Beyond the Story - Broken Steel

Broken Steel by Stuart Field

After ten years in prison for his wife’s murder, Brian Armstrong is free.

When a freak accident with the prison transport gives him and two others an opportunity to escape, they seize it. With revenge in his heart, Brian disappears into the storm-filled city. After an ex-schoolteacher is found dead, Detective John Steel is brought in to investigate.

The circumstances are mysterious - just the way Steel likes it. His partner Samantha McCall is convinced the timing between the escape and the death of the teacher are more than coincidence. As they start to investigate, the case becomes more complex than they could have ever imagined. With time running out, can they find the killer and bring him to justice?

Hello, and welcome to Beyond the Story Character Interviews. Today I have two special guests from the novel Broken Steel by Stuart Field. Let’s get to know our guests, shall we?

SJJ: Can you please tell us your full names and where you live?

JS: Hi, My Name is John Steel, I’m originally from the UK, but due to my involvement with the NYPD, I live in an apartment in Manhatten.

SM: You mean a penthouse on Park Avenue and involvement? What friggin involvement. You spend most of you’re time disappearin into shadows and makin my life friggin a misery. Sorry. I’m Detective Samantha McCall, and I have a shoebox Near the Village New York City.

JS: A shoebox – it’s a loft, you live in a beautiful old building.

SM: You, like so much Mr Steel, how about we swap?

SJJ: Ahem, OK, so moving on to my next question. So, this question is for you John. How would you describe your personality?

JS: I would say I was…

SM: I can’t wait to hear this.

JS: I would say, uhm, very…

SM: Here Steel, let me help, you a mysterious motha, the man has more personalities, sometimes happy sometimes sad, always angry. Sometimes he just blanks out so much you think the guy is made from stone. That’s usually the time to leave him alone. But I would say friggin annoying.

JS: Well, I would have gone more down the road of I don’t like showing my feelings much, but I guess what you said would work…apart from the annoying. You love me, really.

SJJ: Am I wrong or do I sense a little tension here? Never mind. Next question has two parts and is for both of you. What do you do for a living? And what is your dream job?

SM: I’m a homicide detective at the 11th precinct in the best city in the world and my dream job? I’m already doin it. Although Captain would be cool, I could get rid of this jackass then. (she laughs)

JS: I’m attached to the NYPD from Scotland Yard, it was meant to be a one-time thing, but things had escalated since then.

SM: Escalated? Seriously, you’ve blown up a cargo ship and a cruise liner – and don’t forget my car.

JS: Anyway… dream job? To be honest, I’m not sure.

SM: How about… playboy billionaire, Lord of the Manor?

JS: JS says nothing. Just smiles weirdly and shrugs.

SJJ: You know, I was going to ask, John, how you managed to blow up Samantha’s car, but I think I’ll just stick to the script.

So, What are the biggest obstacles that are preventing your from achieving your goals? Samantha, you first.

SM: Wow, uhm…him really. (she points towards JS and winks). But seriously, I overcome most of my obstacles, so they aint much of a problem. If I set my mind to something, I do it.

JS: I think obstacles are there to better us, make us think harder, so we achieve our final goal. Adapt, overcome, conquer.

SM: Yeah, he mostly kills them or blows stuff up, he’s good at that – like my car, for instance.

JS: I’ll buy you a soddin new one, don’t worry about it.

SJJ: Maybe I should ask about the car. (Smiles) Ahem, okay, moving on.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

SM: I hate him... Oh, wait, sorry, everyone knows that.

??: Not true, she’s totally in love with his fine British ass (a woman’s voice can be heard from the breakroom)

SJJ: Who was that?

SM: Oh, that, nobody… A dead woman. (she blushes and makes hand gestures not suitable to describe in this interview)

JS: After my family was murdered several years ago, I went into solitude in Alaska, hoping to hide away from the world.

SM: (says nothing at first, just looks at him with sad eyes.) Uhm… wow. I didn’t… I mean…

JS: It’s okay. And you were about to say… apart from the hate thing?

SM: What… oh, yeah, McCall is my mother’s name, my father forced me to take it so I wouldn’t be in his shadow when I joined the force.

SJJ: I’m so sorry, John, I had no idea. So tragic. I think I can guess what your answer will be, John, to my next question.

Are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

JS: I’d say the mu… death of my family. It gave me…perspective, a purpose.

SM: Possibly the murder of my dad. He was killed on duty. It made me angry for a long time that the person responsible was never found. It…I don’t know like Steel said…gave me perspective, a purpose. I guess we hear the dead speak and we help them to find justice. Peace.

SJJ: Oh, Samantha. I am so sorry.

Do either of you have any regrets?

JS: Yes, not being there for my family when they needed me. But some might say if I had been there sooner, I’d be dead too. But, in a way…I did die that day. A piece of me did anyway. What piece? Oh, …my soul. A friend said I had been reborn, didn’t feel like it, but hey, a second chance, I guess.

(An awkward silence)

SM: Yeah, thanks for that, Mr happy. Regrets, I would say…. working with this guy would be top of my list…yeah. Pretty much that.

??: Stop lyin girl, you want that British ass. (the strange woman from the breakroom again)

SJJ: Sorry, who is that?

SM: That was…Doctor Tina Franks, our Medical examiner… my EX-best friend.

SJJ: (Scribbling on her notepad to speak to the ME later.) Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

SM: My dad. He was great. He’d come home, and we’d sit on the porch and drink beer, talk about cop stuff.

SJJ: When you were in the academy or the force?

SM: Nah, I think I was about…ten, twelve. He used to teach me stuff. How to shoot, take someone down…. huh, come to think about it, I never got bullied at school. I guess right now, my Captain, Captain Alan Brant.

JS: I always looked up to my dad for a long time, but when he died an old friend took me in, showed me the way if you like. In the army – the British army, that is. I had an instructor, a sergeant. He took a shine to me, probably because I didn’t take any crap off anyone, found out later he’d had a chat with some friends of his and got me …shall we call it an interview.

SJJ: When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

SM: Probably, my graduation from the academy. My dad’s face was… wow. He was so proud of me. But also, when I made detective, I remember going to my father’s grave to tell him. I always do that, share a moment with him. We have a couple of beers on his birthday. Well, I do, I just pour his on the headstone.

JS: Probably seeing my dad’s face when I got married, and again when we told him… he was going to be a grandfather.

(An awkward silence followed by muffled sobbing.)

SJJ: Samantha, John, what’s your idea of the perfect day?

SM: When he isn’t around. But then… no, scrub that if he’s nowhere near, he could be getting up to all sorts of crap. Uhm, perfect day. The weekend at my mom’s in Boston. Yeah, that’s just great. We do barbecues or bake pies, or just sit and chat. It’s great.

JS: Catching one of the arseholes who work for the organisation who killed my family and making him tell me where his boss is.

SM: Uhm, don’t laugh… he’s actually serious. I don’t know, he probably misses fish and chips or something, or scones.

JS: You know, I do miss a decent chippy. But then there’s this sports bar near times square. Excellent bloody fish and chips.

SJJ: (coughs politely)