Rubble and the Wreckage, by Rodd Clark
Title: Rubble and the Wreckage
Author: Rodd Clark
Genre: LGBT Erotic Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Length: 254 Pages (Novel)
Publisher: Driven-Press Publishing
Heat Level: Moderate
Blurb: 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?
Product Link: Driven Press
I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Rubble and the Wreckage, by Rodd Clark. Even now, after reading the last page, I am unsure of what to think. The story is narrated giving insight from all angles and a much bigger picture. The story starts out with Gabriel Church, a small boy, who is afraid of his father, for many reasons. His mother, Sissy Church, seems to be under her husband’s firm control, afraid to speak out or stand up for her children.
This not only confuses a small Gabriel but also leaves him on his own to withstand the wrath of Bennett, his alcoholic and temperamental, father alone.
Not all moments held Bennett’s wrath, some days he was simply quiet and even tempered, but for Gabe it was like watching a hungry dog that wouldn’t eat… it was only then that you needed to worry.
As the narrator tells the story, he makes reference to a red Popsicle Gabe had forgotten about due to receiving his whipping and punishment.
He stared at the large red stain as it dissipated in the driveway and melted from the humidity. He couldn’t seem to pull his eyes away. It was as if the pooling red had somehow fractured his mind, and he found comfort with that. It may have been but a single moment in time, but it was moment that would have lasting effects.
As I read further, I couldn’t help but wonder if that particular moment wasn’t the start to something subconsciously taking over in Gabe’s mind.
At the earliest chance, Gabriel left home with a few clothes in the trunk of his car. No money, which led to stealing, or forcing him to sometimes take a job until he had enough money to get to the next town.
It wasn’t long into his journey that he made his first kill, although it wasn’t part of his, soon to become, logic for killing. It was an altercation gone badly, but Gabe didn’t regret it either. He never regretted killing because in his mind he had just cause.
This brings us to Christian Maxwell. A loner, by his own admission, and with a, more than once, observation, someone who considered himself the black sheep of the family. A college graduate with human psychology and creative writing as his passion, he begins to take notice of unsolved murders from newspapers.
With tons of research behind him, and many hours, he locates the serial killer. Something the FBI had not been able to do, giving Christian the upper hand. This also allows Christian to almost excuse himself from doing his moral duty and turning him in. He tells himself they would not believe him and only think he was loony.
He had picked the victim type because of what he suspected he knew about the killer, and this meant the two were thinking similarly. It seemed it had been a random guess but one that had inevitably become a reality. He had successfully crawled into the mind of a killer and could tell you, with some certainty, who would be murdered next. That insight was chilling.
We don’t know, until later in the story, how Gabe and Christian met, but we know that Gabriel wants his story told and he wants Christian to do it. And, Christian is more than thrilled to have this chance. He will write Gabe’s biography obtaining facts and circumstances straight from the killer himself. Something that has never been done, at least before the killer is captured.
Over many hours, days, and weeks, Gabe and Christian meet to discuss his story. What first starts out at a public location, soon turns into a hotel room for more privacy. Neither feel comfortable, at first, allowing the other to know where they live.
Christian admits, mainly to himself, he has become addicted with Gabe. He never allowed himself the comfort of another human being and he discovers he likes it. He had never categorized his sexuality because, until Gabe, he had never been with another man. It doesn’t bother him to realize he is a gay man, but he does wonder what his life would have been like had he let someone in prior to meeting Gabriel Church.
Gabe is a heterosexual man, but he offers himself to Christian, thinking that’s what he wants from him. They, both, enjoy their carnal pleasures, and Gabe realizes he loves the control he has over Christian. Something he uses frequently when they are together. I believe Gabe likes the control because that is something he never had at home. Now, on his own, he will never be that scared little boy, anymore.
Christian grapples with his feelings constantly. He understands he should probably inform the police of what he knows. He admits his feelings for Gabe are getting too deep. He tries to reason with himself that Gabe is a good man, and he will change his ways because he, also, knows it’s wrong to kill.
Church was a riddle that was certain. Maybe it could be considered a functional form of schizophrenia, but Christian doubted the illness ran that deep. He could be a man of many faces but one never over-shadowed the other or blocked the other personalities from access. He was a sexual beast, and he was a child; he was clearly methodic and at times rational and lucid. He had love in his heart, a benefit few psychotics could offer.
Christian is always observing Gabe, trying to figure out how his mind works. I think, sub-consciously, Christian feels he can change him. He doesn’t understand how he can have no remorse for what he has done. When Christian pushes too hard for answers or when Gabe gives too much insight into his killings, they hit a wall, forcing them to separate and cool off. As you can imagine, emotions are running rampant and some things, Gabe realizes, are maybe better left unsaid. But, is it fair to leave out specifics and alter his story? This is his story to be told yet he doesn’t relish how Christian looks at him with fear or disgust.
He couldn’t help picture the expression on Gabriel’s face as he killed, he hadn’t seen it thankfully, but he imagined it twisted and grimacing as if he was a skilled predator who enjoyed sadistic games. He couldn’t balance the scales from killer to the man he’d made love with hours earlier. It seemed incalculable he could be both men.
I often wondered, as I was reading, if Gabe had visions from his victims. He admits to seeing some kind of white light/cloud around them and therefore he knows who to kill. He, also, accepts that this must be coming from a higher power, God’s will possibly, giving him free rein over his actions. And, a free conscience.
As the author takes me on this journey, I changed my feelings many times. At first, I was pretty sure I was not going to like Gabe, at all. I wasn’t even sure that I would like Christian because he didn’t seem to have any backbone when it came to Gabriel. As the story unfolds and I begin to understand on a different level, my thinking process would change.
Just like Christian, I felt compelled towards Gabriel and was hoping he would be able to feel remorse for his actions. I wanted Gabe and Christian to be able to live their lives together, happy and in love. What I did come to realize, however, I don’t think Gabe can change. I do believe, with the help of Christian, he is starting to question some of the horrible things he has done. Will it be enough to ever stop completely, I don’t know. I don’t think it will, at this time.
I do believe that Christian is willing to overlook everything - no matter how inconceivable it may be - that Gabe has done and follow him to the ends of the earth. Without a doubt, Gabe is a deranged head-fuck, but is he worth loving? Will he ever get that chance? That’s another thing I’m unsure of as the story concludes before that happens.
Due to jealousy and rash behavior, Christian sets into motion an unfortunate and untimely event that will have longstanding repercussions. Not realizing, at the time, what level of destruction he created he will have no choice but to sit and wait for Gabe to return. If he ever does. Hopefully, the author has intentions of continuing this story because as it stands now there has not been any closure. Not for Christian, not for Gabe, nor myself.
This story, Rodd Clark has created, is very intense and complex. The author’s originality and creativity exude with skill and intelligence. Narrating the story, as he has done here, opened up a whole new level of imagination allowing us to see more clearly and more accurately the vision he portrayed. He gives new meaning to the descriptive writing process. He writes with a lyrical prose that literally pulls you into the story and demands your full attention.
The execution of the plot was handled brilliantly, bringing the reader in at the right moment, highlighting details of the story, when we could see more clearly his intent. There are many facets to both characters and I think we have only touched on a few. Rodd Clark’s ingenuity and resourcefulness are mind-boggling, and an author definitely worth following.
Christian was infatuated with Gabe starting out and soon realized that he may even love him. In his own way, I believe Gabe loves Christian as well but what significance that will play in the future I’m not sure. I would not consider this a romance, although, they were affectionate to each other and craved intimate touches. Their sexual encounters were more off page than on, but you get the feeling that they were also more one-sided with Gabe taking the controls.
I don’t think this story is for the faint at heart as the author doesn’t sugarcoat Gabe’s transactions. However, if you like your mind to be broadened, like to have your own thought process questioned, and whether it was intended or not, I do believe you will love the characters and want the best for them, then I would definitely recommend this story. I would like to thank the author for taking me on the journey, one I hope is not over and we will see more of in the future.
…and in the end everything crumbles away!
About the author
Rodd 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.
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