A young abused mum can only escape her abusers if she is more ruthless than they are…whatever the price she has to pay.
Without Rules is about two damaged, vulnerable people – China and Jak – who have to do bad things to escape evil. But can the duo – one is an abused mum and the other a former soldier suffering from PTSD – justify their own actions because of the depravity of the original unpunished crimes?
Are they as guilty as the abusers because in reality they are no different from them? That is moral dilemma at the core theme of Without Rules. At what point can we no longer justify fighting fire with fire, if there ever is a point?
These are the themes that I am exploring in Without Rules as we follow China and Jak through the novel.
The first third of the book – published as Wicked Games – was originally written in the aftermath of the numerous sex scandals where people were clearly looking the other way rather than protecting children and vulnerable young adults. Mind Games and Endgames followed as standalone novellas although the intention was always to publish them as a complete novel.
The scale of the historic sexual abuse was highlighted in articles in the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian – more than 1,400 men suspected by police of being sex predators as the Home Secretary at the time warned it is only the “tip of the iceberg”.
The Telegraph reported that “several celebrities have been convicted for historic sex abuse, including children’s entertainer Rolf Harris, 85, and PR guru Max Clifford, 72. But public confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) willingness to prosecute VIPs was shaken when it announced that it would not prosecute Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, 86, despite having enough evidence, because he has dementia.”
Janner’s case must have been particularly distressing for his alleged victims as his family repeatedly insist the late peer was innocent.
The scale of the problem goes far further than the celebrity cases that attract the news headlines. This article in the Guardian reveals the extent of the challenge facing society as a whole. The stats are horrendous. According to the article, “a record 64,667 child sex offences were recorded by police last year, though the real number is likely to be higher: one in three children sexually abused by an adult did not tell anyone.”
The catalyst for China was a friend who testified against her father in an abuse case. Although the prosecution was successful, she can never really escape the consequences of what happened to her. She has to find a way of coping for the rest of her life while he was sentenced to two and half years. She didn’t want anyone to know about her case because it was embarrassing and humiliating, even though she’d done nothing wrong. He got two and a half years — she had a life sentence and no father.
Although there are no similarities between the real person and China, the damage to both is evident. The question we have to ask ourselves is how does society protect children and young adults in the future. The answer is we’re responsible and there is never any excuse to look away. Silence is compliance and if Without Rules changes one mind, it has done its job.
About Andrew Field
Andrew Field has spent most of his working life as a PR and marketing consultant helping raise the profiles of others. Now the roles are reversed as he steps into the spotlight as the author of Without Rules, a crime thriller about vulnerable people forced to do bad things to escape evil people. “Authors, by the nature of what they do, are relatively introverted. They work in isolation. Inhabit imaginary worlds of their own creation. They can spend ages staring at a computer screen bringing their characters to life. Then they have to become a different person to promote their work and market themselves. Writing is the easy part compared to the marketing, especially when crime fiction has become a very crowded marketplace.”
“From my point of view, professional PR people operate best from behind the scenes. They should never become the story otherwise you’re deflecting attention away from the messages you’re trying to communicate,” says Andrew. “The New Labour experiment, for example, was doomed the minute Tony Blair’s media guru Alistair Campbell generated his own headlines. Bragged about ‘spin’. Believed his own hype. Ditto Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci’s 10-day tenure as the shortest-serving White House communications director in history – and his “off the record” expletive-ridden rant about his colleagues in Donald Trump’s White House.”
As a PR, Andrew memorably handled Boddingtons Bitter during its “Cream of Manchester” heyday, developing innovative sports and cultural media partnerships with newspapers and TV stations for the beer brand – but also PR’d a fashion entrepreneur who was a convicted armed bank robber and a property developer who did eighteen months prison time for blackmail. “Having a diverse range of clients keeps it interesting. They are all different but the core requirement is to be seen as a believable and trusted information source ready to take advantage of PR opportunities as and when they arise. As a novelist, you look to do exactly the same with your work and yourself.”
“The catalyst for Without Rules was a friend testifying against her father in an abuse case. Although the prosecution was successful, she can never really escape the consequences of what happened to her. She has to find a way of coping for the rest of her life while he was sentenced to two and half years.”
Andrew says crime fiction has a duty to try and educate and as well as entertain. “The memorable books are the ones you’re still thinking about 48-hours after you finished reading.”
Andrew lives, works and plays in Manchester, England, Europe, with his partner, Catherine. He has been a trade journalist in Southampton in his youth. He owned a PR agency in the nineties and early noughties and is now an independent PR, marketing and publishing consultant looking forward to the challenge of becoming the story with the publication of Without Rules.