Title: The Refuge Bid
Series: County Durham Quad 8
Author: Jude Tresswell
Release Date: 31st July 2022
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Word count: 64,000
Genre: gay crime/mystery, M/M menage, sexual/ asexual relationships
The Refuge Bid is a gay mystery and relationships tale set in fictional Tunhead, northeast England.
Is there a link between a woman who has been missing for ten years and the people bidding to buy and redevelop Tunhead’s decommissioned church and graveyard? Can the County Durham Quad and their special friend, Nick, find out and stop the sale—one grave is special—and can they raise the cash to counter the bids with an offer of their own? Success involves drawing on Tunhead’s quarrying industry past and on employing their very different skills but, also, they must acknowledge what it is that they really want from their unusual liaison.
(Involves asexual/ sexual relationships and contains references to a teenager’s suicide and conversion therapy.)
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Discover the entire series!
Tales that track the exploits of Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live and love in County Durham, North-East England. Together with, from Book 3 onward, their friend, Nick Seabrooke, the Quad solve crimes, are accused of crimes and, occasionally, commit crimes. Their actions jeopardise their relationships. Sometimes, the biggest threat they face is staying together. Each tale comes with its own plot, and background is included to aid new readers. Feel free to jump in anywhere.
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What size slice of life should feature in a fairly cosy mystery? It’s something that I think about. There’s often a heavy aspect to the County Durham Quad tales. So, for example, the plight of asylum seekers was central to the plot of the second book, Polyamory on Trial, and my own experience of parental suicide guided the content of book seven, A Right To Know. I don’t mean that the ‘heaviness’ dominates. It tends to be the springboard for the plotlines, though. I learn of something serious that upsets or intrigues me and I find that it starts off a story. The new book is no exception. The springboard was the forthcoming change in the laws of England and Wales regarding conversion therapy. It’s been (still is) a bitter debate and it does feature in the story. But, only up to a point.
I write gay mysteries, not social commentaries. I don’t think that the Quad tales are the place to discuss the conversion therapy debate, nor any debate. I have a blog for things like that. I can voice my opinions there. To me, it would be ethically wrong to hoist my opinions on unsuspecting readers and, yet, although it’s fiction, what I write is moulded by who I am and what I think. If, as I hope, you read the story, it will probably be very clear which side of the fence that I sit on.
There’s another reason for not over-emphasising heaviness: I like fun too much! I love writing Raith (the artist in the Quad) and describing his effect on the others: Phil’s long-suffering patience, Mike’s impatience, Ross’s tolerance… It would take someone who is far more skilled than I am to achieve an acceptable balance of comedy and real tragedy. I’m happy to (try to) present a slice of life, but I don’t wish to offer the whole cake; I wouldn’t be able to do so successfully. As (I think) Jane Austen said: “Know your limitations!”
I do read the reviews of my books and I know that some people feel that I get the balance right and some people feel that I don’t. Reading is so personal. I hope you’ll check out The Refuge Bid and, if you do, I’d be interested to know what you think. Thank you for the opportunity to ask. Jude
Meet the Author
Just released Book 8 in the County Durham Quad series. I think it might be the final one. There’s a piece of non-fiction that I want to write (still focusing on County Durham!) and I know that the research alone will take up much of my time. I do love the north of England. It’s where I was born and grew up and northern England is the setting for all my work. I always ‘heard’ the stories as I wrote them and I wanted to read extracts over visual footage of County Durham (the Quad tales) and Yorkshire (Scar Ghyll Levels). It’s a project that became became a reality.
Six videos are now on YouTube. To see all the videos in full, plus the photographs I took for Scar Ghyll Levels, visit my YouTube channel.
Find my blog here. It really is a poly all sorts of a blog but there’s a books and an LGBTQ focus.
I hope that you like the new book. Last one or not, it has a happy ending.