Posted by: Debrah Martin | August 18, 2014

Why did you do it? (part one)

So, I thought I’d add a little more about Patchwork Man now it’s been born. Are books born? Perhaps. They start with conception certainly!
What was the inspiration behind Patchwork Man?Patchwork_Man_Cover_for_Kindle DB Martin

It all started with my mother’s description of how the rag and bone man used to tour the streets years ago. My mother is now eighty. It was such a vivid piece of living history I wrote it up straight away and then started looking around at what else was happening at the time. Next I hit on some information about what it was like being in a children’s home in the fifties and how some of the children desperately wanted to leave that past behind them when they left. I started to think about what it might be like for someone with an experience so bad they wanted to entirely forget it and even turn their back on the whole of their past life, even the times before they were unhappy. That obviously provided the possibility of wanting past misdeeds to be hidden too, and for them to later come back and haunt the protagonist. He, or she, therefore had to be a ‘fallen hero’ and I particularly liked the idea of one who was ultra-respectable but intrinsically damaged – or dramatically failing to adhere to the principles they once aspired too. Lawrence Juste was ‘born’, and after having seen an adaptation of To Kill a Mocking Bird for the theatre, my long-time admiration of the book found its target in the principles of justice and fairness Juste aspires to, but lost sight of a long time beforehand.

I actually wrote the book quite quickly – the character of Juste rather took me over once I’d started but I had to slow a little to check on facts towards the end. I’m not a legal eagle, but I had a massive stroke of luck in coming across someone who introduced me to a High Court judge and he checked the procedural sections for credibility and accuracy. He would like to remain nameless of course, but I’m indebted to him for his kindness with Patchwork Man.


What is the plot – without spoilers?theme for middles

Lawrence Juste QC finds himself tricked into taking a case defending a juvenile against a charge of manslaughter by his clever –but dead – wife. Normally he wouldn’t even have opened the folder without her around to persuade him, but she’s left something else to do that for her; a list of all the unsavoury people and events from his past. The ones he’s carefully hidden until now and didn’t even know she was aware of.

Disconcertingly, the boy reminds him of himself – not only as a person but in the crime he’s supposed to have committed. Taking the case catapults Juste into a world that touches his own past with alarming regularity until it throws up the brother he betrayed as a teenager, the bully he’s done his best to avoid ever since and a disturbingly attractive female liaison. It also leads him on a journey in which he rediscovers the family he rejected, has to answer for the murder he should have ensured was fairly tried, but didn’t, and himself – or the principles the man who styled himself Lawrence Juste once wanted to observe. By the time the book closes, the links to his forgotten family have drawn disturbingly close and so has the childhood bully. And the one person who still seems to be the linchpin for all of it is Juste’s dead wife whose influence disconcertingly seems very much alive and active…


Who is your favourite character in the book?

Obviously I have to say Juste – and I enjoyed causing him to have to face himself as the patchwork man unravelled. However, I have a secret Kinky bootsfavourite too; Heather Trinder. She’s one of Juste’s business partners and shares Chambers with him. She’s an intriguing blend of maternal concern, business bitch and avid shoe fetishist. I can never think of the sassy retort at the right time, but Heather can!


You can find the first page here: Books Go Social …


For an interview or to receive a copy of Patchwork Man to review, please contact:


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