Detective Alicia Raymond, aka, ‘Berg’ by Vanessa Skye
(Vanessa has generously offered to give away three signed copies of The Enemy Inside, the first in the series (US). Please comment until next Tuesday, noon EST to enter).
(graphic provided by author)
It's time for another Wednesday Woman! Today, Vanessa Skye gives us an analysis of the main character in her Edge of Darkness series (crime fiction), Detective Alicia Raymond, aka, ‘Berg’.
Lets start with an excerpt of the first book in the series, The Enemy Inside:
‘Berg ran her hand over the spotless bathroom counter as she walked in to undress. Cleaning was one of her favorite pastimes, and when she wasn’t working, her weekends were a scrubbing, rubbing, and polishing frenzy.
You’ll never be clean, the shadowy voice in her head mocked.
She shoved the thought back down as she removed her clothing. Catching sight of her reflection in the large wall mirror perched over the sink, she stared at the bruises running across her naked abdomen and upper thighs before touching them in a detached way. Their purple, green, and yellow shades were livid against her pale skin. She probed them with her strong fingers, relishing the sudden, blunt ache for a moment. She frowned, unable to remember how they happened—or was it that she didn’t want to?
Berg glanced in the mirror. She could appreciate that she had a certain aesthetic charm to others, even if she couldn’t see it. Fortunately, the façade was all people wanted to see, so they never bothered to look any deeper.
She examined her face: brown eyes, high cheekbones, and heavy, arched brows. Running her fingers over the bump in her nose, she remembered the beating that had caused it. One of her stepfathers had been quite willing to use his fists against a small, defenseless little girl. She wore the bump like a badge.
She glared at the mask in the mirror, the mask that drew the men to her, the mask responsible for the pain. Loathing for both the men and herself rose like bile in the back of her throat as she stared. She wanted to claw the tissue from her bones with her fingernails, then crush the flesh in her bare hands, and watch it drip red into the pure, white sink.’
From the outside, many people who take Berg at face value would say she’s beautiful but ‘fucked up’. That’s true, but it’s also an oversimplification.
Berg is strong, but vulnerable. She’s tough, but weak. She’s caring, but emotionally shut down.
Berg’s a lot of things, but simple is not one of them.
While she’s had a tough childhood, and she’s been through the abuse and the foster care, it’s made her into the woman she is. As many abuse survivors will tell you, you become excellent at reading people—you can read the danger signs from a mile away. This is why Berg is the amazing detective she is, this is why she gets all the hard and cold cases, because she has a knack for finding out the truth and getting to the crux of a crime.
And it’s because of her past that she is driven to get justice for others. She will keep going, past the point of no return, and long past where other detectives might give up. She goes that extra mile, and won’t stop until she gets justice. Of course, there is a fine line between justice and vengeance, but I leave that up to the reader to decide.
Her job being what is, she has many emotional landmines to navigate in daily life. Every day, her childhood is starkly relived, and she deals with that in two ways: to protect herself from emotions, and to feed her addiction.
Like many survivors of a bad childhood, she anaesthetizes her pain in the only way she can, indeed in the only way she’s been taught, and that is through promiscuity. There is a strong gender theme through the books, that is: why women like Berg, who are promiscuous, are judged and considered ‘sluts’, when men carrying out the same ‘acting out’ are clapped on the back and congratulated.
There are also strong love and hope themes throughout the series between Berg and her partner. Berg has never been loved before, so of course once confronted with the intensity of these emotions, she runs for her life. It’s stunning to watch Berg come to terms with being loved, and therefore loving not only someone else, but herself, too.
Some people may read the series and think that Berg goes too far to get justice, and some may think she doesn't go far enough. Berg is all about an ‘eye for an eye’. But her partner, Jay, is far more forgiving and happy to work within the bounds of the law, even if that means that sometimes they don’t get the bad guy. To Berg, not getting the bad guy is intolerable.
Do you consider people like Dexter or Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) to be villains? I personally don't, but others will likely disagree with this. So I urge people to read The Enemy Inside, Broken, and Bloodlines and judge if they consider Berg to be a hero or a villain for themselves.
The Enemy Inside (Only 99c January 8-29!)
While exploring the darkness in others, Detective Alicia Raymond discovers her own.
Chicago Detective Alicia Raymond, a.k.a. Berg, medicates her deeply buried depression and a brutal past with an obsessive desire to track down killers. Bringing murderers to justice is the only thing in her life worth living for.
So when she sympathizes with a vigilante who is exacting sadistic revenge, Berg faces a perilous choice: surrender to the powerful evil inside, or finally acknowledge the past she would rather ignore.
Like Dexter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Enemy Inside challenges the concept of justice, asks if the need for vengeance sometimes justifies murder, and explores whether you can ever heal from a broken childhood.
The Enemy Inside is now available in eBook and paperback on Amazon, Kobo, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, TWCS and Booktopia.
And at Pages & Pages in Mosman.
A Chicago mother is murdered in a robbery gone wrong...
A teenager is raped and beaten, her life hanging by a thread...
For Chicago Detective Alicia Raymond, a.k.a Berg, the need for justice burns deep and fills the emptiness when therapy and relationships fall short. And while Berg wages a life or death battle against a sociopath who is always two steps ahead, an old adversary will stop at nothing to end her career.
As Berg fights to prevent another murder, she will cross the line between hero and villain—and there’s no turning back.
Broken is now available in eBook and paperback on Amazon, Kobo, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, TWCS and Booktopia.
And at Pages & Pages in Mosman.
Following the acclaimed debut of The Enemy Inside and its sequel, Broken, comes the stunning conclusion to the ‘Edge of Darkness’ series by investigative journalist Vanessa Skye, Bloodlines.
Detective Alicia “Berg” Raymond is lying. She’s lying to the Chicago Police Department, to her boyfriend, Captain Jay O’Loughlin, but most of all, she is lying to herself—about her past, her future, and her addiction.
As Berg investigates a series of brutal rapes, she juggles finding justice for the victims, keeping her own sordid past buried, and wrapping her damaged head around living in a state of domestic bliss she’s certain she doesn’t deserve.
But when enemies from the past threaten her present, she is once again vulnerable to the demons that have plagued her. It’s only a matter of time before the lies unravel and destroy the fairy tale she’s finally started believing.
Can she save anyone from the lurking darkness or will her own bloodlines drag her under—this time for good?
Bloodlines will be released January 15, 2015, on Amazon, Kobo, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, TWCS and Booktopia.
Check out Vanessa’s Blog at www.vanessa-skye.com