Welcome to my stop on The Weight Of Guilt Blog Tour. To see the full schedule, click on the banner above. For my stop today, I have a Guest Post and a Giveaway! Be sure to enter as the Giveaway is ending in a few hours!!
The Weight of Guilt
By Jon Ripslinger
Genre: Young Adult
Driving home from a bonfire party, eighteen-year-old John Hawk crashes, killing his girlfriend, Riley. Bullied and tormented at school, his guilty conscience crushing him, John transfers to a school on the banks of the Mississippi River, where he attracts the eye of the principal’s daughter, Megan Jones. Though he’s reluctant, she convinces him to be her prom date. The morning after prom, Principal Jones reports Megan missing. Four days later, her body is recovered from the Mississippi River, and John becomes the prime suspect in her death, a rape and murder case.
Charley Cotton, Megan’s best friend, knows that Megan had a secret, but she doesn’t trust John because of his past. John is desperate to avoid adding to the shame he carries for Riley’s death—it’s destroying his life. With Charley’s help, he learns that others in Megan’s life have a motive to keep her quiet. But every effort they make to uncover the truth edges them closer to a desperate murderer with everything to lose.
Guest Post :
The Weight of Guilt Characters Speak Out
Lieutenant Leo Garske: Look, I’m a trained police officer of the law, an investigator, and I’m damned good at what I do. This kid John Hawk will be accused of the rape and murder of Megan Jones, a girl he took to the prom. He’s the last person to see her alive. I’ll be serving a warrant any day now, guaranteed. He’s angry, belligerent, and smart, but not as smart as me. He damn well better get a lawyer because there’s no way in hell I’m letting him off the hook. He’s already been busted four or five times. Drinking. Traffic violations. Once for beating up his girlfriend’s brother, nearly killing him. Damn nice kid, don’t you think?
Officer Kevin Striker: I’m helping Leo investigate Megan Jones’s disappearance and apparent murder. You got to forgive the guy for wanting so bad to nail John Hawk. See, couple of years back his wife was jogging with their dog and a teen hit-and-run-driver plowed into them. Killed the dog and left his wife in a wheelchair. They never found the car or the kid. So Leo’s not going to let another kid get away with something. Me? I think maybe John’s okay. Just made some bad choices is all. Lot of kids do. I sure as hell did. I don’t know if John’s connected to Megan Jones’s death or not. Looks like it. But I’d like to wait and see.
Dr. Franklin Jones: I’m Megan’s dad. I’m also the principal of our only high school in town. A lot of this is my fault. After Megan’s mom died of cancer and after Megan found out that I’d been having an affair, she sort of jumped off a cliff. She ran away from home. She started drinking—I don’t know, maybe she’d been drinking before. She got so bad I had to take her to the hospital to have her stomach pumped like I did one time. Like I said, a lot of what happened—her acting out, especially—is my fault, and I’ll never be able to forgive myself.
Stephanie Jones: I liked Megan from the beginning, but she never gave her dad and me a chance. Frank had to practically drag her to our wedding. She got plastered at the reception, gulping down drinks people set on tables while they went to the restroom or danced or whatever. We didn’t get along, Megan and me. Still I liked her, wanted the best for her, and hoped she’d straighten out. I don’t know exactly what happened to her, but she certainly didn’t deserve to die like she did.
Charley Cotton: Megan was my best friend. Had been since ninth grade. Really, my only best friend ever. She was one of the most popular girls in school—not because she was the principal’s daughter and everyone wanted to suck up to her. But because she was kind, generous, understanding, and loyal. Sure, she had faults. She drank. She slept around a bit. She had a stupid, scum-sucking boyfriend named Cole Wainwright, who might’ve killed her out of jealousy. Why? Because she hooked up with this scary new guy in school, John Hawk, who is obviously hiding some deep, dark secrets in his soul. Losing Megan is going to screw up my whole life. I’ll never be the same. And if I find out that John or Cole hurt her, I’m doing some serous ass-kicking.
Cole Wainwright: I’m sayin’ nothing! Except that Megan’s been my girlfriend for two years, and then an asswipe named John Hawk shows up at our school, steals her from me. Now she’s dead, and he’s sayin’ I killed her. Well, I didn’t. He did. And that’s all I’m sayin’, man!
John Hawk: Ever feel your life sucks? It’s cursed? You’re doomed. This starts when I’m thirteen and my mom runs away with a drummer in a band she liked. Then it turns worse when I’m driving home one night from a party and get into an accident—not my fault—that kills my girlfriend, Riley. Couldn’t take the bullying, so I go to a different school, and the first girl I date, Megan Jones, dies—probably raped and murdered. I’m accused, mainly because I’ve been in trouble before, and I’m supposedly the last person to see Megan alive. If I don’t prove myself innocent, I’ll die from the weight of guilt on my shoulders—before I go to prison.
After Jon retired as a public high school English at Davenport West High school, he began a career as a young adult author. His credits include eight published YA novels, and he has signed a contract with Red Adept publishing for a ninth YA novel. Jon has been a presenter at the Pen-in-Hand workshops for the Midwest Writing Center, Davenport, IA, and for the David R. Collins Writers’ Conference held yearly at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. He has also published numerous short stories in Woman’s World, a leading woman’s weekly magazine. Jon and his wife live in Davenport, where their six children and their families also live. When not working on his computer crafting another story, Jon enjoys collecting music from the ’40s and ’50s playing pool, and spending time with his family.
The author is giving away 3 $10 Amazon Gift Cards!