The Damselfly SJ Holliday – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Black and White

Source: Review Copy

Katie Taylor is the perfect student. She’s bright and funny, she has a boyfriend who adores her and there are only a few months left of school before she can swap Banktoun for the bright lights of London. Life gets even better when she has an unexpected win on a scratch card. But then Katie’s luck runs out.

Her tragic death instead becomes the latest in a series of dark mysteries blighting the small town. The new school counsellor Polly McAllister, who has recently returned to Banktoun to make amends in her own personal life, is thrown in at the deep end as the pupils and staff come to terms with Katie’s death. And it’s not long before she uncovers a multitude of murky secrets. Did Katie have enemies? Is her boyfriend really so squeaky clean? And who is her brother’s mysterious friend?

With Banktoun’s insular community inflamed by gossip and a baying mob stirring itself into a frenzy on social media, DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings must work out who really murdered Katie before someone takes matters into their own hands . .

So the third in the Banktoun trilogy then and the best yet. Absolutely. Black Wood and Willow Walk both extremely excellent but The Damselfly just takes things up several notches both in quality writing and atmospheric, compelling storytelling.

The small and complex community of Banktoun faces yet another tragedy when young Katie Taylor dies, our favourite Davie Gray investigates but feelings are running high and secrets lurk around every corner. The author brings a creepy sense of utter reality to the small town vibe, with a keen eye towards characterisation that just sucks you into the vortex of a place where everyone knows everyone else but nobody knows anyone at all. It is clever and cohesive plotting with an edge of ominous foreshadowing – as such it is completely gripping throughout.

The twisty road to the truth of what happened to Katie will keep you turning those pages well past the point of reason (books like this are why I keep matches close to prop my eyes open) and it is an emotive and irresistible read with an ending that will blow your mind – I won’t say what I said at the moment of putting this one down but it wasn’t that polite.

The Damselfly is intense, intelligent and powerful, a beautifully done tale of twisted genius with an authentic edge and an strong emotional core – without doubt it comes highly recommended from me.

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The Hit Nadia Dalbuono – Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: Available Now from Scribe

Source: Review Copy

When the family of Micky Proietti, a top television executive, goes missing, Leone Scamarcio is called to investigate. Everyone, it seems — from Premier League footballers to jilted starlets and cabinet ministers — has an axe to grind with Proietti. What starts out as an investigation into his countless affairs soon becomes an inquiry into how Proietti does business and the people he has discarded along the way. Finally, Proietti’s finances attract Scamarcio’s attention, and he discovers that the drama commissioner has been granting favours to some very shadowy sponsors.

Like a swimmer trying to escape a riptide, Scamarcio comes to realise that this new inquiry threatens to bring him head to head with his father’s old lieutenant, Piero Piocosta. If he’s to survive in the police force, Scamarcio knows that he must find a way to get Piocosta off his back, once and for all. And find it quickly.

The Hit is an intriguing read – admittedly I have not read the previous books in this series so it is my first experience of the main character Leone Scamarcio, who I found to be a compelling protagonist – and the scene setting in The Hit is brilliant, a kind of road trip around Rome a place I’d love to visit.

I liked the multiple layers in this – family, a grim past, whilst I am not usually a fan of books involving the Mafia or organised crime so much I was enveloped into this one almost immediately. It was complex and gripping, with a good twisty narrative that kept you reading long after you mean to put it down, as a first foray into the writing of Nadia Dalbuono it worked for me really well.

The writing is fantastic, beautifully constructed, it is both character study and rollicking mystery with some thrills thrown in, but it is a considered and clever plot that opens things up for future novels in a way that makes you want more immediately. I’m looking forward to the time I can rejoin this cast in the city of Rome and see how things develop…

Recommended.

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Blackout – Marc Elsberg. Blog Tour Review.

Publication Date: 9th February (paperback) Available Now (Kindle) from Penguin (Black Swan)

Source: Review Copy

A cold night in Milan, Piero Manzano wants to get home.

Then the traffic lights fail. Manzano is thrown from his Alfa as cars pile up. And not just on this street – every light in the city is dead.

Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electricity grids collapse.

Plunged into darkness, people are freezing. Food and water supplies dry up. The death toll soars.

Former hacker and activist Manzano becomes a prime suspect. But he is also the only man capable of finding the real attackers.

Can he bring down a major terrorist network before it’s too late.

Blackout is banging – a cool, surreal techno thriller that imagines societies reaction to a Europe wide blackout – and follows hacker Manzano (as well as other characters) as he races to find those responsible and restore order to the chaos.

It fairly rocks along – and really does keep you thinking – I love the scenario’s the author creates to show us just how reliant we all are on technology and Blackout manages to be both a thriller and a commentary on the vagaries of human nature, as such it is a really terrific immersive read.

You do have to suspend disbelief for parts of it, but you’ll get hooked into the event as it unfolds, from the first tentative “what the all heck is happening” moments right up until the final pages. Marc Elsberg writes with a kind of hypnotic style putting you right in the action and I ended up wanting to go out and stock up on tinned food and bottled water JUST IN CASE mind…

Marc Elsberg asks the question – how long before chaos would descend should we suddenly be thrown into a world we’ve never known – one where the light doesn’t just come on when you hit the switch – and the answer is FAST and he’s probably right.

Thought provoking and utterly riveting – Recommended for fans of socially current thrillers.

 

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What You Don’t Know – JoAnn Chaney. Profile of the Main Suspect.

WHO IS JACKY SEEVER?

As the business owner and former philanthropist awaits trial, the Post takes a closer look at the man suspected of serial homicide.

Seever married his wife Gloria when she was just twenty in 1978, a year after meeting her at her father’s diner where he worked as a dishwasher.

Three months after their marriage, Seever took over the running of the diner, which was to become the first of six successful family restaurants.

The popular chain made Jacky Seever a well-known figure in Denver; customers recall him regularly visiting the establishments, particularly around the holiday season. It is believed that these are being sold off to pay for the businessman’s defence led by Frank Costello.

Seever’s flair for business was undeniable and after a few years of married life, he was able to buy a large house on a quarter-acre plot on Sycamore Street; the house that would later become the site of a major murder investigation.

The house has since been sold to a foundation who work to improve the quality of life in Denver. The foundation has immediate plans to demolish the house to make space for a community garden.

Gloria, now forty-nine, and Seever have never had children despite the restaurant owner’s apparent fondness for them.

Seever has done a number of public appearances at the local children’s hospital, dressing as a clown to entertain young, terminally ill patients.

Police revealed in January that they found pornographic content of an extremely disturbing nature on Seever’s home computer but nothing that indicates paedophilic tendencies.

Many of his employees have reported that their boss liked a drink, often staying late at one of his restaurant bars before heading home.

He was also known for his love of entertaining. Neighbours all referred to the regular parties and dinners he had. Friends and employees were forever invited over for barbecues or to watch sport.

Known for his eccentricities, Seever was frequently seen about town in his expensively tailored three-piece suits, complete with a traditional silver pocket-watch.

Publication Date: 9th February from Mantle

Source: Review Copy

A crime like this isn’t only about the killer. There are others to consider . . .

Seven years ago, Detective Paul Hoskins and his larger-than-life partner solved one of the biggest serial killer cases of the decade. They dug up 33 bodies in a crawlspace belonging to the beloved Jacky Seever, a pillar of the community and a successful businessman. Sammie Peterson was the lead reporter on the case. Her byline was on the front page of the newspaper every day. Seever’s wife, Gloria, claimed to be as surprised as everyone else.

But when you get that close to a killer, can you really just move on?

Today, Hoskins has been banished to the basement of the police station, Sammie is selling make-up at the shopping mall, and Gloria is trying to navigate a world where she can’t escape condemnation.

Then a series of copycat killings take place, with the victims all connected to Seever. While Gloria is determined not to be forced into the spotlight again, Hoskins and Sammie see a chance to get their lives back. But it could mean forfeiting their humanity in the process . . .

It isn’t over. It’ll never be over.

What You Don’t Know is a gorgeously atmospheric character driven tale about what happens to a small eclectic bunch of people in the aftermath of the capture of a serial killer…and what happens when they get sucked back in.

I loved it, a serial killer chiller with a real difference – we come into it knowing who and what, then follow along with one of the detectives responsible for the capture of Jacky Seever, the reporter who was his lover and the wife who claims to have known nothing. The fallout on all of them is emotionally resonant and when more murders occur all of them will have to deal with their past demons.

This is both mystery and character study – who is following in the footsteps of a monster v what has happened to those caught up in the trauma – the story is engaging and often very creepy and includes some beautiful twists and turns not necessarily connected to the killings. I was fascinated by Gloria, married to a killer for so many years and some light relief (and also some disturbing scenes) were brought with Hoskins relationship with his police partner. JoAnn Chaney writes beautifully, an off kilter vibe with a touch of noir, I was hooked all the way.

Clever, very clever – and highly recommended from me.

 

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Day Fifteen – All The Missing Girls.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without trace. Then a letter from her father arrives – ‘I need to talk to you. That girl. I saw that girl.’ Has her father’s dementia worsened, or has he really seen Corinne? Returning home, Nicolette must finally face what happened on that terrible night all those years ago.

Then, another young woman goes missing, almost to the day of the anniversary of when Corinne vanished. And like ten years ago, the whole town is a suspect.

Told backwards – Day 15 to Day 1 – Nicolette works to unravel the truth, revealing shocking secrets about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne.

“Tic Toc Nic”

That is the phrase that will stay with me from “All The Missing Girls” – a really intense and extraordinarily clever novel, taking that entirely popular premise of a missing person and turning it on its head. Nic hears this in her head all the time, and time is everything in this book…

Before I get to that though, I should point out that this novel isn’t just a twist on an old favourite or a blatant attention grabber (although it certainly grabbed mine) but is beautifully written throughout. Haunting, evocative, capturing that small town vibe and teenage friendship dynamic perfectly, using personal history and present events to paint a picture, a twisted and addictive picture one small step at a time. You will be hooked all the way through, my advice would be to read this in a few sittings, one if at all possible because as things unfold it is brilliantly done.

Nic returns home and we see day one of her journey back to her childhood home, her memories unfolding, her very real emotional pull towards this place and the events that defined her. Then another girl goes missing and POP forward we jump to day 15. Day by day we move backwards towards that very first day, realising why decisions have been made, understanding slowly the consequences of each action, the hidden secrets inside each conversation, by the time you get back to day one it looks VERY different. The subtle clues, the ingenious layers of plot, the character development, all of it intelligently done, personally I loved every minute.

Megan Miranda unravels her characters as much as she does her mystery, adding definition, fleshing them out with every day that has passed but you see all that in reverse, I really did think it was very inventive. With a touch of class in the writing, a hint of magic in the setting and a realistic outcome that did not require an end run around – meticulously plotted from first page to last, or should that be from last page to first. Whatever. It was great!

If you love your psychological thrillers but would like to see a new take then I would highly recommend All the Missing Girls. In fact if you are a fan of great writing, great storytelling and can appreciate subtleties of plot and character then I would highly recommend All The Missing Girls no matter your preferred reading genre.

Give it a go. Its a real barn stormer.

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Getting to Know You with Jane Cable.

 

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.

Like my other books, Another You is a romance with a twist of potentially ghostly suspense.

Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord. Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son turn into a talented artist.

But the sixtieth anniversary of a D-Day exercise which ended in disaster triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change as Marie discovers that sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in Cardiff in a house full of books. I was an only child of older parents, both of whose lives had been affected by the Second World War. My mother had to leave school at fourteen because she could no longer travel there safely and so abandoned her dream of becoming a teacher. My father, from a more privileged background, was able to continue his education but joined the Royal Marines in 1944, thankfully too late to see any active service.

Academic or creative at school?

Academic. I had the very useful knack of being able to pass exams, despite the hours spent daydreaming and gazing out of the window.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

I wanted to work in radio – to be a DJ really. When I was in sixth form a local radio station opened in Cardiff and I managed to get a Saturday job helping out on the sports desk. I ended up doing a bit of presenting, a bit of producing and I even started to train as a journalist while I waited for my A-level results. But when I had to doorstep a family whose house had just burnt down I realised it wasn’t for me.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

Not really but I had some poems published in a magazine when I was seven or eight years old. As a teenager my friend and I used to write stories in old exercise books – I guess it would be called fan fiction now – it was basically love stories inspired by the Bay City Rollers.

I carried on writing poetry into my twenties and started any number of novels. But I was in my forties before I actually managed to finish one and by that time I was completely bitten by the compulsion to write.

Who are your real life heroes?

People who really make a difference, who are able to see a need in society and have the determination and ability to meet that need. I’m thinking of people like William and Catherine Booth who founded the Salvation Army and changed the face of Victorian charity by giving people in need a hand up not a hand out. Even to this day their doors are open to everyone, whether or not they share the founders’ Christian faith.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

If I get into an embarrassing situation it’s normally because I don’t recognise someone – I have a terrible memory for faces. But the worst one of these by far was more to do with the fact I was in denial about my worsening eyesight.

When I was twenty-nine I changed career and started to train as an accountant. We had a long corridor down the middle of the building and there were a number of us in our twenties – including Jim, my future husband – so it was a fun place to work. One day a tall, fair figure appeared at the other end of the hall and thinking it was Jim I cat called. Only to realise as I got closer that it was the senior partner.

Next stop was definitely the optician and I’ve worn glasses ever since.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

I think I’ve got worse over time. My father was particularly cack-handed and I’ve certainly inherited some of that – if there’s a hard way to do something practical then I’ll find it. I do like to think I’d cope with the basics but that could be vanity.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Never a night owl – I’m in bed by nine o’clock most nights, because normally I get up early. First thing in the morning is my best time for writing so I like to be fresh.

I also love the warmth of the sun on my back although I do cover up and always wear a high factor sun cream following the early death of my mother-in-law from skin cancer.

A book that had you in tears.

There are quite a few. Everything from Watership Down to The Shellseekers – I don’t cry much in real life but give me fictional characters I care for and I’m reaching for the tissues. I’ve even cried over one of my own scenes, in The Faerie Tree, but I can’t say which one as it could be a bit of a spoiler.

But on a more serious note I wept proper tears when I read Omar Rivabella’s Requiem for a Woman’s Soul. It’s based on a true story of the disappeared in South America and it opened my eyes to a whole world of horror.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

It’s a book of short stories called The 7.52 to London Bridge by Julian Kirkman-Page. It’s an eclectic mix of autobiographical gems and none funnier than the tale of scattering his mother’s ashes. I laughed until I cried.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

Don’t sweat the small stuff – especially in relationships.

About the Book:

Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord.

Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.

But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.

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The Intrusions Stav Sherez – Author Interview.

Today I am VERY happy to have the incomparable Stav Sherez answering some little questions for me all about his latest release – The Intrusions. Which I loved. You can read my review if you hit the link I’ve handily provided below but first…

So, lets kick off with a quick retrospective – this is the third outing for Carrigan and Miller a couple I love as literary characters – as an aside I’m glad no Nuns were harmed during the making of this novel – how does it work for you in the series sense – you have to keep finding new ways for them to express themselves. Do you have an arc in mind that covers future books too or is it more organic than that? They are both walking a line in “The Intrusions” for differing reasons.

Thanks, Liz – it’s lovely to know that readers are connecting with the two main characters and I’m so glad now that I held back on killing more nuns!

As to the first part of your question – yes, absolutely. The hardest thing I’ve found in writing a series is keeping it fresh, both for myself and, more importantly, for the readers. The basic structure of a police procedural means that there are a lot of scenes that necessarily have to be repeated in each book (discovery of body, briefing, autopsy, interviews etc.) I wrote the first 70 pages of The Intrusions and it wasn’t working at all; the structure felt too familiar – I was getting bored and I knew the readers would too so I started again and changed things around. I think stylistically too, in terms of sentence structure, each book differs from the others.

In terms of an arc, no, I don’t have one planned. I very rarely plan more than one chapter in advance! I also quickly realised that having a plan would tie me down and, with each book, the story and characters have taken strange paths that I could never have plotted out beforehand. There are certain themes that will appear and re-appear from book to book and certain things I want to do with the characters – but none of this is planned out. If it fits the novel I’m writing at the time, then it goes in, otherwise I shelve it in my head for a later book.

In this instalment you take a look at the impact Social Media has had on crime – both in the sense of victimology and as an investigative tool – what inspired that as a concept and do you think generally that the explosion of social media is a good or a bad thing? I guess the devil is in the details…

Real-life policing and real-life crime inspired the concept. Reading about it every day in the papers. Realising how the internet and social media have subtly altered out consciousness and reshaped our world.

The Intrusions actually started out with me wanting to write a straight serial killer thriller. About eight months in, I realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do at all and that technology, in all its forms, was creeping into every sentence of the book. It normally takes me a year of writing to work out what the book is really about (as opposed to what I think it’s about) – once that happens, everything starts to fall into place. It was also, referring back to your last question, a way to write this book differently from the previous two as the investigative procedure and tools have altered significantly.

The Internet has changed our consciousness in fundamental ways, most of which we won’t even begin to comprehend for at least a generation. It has also changed policing and crime. Murder Investigation teams are no longer reliant on shoe leather and hunches but on geeks burrowed in front of screens mining for miniscule bits of data. A lot of criminality has shifted into the virtual world. War and terrorism have shifted onto the virtual world. Our lives are lived out in two spheres now – the so-called real life and the life we have chatting with each other through the medium of screens. In The Intrusions I was interested in looking at how this new technology has permeated every part of our lives and how an older policeman like Carrigan has to suddenly climb a steep new learning curve.

On whether all this is a good or bad thing, I think, as with most things, it’s both.

There’s a line in the book that says “Like any weapon, its power lay only in the direction in which it was pointed,” and another that says “She stared at the screen, wondering whether for every benefit technology bestowed there was a corresponding evil? Or was it simply that human hearts had the gift of turning everything to their own dark slidings?” – and that’s as good an answer as I can give you. The Internet has been liberating in so many ways and awful in so many other ways.

One thing I love about your writing and plot construction is how the crime elements are really secondary to the human ones – the impact events have on the personality and true centre of all the characters we meet. Not only with the two mainstays of the series, you give just as much attention and depth to those who are in the individual story only, those we are unlikely to meet again. The dark side of human nature if you like, but also the inherent decency of most people. Where do you draw inspiration from to give them all such an authentic touch – and what fascinates you particularly about the vagaries of human nature?

I think what fascinates me most is that we are capable of utter cruelty and supreme kindness at the same time. Cruelty, horror and atrocity obsess me, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now! I have so many history books called “The Great Book of Horrible Things” or “The 100 Worst Atrocities”, and even the most benign history contains cruelties and horrors far removed from our sense of progress and fairness. It seems so distant from how most of us live our lives. Do we all have this capacity or is it only manifest in some people? These are questions of character, circumstance and morality – themes that I believe the crime novel is so much better tooled to handle than other kinds of fiction.

So by the end of “The Intrusions” there are things that both Carrigan and Miller will have to deal with – a rocky road ahead it feels like – can you speak a little about what is next? Or are you not there yet..

Well, next will be a standalone! I need to force myself to write something different and there are ideas I’ve been toying with for a couple of years that don’t fit the Carrigan and Miller mould. But yes, I have some thoughts about the next Carrigan and Miller and where it finds the two characters. Things will be very different is all I can say!

Finally I’ve been reading some really brilliant books that are out over the course of 2017 – have you yourself read anything recently that you would like to give a shout out and recommendation to?

I’ve been so busy with research reading that I have a pile of books glowering at me from the other side of the room. But of the few I have managed to read, I was very impressed by Henry Sutton’s debut under the name Harry Brett. It’s called Time to Win and is an incredibly atmospheric and gripping crime novel. For a deliciously dark and accomplished debut I recommend Joe Knox’s Sirens. I also loved Paul Auster’s mammoth 4321, his best book for two decades, the kind of old-fashioned novel that seems replete with entire worlds and that you can lose yourself in for days. I’m halfway through Erin Kelly’s He Said/She Said which I am loving. I’m a huge fan of Kelly’s work and this has some of her best writing so far. The book I’m by far most looking forward to is Steve Erickson’s Shadowbähn – Erickson is one of my favourite novelists and his new book about the Twin Towers suddenly reappearing in the middle of the South Dakota badlands with the ghost of Elvis’s dead twin living inside sounds like just my kind of novel!

Sounds just like my kind of novel too! Thanks Stav!

About the Book:

Would you even know?

Detectives Carrigan and Miller are thrust into a terrifying new world of stalking and obsession when a distressed young woman bursts into the station with a story about her friend being abducted and a man who is threatening to come back and ‘claim her next’.

Taking them from deep inside a Bayswater hostel, where backpackers and foreign students share dorms and failing dreams, to the emerging threat of online intimidation, hacking, and control, The Intrusions pursues disturbing contemporary themes and dark psychology.

Read my review of The Intrusions HERE

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Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson. Blog Tour Review.

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold move after her American cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – Boston for London.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. so how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

I loved Peter Swansons last novel so I was hugely looking forward to Her Every Fear and it did not disappoint.

I adore a good twisted plot where you are not sure how things will end up – I liked the almost claustrophobic feel of the story as Kate, getting over a trauma of her own, faces yet another in Boston but this time with no-one to help her. I read this fast, wanting to know who was doing what but the Swanson style means it is ever complex but beautifully done.

The writing is great, the story bangs along, descriptively the immersion of Kate into a different world than her own works really well. Ultimately I was not utterly surprised at the ending but once again Peter Swanson has written an intelligent, atmospheric novel with what are becoming his trade mark divisive characters.

Overall really really well done. Can’t wait to find out whats next!

Recommended.

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Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough. Author Interview.

Today I’m talking to lovely lady (and evil genius writer) Sarah Pinborough all about Behind Her Eyes, her incredible new novel, a psychological thriller with bite and, for once, an ending you genuinely won’t see coming. Its really pretty damn good you know!

So we need to talk about THAT ending without actually talking about the ending. See this is how you twist me in knots. I guess I’m interested in how it came to you – did the idea for the ending come first or suddenly come to you while you were writing the story of Louise, Adele, David et al. It is kind of a chicken and egg question…

Ha! I definitely had the ending at the start. I was sitting in a cafe (of course I mean pub) trying to come up with an idea to pitch to HarperFiction (they’d approached me to see if I’d like to write for them – OF COURSE I DID) and I was playing around with ideas about a couple and an affair, but nothing was really making it stand out. Then, just as I had almost given up, I had a proper ‘What if?’ moment and the ending was just there. I can’t imagine writing a book like Behind Her Eyes without having the ending already there and working towards it. But then, I’m a massive planner. I like the puzzle part of putting a book together. I don’t do a lot of drafts – I tend to finish, tidy and send in – because I plan in quite a lot of detail as I go. And I pretty much always have the ending in place – or at least a rough version of it – in my head when I start.

If we stick with that theme for a moment, as twist endings are kind of my favourite thing if they get me, usually I get annoyed when marketing focuses on the “huge twist you won’t see coming” because I always see them coming. Not with you. Even though I do know your writing well having been a huge fan forever, you got me good and proper. In this case the marketing is entirely justified – but generally speaking do you think it does a book any favours to promise a huge surprise that may not pay off?

I love the hashtag of #WTFthatending but I was very worried it was setting me up to fail – thankfully in the main, judging from reactions thus far, it hasn’t at all. However, I do think it can be a problem in that people are reading towards a twist rather than just enjoying the ride. Marketing wise, it’s great though, and I am really really happy with the twist in my book, and I hope readers love the rest of the book too. I have read a few though where I’ve been expecting some amazing twist and what’s occurred hasn’t surprised me at all, and I’ve had to take a step back and remember that it was still a good book, even if it didn’t do – for me at any rate – what the hype was promising. MINE DOES THOUGH. (I hope!)

Backing away from that now, even if you take away the shock factor, the rest of the novel is entirely compelling and terrifically addictive – that WTF moment is just the icing on the cake. You like to tell stories that can’t be quantified – yes Behind Her Eyes is a psychological thriller but like you do with everything you write you’ve got your own vibe going on, that elusive x-factor that makes a book stand out. Is that deliberate in some ways or just the way your creative streak works?

Hmmmm…. tricky to answer. In the main, it’s just how my brain works, and it probably would have served my career better to have picked one box to sit in and stayed in it, rather than Tiggering around genres and narrative types. With this book, however, I really wanted to write the kind of psychological thriller that I’ve been reading and enjoying recently, and something really commercial, but I did want to do something different with it. Which may make it Marmite to readers, but we shall see. I’m enjoying writing thrillers, both YA and adult at the moment.

You are a prolific reader as well as a writer – are there any novels you’ve read that are coming in 2017 that you would recommend?

I’m not that prolific but over the past year or so I’ve got back into my reading habit! I would highly recommend, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman, ‘Ararat’ by Christopher Golden, ‘The Forgotten Girl’ by Rio Youers, and I currently have the new Sarah Lotz to start, but it too was set on a snowy mountain and after just finishing Ararat and then Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, I needed a break before diving into a similar setting.

On a personal note, you have a new addition to your family in the form of Ted, a rescue dog who seems to have made himself utterly at home, are you loving having him around?

Most people just want me to shut up about Ted! I’m not going to lie, there were a few days when I was filled with ‘OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?’ mainly because he was terrified of other people and refused to go outside, (He’d been dumped on the streets of Romania and then got attacked and needed stitches) but he’s a little champ and is settling in fabulously, and is spoiled rotten by all my family. He’s been really good for me actually – there’s a lot less lazing around on a sofa with a dog in the house. He is totally the boss of me though;-). He’s asleep beside me on the sofa at the moment.

Finally, can you tell us anything at all about what is next for you in the writing stakes? That question I have to ask because you KNOW I suffer from chronic impatience and don’t like waiting for anything…

Ha, well I’m on the home straight of the next thriller ‘Cross Her Heart’. I should have finished it by now, but I had to write a short novel for a limited Edition press (called They Say a Girl Died Here Once) last year, and I wrote a film and I’m just finishing a ‘short’ story for an anthology that was supposed to be around 5,000 words, and is going to be about 20,000. Sigh. This is why I don’t write short stories. BUT I’m really pleased with how Cross Her Heart is coming along. Like Behind Her Eyes is very female centric – perhaps slightly more complex in some ways – and it does have a great twist. I’ve realised that my new genre is ‘books you can’t really say anything about without giving it all away.’ Not overly great for marketing;-). But my UK and US agents have read the first 30,000 words and at that point both thought it was better than BHE, and that’s all you can hope for with a next book. I want it finished and in by 7th February when I go on the US tour for Behind Her Eyes, so I can get on with the next YA thriller when I get back hopefully.

Well now I want to read it immediately but this is the life of a book addict…thanks Sarah!

About the Book:

Don’t trust this book. Don’t trust this story. Don’t trust yourself.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their world, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far someone might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

 

Read my initial reaction to Behind her Eyes HERE and my full review HERE

Find out MORE

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To Purchase Behind Her Eyes clickety click right HERE

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Happy Reading!

 

 

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Getting to Know You with T M Logan.

Today I’m getting to know T M Logan, author of the tense psychological thriller Lies. A review for this will appear soon so watch out for that – for the moment lets find out a little about the author…

 

Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it..

LIES is a psychological thriller with a dark edge, a gripping, pacy read that will keep you guessing right to the end. It’s about the things that are important to all of us – love, trust, loyalty, family – but it’s also about the darker side of human nature. Betrayal, adultery, revenge and the lies that grow when obsession takes hold. It’s about a man trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, after a single decision makes him question everything he thought he knew about his life. And he stands to lose everything – unless he can figure out where the truth lies.

Where did you grow up and what was family life like?

I grew up in a place called Earley, near Reading in Berkshire, the youngest of three brothers. My dad was an academic and my mum – who was born and grew up in Germany – was a teacher. They still live there. My memories of childhood are happy: my brothers and I went to the local comprehensive and played together a lot, we had a camp in the back garden (really a hole in the ground covered by corrugated plastic) where we would make poison and traps and set fire to things, as small boys tend to do. In the summer we would go on holiday to Devon or Cornwall, or sometimes camping in France, visiting Germany too so we could see mum’s side of the family.

Academic or creative at school?

A bit of both. I was on the creative side of things, I liked English and history and drama, hoped to study English at university but couldn’t get in anywhere, so I switched to history.

First job you *really* wanted to do?

As a boy, I wanted to be an astronaut – I wanted to see the earth from space and be weightless (I guess I still do). But it turns out there aren’t many astronauts who are rubbish at maths and science. So I thought I’d try to be a journalist instead.

Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?

I’ve loved creating stories for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I wrote short fiction, bad poems and really terrible song lyrics full of teenage angst. I think I knew even then that I wanted to write for a living, but didn’t have much of a clue how you were supposed to go about doing it. I kept plugging away with short stories – crime, horror and sci-fi, sometimes a mix of all three – sending them off to magazines more in hope than expectation. Then in my early 20s, I read A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, and remember thinking: One day, I hope I can write thrillers as good as this. That was a while ago…

Who are your real life heroes?

The people who work for Medicins Sans Frontieres: doctors and nurses who choose to go out to the most dangerous places on the planet, so they can use their skills to help people and save lives. Incredible bravery and dedication. The closest we have to real-life superheroes.

Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?

A French public swimming pool in Normandy, a few years ago. We were on holiday. I got changed into my UK-style swimming shorts to go into the pool with my son, only to be admonished by the female pool attendant that our shorts were not allowed. Non, monsieur. Solution? She points to a metal cage full of the oldest, saggiest, greyest third-hand Speedos you’ve ever seen (reminiscent of the ancient PE kit at school that you have to wear if you’ve forgotten to bring your own). My son and I had to change into these briefest of saggy grey briefs – no doubt worn by dozens or hundreds before us – to be allowed out to the pool area. Then the walk of shame as I went repeatedly up and down the poolside trying (without contact lenses) to find my wife and daughter, squinting at people and praying the elastic wouldn’t fail. It had something of Mr Bean about it. My wife still laughs about it now.

DIY expert or phone a friend?

Phone a friend. My idea of DIY is copious amounts of superglue.

Sun worshipper or night owl?

Sun worshipper.

A book that had you in tears.

Before I Say Goodbye by Justine Picardie. A memoir of her last months as she fought terminal cancer.

A book that made you laugh out loud.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson. Nuts.

One piece of life advice you give everyone

I’m with Ferris Bueller on this: ‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

Thank you! 

About the Book:

When Joe Lynch sees his wife going into a hotel on the way home from work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her.

He witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, little knowing it is a moment that could tear two families apart.

Just a single moment, but it’s enough to raise a question Joe has never asked in nine years of marriage: can we ever really trust those closest to us?

When a confrontation between the two men turns violent and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe flees. Returning later, he finds that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

Follow the author on TWITTER

To Purchase Lies clickety click right HERE

Happy Reading!