Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mystery, Mind Games, and Murder

Imagine, if you will, that you have one week left to live. You’re innocent, but the jury found you guilty anyway. No one believes you. Your last appeal has failed. To top it all off, the person who killed your spouse is still out there, and soon they’ll have gotten away with two murders. You have one last interview, one last chance to tell the truth and hope that someone, anyone, believes you. And someone does. But you might just wish he didn’t.

Such was the scenario that ran through my head and eventually gave life to Maurice Oyler and Matthew Devlin in Three O’Clock Execution.

When I first heard the Insecure Writer’s Group (IWSG) was holding their annual anthology contest, I was excited. But then I realized the topic was crime. Eish. I’m a fantasy writer, through and through. What do I know about crime? Sure, I love reading it, but writing it is a whole different beast.

However, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge (even when I really, really should), so I sat down and considered something I think about from time to time: what if you’re put to death for a crime you didn’t commit? The thought is terrifying. So, in other words, perfect for a crime anthology.

I’ve always been a big fan of psychological thrillers, so I wanted to approach crime more from a psychological perspective; not while the murder is being committed, but the mind games that follow. And Mr. Devlin sure is good at mind games.

I'd like to introduce you to the characters, just briefly, with an excerpt from the beginning of Three O'Clock Execution.

The clock outside chimed three times as Mr. Devlin clicked the recorder on and took his seat at the metal table.

“Today is the eighth of April, at three o’clock.” His words were crisp and biting, as chilly and sterile as the visiting room. “Will you state your name for the record, please?”

“Maurice Oyler.” The chains clinked against the table as he wrung his hands.

“Do I have your permission to record this?”


“Then, let’s begin, shall we? As you know, I’m Matthew Devlin. I’m conducting some research on death row inmates. Thank you for agreeing to see me.”

“Well, you were very persistent.” It wasn’t a compliment. In fact, Mr. Devlin had become downright insufferable, and if Mo had to die, which the state was determined to make happen, he wanted to at least be allowed to do so in peace.

“I think you’ll find, Mr. Oyler, that I take my work very seriously.”

“I’m afraid I won’t be of much use to you, then. You see, I’m innocent.”

“With all due respect, every sane person says that on their way out.” Mr. Devlin paused to rearrange some folders in front of him. “Some of the less-than-sane ones, too.”

“Right.” Mo licked his lips and leaned forward, making sure their eyes met. “But I’m telling the truth. I didn’t kill my wife.”

So, what would you do if you were convicted of a crime you didn’t commit?

To find out what Maurice Oyler did, you can preorder Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime at the following retailers (release date is May 1):

Want to join the community of people talking about Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime? Add the book on Goodreads or like our Facebook page. 

 S. R. Betler: Writer. Reviewer. Failed ninja. Collector of stray people and animals. Torturer of characters. Creator of worlds, people, and sometimes bad ideas.


  1. I can't imagine being convicted of a crime I didn't commit. How scary. I'd be a control freak with no control, basically my worst nightmare. Thank goodness for DNA!

    I loved your story! Freaked me out a bit, but that's all I'm going to say ;)

    1. Ha, thanks! It totally freaked me out, too, and I wrote it, which is kind of messed up, but the whole idea just gives me the creeps.

  2. You're glad now you didn't shy away from the challenge. That was the perfect premise.

    1. I'm very glad! It's always good to challenge yourself, I always say. :) Thank you.

  3. I loved your story! That scenario is beyond terrifying - so hard to imagine being completely powerless because no one believes you.

    1. Thank you so much! It's definitely up there among my worst-case scenarios.

  4. Congrats!! Can't wait to read your story! Your excerpt pulled me right in.

  5. So compelling! Congratulations on an excellent premise and story! I can't even imagine this happening. I get so nervous just being around cops, and my uncle was one. :)


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