Author of Breakneck Point T. Orr Munro joins us to introduce her fierce, feisty and formidable new protagonist CSI Ally Dymond and what inspired the character!
Ally – or Aloysia, as her mother insists on calling her – is a Crime Scene Investigator working in Devon. When she blows the lid on police corruption, her colleagues refuse to work with her, and she winds up working minor crimes in her back-of-beyond hometown of Bidecombe in North Devon. But when a girl is murdered and the senior detective reluctantly brings Ally in, the evidence doesn’t end up. Ally begins to suspect a serial killer is at large, but who’s going to take notice of a whistleblower…?
My own background as a CSI or Scenes of Crime Officer (SOCO), and more latterly a police journalist, provided much of the inspiration for Ally Dymond and the novel. I was a SOCO many years ago, but I can still recall those feelings I had when attending minor and serious crimes, and the pity but also the anger I sometimes felt on behalf of the victims. I wanted Ally to have those emotions and to have a strong belief that, if she does her job well, she can bring the perpetrator to justice. She has a very clear sense of justice which I wanted to test because I wanted to explore what justice actually means when you are faced with something terrible.
As I SOCO, I spent many hours in the company of victims of all crimes and I was keen for my novel to give more of an insight into the victims and the impact crime – minor or serious – can have on them. I also wanted to show that it is the most vulnerable in our society that are most at risk.
Who is Ally Dymond?
Ally’s personality is loosely based on one of my sisters who has a fierce sense of right and wrong and a belief that you should always fight for what is right regardless which I have long admired.
Ally’s heritage is mixed and never defined in the book because she simply doesn’t know. This is really just a nod to my own heritage. Unlike Ally, who was adopted, I know that my heritage is Greek/Armenian. The reason why I blurred Ally’s heritage is that I wanted to emphasise that she is an outsider to North Devon, although it is very much her home.
In the novel, Ally is a lone parent. Again, I wanted to show how difficult it is to manage a demanding role and raise children. I wanted to show Ally constantly struggling to balance her job against looking after her child and the guilt this frequently entails for all working mothers, including myself.
Are you ready to meet CSI Ally Dymond? Order your copy of Breakneck Point now!