Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review : Rubble and The Wreckage (A Gabriel Church Tale #1) by Rodd Clark


Title: Rubble and The Wreckage

Author: Rodd Clark

Publisher: Driven Press

Release: 30th January 2015

Genre: M/M (thriller)


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Gabriel Church knows you can’t take a life without first understanding just how feeble life is, how tentative and weak it stands alone. If you desire murder, you hold a life in your hand. Whether you release it to grant life or grip tighter to end it, it is at your command and discretion. Gabriel is a serial killer with a story he wants told.
Christian Maxwell studied abnormal psychology in college but chose instead to focus on a career in writing. His background comes in handy when he thinks of writing about a serial killer. He can’t think of anyone more qualified to write the story of Gabriel Lee Church, and do so in the murderer’s own words. It’s been done before, but never with a killer who has yet to be captured or convicted.
There was never anything more than a gentleman’s understanding between the two men that Christian would record Gabriel’s life story. The killer did not ask for his complicity in any crimes, nor did he ever ask for his silence. Christian’s interest in the man, though, is fast becoming something more than academic. When the writer and his subject become unexpected friends and then lovers, the question remains: What is Gabriel’s endgame . . . and why does he want his story told?


Mark’s Review

This was definitely not my usual read, so did I like it? Yes, I did. Was it what I was expecting? No, not really. Was it a romance? Yes, of sorts. This story for me was interesting in many ways. It took me out of my comfort zone, made me review many values and in many respects a real mind bender as I felt myself being fascinated, invested and pulled in by the attraction of a serial killer. Yes, I know! Every logical thought says that I should have hated a serial killer, somebody who is evil, the worst kind of sociopath but …….. I liked him - lol! Can you believe it? As I said a real mind blender.

Gabriel Church is a serial killer, a vagabond moving from state to state leaving a trail of horrific murders behind him. I should have hated him, been very afraid of him but instead I found him to be fascinating, sexy and hot!! But his main quality is seduction. He oozes sexual magnetism and I felt myself being drawn in by his charms just like his biographer Christian Maxwell.  We learn about his horrendous childhood but does this really excuse his actions? A harrowing childhood, a cruel and abusive father, yes I felt so sorry for him but this could never ever excuse what he has done.

Christian wants to write a book, is drawn by the dark and twisted workings of the mind after his studies in psychology and therefore what better subject than a serial killer that hasn’t been caught yet. Dangerous? Yes! Foolhardy? Maybe. Risky? Most definitely. But the dark fascination that Christian has leads him to seek out Gabriel himself using his sharp mind to put together a chain of murders that the police have yet to connect. Here I must admit I couldn't quite put the dots together on who sought who out myself, Gabriel to have his story told or Christian to write his book. I would have wished for a little more detail on this aspect. However, it didn't really matter in the end. As the main thing was the writer wanting to interview the murderer and get behind the man in the mask.

Christian is immediately ensnared in the charm and animal magnetism of Gabriel. This is where I could so understand Christian's attraction. Drawn in like a moth to a flame and one that inevitably flies too close. The professional distance soon crosses the line that shouldn't be crossed and Christian finds himself caring and developing feelings for his subject that go well beyond anything his logic tells him. But with such a hot subject to study who couldn't but not fall for Gabriel? Man he is sex on legs. Gabriel professes not to be gay which is fine as it seems to me as he just isn't fussy about with whom he gets his rocks off. Sex is one thing, emotional attachment? Never.  It’s all just sex to him. But oh my! For someone who says that he has never thought himself as being gay he can certainly raise the temperature in the bedroom for sure.

Their relationship intensifies and Christian starts to sketch out a possible future for them together in his mind if only he can convince Gabriel to stop killing. To dare think of running off together, finding a safe haven where they can leave everything behind them is really only a pipedream for Gabriel. This of course becomes a bone of contention between them, especially from Gabriel who sees things a little more realistically than Christian in my opinion. Gabriel until now has never let himself form any kind of attachment to anyone and has his own difficulty in dealing with this, always keeps sex and romantic inclinations separate but with Christian he has to revaluate things. He also finds himself developing an emotional attachment to Christian that he knows he can’t really allow. Can he give up killing? That is the question hanging in the air. This leads them to constant arguments, both storming off in opposite directions after they have met but the make up sex is just as intense.

There is one M/F sex scene in the book that is crucial to the plot but nothing so graphic that any hardcore M/M fan needs to worry about unnecessarily. If I could get through it then anyone can - lol! But this scene becomes both their nemesis and shows that there can be no future together and in a way also makes Christian complicit to murder. So a key scene too in many respects.

This is a well written character study and if you like books that get into the dark and twisted inner workings of the mind, finding out what drives people and the motivation behind their actions then this book is for you. It pushed my barriers so far that it messed with my mind where I was finding myself falling for and sympathising with a serial killer!!!! However, also being deeply concerned with worry about Christian flying too close in the face of danger, becoming entrapped in the hypnotic web that Gabriel builds who is still  an extremely dangerous man. 

Why does Gabriel kill? Well, this is also explained very well and believe it or not  after reading about his childhood can understand where he’s coming from. Killers are not born, maybe they are a product of their childhood but also fate and a number of events mount up to lead him to his first killing. He is cold, calculating and remains totally detached from his actions when committing murder and this alone is chilling in itself. So how on earth can someone like this start to develop any kind of romantic, emotional attachment to another human being. Well, that is the anomaly that is Gabriel Church.

The first 50% of the book is mostly the interaction between Gabriel and Christian in a hotel room that Christian has paid for over several nights, trying to interview his subject on neutral grounds. The only change of scene is when the leave the room to go out for the evening somewhere. It could have got a little tedious and I must admit I did wonder where this story was going at first. It’s OK to read about Gabriel and his past to read about Christian and his motivation but where is the story or plot going with these two characters? We are taken out of this backdrop when Gabriel recollects his childhood and the murders he has committed to Christian. However, I did feel that the first half of the book for me personally could have moved just a little bit faster plot wise and could have been cut down a bit, but nonetheless it still keep my interest as I found the character of Gabriel absolutely fascinating. The writing is concise , provides a lot of detail and insight into the characters which is the thing that kept me invested in the book all the way through.

There is no happy ending to this book and to be honest I don't feel I would have wanted or expected one either. I don't think even my brain at this stage would have computed an HEA with a serial killer. In the words of Gabriel to Christian,

"Stop thinking this romance would've ever had a happy ending. This cowboy rides alone."

So Christian is left missing his killer but actually quite a selfless act from Gabriel to protect the man he came to care for and respect. Can we call it love? This is not a soppy, slushy, sentimental romance. So I guess as far as Gabriel is concerned this is as far as he goes on the “I love you” front for now maybe.

This is a good start to a series and would love to read the following books to see where Gabriel goes from here.


Meet Rodd Clark

YszARY9fRodd currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He shares his life with numerous cats, dogs, and his partner of many years. He has many projects under his belt and is working on many others. Some of his works are There Is Always Another Boogey Man, Jesse, Justice Denied, Short Ride to Hell, A Cache of Killers and the recently completed final book in the Brantley Colton Mystery series, No Place for the Wicked.

Always penning his next work, Rodd likes to keep busy with writing and reading and of course his menagerie of critters.


Connect with Rodd



On 3rd October Rodd will be joining us on Sinfully as Featured Guest Author. Don’t miss your chance to hear what he has to say.


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  1. Thank you Mark for your kind words. I hope you, as well as any others who enjoyed the first chapter in the Gabriel Church Tales, have an opportunity of reading the sequel "Torn and Frayed" when it's released next month. I was proud to be a part of your great blog and appreciate you all.

  2. This might be the best review I've read of RATW. It's thoughtful, insightful, and well written. Bravo to Mark ... and of course to the author, who I believe has written an unforgettable work which deserves to be on the shelves of every lover of crime-mystery-thriller novels.