Perched high on a cliff, overlooking the ever-churning North Sea, the haunting ruins of Whitby Abbey are witness to many secrets.
Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Carmichael is 25, lives alone in London, and – with a job as curator of a small museum – prefers the company of the dead to the living – that is until she meets the mysterious Father Montgomery and embarks on a life-changing journey of self-discovery.
From London to North Yorkshire via Dublin, In the Name of the Father is a thrilling tale of infatuation, murder and deceit, and of how one man’s path to redemption can lead to the downfall of so many others.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired by my many visits to Whitby; one of my favourite seaside towns. I love to travel and for a short time, I have lived in Dublin. These are two of the places featured in the book.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Lottie is a complex character with a fresh, strong voice, who is still finding her way in adult life and at times is socially awkward. I think many readers will be able to identify with Lottie. I love creating characters and watching them grow.
As a child I would often have the same recurring nightmare. I would be trapped somewhere;
powerless, caged in walls of concrete, my own personal cell. Now that nightmare has come true and, as I kneel in the darkness, like one praying at an altar, I have plenty of time to reflect on the mistakes that have led me here.
Everything is still. The only light comes from a single bulb precariously hanging overhead, but it offers me no comfort, just threatening shadows. I am unable to see my captor’s face, so instead I focus on his over-sized shoes; on the small details like the mud and the scuff marks. But it’s hard not to look at the gun poised before me like a spitting Cobra waiting to strike.
When did I stop feeling the pain in my knees from this hard, damp floor, or the ache in my jaw from where I was struck? If I run my tongue across the inside of my mouth, I can still taste blood. I’d be lying if I said I’m not scared. Evidence of my fear trickles down my face between my eyes, causing me to blink momentarily.
Slowly, my thoughts drift. My short life starts to play before me like a terrible B movie. In my brief, yet eventful time on Earth, I have lived a dangerous existence. I know all too well that the reason I am here is as a result of my juvenile actions and poor decisions; wherever here might be. Like most men of twentytwo, I believed myself to be invincible. I always prided myself on being careful, always one step ahead, but I had gotten cocky and my carelessness led to my capture.
I blink away the sweat. It is hard to shut out the erratic drumming of my heart. There’s no denying that my situation is desperate. I know it’s silly but I feel the only option left open to me now is to pray. So, I promise that I will change if He will let me live. I swear I will be a better man and right all my wrongs. From now on, I will strive to do only good. I will repent. If He can hear me, I’m sorry for losing my way and for all the pain and suffering I have inflicted on others. A second chance is all I need.
Let’s hope someone is listening. My mum had been a devout Catholic. Maybe she’ll hear me. She prayed every day and regularly attended mass; not that it had given her any special privileges in the end. She died of cancer when I was fifteen. That was when God and I parted ways. I was angry with Him and the rest of the world, so I turned my back on religion and took to a life of crime to support myself and my teenage brother. How I regret that now. I feel ashamed and guilty for letting my mum down.
The sound of the gunman’s cheerful ringtone brings me back to the here and now. It is a stark contrast to his deep, gravelly voice, which is devoid of any emotion. The force of the cold phone slapped next my right ear knocks me off balance, but my captor is quick to grip my shoulder and hold me steady.
“Kit, is that you?” No! Bastards! Breathe Kit, just breathe; I have to remind myself. It’s hard to remain calm, but I’m no good to him dead. “Please Kit, I’m scared. Where are you? He said he was going to kill me.
I don’t want to die… Kit, I need you!” I clench my fists and listen to the fear in my brother’s voice.
“Listen to me. It’s going to be ok. Everything is going to be fine. I’m here. Nothing is going to happen to you. Calm down.” Jesus Christ! Fuck!
“But he said if you don’t give him back what you stole, he would kill me. Kit, what is he talking about?”
“It’s nothing for you to worry over. Where is he now?” I listen to him crying and it splits my heart in two. I promised my mum that I would take care of my younger brother, but I have failed her.
“He’s standing next to me. Some other men have just walked in. He wants to speak to you. He has a gun. Kit, help—”
“Right, ya son of a bitch! You thought you’d gotten away with it, didn’t ya? I trusted you, you little prick. I let you into my home. I even allowed you to date my daughter – my daughter for fucks sake! Nobody does this to me. I warned you. I promised you that if you ever dared to double cross me you’d pay, and I am a man of my word. You’re only alive still because I want what’s mine!” I can hear him inhale deeply on a cigarette and then slowly blow into the receiver.
“You’ve cost me Kit. You’ve humiliated me and I can’t be seen to be letting you get away with it. You owe me and you’re going pay! So, listen here, you’re going give me what you stole and, just in case you think I’ve gone soft, I’m going take a down payment. I’m going take the one thing that you hold dear… Say goodbye to your brother Kit.”
“No!” I hear a gunshot and try to scramble to my feet, but the large man in front of me pushes me back down and holds the phone tight to my ear. All I can hear is cruel laughter on the other end.
“Kit? Kit? You still there? Not such the big man now?” the man laughs.
“You bastard!” I shout.
“Get me my stuff or mark my words you’ll be joining your brother in his shallow grave. Do I make
myself clear?” The phone goes dead. The large man puts the phone back in his trouser pocket, all the while the gun never leaving my face. I have to do something. My body goes cold and my eyes sting with tears and sweat. My brother was only sixteen. He had his whole life ahead of him.
I turned to crime so my brother could have a better life. I worked hard earning money so we could
stay together after our mum had died. After our first night in care, I promised my brother that we wouldn’t be separated, and I’d kept that promise, until today. We had run away together the next morning and I had looked after us both. I had worked for the old man for seven years, but he was getting sloppy. I thought this was my opportunity to move me and my brother out of town, away from drugs and crime, and start a new life somewhere. I thought I would take what I was owed and just disappear, but one night, when I was drunk, I stupidly let my plan slip. Now my big mouth has got me caught. Now my brother is dead. God has been merciless once more. But why? My brother was a good boy; he didn’t deserve to die, not like that.
My heart feels like it has been ripped out of my chest. I have nothing else to lose. I have nothing left to live for. I can take him. He’s not that big. I just need to rid him of his gun. I will get revenge for my brother’s murder. Fuck! What was that? My head. I feel sick…dizzy
Lottie: Present Day
It is said that time heals all wounds. Not true. Like a halfwit I still wait patiently for the hand of time to piece together the fragments of my broken heart. I’ve spent days torturing myself, going over events in my mind, questioning my choices. I have now come to the painful conclusion that, while hindsight is a gift, it can also be a curse. There are a few lucky people in this world who believe that we don’t have a choice, that our path in life is already mapped out by some higher being. But not I. I don’t believe in God or magic. Having studied history, how could I? I like hard evidence – facts – and the fact is that religion was created by men to control women, among others. But ever since Eve took a bite of the forbidden apple in the search of knowledge, it is women who have suffered the most in the name of God.
So, if it is really so that our lives are not preordained, then who do we have left to blame for our mistakes? Who do we turn to for guidance or for forgiveness? We take comfort in hindsight. When the moment has passed, it is easy for us to vow never to make the same mistake again. We trust that we will act more wisely in future.
Had I known what I was getting myself into, I truly believe I would have ignored my foolish, pathetic heart and run as fast as I could at the first sign of danger. But what use is this newfound knowledge to me now? Yes, hindsight can definitely be a curse; I’m beyond saving and the time for change has passed. Now every day I wish I could go back in time and warn that innocent, romantic fool who boarded that train to Whitby on that hot summer’s day one July.
I had always believed I was a smart, educated woman. After all, I had my degree certificate and job title to prove it. But I was mistaken. I had learnt the hard way and come to the rather painful conclusion that I was irrevocably stupid and devoid of any self-control.
I first became aware of this flaw in my character after a night out, shortly before our worlds collided. I knew the perils of too much alcohol, yet there I was, stuck on a packed train, trying desperately to avoid throwing up, having attended my first social gathering in months. Six months to be precise. At twenty-five and single, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d be out most evenings having scandalous affairs, wild adventures, and the kind of mind-blowing sex that one reads about. But that was the thing: I only ever read about it.
Little did I know then how much my life was about to change; it is of course only with hindsight that we see things for what they truly are.
It was my first night out in a very long time. Most people avoided inviting me to social events. I guess I wasn’t exactly the life and soul of the party. I didn’t really drink you see. I mean I did drink the odd glass of wine, but I didn’t drink myself into oblivion like most people. Staying in control was more my thing. I thought it a terrible waste of money only to go and vomit it all back up hours later. I’d seen far too many people do precisely that. And for what? To walk around the next day feeling and looking like death? Or have to pop down to the chemist for the morning after pill – no thank you, not for me. You might as well set fire to your money and save yourself a lot of hassle and embarrassment.
However, I digress. I’d been coerced into celebrating a work colleague’s divorce. At twenty-five, I’d never even had a long-term boyfriend, let alone been married, and yet there I was, helping Emily rejoice in being free of her ‘wanker of an ex-husband.’ Emily was twenty-seven and had already been married and now divorced; I’d barely been on a second date.
Emily was nice, superficial, and irritating, but tolerable. She was the only person who bothered to invite me places, probably because I was a good listener, not through choice – I don’t exactly have heaps to contribute to conversations about men. She was like the spoilt child who just goes on and on about herself. I have often imagined stitching her mouth shut and shrinking her big head like the Jivaro Indians of Ecuador and Peru once did to their enemies. Obviously, I blamed her for my hangover. I had to do something to shut her up. So, I found myself giving in; plus, she insisted on buying the drinks all night. She was trying to chat up the barman. He was sort of good looking, if you liked the scruffy musician type. Personally, I didn’t think he was good looking enough to waste money on. I wasn’t the type to go chasing a man, and I certainly would never spend such a ludicrous amount in the hope of getting someone’s number.
Many hours, and too many Jägerbombs later, I’d dragged myself out of bed to catch the morning
train from London’s King Cross. As I took my seat, I almost cried at the thought of my lack of self-control and instantly hated everyone in my carriage. I’d never been one for self-pity, but there was always a first time. A very large, sweaty man had plonked himself down next to me and fallen asleep. What little space existed between our tiny seats was now filled with the cheap fabric of his shirt – which was rubbing against my arm – and the bile-inducing smell of his body odour. I could barely move. I would have climbed out of the window if I could, but I had to settle for squashing myself against the clammy glass and clutching my bottle of Evian for dear life. I had my usual disinfectant wipes in my bag– you wouldn’t believe the germs and bacteria found on public transport – and my small bottle of perfume, both of which I always carried with me for such occasions. When I knew he was sound asleep, I squirted him with my Jo Malone and quickly wiped around my side of the seat.
I was unable to put my water bottle down because the entirety of the table in front of me had been monopolised by the mother and toddler sitting opposite. Scattered around were colouring books, crayons, toys, and crisps. I was beyond irritated. The mother looked as fed up and miserable as I did. Was it any wonder? She must have had the patience of a saint as she repeatedly read the same book about a cat named Fish and sang the same annoying farmyard animal-based nursery rhymes.
It was a sweltering summer’s day and the lack of fresh air and endless onslaught of noise from my unwanted travelling companions were making my head split. To make matters worse, I was travelling backwards. Nightmare. I hated travelling backwards on trains. I always wanted to see what was on the horizon. Perhaps I should have heeded the warning – I had absolutely no idea what was lying in wait for me.
I had no choice but to suffer the train journey from hell because it was the anniversary of my Gran’s passing and so I had to be in Whitby. My wonderful Gran had passed away twelve months earlier. I still missed her. She was my best friend, my rock. She was the only person I could confide in. She had kept me sane when mum and dad had gone through what was a very messy divorce. My grandparents’ home had become my safe haven from all the madness that had gone on when I was growing up.
Mum had called to say she couldn’t make it, even though it had all been arranged for some time now. She had a prior engagement. What she meant was that she couldn’t drag herself from her sun lounger in the Costa Del over-fifties club.
Mum was living in Spain with her much younger Spanish boyfriend whose name I can never remember, never mind pronounce. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that it was going to be just me. I knew she wouldn’t have bothered to call my brother to remind him of the occasion because he never answered his phone. He was a lazy arse but the apple of mum’s eye. He had gotten away with being a selfish git his entire life. Despite all this, I really didn’t mind. I had nothing better to do with my life. I owed it to Gran to celebrate hers.
Mum and dad had a tempestuous relationship. When I was a teenager, I would often hang out at my friend Amy’s house and pretend her parents were mine. She had such a normal family – she even had a dog. I longed for a dog, or someone to keep me company at home when my parents went at it. My brother Tristan was never home. His way of dealing with things would be to stay out late, just to avoid the shouting and screaming. Mum finally filed for divorce when dad decided to leave home to go travelling. The last I heard he was somewhere in Sri Lanka living with a young German woman. Mum did her best to care for us on her own, but once we had left for university, she sold our family home and moved to Spain.
After finishing my degree in history and art, I moved to London to find a job in one of its many museums. My brother soon followed. Not that I saw much of him. He worked hard and played even harder. His lifestyle was the complete opposite of mine. He only contacted me when he needed something, which was usually before payday. I, on the other hand, lived a quieter existence. I got my dream job as a curator of a small museum, bought a gorgeous little flat in zone 3, and moved in with my first goldfish, named Rochester, after Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. He wasn’t a classically handsome goldfish. He was gold with brown spots and so serious looking. That was all I needed for a time. Nothing made me happier than to spend my days among the treasures of the past. I spent most of my days and weekends cataloguing objects and organising exhibitions. I had no time to socialise and that was just the way I liked it. I took pleasure from dealing with objects that belonged to people who had long since departed this world; I found them far more fascinating than dealing with the living. I would spend my days making up romantic stories of how mysterious objects came to be discovered on our shores. I would imagine myself caught up in some Viking romance or a medieval princess awaiting her knight.
As the train sped towards its destination, I vowed that the previous night’s shenanigans would never
be repeated; I’m sure I’d only been invited because everyone felt sorry for me. They all thought I was going to end up a lonely old spinster. What they failed to understand was that I liked being by myself; I looked forward to going to bed alone with a good book and a hot chocolate.
My only real date in the last two years, if you could call it that, had been a disaster. It was with a man I met when we were organising an exhibition on, of all things, ancient phallic artefacts. I was sent to borrow a particular item from the museum he worked at. We were introduced, had a giggle about a few of the exhibit pieces, and he asked me out for a drink. He seemed nice enough, so I said yes. Everything was going swimmingly; he was attentive and charming, and I thought he could be the one to help me finally cast off the rusty shackles of maidenhood. But no, nothing – not even a kiss. He had gotten so drunk that he’d fallen over and sprained his ankle. We spent the remainder of the evening in A&E, watching drunks argue and vomit everywhere. I was mortified. I wouldn’t have minded so much but we’d only had one and a half bottles of wine between us. Suffice to say, there was no second date. So that was why, at the age of twentyfive, I had no boyfriend and no social life.
Because I had no life, I was owed a huge amount of holiday, so my boss didn’t mind me taking time off. Tristan visited me every now and then, and Mum came home when she could, but I was on my own most of the time. So, there I was, hungover, travelling on the first train I could to Whitby, North Yorkshire.
It was a long, gruelling trip, with multiple changes, and the first leg could not have gotten any worse.
That said, another of my character flaws was my naivety. Of course things could get worse. Over two hours later and, after my first train change, I arrived in Middlesbrough. My headache, thankfully, had subsided. A little snooze on the train from York had helped, as had ridding myself Mr Sweaty and toddler. Thinking I had time to spare before my next train, I decided to find something to eat – and ended up missing my connection. I was furious. It wasn’t really my fault. I never normally bought sandwiches. I always found them lacking. The bread was often soggy or there was far too much butter and not enough filling. But I had forgotten to prepare any food for my journey, and so had had enough of listening to the rumblings in my stomach, sp walked to the little café on the platform. The man queuing in front of me had a thousand allergies, each of which he shared with the woman behind the counter with no regard to the line of people forming behind him. I tried to let him know I was in a rush by tapping my foot loudly on the tiled floor and by letting out loud sighs, but he must have been hard of hearing too. Either that, or he was taking pleasure in my pain, or simply couldn’t give a shit. So, because of Mr. Intolerance, I was stuck waiting on the aptly named platform no. 2, feeling rotten, and cursing all gluten-based foods, and, to add insult to injury, I threw my hard-fought sandwich in the bin after just one bite. It had no tuna only mayonnaise and two slices of very soggy cucumber, which only served to ruin the bread.
I eventually arrived at Whitby train station, exhausted. It was early evening and the streets were busy, mainly with the usual crowds of tourists. I desperately needed to shower; my clothes were sticking to me.
But, despite the horrendous journey, I felt a certain calm.
I breathed in the sea air and took in the all-too familiar sights. I was so happy to be back. With the ruins of the medieval abbey on the hillside overlooking the harbour and the old town, recognisable by its red rooftops, Whitby was captivating. There had always been something about this place that drew me in: the River Esk and cobbled streets, the fishing boats, and the endlessly noisy and infinitely fearless seagulls. I had always felt a connection to, an affinity with, this place.
My phone started buzzing. I took it out and looked at the screen. Mum. I was in no mood to talk to her, so I just set off in the direction of the nearest taxi rank.
The sun had disappeared, and the sky was turning an ominous black. I felt a drop of rain on my neck and a few more on my arm before the heavens opened. I had nowhere to run to for shelter. My cream blouse stuck to me indecently, revealing my not-so-white bra. Sexy underwear was not on my priority list, given that the only person to see my naked form, apart from the odd member of the medical profession, was yours truly. I pushed my hair out of my eyes and wiped away the mascara dripping down my face. A taxi came into view, and I flapped around like a washed-up fish trying to get its attention. It pulled up on the other side of the road. I couldn’t see much for the rain splashing my face, but I was determined to get to it. I took my life in my own hands and carelessly ran across the road. Like an old rag, I climbed into the back seat and gave the driver my Gran’s address, wet clothes sticking to me like a second skin. I shivered from the cold and watched the Abbey become a distant, yet distinguishable, mark on the landscape.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy In the Name of the Father Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy In the Name of the Father On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.