A Disturbingly Compelling Thriller – @DianewasHR


Erin Fallon is the eldest daughter of an Irish immigrant who took his family to a small town on the Lancashire/Cumbria border for what he believed to be a better life. It was what her mother wanted, but once she got it, it wasn’t enough. She had to have more. Leonard Fitch is an eminent neurosurgeon. His mother was never satisfied either, and her constant demands led to his father being killed in a motor accident. Leonard loved his father; he was the only person to treat him with kindness and affection. He hated his mother but could never stand up to her. Tormented and ridiculed throughout his childhood, Leonard swore to exact revenge on womankind in general, but mothers in particular. At a secluded lodge in the depths of Bleazedale Forest, for four years he carries out the most abominable atrocities with impunity. He takes girls on their birthday and keeps them holed up for a full twelve months before killing them and sending their mothers a birthday card with a picture of their beloved little girl, dead and with their severed feet placed either side of their head. 

This is a summary of ‘Rings of Smoke’ by Diane O’Toole. It is no surprise to see Diane’s success in becoming a published author after her diane otoolelong-term love of the written word. Typical bullies and a strict father lead Diane into truancy where she spent her days reading countless novels under her bed! Though the lack of qualifications that came with this has not limited Diane in her career; she has held down some fantastic managerial roles in companies such as Royal Mail. Her passion for books and reading have lead Diane to where she is today, and she has many more plans for future writing including the tales of her adventure-filled childhood.

But of course Diane’s background has greatly influenced Rings of Smoke. She told us the heartbreaking story of finding her mother to never return one night, when she was barely sixteen years old… “the devastation and heartbreak that followed that fateful night has left its mark on each of the children she left behind. For me, it’s a lifelong feeling of insecurity. And that insecurity often deprives me of sleep, it has done for all of my life, ever since the night she left us. For all the joy and happiness I have in my life, I do live with a constant fear, a fear that never leaves me. The fear of being deserted. To know that one person who gave you life, who should never judge you, who nurtured and taught you, who in many ways made you the person you are, could just turn her back on you for good. It has left a gaping hole in my life and unanswered questions as to why she chose to completely abandon and alienate her children.”

Rings of Smoke is a crime thriller that takes the reader on a journey back to the 1970s where they can learn about how basic policing procedural work was back then. With any work of fiction it is all about escapism and feeding the imagination, especially when the book has elements of fear and horror. The reader can become part of that world from the comfort and safety of their armchair, content in the knowledge that what they are seeing in their mind’s eye is all imagined. Diane told us about a section of the book where the young detective is considering who might commit such heinous crimes, and how it is a real insight into the thought processes that lead him to a conclusion that almost, but not quite, leads him to the killer. A surprising element of the book is the reasons why Leonard Fitch embarked at a young age on a career as a serial killer when he trained to become a neurosurgeon where he has reached the top in his chosen field of medicine, but exists in two very opposite worlds. One where he is known as the highly respected Mr Fitch where he saves lives, and the other dark and sinister world where he takes lives for revenge and self-gratification.

Apart from being a huge fan of horror and crime fiction, the decision to write Rings of Smoke for Diane came from life experience. She was able to draw on a lot of her own life events – many of which were tragic and some very frightening, and this helped Diane tremendously, especially in developing the protagonist’s character, Erin Fallon.

Rings of Smoke is due to be published on the 24th September 2015 but only with YOUR help. Head to Britain’s Next Bestseller to find out more. 

rings of smoke