A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “serial killer”

Interview with Richard Rippon

I would like to introduce you all to Richard Rippon whose new book, ‘Lord of the Dead’ is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Obliterati Press.  I asked Richard all about it.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Lord of the Dead’ please?

It’s a crime thriller set in the North East. Someone is taking women from Newcastle and brutally murdering them in the Northumbrian countryside. A team of cops investigate, assisted by gifted university psychologist, Jon Atherton. They have very little physical evidence to go on, so it’s up to Atherton to build a profile and get under the skin of the killer. There’s an added complication in that a woman on the police team is someone he’s had an affair with.

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

I always wanted to write a serial killer novel, but I never had a strong enough idea. Then I remembered a non-fiction book I’d read about twenty years ago and something clicked. I don’t want to give too much away, but that provided a scenario and a motive for my killer. Once I’d decided what my main character was going to be like, I was up and running.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It took a couple of years. I wrote mainly on the bus, to and from work. There’s a lot to be said for writers using public transport. It gave me about an hour and half each workday when I could focus on the book.

 

Did you have to do any research at all?

Yes. Two of my closest friends are a police officer and a nurse, so they helped to make sure procedurally and tonally I was being authentic in their respective fields. I also corresponded with a historian, a forensic scientist and someone who lives with cerebral palsy. I think I take dramatic license occasionally, but I wanted everything to feel grounded in reality.

   

Did the characters in your book speak to you at all whilst you were writing?

I partially based Atherton on a younger version of my uncle, so I always heard his voice when writing his dialogue. He’s a fiercely intelligent bloke, with a big heart and a funny turn of phrase. He also has cerebral palsy and so does Atherton, so this all helped to shape the character.

 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Not myself, but some family members who’ve read it, think they can recognise themselves or others. It’s led to a few awkward conversations about composite characters and so on. Sometimes I do borrow certain characteristics from people I know. It helps to draw upon real people, locations and situations.

 

What has the experience of getting published been like for you?

It’s been a long road. I won a New Writing North Award in 2009 for my first novel, The Kebab King. It led to me signing with an agent, but the book didn’t get picked up, so I self-published (it’s available for Kindle on Amazon) and got started on Lord of the Dead. There was more interest in it, to the point that we started talking to a publisher about sequel ideas, but then they went cold on me. I felt a bit frustrated and decided to have a break from writing. Nathan O’Hagan got in touch out of the blue, asking if I had anything finished he could read for Obliterati Press. I knew Nathan from my time in Liverpool in the 90s. I loved what he and Wayne were doing with Obliterati and was extremely happy they wanted to publish me.

 

Will you be celebrating when your book is released into the world?

Absolutely. We’re having a book launch event on 3rd November in Newcastle, which is open to all. Having a book published has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, so I really want to celebrate and make the most of it. I hope it’s the first of many.

 

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Principally, I want it to work as a thriller. The main job as a writer is to keep the pages turning, otherwise everything else is pointless. I hope they find it a tense and compelling story, with well-written characters and a terrifying villain. On another level, I hope they’ll enjoy reading a book with a protagonist who has a physical impairment. Of the 24 official James Bond movies, 17 have a villain with some kind of impairment, so they’re broadly presenting this idea that physically different means ‘bad’. I want Lord of the Dead to be the antithesis of this. Atherton has a disability and he’s not the villain, or side-lined as a supporting character. He’s front and centre. He’s the hero.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I’ve started on a sequel to Lord of the Dead. The working title is The Life of the Flesh, but that could change. I’ve also been working on some screenplay ideas for movie and TV.

 

What do you think of social media and has it helped you?

I work in social media, so I love it. Twitter in particular has been indispensable to track down the experts I mentioned. There’s a social media element to the book’s plot. I thought it would be interesting to see how a serial killer case could play out in today’s modern world where people publicly document their lives so readily.

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write?

I started with short stories and flash fiction. It’s a good way to get into the habit of writing without throwing yourself straight into a novel. There are lots of websites and magazines with open submissions. Look for competitions. Winning the New Writing North Award gave me the confidence to keep going, helped me make contacts and got me an agent. Join a writers group. Usually, writers only work in isolation, so you never get much feedback on your work. Get people other than your family and friends to read your stuff. Don’t try to emulate the flavour of the month. Write what you want to write about, otherwise you’re really not going to enjoy it.

 

Who are you favourite authors?

My favourite authors aren’t really crime writers and I’m actually quite embarrassed about how little I’ve read in recent years. I like Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palaniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy amongst others.

 

What do you hope to be doing in five years time?

I’d like to think I might have written another novel or two. I see Lord of the Dead as the first in a trilogy, perhaps with a spin-off series featuring a supporting character. I’d love to write or co-write a movie or TV show, but as long as I’m doing something creative, I’ll be happy.

 

 

About Richard Rippon

Richard Rippon has been writing since 2007, when his short story, Full Tilt, was long-listed for a Northern Dagger award. In 2009, he won a New Writing North Award for his first novel, The Kebab King. Since then he’s had a number of short stories published in newspapers, magazines and online. In 2012, he was commissioned to write a short story (The Other One), which appears in the Platform anthology. He lives on the North East coast with his wife and two children, and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Richard was also a social media phenomenon in 2016, as one of the men behind the twitter sensation #DrummondPuddleWatch.

 

You can follow Richard on:-

Twitter – @RichRippon

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/richard.rippon.3.

 

‘Lord of the Dead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Dead-Richard-Rippon/dp/1999752805/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509647090&sr=1-1&keywords=lord+of+the+dead+richard+rippon

eBook – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lord-Dead-Richard-Rippon-ebook/dp/B0771Y153J/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509647090&sr=1-2&keywords=lord+of+the+dead+richard+rippon

 

Advertisements

Cover Reveal – ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

I am more than just a little bit excited today.  In fact I am thrilled as I can at last reveal the cover for Rachel Amphlett’s new book, ‘Hell to Pay’, the fourth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series.  I swear the covers just keep getting better and better.

‘Hell to Pay’ is being published on the 16th November 2017 by Saxon Publishing and will be available in paperback, as an eBook and in audiobook.  Here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter’s investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.

With her enemies unmasked and her career spiralling out of control, Kay’s determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.

Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.

Could Kay’s need for revenge be her undoing, or will she survive to see justice served?

Hell to Pay is a gripping fast paced crime thriller, and the fourth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH

2. WILL TO LIVE

3. ONE TO WATCH

4. HELL TO PAY

A page-turning whodunit for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and James Patterson.

 

‘Hell to Pay’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hell-Pay-Detective-Hunter-Thriller/dp/0994547943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506969985&sr=1-1&keywords=hell+to+pay+by+rachel+amphlett

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Cold Blood’ by Robert Bryndza

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Robert Bryndza’s new novel, ‘Cold Blood’, the fifth book in the Detective Erika Foster series.  It is being published as an eBook on the 20th September 2017 by Bookouture.  These days I could literally spend hours looking at covers and this one has certainly caught my eye.  Isn’t it stunning?

I have been hearing such great things about this series that I have finally given into temptation.  I am definitely going to have to read these books.  Anyway, here’s what ‘Cold Blood’ is all about.

 

Book Blurb

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before.

As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago.

Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery… there’s more than one killer.

Brilliantly gripping, Cold Blood will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath to the heart-stopping and shocking ending.

 

About Robert Bryndza

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

The Night Stalker, and Dark Water are the second and third books in the series, and the fourth book, Last Breath, has recently been published.

Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies, and have been translated into 27 languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

You can find out more about the author at http://www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter and Instagram @RobertBryndza

 

‘Cold Blood’ is available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2uP064T

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2uOLceW

 

Blog Tour – ‘Will to Live’ by Rachel Amphlett

Big congratulations to Rachel Amphlett whose new book, ‘Will to Live’, the second Detective Kay Hunter novel is out today.  Read on for my review.

When the driver of a packed commuter train sees a body on the track he is unable to stop in time. It looks like yet another suicide, but it soon becomes evident that there has been foul play and that in fact the victim has been murdered. As the investigation evolves a pattern emerges and more murders are uncovered. Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises that the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a serial killer.

With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempts to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own enemies.

When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, Kay realises that the clock is ticking. The killer needs to be caught as soon as possible before anyone else dies.

I read ‘Scared to Death’ towards the end of last year when it came out and have really been looking forward to ‘Will to Live’. Well, all I can say is WOW! This was one thriller of a read and it was extremely hard to put down. It was so very exciting and fast paced and it had me trying to work out who the killer was.  I felt as if I was trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. I just love Rachel Amphlett’s style of writing. The short chapters added to the intrigue and left me needing to know more.

It was so nice meeting some of the characters who were in the first book again. I can’t help liking Ian Barnes rather dry sense of humour. I think the team worked really well together in trying to solve this case.  I enjoyed reading about the police procedurals too which the author obviously did a lot of research for. I was also really interested in the continuing storyline with Kay. I have a hunch about who it could be but will have to wait a bit longer I guess to see if my suspicions are correct.

I’d like to thank Rachel Amphlett for a fantastic read and for not making me wait too long between books. I shall now wait with bated breath for the third book.

Crime fans, I really recommend that you check out this series. Whilst ‘Will to Live’ can be read as a standalone I personally think you should read ‘Scared to Death’ first.

I can see this series being on TV at some stage in the future.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

Has my review whet your appetite?  If so, there’ s a competition running in which two lucky people will win an eBook copy of ‘Will to Live’.  To enter click on this link – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.

She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.

You can keep in touch with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website (http://www.rachelamphlett.com), or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Live-Detective-Hunter-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XZHB17C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491245863&sr=1-1&keywords=will+to+live+by+rachel+amphlett

Kobo – http://smarturl.it/KH2_Kobo

iBooks – http://smarturl.it/KH2_iBooks

 

~~~~~

I hope you all enjoyed my post.  Do visit the other blogs taking part in this tour.

For those of you who use Facebook there is a launch party taking place this evening.  Here is the link – https://www.facebook.com/events/238051203320198/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ by Paul Harrison

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for which I have interviewed Paul Harrison.  ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is Paul’s debut crime fiction novel and it is the first book in The Grooming Parlour Trilogy.

 

For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about ‘Revenge of the Malakim’ please?

Its my debut crime fiction novel, based in Bridlington and surrounding area. A fast paced police procedural, with DCI Will Scott and his sidekick DI Daisy Wright, trying to identify and arrest a serial killer with a difference. Its a roller coaster of an investigation, taking the reader across the north of England, down to London and to the US. There’s lots of twists and turns throughout.

 

How long did it take you to write?

The planning of the story line and plot took the longest, since a common thread runs through the trilogy. It took several months planning, and two months to write.

 

What made you decide to write a series?

I cover a difficult subject, and there are so many different strands that I wanted to cover. The Grooming Parlour Trilogy of books, manages to encompass this without compromising the plot or hopefully, reader enjoyment.

 

When can we expect the next book in the series to be out?

The Dark Web will be out June/July 2017 I hope it will really hit the mark with readers, as the action and intrigue is non stop.

 

What would your reaction be if a character out of your book turned up on your doorstep?

Wow. Depends which one really. I would welcome them all, since Its up to me what they do and how they react. Though there are a couple I would avoid. Cannot say much more, if you get my drift.

 

Would you like to see this series made into a TV programme? 

Definitely yes, I think it lends itself to a television series perfectly.

 

How long were you a police officer for? 

My police career spans three decades. I saw huge changes during that time (1970s through to the late 1990s). I was medically pensioned out of the force after sustaining a serious injury on duty.

 

What sort of cases have you been involved in?

Everything, from murder, to child abduction, kidnapping. Its wrong that murder investigations are super interesting. They are difficult and often monotonous. In fiction, it is the thrill of the chase, and the mystery. You do not get that in day to day police investigations.

 

What was it like interviewing serial killers?

Well, at first it was exciting, being face to face with them. My first serial killer was Ron DeFeo, of Amityville horror fame. He was charming, yet deluded, he continually changed his story.  Peter Sutcliffe, (Yorkshire Ripper) was cold and calculating. I felt uncomfortable with him.  Funnily enough, having interviewed over thirty of these killers, there is one thing they have in common, it isn’t that they are evil. They are insipid characters with weak personalities.

 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I would love to still be writing crime fiction and hopefully with Williams and Whiting publisher and Mike Linane. They are the best publisher I have worked for. Mike is amazingly supportive and knows his stuff. I have total respect for him. I think it is fair to say that I have penned my last true crime book now. I had a decent run at it, over thirty books. Fiction is far more interesting.

 

Will there be more books from you after this series?

Most definitely. I am discussing something very special, for later this year, with my publisher Williams and Whiting as we speak.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I watch football, Leeds United. I do try to go to as many games as I can. In addition, I have three dogs, German Shepherds, so do a lot of walking with them. Which helps me think and plan new plot lines.

 

About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a retired police officer, with a successful career that spanned three decades.  During that time, he worked on some memorable high profile investigations, and interviewed countless criminals who operated within the darker side of humanity.  Paul began writing and had his first book published during his time in the police.  Since then, he has gone on to write 34 books, mainly in the field of true crime.  Now he has turned all that experience into writing crime fiction.

 

Links

‘Revenge of the Malakim’ is available from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revenge-Malakim-Grooming-Parlour-Trilogy/dp/1911266527/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1490123310&sr=1-1

Paul Harrison’s Website – http://www.paulharrisonbooks.co.uk

DCI Will Scott (character) Website – http://www.dciwillscott.com/

 

Book Trailer

Blog Tour – ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Carol Wyer

blog-tour-banner

‘Little Girl Lost’ was published by Bookouture on the 19th January. It is the first book in the DI Robyn Carter series. I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour for which I am reviewing the book. I received my copy from NetGalley.

Abigail appears to have the perfect life. She has it all; a doting husband and an adorable baby daughter. But is everything as it seems? Someone knows about her past and they won’t rest until the truth is told.

When baby Izzy is kidnapped from a car park, Detective Robyn Carter takes on the case. Her instincts tell her that there is a connection between Izzy’s abduction and two murders she is currently investigating. There is a serial killer at large and Robyn needs to find him or her before it’s too late.

Carol Wyer has written several humorous books and has now turned to crime. It seems she has found her dark side and I have to say I’m actually really impressed. I just loved Carol’s style of writing. There were so many twists and turns and some real shockers too. As I got more into the story I found myself getting totally hooked.

It took me a while to work out how all the characters were connected. Abigail was getting threatening messages and I spent ages trying to work out who was responsible for them and the murders. I ended up suspecting just about everyone at one point.

I really admired Robyn Carter. She had had a really tough time of things and needed to get back into a proper routine. I bet she never thought she would be taking on such a grisly case. Time was running out fast but Robyn was sure to be able to solve it. She had PC Mitz Patel and another officer helping her. I liked Mitz and thought he was rather sweet.

‘Little Girl Lost’ is a must read for fans of crime. I am really looking forward to DI Robyn Carter’s next case.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Carol Wyer

author-picture

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published by Safkhet and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

 

Links

‘Little Girl Lost’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Girl-Lost-gripping-Detective-ebook/dp/B01M9ETOCA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485110931&sr=1-1&keywords=little+girl+lost

Carol Wyer’s Website – http://www.carolewyer.co.uk

 

Book Launch – ‘The Devil You Know’ by Terry Tyler

the-devil-you-know-cover

Congratulations to Terry Tyler whose new book, ‘The Devil You Know’ is out today.  Isn’t the cover just fab!

 

Book Blurb

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing about the outcome until the very end.

 

‘The Devil You Know’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-You-Know-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B01LXQISIY/ref=sr_1_30?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475484232&sr=1-30&keywords=the+devil+you+know

Amazon.com:-

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-You-Know-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B01LXQISIY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475488636&sr=1-1&keywords=the+devil+you+know+terry+tyler

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32334948-the-devil-you-know

 

Blog Tour – ‘Strangers’ by Paul Finch

blog-tour-banner

Having absolutely loved Paul Finch’s last book, I was thrilled to be asked if I would like to take part in this blog tour as well.  ‘Strangers’ was published on the 22nd September 2016 by Avon.   I have still to read this book but I am almost 100 per cent sure that I will enjoy it just as much if not more.

Paul Finch has written a guest post for me to host, but first here’s what ‘Strangers’ is all about.

 

Book Blurb

Unknown, alone, and fearing for your life.

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is.

But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option – and these murders are as brutal as they come.

Lucy must step into the line of fire – a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

And, unknown to Lucy, she’s already treading it…

Always gripping. Always gruesome. Paul Finch will leave fans of Rachel Abbott and MJ Arlidge gasping for more

~~~~~

How dark can detective fiction go?

Before we can answer this question, we need to remember that detective fiction is a pretty broad church, ranging from the pastoral-flavoured subgenre of the village green murder mystery to the ultra-violent world of inner city cops and the heinous criminals they pursue.

But by the nature of the beast, I think we must expect that it will always have the potential to get pretty dark. The bedrock of modern detective fiction for me is still the Hardboiled genre, as pioneered by the likes of Hammett and Chandler, and in which cynical antiheroes walk tightropes through worlds of crime and corruption.

Even back then in the more censorious 20s, 30s and 40s, our fictional investigators found themselves confronting the dregs of humanity, encountering contract killers, incest, rape, drug addiction, child abuse, sex slavery, domestic brutality – the whole gamut of social ills that still make us shudder when we’re watching the newsreels today.

It’s one of those difficult areas, I guess. In most cases, people read as a form of recreation, and therefore we authors write as a form of entertainment. But can it ever be morally acceptable to dredge through the most miserable of human experiences so that others can have fun?

The answer to that must be that we all live in the real world, and that we writers would be short-changing our readers if we tried to pretend that this wasn’t the case. It would be like telling a war story without the violence, or writing about the Third World as if there was no poverty or disease.

But the question still stands. How dark can you go?

Well … I’ve seen it done superbly well at the extreme limits of the spectrum. If you look at the world of horror novels rather than thrillers, some amazing examples stand out: THE WOLFEN (1978) by Whitley Strieber, in which two New York detectives hunt for an apparent cannibal killer and gradually come to realise they are tracking a werewolf pack; and LEGION (1983) by William Peter Blatty, in which a time-served cop investigates a series of appalling torture murders in Georgetown, only to find that he’s dealing with Satanic ritual. Neither of these books stint on the horror, but such is the skill and intensity with which they are told, that they are basically unputdownable.

In these cases, of course, the supernatural element is likely to alleviate any concerns one might have about excessive gruesomeness and depravity, because that earmarks these works as fantasy, which means that not only is it not real, but that it’s not supposed to be real.

We authors are on slightly dodgier ground when we are purporting to tell stories that could easily be true.

For example, when I sat down to write STALKERS, my first DS Heckenburg novel, in 2012, I wondered if the idea of the Nice Guys Club, a crime syndicate who for big money would provide clients with rape victims of their choice, belonged more in a horror novel than a crime thriller. It seemed a very extreme notion. However, at the time, and despite my prior police experience, I truly had no idea how much sex trafficking there is in the world, how much torture-for-fun, how many Snuf movies are made. It soon transpired that I had no need to worry about my risky concept, because it was only representing one harrowing aspect of real life.

I think that’s why I’ve tackled my latest novel, STRANGERS – another potentially controversial one – in full-on fashion. This one is a no-holds-barred tale of the hunt by undercover policewomen for a female killer known to the press as Jill the Ripper, who preys on her johns and sexually mutilates them.

We’ve all seen TV dramas in which female detectives go under cover as prostitutes, and it’s often treated lightly, as if all the heroine needs to do is don a short skirt and stand sexily on the nearest street-corner. However, I’ve seen enough of it in real life to know that this is far more difficult and dangerous work than that. And after extensive discussions with fellow author and good friend of mine, Ash Cameron, who as a long-serving policewoman in the Met, performed this duty many times, I felt I had a duty to paint as realistic a picture as possible of this grim business.

So … I make no apologies for the grimy subways or dingy toilet blocks, for the vomit in the gutters, the needles in the back-streets, the abuse the girls suffer from their punters, the violence from the pimps and dealers, the thrown excrement, and so forth.

Yes, I suspect STRANGERS is the darkest crime novel I’ve ever written, but no – because of the desperate state of some of our real lives – I don’t think I, or any other crime writer of my acquaintance, has even come close to pushing the boundaries towards unacceptability thus far.

You think crime writing’s gone dark? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

You can buy ‘Strangers’ from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strangers-Paul-Finch-ebook/dp/B01ARS4LRM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474806100&sr=1-1&keywords=strangers

 

Interview with Barbara Copperthwaite

Author Picture

Barbara Copperthwaite is a bestselling author of psychological crime fiction. Her debut, INVISIBLE, went on sale last year and became an Amazon Top Ten best seller in the UK. FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD has been equally successful, charting as soon as it was released.

Barbara kindly agreed to being interviewed for my blog.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your latest book please?

Flowers For The Dead is a psychological crime thriller where the killer is as much a victim as the women he murders. Adam is a man who will do anything to make the woman he loves happy – even kill her.

The plot follows him in the present, as he stalks his latest victim, making her wonder if she is losing her mind; and in flashbacks explains how an innocent child was so tragically warped that he became the serial killer he is today.

His latest victim, Laura Weir, is already struggling with her own demons after witnessing her entire family being wiped out. She’s spent most of the last four years wishing she had died with them. Her vulnerability makes her exactly the kind of woman Adam can’t resist.

But only now that Laura is about to die does she realize how much she wants to live.

 

How long did it take you to write?

My first book, Invisible, took me almost two years to write, because I only had time to work on it during my daily commute to the magazine I edited. Now, I’m a freelance journalist, working from home, so it was much easier to concentrate on Flowers For The Dead. I started working on it in January 2015, and the first draft took me six weeks. But then there were further drafts, and then it had to be sent to my editor, it had to be proofread, etc, so the whole thing wasn’t perfected and ready to print until August. During June and July I was also working with my partner, Paul, on the cover. He’s a professional artist, so I’m very lucky.

 

What research was involved?

I have reams of research on my laptop. As a journalist, research is second nature to me, and so I’ll do a mixture of things:

* Look at real life case studies: for example, Adam dyes his hair a shade darker, in order to look paler when grieving. This is actually something UK killer Jeremy Bamber is believed to have done after murdering his family. It was so melodramatic yet calculating; I couldn’t resist using it.

* Talk to contacts in the police and legal world.

* Check with therapists, counselors and psychologists I know, to ensure I’m getting the correct motivations and reactions in my characters.

* I also Google like crazy, reading FBI reports on serial killers and so on.

Learning the meaning of flowers was particularly fascinating. It’s a very genteel language that was great fun to subvert to more sinister use.

What genuinely shocked me during my research, though, was how easy and cheap it is to buy locksmith equipment and surveillance items. I was also stunned to discover that it is possible to turn a mobile phone or any other device with voice recognition software or a microphone into a ‘bug’. So that includes televisions that you ‘speak’ to, many laptops and tablets, smartphones etc.

Back in 2006 the FBI used a crime family’s devices against them, in order to gather evidence then successfully prosecute in court. These days anyone can do it by buying the right software on the internet. The programme will allow someone to eavesdrop on phone calls, get details on text messages, remotely control the phone using SMS, track the location of the phone with GPS and log the phone’s activities. It will also allow them to use the phone as a listening device and hear what is happening in the surrounding area. Scary stuff!

 

Would you like to see your books made into dramas or films?

If Hollywood were to contact me, I wouldn’t say no! It would be a surreal but incredible experience to see Flowers For The Dead play out in front of me on a big screen.

The hardest person to cast would be Adam, because he is so incredibly complex. It would have to be someone who has the ability to convey not just a cold-blooded killer but also a certain amount of vulnerability. Benedict Cumberbatch could probably do a great job of it, as he is a fantastic actor, but I’m not sure if he’s right for the role physically. It’s a bit random, but I think my top choice would be Daniel Radcliffe. He has the innocence – we’ve all seen that in his role as Harry Potter, but I’ve watched him in plays and he has the range to show an evil side, too. Playing a serial killer would definitely be a different direction for him!

 

Can we look forward to more books from you?

My next novel has been outlined, and I’ve just started writing it. I’m itching to see how it works out, as I’m very excited by it.

It’s about a woman coping with the murder of her child, which is threatening to tear her marriage apart. Inevitably, nothing is as it seems, especially when an old friend appears from her past. There are a lot of twists and turns in this one – and not all of them I know about yet!

 

Where do you like to do most of your writing?

I have an old-fashioned writing desk I sit at, in one of the bedrooms I’ve turned into an office. It’s the kind with the writing area that folds down, and I absolutely love it. Most of my writing is done there, with my dog, Scamp, sat patiently at my feet.

Writing is a solitary experience though, and I like being surrounded by people. So in summer I will often head outside with my laptop, and write in my local park. In winter, I can often be found sipping hot chocolate in a café whilst typing.

 

I see that you’re a journalist.  How long have you been doing journalism as a career?

I’ve spent over twenty years as a journalist, writing for national magazines and newspapers in the UK. Celebrities don’t hold a lot of interest for me, on the whole, instead I prefer interviewing ordinary people; people who have found themselves thrust into extraordinary situations.

Through my work, I’m very privileged to have met people from all walks of life, who have experienced all manner of things happen to them – but in particular, those who have been victims of crime, either directly or through the loss of loved ones. As a result of them bravely and generously sharing their experiences with me, I know a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrongdoing. This depth of experience lends my novels psychological insight into the characters, and a feeling of reality for the storyline. It’s also why my novels are not simply about the criminal act, but the repercussions they have. People are always at the heart of my thrillers.

 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their first novel?

Just do it! The hardest part is starting, so force yourself to begin, don’t let yourself get distracted, and definitely don’t listen to your fear telling you it isn’t any good. Write, write, and write some more, until you have finished it – don’t give up halfway through!

What you’ll have at the end is a first draft. It will be rough, and will need a lot of work, so don’t beat yourself up about it. There isn’t a single writer, no matter how experienced and successful, who doesn’t have to improve their first draft. With that in mind, recognize what has to be worked on in your own book, and then go through it again and again until it is the best you can possibly make it.

 

Describe a day in your life.

One of the things I love about my life is that every day is different. Some days are all about being a journalist. Researching a story, putting someone at ease, and getting them to open up to me, a total stranger, about the worst moments of their life. It’s a tough job, but such a privilege.

Other times I’ll be writing my book, doing in-depth research for part of the story I’ve just come up against. I might simply be staring into space, seemingly aimlessly, whilst trying to think out a problem in the plot.

Whatever my day involves, though, I always have to find time to walk my dog, Scamp.

 

How useful is social media for you?

Incredibly! Not only is it a fabulous way of getting word out about my novels, but far more importantly, it’s a way of readers being able to contact me. I love hearing from them, and being able to chat to them on Facebook or Twitter. They are so friendly, and their feedback is very important to me.

 

I am absolutely intrigued by your nature website, Go Be Wild.  What’s it all about?

Juggling journalism, writing a novel, and doing publicity, plus running a home, can get a bit hectic and stressful sometimes. I constantly have ever-growing lists in my head of things I must do, and am always thinking three steps ahead with everything. But when I’m watching nature, all of that is left behind.

My nature website, www.gobewild.co.uk is something I do purely for pleasure. I’m no expert, and don’t claim to be, I just love keeping track of what I’ve seen on the blog, and write some features on the site, too.

I particularly love taking wildlife photographs. It really takes my mind off everything and focuses me on living in the moment. There is no past, no future, only that perfect time when I’m barely breathing as I focus my camera on something beautiful, such as a butterfly, and take the snap.

Hopefully, in addition to be a lovely, relaxing thing for me to do, Go Be Wild also resonates with other people.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

The best way for me to relax is to spend some time with Scamp and Paul. We like being out and about, going on long walks while I photograph wildlife. Catching up with friends and family is the best use of spare time, definitely.

I also enjoy drawing (again, mostly nature) and do a spot of knitting, sewing, or baking.

And, of course, I read – a lot!

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve always been a bookworm. As a child I used to climb a tree so I wouldn’t be disturbed while reading! I’m one of those people who loves to re-read favourites: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy; Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert; The Talented Mr Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith.

I’m also a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. In homage to Rebecca, I chose never to name my character in Invisible, which was a fantastic device for showing just how invisible she had become in her own life.

Although I do have these favourites, I also love discovering new authors such as: Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go), Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train), Ben McPherson (A Line of Blood), and Claire Kendal (The Book of You). I recently finished Peter Swanson’s ‘The Kind Worth Killing’, which I thought was brilliant.

 

 

Book Cover

Book blurb

Adam Bourne is a serial killer who thinks he is a saviour. When he murders young women and cuts off their lips, he believes he has done it to make them happy.

How did he become warped from the sensitive four-year-old who adored his gran and the fairy tales she read to him? What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?

When he meets Laura Weir, Adam weaves a fairy tale romance around them. A tale she has no idea she is part of. As he hatches his twisted plan for their fairy tale ending, can anyone stop him before he creates the ultimate sacrifice to love?

 

You can buy ‘Flowers For The Dead’ from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Dead-Barbara-Copperthwaite-ebook/dp/B014LDUJZ2/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1443168422&sr=8-1&keywords=flowers+for+the+dead

 

To find out more about the novels INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD go to www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to www.barbaracopperthwaite.com

 

Extract of ‘The Evil Beneath’ by A.J. Waines

TEBFINAL

AJ Waines has kindly provided me with an extract to her book ‘The Evil Beneath’.

 

About the book

The Evil Beneath went to No 1 in ‘Serial Killers’ in UK Kindle Charts and, in March 2015, to No 1 in the entire Australian Kindle Charts.

There’s a body in the water – and she’s wearing your clothes…

Impulsive and intrepid psychotherapist, Juliet Grey, can’t resist responding to an anonymous text message telling her to go to Hammersmith Bridge at dawn. But it isn’t simply the dead body in the water that disturbs her, it’s the way something uniquely personal to Juliet has been left on the corpse.

Another obscure message – another London bridge – and Juliet finds herself caught up with a serial killer, who leaves personal mementos instead of collecting trophies.

Teaming up with local detective, DCI Brad Madison, Juliet strives to find out why she has been targeted and how it’s connected to the accident that killed her brother, nineteen years ago.

Can Juliet use her knowledge of the human psyche to get inside the mind of the killer, before another body is found under a bridge? And how long before Juliet herself becomes the next target?

 

Extract 

Prologue

Sunday, September 20th 

She had been lying there, facedown in the water long before the tide had turned at 3.04 that morning. Her eyes were staring into the river, her blonde hair first fanning out, then drawing back under her head with the wash of the water, like a pulsating jellyfish. The belt of her raincoat was caught on the branches of an overhanging tree and she’d been hooked, destined to forever flap against the corner of the broken pier with outstretched arms. She wasn’t going anywhere now; she was simply bobbing up and down with the rhythm of the water – and she hadn’t blinked in a long while.

A male jogger came down the ramp from the main road and ran straight past her. Then a cyclist dipped under the bridge and pedalled at speed with his head down. He, too, passed the bundle tucked under the tree without noticing it. But by 7.15am, the creeping sunrise was opening up the scene for all to see.

Her arms were held away from her body forming the shape of a cross on the water and tiny pieces of weed and broken twigs were caught up in her hair, making her head look like the beginnings of a bird’s nest.

An old man with a poodle stopped to stare at the sodden shape in the water, then a woman who had been power-walking joined them, followed by a couple with their arms around each other.  Another cyclist, older and slower than the first, joined them. He was the boldest of the group so far. He was wearing black lycra shorts and without taking off his trainers, he began to wade into the river.

In the distance, standing on Hammersmith Bridge, someone was starting to feel pleased with themselves. From that position, you didn’t need the binoculars to see a group was starting to form at the water’s edge. Where was everybody coming from so early on a Sunday morning? It was like watching wasps gather around a spoonful of raspberry jam.

The cyclist went up to his thighs in the water, getting within a few feet of the body and then turned around shaking his head. He was shouting something to the woman who had been power-walking and she began reaching into her backpack.

The woman’s legs were sticking out from beneath the gabardine. They were covered in purple striped tights and she was still wearing both ankle boots. Everything looked intact.

No one would notice the binoculars now trained towards the towpath. She had to arrive at the scene any time now, to get a good view, before the body was bagged up and taken away by the river police.

Take your time, came a whisper from the bridge, we need a certain person to get here before the police tidy everything away.

Another woman, who seemed to have come from nowhere, doubled over and rested her hand against the tree. Someone put their arm around her. You couldn’t tell from this distance if she’d been sick.

Then she was there. The chosen one. On her own, walking tentatively towards the water. She’d got the message and she’d responded. All was well with the world. How long would it take her before she realised? Before the shit hit the fan. That was a good image; it had the ring of old Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Was it worth waiting around for that moment or not? She might not make the connection straight away. Some people’s brains didn’t work as fast as others.

There was a sound of a siren. An ambulance and a squad car pulled up and in a flash, she was lost in the tight little gathering. No point hanging around. The show was over, but the party was just beginning.

An eye for an eye; that’s how the saying went. Proper punishment where it was due. And this was going to be one hell of a payback.

Strains of idle humming came from the bridge. It was time to start dreaming of fried eggs and two pieces of toast – and perhaps even some beans on the side. Wasn’t that justified?

 

About the Author

AJWainesMMrev

AJ Waines writes Psychological Thrillers. She has an Agent and book deals in France and Germany. As a former Psychotherapist working with ex-offenders from high-security institutions, she has come face to face with the criminal mind. Her first two stand-alone novels, THE EVIL BENEATH and GIRL ON A TRAIN, feature strong intrepid women in modern, grizzly London settings.

 

Links

Novels

Website

Blog

SignUp to Newsletter

Twitter

Facebook

 

The Evil Beneath is in the Kindle sale right now at only 99p ($1.48). Grab it while you can. UK: Click here US: Click here.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: