if Stephen King was asked the same about Misery: “So, Stephen, do you advocate the imprisonment and hobbling of injured authors?”
If readers get so engrossed in my story that it has them questioning their own stance on criminal justice, I will take that as a huge compliment.
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