Purpose by Andrew Q Gordon
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: October 6th
Edition: Second (Re-written, re-edited, new cover)
Genre: Paranormal, Gay Fiction
We are happy to have Andrew Q. Gordon here today to talk about his latest novel, Purpose. Welcome, Andrew. Tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story and the characters.
Vengeance. Revenge. Vigilante justice. None of these are especially positive words, especially not to law enforcement officers. But think of all the anti-hero heroes; Batman, Wolverine, for those older like me, the Walking Tall movies [The Originals from the 70’s or the Rock’s remake in 2004, or Charles Bronson in the “Death Wish” movies. (for those who don’t know these, click the links). Everyone loves the bad guy who is taking down the real bad guys. It’s a very Machiavellian approach where the ends justify the means.
“Thanks. There is more than a bit of that in Purpose. William Morgan is the human host to the spirit of vengeance. He deals out ‘justice’ to those who have killed an innocent person. And while the innocent victims are avenged, Will kills a lot of people. Regardless of how we feel about the original crime, how many of us would really sanction killing the killer? Maybe a few, maybe more, but that is probably not the position most of us would take in polite company. Why? Because civilized society is built on laws that don’t allow us to take the law into our own hands. And yet…
Among the themes I’ve tried to weave into Purpose, is whether or not the law is willing to turn a blind eye to these events. Certainly Commissioner Gordon didn’t exactly object to what Batman did. Same in Death Wish. There seems to be this tendency among the top brass—at least in movies and comic books—to look the other way and secretly applaud the ‘bad guy protagonist’ for doing what law enforcement couldn’t.
I can’t say if that is truly the view of those in charge, but from my twenty plus years working with law enforcement officers I can say it is certainly an unspoken feeling among the rank and file frustrated by what they perceive as the lack of consequences. That said, I don’t think they would turn a blind eye to someone who killed another, even if it were in retaliation. I’ve never met anyone who would welcome a full on vigilante in the community.
In Purpose there are two different law enforcement characters. Detective Daniel Griffin is a homicide detective who firmly believes in upholding the law. Will is a vigilante, at times Det. Griffin calls him the devil. Dealing with Will, however, upends his world. Will offers him the chance to always get the right person. But Griffin isn’t quite able to reconcile the good with the cost. One of the journeys in the book is Griffin’s as Will forces him to question his beliefs.
The other is Agent Barrington. His worldview is clear: Will is bad and must be caught. He has no interest in dealing with the devil. Where Griffin quickly realizes he has no chance of catching Will, Barrington takes a different approach. His methods, however, demonstrate how similar he and Will are—or not.
As the three interact, decisions are made, perceptions change and motives are revealed. The cover reflects the duality of the entire situation and hopefully that is reflected in the story.
Forty years ago the Spirit of Vengeance—a Purpose—took William Morgan as its host, demanding he avenge the innocent by killing the guilty. Since then Will has retreated behind Gar, a façade he uses to avoid dealing with what he’s become. Cold, impassive, and devoid of emotion, Gar goes about his life alone—until his tidy, orderly world is upended when he meets Ryan, a broken young man cast out by his family. Spurred to action for reasons he can’t understand, Gar saves Ryan from death and finds himself confronted by his humanity.
Spending time with Ryan helps Will claw out from under Gar’s shadow. He recognizes Ryan is the key to his reclaiming his humanity and facing his past. As Will struggles to control the Purpose, Ryan challenges him to rethink everything he knew about himself and the spirit that possesses him. In the process, he pushes Will to do something he hasn’t done in decades: care.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2013.
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He turned where he saw the others disappear and understood why they had stopped: dead-end alley. Ryan stood with his back to the brick wall, wide-eyed and pale. Gar noted the uncontrollable shake in Ryan’s body as the four jackals slowly inched closer. White knuckles surrounded the small bag he’d carried off the train.
The one closest to Ryan inched closer. “You know what time it is.”
“Police!” Gar didn’t wait for them to react to his command. He tightened his leg muscles and moved the moment everyone turned toward the front of the alley. Using the split second before they could focus on him, he leaped over them, twisting in the process.
The space between them and Ryan wasn’t much, but he managed to avoid contact with the kid, landing a foot to the left. He reached into his coat and removed a collapsible metal baton with his right hand and a pair of brass knuckles with the left.
One step right, and he completely covered Ryan’s shaking form. Not risking a glance back, he kept his eyes on the startled thieves in front of him.
“Stay behind me, Ryan.”
A muffled grunt, barely audible, told Gar the kid heard him. He dropped the police officer illusion, staring calmly at his prey. Assessing his adversaries, he ignored the hint of a thought that said they were not the guilty. Too late for that—they would have been had he not stopped them.
“I know what time it is,” he hissed, tossing the slang for street robberies back in their face. “Time for vengeance to collect its fee.”
In the recent past, Gar had taken to finding a way to take out the guilty without doing it himself. This time he couldn’t risk it; Ryan was too close. One of them had a gun. He could smell it now.
He definitely didn’t have time to make it look like an accident.
Spinning on his left foot, he kicked the kid with the gun so hard his skullcap flew off when his head hit the wall. Allowing his movement to carry him around, he brought the metal baton down on the arm of a robber with a knife. Metal on flesh and bone was no contest. Gar saw Ryan flinch when the kid let out a scream of agony and fell to the ground.
At least he would live, Gar noted. The first kid was probably dead already. The other two were rooted in place, stunned into inaction. Two seconds ago, they were about to rob a defenseless kid. Now they were being taken apart. Before they could run away, Gar lashed out.
Using the palm of his left hand, he struck the one closest to him. Even using the inner part of his hand, he heard the brass knuckles crack the kid’s sternum when he connected. The last kid finally moved and made it three steps before Gar swept his feet out from under him with the baton.
The face looking up in terror was that of a kid, a juvenile. They were all kids. Reaching toward the teen’s head, he heard movement behind him.
“Gar.” Ryan’s timid, urgent tone caused him to turn. “Don’t kill him.”
“I won’t.” His voice was a cold hiss. Instead, he touched the sweaty forehead, inserting confused thoughts. He quickly repeated the process with the others. The first kid still lived, but probably not for long. The other two, he left sobbing out their pain.
“Come on.” He grabbed Ryan’s left arm. “We need to go.”
Ryan resisted the pull, but Gar was prepared for this. “Either you come with me or I leave you to explain this.”
Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting to the times, he now writes with a shiny new MacBook that he sets on the same desk as his manual typewriter and vintage adding machine.
Long a fan of super heroes, wizards and sports, Andrew’s works include high fantasy, paranormal spirits, magic as well as contemporary fiction. He is still trying to find the perfect story that will include all his favorites under one cover.
He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and occasionally sleeping.
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