Romantic Suspense and Thriller

Deadline By Scarlet Hawthorne

Friday, December 19, 2014

Writing the Villain in Deadline by Scarlet Hawthorne

Devolution – The process by which an UNSUB begins to lose control, falling in a downward spiral, unable to control their urge to perform a particular offense brought about by the trauma of their offenses. The rapid movement from “Organized” to “Disorganized.” -- From the Criminal Minds glossary,

I primarily wrote Deadline in a panoramic point of view, as if the reader is watching a film, with no inner monologue of the hero or heroine. We learn their thoughts and feelings by what they say and how they behave – just as we do with people in our own lives. No one ever knows what anyone is thinking. I digress from this narrative technique with the villain in the story by allowing the reader into his head and “hear” the delusions of this mad man.

Clearly mentally ill, he may have developed schizophrenia in his twenties, which went unnoticed because of his ability to function “normally” and rationalize any paranoia to others. His delusions have been focused on religion, but now he believes God is speaking to him and has chosen him for a mission.

On the television program Criminal Minds, the BAU would probably identify him as a highly-organized “UNSUB” (unknown subject) who has had recent stressors in his life, which caused his break with reality; but the circumstances of his third killing indicate that he is devolving rapidly.

We see his devolution accelerating while we are in his head, finding that he believes God is actually assisting him in his pursuit of the target of his delusions. At first he takes lines from the Bible out of context and applies them to himself as an Angel of God, as well as to his victims as sinners deserving of their punishment. By the end, he is grasping at anything, from Biblical passages to Jewish mythology and even Greek lyrical poets.

He is now in the middle of a full psychotic break. And the focus of his psychosis is Gillian Tate.

You Jezebel—

What peace, so long as your whoredoms and witchcrafts are so many?

By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. Rev 2:20-21

The Sword of Michael the Archangel


After years struggling with sweet romance novels, author Gillian Tate finds overnight success with erotic romances. When the second novel in the trilogy focuses on the gay romance, Gillian receives harassing anti-homosexual messages with Biblical passages from a hate group called the Sword of Michael the Archangel.

Meanwhile, her husband has demanded a divorce because he could no longer tolerate the notoriety of his wife’s novels and the innuendoes from his colleagues, and he also accuses her of wanting the ménage scenarios she describes in her novels.

Under a deadline to complete the third novel in the ménage trilogy and distraught over her personal life, Gillian decides to get away from the city to clear her head. As Gillian settles into her remote cabin retreat in the Adirondacks with no phone or cell reception, her agent returns home to find her home office ransacked and her laptop missing. After hearing about the threats to her client, the police suspect the hate group may be involved.

Once notified of the threats by the authorities, the local police chief Sam Taylor checks on Gillian at her cabin. Taylor has heard of the notorious author, and he is surprised but pleased to find the voluptuous woman he meets is nothing like he would have imagined from her novels but everything he has dreamed of in his fantasies. He reads one of her books, and it unleashes his own denied desires. They begin a sizzling love affair,
fulfilling each other’s fantasies, but the increasing violence of the Sword of Michael the Archangel casts a shadow on their nascent relationship.

Part romance, part mystery, and part police procedural, Deadline follows both the actions of the killer and the ongoing investigation, but it focuses on the developing love story of Gillian and Taylor.

“This is a suspenseful erotic romance full of danger as well as passion. Once Chief Sam Taylor and Gillian Tate meet the sparks fly. These two people have been searching for each other all their lives and Fate has stepped in. Well-written, fast paced, and with a gripping plot line, this is the kind of book you will not be able to put down. I read it in one sitting just so I could find out what would happen next. I feel like I have discovered another author I want to follow and read more of her work.” ~ As You Wish Book Reviews

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