I’m editing Poor Law, the sequel to A Just and Upright Man and second in the five book James Blakiston series. At least, I thought I was. But a couple of days ago a series of strokes of the sort of genius known only to the greatest minds meant I had to accept that I was into a wholesale rewrite and not just an edit. I’ve spent a large part of today in 18th century Durham county, the POV I’ve been writing these scenes in is that of a young woman and I got into that trance-like state that comes—sometimes—when it’s going well, you’re undisturbed and you’ve left your own world behind and moved completely into someone else’s. If you like—though it’s a word I don’t like—I’ve been channelling a sixteen year old girl from the 1760s. A number of things happened and Kate told me each time how she felt, what was in her mind and what the reaction of other people was. Times like that you have to keep going, keep writing because you don’t know when you’re going to have that rock-solid connection to another world again. When I finally came out of it (because I needed to eat) I was reminded of that time I’d been writing a 20th Century criminal and, when I finally stood up, I was patting my pockets, desperate for a cigarette. It took twenty minutes before I remembered that I don’t smoke.
That took me on to Zappa’s Mam’s a Slapper, where protagonist Billy McErlane stood over me while I was working telling me, “Don’t forget the anger management. Tell them about the psych. Wendy wouldn’t have behaved like that, she’d have done this.” And from there it wasn’t a huge step to When the Darkness Comes and Haile Selassie elbowing his way forward when he caught the scent of Barabbas (who he didn’t care for one little bit) and saying, “If he’s in, I’m in.” The Lion of Judah had no place in my plans but he wasn’t going to be denied. He took control, too. So I suppose the question is fairly obvious. Am I completely round the bend? Is there any hope?
This is some review from Book Viral for A Just and Upright Man
It is 1763. James Blakiston, overseer of Lord Ravenshead’s estate and a newcomer to the Durham parish of Ryton, is determined to solve the mystery of old Reuben Cooper’s murder – but he has no idea how to go about it.
Compelling historical drama unfolds in A Just And Upright Man by author RJ Lynch, as he commendably peels back the veneer of Georgian society to deliver an uncompromising tale of murder and mystery. Admirably eschewing the more popularly toted incarnations of the period, in favour of an altogether darker and more damning exploration of time and place, Lynch brings distinct flair to his enthralling tale with a meticulous eye for detail that is ever present. It is evident in the intricacy of his plot, but never more so than the verve with which he imbues his characters. Capturing humour and dark intent with turn of phrase that colours his telling in vivid detail; elevating this tale of detection and the dictates of a blinkered society to a class of its own.
Uncommonly authentic, highly engaging, A Just And Upright Man is historical crime fiction at its very best and rightly raises high expectations for future novels in the series. A credit to R J Lynch and recommended without reservation.
Well, maybe that’s a bit OTT. But this is a very good review of A Just and Upright Man from Francine in Romance Reviews Magazine: