What Lies Within
by Robert Smith
Genre: Crime Thriller
felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.”
This is a story about duty, revenge, murder, and horror.
The system failed Tyler McDermitt. He and his brother have vowed to protect unfortunate youth from a similar fate - or at least make those responsible, pay. The McDermitt brothers, victims of child abuse and molestation, escaped their hell and have decided to clean up after the failings of a flawed justice system.
The rough streets of Dorchester, south Boston, have hardened two aspiring vigilantes and prepared them for a mission. One brother has a good heart, a conscience, and a burning
compassion. His twisted sense of morality has burdened him with a deep sense of responsibility. The other brother is as hard as nails and as cold as ice. He is hell-bent on revenge and aims to ensure the other stays the course.
A motivated young detective is on their scent; she and her veteran partner look to foil McDermitt brothers' plan.
Something from the boys' past - something dark - is also closing in.
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A flash of panic lit his eyes and he mouthed something. It was inaudible beneath the weak gurgles and clucks. Then the light in his eyes went dim.
That was our plan, it was going to happen, nothing could stop it. I had no control over it, him, or myself.
I opened my eyes as a figure emerged from the side of the building. The darkness shrouding the alleyway veiled him. He cursed a fixture above the door, the fixture from which I had earlier smashed the bulb.
On that night, black clouds had refused to allow the moon to glow. A solitary street light, from the far end of the passage, cast light which danced on his jingling keys as he fumbled for the lock.
As I looked on, Devil hissed into my ear, “Let’s do this already!” His hot, wet breath was like that of a dog—a hungry dog. I wiped the spit from my cheek and glanced over at him. I had seen that look before.
“Shhhh,” I urged.
That expression, the look in his eyes brought me back.
The dark figure finished with the lock, then turned to walk down the backstreet. He had parked his car behind the building, as he did every night. That ensured he would walk by the dumpster which served as our blind. Pungent odors of rotting food wafted from the big metal box we hid beside. The stench stung my nose and watered my eyes—doubt clouded my mind.
“He’s coming, get ready.”
“Yeah... I’m not sure about this one,” I answered, remembering how I was rushed--pressured—into setting it up so fast. I never liked to pull same-day jobs. It didn’t leave time for planning. And the wild look in his eyes, was it excitement, anticipation, desperation? I couldn’t tell, even though I had seen
it so many times before. He looked right at me, but through me, with panic, yet focus—such focus.
“Screw that,” he jeered. “You did the damn research. What’s not to be sure of ?”
“Some research, yeah. The police didn’t have enough to charge this guy.”
“Damn it Tyler, you read what he did to that kid—you know he did it. And you know we don’t have a choice!” he hissed while giving me a little shove.
“Ease up, man,” I barked back, returning the shove.
“Hello?” The man in the alley probed. “Who’s back there?”
Devil and I leaned back, deeper into the shadow of the dumpster.
“Hey... are you okay? Who’s back there?”
As the footsteps approached, my instincts kicked in. I reached back, felt the cold metal of my knife, slid it from my belt and got ready. The echoing footfalls stopped, inches from where we were crouched.
My heart pounded so hard I was sure the man just around the corner heard it aloud. Adrenaline coursed through me. I focused on controlling my breathing. The images--evidence—we had gathered flashed through my head like a sequential montage, each one delivering a stabbing pain to my temples.
I saw red, nothing but red. In a pain-driven blood lust, I sprang from the shadows and struck.
Devil laughed as he fought to pull me off the decimated corpse.
“Tyler, let’s go. It’s done. We gotta get outta here.”
I wiped sweat and blood from my face and tried to compose myself. I stood on shaky wickets, looking down, and thought, Oh my god, did I do that?
I had the same disbelief every time.
On this small island, ocean waves drive hard against red cliffs. So, with fears that the sandstone island might soon melt into the Atlantic, Robert finished his studies in Information Technology and moved to Canada's capital.
Robert has worked in network design, administration and security. He recently transitioned from a job managing a digital forensics team (supporting investigations) to Enterprise Architecture. That's his day job. At night, he writes.
This author writes thrillers (psychological, suspense, crime and horror). Pick one up if you like that sort of thing.
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I was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (off Canada's east coast). The population then was fewer than twenty thousand. My parents moved me, my two brothers and two sisters around. My father pursued degrees at both Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Penn State University (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.). Eventually, my parents returned us to Charlottetown. I finished high school and college there. Those were my most memorable and formative years growing up.
Although I still consider Prince Edward Island my home, I had to leave. The small island is made of sandstone and ocean waves constantly eat away. Soon—maybe thousands of years from now—but soon, it may melt into the Atlantic.
Truth is, I had to move for work.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I can eat ANYTHING you put in front of me. . .except for maybe Brussel sprouts, and probably mashed sweet potatoes. I definitely don’t like mincemeat pie.
I do love bacon though, and some other things.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
I would take my wife and daughters out for a nice breakfast, talk and laugh. Then, I would hug my girls, tell them how much they mean to me, how proud I am. My wife and I would fly to a Caribbean beach where we would swim, snorkel, and soak in the sun for the day. We would enjoy each other’s company over dinner and through the evening. If I could spend a full day with those three amazing girls before I went, I would be a lucky and happy man.
Who is your hero and why?
Bobby Orr! As a Canadian, I am a hockey fan to the core. When I was young, Bobby’s injury shortened career was winding down. He called it quits when I turned twelve. But seeing him play for the Boston Bruins and then Team Canada in 1976 will stick with me forever. The many highlight reels I’ve watched certainly helped etch his heroic feats in my memory.
I was lucky enough to meet Bobby a few years ago and he was every bit the humble gentleman I had heard. That was a surreal experience.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to unwind by picking away on my guitar. Picking and strumming occupies my mind and the melody sooths. Often, I will hear a song on the radio during my drive home and then I’m anxious to get back and try to pick it up.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Loving, hateful, energetic, lethargic, and confused.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my first novel, my family told me they were proud. They asked me how it felt to be a writer. I said I felt great, but that one book did not make me a writer. The feeling of accomplishment was significant for sure. Though, there was still so much of that story to tell—there is still. I have outlined a follow-up to that novel and plan to start it soon.
To be a writer, you must give yourself fully. Write every day. Read every day. There are some days that I have not been able to steal the time. I kick myself for it, but it still happens. I tell myself I will be a writer when I retire from my day job.
I wrote many short stories before I completed my second novel, What Lies Within. Which, by the way, is not a follow-up to the first novel, Society for Supper. Shortly after finishing What Lies Within, I began its follow-up in a planned series.
That story too, still has so much to say.
Until I complete one of the stories, and commit time more regularly, I will not feel like I have earned that title. If ever.
Besides—those who have the voices in their heads, have to scribble and type to get them out. They must scribe, fret, toil, and bleed. They must self-loath and self-chastise, but never entitle themselves with garish designations such as ‘writer’.
What inspired you to write this book?
The story of Tyler McDermitt and his brother came to me while nodding off a few years back. The first part of that story played itself out in my mind as I began to drift off to sleep. I had to keep getting up and jotting more notes. The title (What Lies Within) is intuitive once you know the story.
Many stories come to me just before I fall asleep. The hypnagogia fairies take pleasure in robbing me of a good night’s rest.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Foremost on my list of action items is to finish the follow-up to What Lies Within. I see this story playing out in three parts. The next novel will be ready for beta later this summer. Then, the third and final installment. Once I complete this trilogy, I would like to wrap up Society for Supper. Once those story lines are wrapped up, I have several other projects planned. Which one comes first will depend on what happens between now and then. I have new stories hatching all the time. I jot them down in my list of projects, which is beginning to get long.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in What Lies Within?
Tyler McDermitt is the protagonist in What Lies Within. He and his brother lost their parents when they were very young. The system moved them around from foster home to foster home until a couple took them in. The boys spent eight years with that couple—the worst eight years one could imagine. These two brothers, victims of child abuse and molestation, finally escaped their hell. They pledge to clean up after the failings the flawed system.
The rough streets of Dorchester, south Boston, hardened the two aspiring vigilantes and prepared them for their mission. One brother (Tyler) has a good heart, a conscience, and a burning compassion. His twisted sense of morality has burdened him with a deep sense of responsibility. The other brother is as hard as nails and as cold as ice. He is hell-bent on revenge and aims to ensure Tyler stays the course.
Besides pursuit from police, there is something from the boys' past closing in.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I truly enjoy being swept up in a story, lost to reality and engrossed. Just like reading, it’s a way to escape to a new world or a different reality temporarily. The difference is, when writing, you can steer the direction, influence and manipulate the characters and story.
With What Lies Within, Tyler tells most of the story in the first person. That allowed me to put myself in his shoes and really feel the character.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
My favorite part is that, once you think you know what’s going on, your forced to question your interpretation. As the story and the series goes on, you will continue to flip-flop on how you read things. I wanted to keep the reader guessing. I believe I am still trying to determine the right time to reveal things, and how much to reveal (in book two). And once the questions of Book 1 are answered, there are more twists to come.
I really enjoy a good twist--a surprise—and I believe I’ve been able to weave some surprises into this story.
What are your top 10 favorite authors?
Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Chuck Palahniuk, David Baldacci, Robert Ludlum, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Dr. Seuss
What book do you think everyone should read?
That is a very difficult question because I believe every book tells a slightly different story to every reader. We all interpret things and envision things differently with our mind’s eye. Also, memories of books I’ve read lose a little of their sheen over time. Books read more recently, stand out more. Sure, there are books that I always flash back to when asked about my favorite. I have so many favorites though.
Since this is a direct question, I will stop beating around the bush and give a direct answer. I’m going to say, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck written by Mark Manson.
I cannot say it’s my favorite, but I can say it was a fun and enlightening read. I believe everyone could get something from this book.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Some of each I believe. There are some characters who are predefined and some that grow organically as I write. Even the predefined characters grow and develop as I write.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Often, I will research as I write. Not before. Stories I’ve written took me places I had not planned. More detail of events, topics and places are revealed as I write. I have to research them on the fly.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Absolutely! I love reading, and not only for the stories. I thoroughly enjoy the break from reality I get from a good book. That’s not the only reason I adore reading. I’m also captivated by the way some writers can paint such fantastic scenes, their ability to develop beautiful, lovable characters, and their amazing turn of phrase. I just love to read, admire and soak in their writing.
Pen or type writer or computer?
When recording thoughts for future books, or stories of which I’m in the middle, I use many methods. I capture ideas for characters, scenes, plot twists, or whatever, in a small notebook I carry. I tap notes into my phone. I also dictate to myself using audio recordings on my phone. But, when I sit and put it all together, or when I type pages, or chapters at a time, I use my computer.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz and The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver. My problem is, I spend too much time re-reading paragraphs that mesmerize me. Absorbing the content AND delivery. I enjoy the prose as much as I do the story and it slows me down. I’m adding to my reading pile faster than I’m burning through it. Soon it’s going to fall over and crush me.
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