Barbara Copperthwaite


Cover reveal! UN’AMICA QUASI PERFETTA – the Italian edition of The Perfect Friend #DreamComeTrue #ThrillerPsicologico #DaLeggere #ThrillerConSuspense #DaNonPerdere #UnAmicaQuasiPerfetta

One of the many things I love about being a writer is that there are always new goals to aim for and new achievements to celebrate. Today, I’m doing a happy dance around my house (and a bit in the garden because the sun is shining – oh, my poor neighbours!) because a dream of mine has come true. The cover of my first ever foreign rights book is revealed.

What do you think of it? It’s so different from the original design, but no less atmospheric or striking. I have to admit, I love it – but I’m biased.

Knowing that people in other countries read my books always makes me want to pinch myself at the best of times. It’s a strange but wonderful feeling when I hear from readers from far-flung places who have enjoyed stories I’ve written. But they are always read in English. I know so many authors who have all kinds of translations across the world, and I’ve always wondered if it would ever happen for me. To see one of my books translated into another language is simply incredible!

Now Italians can read The Perfect Friend in their own language. I’m so happy, and really hope that at least a handful of Italians find some enjoyment losing themselves in the pages of Un’Amica Quasi Perfetta.

If you want to find out more, please click here


Coming this month: Psychological thrillers talk at Deepings Literary Festival #Lincolnshire #amwriting #psychologicalthriller #suspense #psychlit @bookouture

Join me at Deepings Literary Festival this month! I’ll be talking about psychological thrillers in general, as well as concentrating on the influence of setting, my former life as a journalist, and how I’m often inspired by the Lincolnshire’s Fens where I grew up.

The Deepings Literary Festival brings some of the UK’s best-loved contemporary authors to The Deepings, from 23-26 May 2019, for a series of talks and events all about books – and writing them!

Also appearing will be Louise Jensen, Darren O’Sullivan, Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson, Elly Griffiths, Sophie Hanna and many more.

You’ll be able to see me SATURDAY MAY 25 at 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Tickets for all events are on sale from the Stamford Arts Centre, either online or at the box office in Stamford.

Tickets: £5


Date: May 25 Time: 11:45 am – 1:00 pm Cost: £5.00 Event Category:The CRAWebsite:


Coronation Hall 16 Halfleet 
Market Deeping, Peterborough PE6 8DB United Kingdom

REVIEW: Being a Detective: An A-Z Readers’ and Writers’ Guide to Detective Work @gibconsultancy #amwriting #writerslife #research #crimefiction

Full disclosure here, I’m a big fan of Stuart Gibbon, who co-wrote Being a Detective: An A-Z Readers’ and Writers’ Guide to Detective Work (along with Stephen Wade). Stuart is my go-to whenever I have queries about police work for my own psychological thrillers, so obviously I just HAD to check out his latest offering – especially as his previous title, The Crime Writer’s Casebook, is now sitting permanently within reach beside my desk (review of The Crime Writer’s Casebook available here).

Being a Detective: An A-Z Readers’ and Writers’ Guide to Detective Work is exactly what it says. From fascinating insight into interview techniques , to footwear evidence; from the Big Red Key, to the ABD principle, there really is an answer to every question you may have when writing crime fiction. It’s not simply a list of dry facts, either – the authors write in an easy-to digest style, and shore up their information with case studies.

This really is a must-have for writers. It will definitely be sitting beside my own writing desk for the foreseeable!

My best reads of the year so far! #amreading #psychologicalthriller #bestbooks #mustread @lisajewelluk @TheAngelaClarke @SVaughanAuthor @harriet_tyce @cathryanhoward @LJRoss_author @AlexMichaelides

Over the past month or so I’ve read some incredible books (before January, even my reading mojo had all but abandoned me due to ill health, as I couldn’t concentrate for long enough periods to be able to take in the story). My favourites have been (in no particular order):

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL, SARAH VAUGHAN – With a Westminster sex scandal as its backdrop, this book starts slowly but is worth the wait as the story’s pull gradually became inexorable.

ON MY LIFE, ANGELA CLARKE – A speedy read that I raced through in a single, blissful Saturday. I particularly loved the setting, in a women’s prison, which was so different. As a side note, the level of research done on the subject matter was clear.

WATCHING YOU, LISA JEWELL – This was the first I’ve read of this author, but now I know why people rave about her. Information was payed out like bread crumbs, giving me just enough to keep the pages turning and my intrigue engaged. Great characters I could really invest in, too.

THE LIAR’S GIRL, CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD – An easy-to-read psychological thriller that really kept me turning the pages. From the very beginning I was intrigued with the storyline and characters, and it kept me guessing all the way through. Definitely recommend!

BLOOD ORANGE, HARRIET TYCE – Uncomfortable, dark, & addictive reading, crammed with complex, messed-up characters. It holds a mirror up to life, but a house of horrors mirror, where nothing in the reflection is as it seems. A must read.

THE SILENT PATIENT, ALEX MICHAELIDES – There’s a lot of buzz around this one, so a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) made me dive in. Another book that winds up the tension gradually with each turn of the page. The plotting and twist were expertly executed.

THE INFIRMARY, LJ ROSS – Anyone looking for a top-class audiobook should try this. The brilliant production really brought this great, twisted story to life. It’s a prequel to the author’s highly-successful detective series.

Still looking for a good book? Then dare I mention that my own psychological thriller, THE PERFECT FRIEND, is currently on special offer on Amazon UK! It’s only 99p!

She’ll do anything for you…

My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.
My husband has left me.
My children won’t speak to me.
My friend Carrie is the only person I have.
She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets. 
She’d never do anything to let me down. 
Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed DoorsSometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated. 

Readers are raving about The Perfect Friend:

ALL THE STARS!… combined all the things that make a psychological thriller keep you up all night but she managed to flip everything you think you know, quite a few times!…If it’s twists you are looking for then READ THIS BOOK!’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer

WOW!! This book!!! Holy cow!!! So many lies… who can be trusted? NO ONE!! I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next but I had to keep reading. So many twists and turns throughout the whole book…I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a psychological thriller unlike any other!’ (5 stars) Goodreads Reviewer 

‘I kept guessing until the very end … I would definitely recommend this gripping and twisty book to any thriller lover out there!’ Goodreads Reviewer


Spring update #amwriting #writerslife

Time is whizzing by so quickly. Freezing cold days full of grey clouds that had me hibernating by the fire have been replaced with sunshine, the pleasant play of warmth on the skin and a nip in the air when I venture outside. Monochrome has become Technicolor, as the world garlands itself with buds, blossom, and bright flowers. Even the silence of winter has been filled with the birdsong of spring and the deep drone of bumblebees.

It’s been one year since I handed in the first draft of my last book, passing it on to my editor for her thoughts. At the time, I’d no idea that just a few months after publication of THE PERFECT FRIEND I’d fall so ill that my writing stopped entirely. The good news, though, is that since the start of this year things have really begun to turn around. Every week I’m a little stronger and more full of energy – and I’ve been writing again every weekday, even if only for an hour here, a couple of hours there.

In addition, last month I attended a wonderful event – Tamworth Library’s Literary Festival, alongside Carla Kovach, Samatha Hayes, Donna Ashcroft, Emma Davies, and Louise Jensen.

It was great to chat with readers, and catch up with author friends. At the end of the day I was exhausted, but so happy to have pushed myself to take part – and as a thank you for having me, I donated a copy of each of my books to the library. Hopefully, someone will be able to enjoy them.

Last week it was time for another adventure, when I travelled to Lincoln for research on the book I’m currently writing. I hadn’t been able to settle on a location, and it was something that had really been bothering me. Then, seemingly from nowhere, Lincoln popped into my head and I started to get really excited at the prospect. It’s been years since I’ve visited the capital city of the county where I grew up, though, so I was going to have to check it out thoroughly. As soon as I arrived, I knew I’d made the right decision. What an incredible place! From the stunning historical buildings, to the steep cobbled streets, from the welcoming pubs, to the cathedral and castle facing off across a square, inspiration was everywhere. I was positively fizzing by the time I left the following day!

Now, I’m working hard to breathe life into all those ideas. Filled with new energy and enthusiasm, I’m determined to get the book finished and can’t wait to share it with you. It will still be a while coming, sadly, but I promise I’m doing the very best I can – and I can’t thank you enough for bearing with me x

Stay in with a good book this weekend!

As I write this the wind is roaring down my chimney, making the flames in my wood burner dance. Rain is lashing against the window, and the sky is dark as slate. It’s a day for staying in, maybe eating some cake and having a hot chocolate, and reading a good book while my dogs sleep at my feet. Basically, it’s a day to hibernate – and according to the weather forecast, the whole weekend is going to be like this.

Personally, I love an excuse to snuggle on the sofa and lose myself in a brilliant read. Even better when the book in question is a bargain! So I’m delighted to let you know that one of my psychological thrillers, The Darkest Lies, is currently on special offer on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Right now, it’s only 99p / $1.28!

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

What readers are saying about The Darkest Lies:

‘A darkly addictive and creepy page turner that had me on the edge of my seat…the last few chapters were breathtakingly shocking with developments I hadn’t been expecting and the final pages were absolutely brilliant, leaving me with goosebumps!’ My Chestnut Reading Tree, 5 stars

‘Compelling, claustrophobic and horribly believable – a great read!’ B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown

‘It grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A tense, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting ride’ Robert Bryndza, author of The Girl in the Ice and Last Breath

‘Vividly written and absolutely gripping. I couldn’t put it down!’ The Genre Reader, 5 stars

‘There are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing, leading all the way to a jaw-dropping ending that left me spinning.’ Novel Deelights, 5 stars

‘Gripping and shocking. Had me completely enthralled in the action…a story that got under my skin.’ Rachel’s Random Reads, 5 stars

‘A dark, compelling and unforgettable read that had me hooked. The final paragraph haunted me, long after I had finished reading.’ Brew and Books Review, 5 stars

Find out more about THE DARKEST LIES here:

🇬🇧 Amazon UK

🇺🇸 Amazon USA

The best Christmas crime books #BookReview

There are lots of lovely, warm, fuzzy books out there to give people the feel-good Christmas factor…but what if you fancy something a little darker for your festive season? Here’s my round up of the best seasonal crime and psychological thrillers!




It looks like a regular advent calendar.

Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors…and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.

The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.

But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?

As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them…

It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.


An advent calendar filled with crime scene photographs rather than festive images – what a great hook. For over 20 years a serial killer, known as The Photographer, has been collecting these snaps. Now it seems they are ready to warn the police they are about to strike again. There are only ‘nine sleeps’ left until Christmas, so time is running out to catch the killer.

The book is written from different perspectives, including first-person from The Photographer, so that the reader understands why they are doing what they’re doing. The rest of the book is told in third person, and there is a lovely, easy rapport between Detectives Greene and Carmine as they race against time.

Although the book started quite slowly, it picked up pace and when it hit the middle…things took an interesting turn. This is a really easy read that will definitely entertain crime lovers.




When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’


This is a stylish psychological thriller, with a gothic and ghostly feel to it. The set up for it is obviously a tribute to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, but I liked that, and it moved away from that to become very much its own story.

Even from the idyllic start, there is a clever sense of tension, as the chapter headings are on a countdown to Christmas. Immediately, the reader knows something is coming, drawing ever closer…

The talent of S.K. Tremayne’s writing is obvious. If you liked the Ice Twins, you’ll know that with S.K. Tremayne what you get more than anything is a creepy feeling of suspense, the wonder of ‘is it all in the character’s head, or is this real’, and some truly fabulous, atmospheric descriptions of the setting. The author is brilliant at using landscape as another ‘character’, such is its strength and the addition it makes to the overall story. That is what you got with The Ice Twins, and you get it again with The Fire Child.

I love slow, brooding stories that build like a wave far out at sea, gathering pace and height as it sweeps you along, until it crashes over you in a conclusion that leaves you gasping. But although I was swept along, I feel as if I was carefully placed onto dry land at the end of this story. Why was that? Quite simply, the storyline isn’t the strongest, and I do think more could have been done with it. The sense of place was magnificent, and the atmosphere was taut, but seemed to come at the expense of characterization and plot. Nevertheless, it is a good story to read in the countdown to Christmas.




The snow is thick, the phone line is down, and no one is getting in or out of Warbeck Hall. With friends and family gathered round the fire, all should be set for a perfect Christmas, but as the bells chime midnight, a mysterious murder takes place.

Who can be responsible? The scorned young lover? The lord’s passed-over cousin? The social climbing politician’s wife? The Czech history professor? The obsequious butler? And perhaps the real question is: can any of them survive long enough to tell the tale?


Originally published in 1951, this is a book from a Golden Age of crime when things were a little more cosy, and a lot less graphic. A quick glance at the set-up and list of characters reveals a sense that the tongue may well have been firmly in the cheek of Cyril Hare as he wrote this. A murder at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, and everyone cut off due to heavy snow – the story even features a butler! It really is wonderful fun, so curl up in front of the fire, and enjoy a very English murder.



THE MISTLETOE MURDERS: As the acknowledged ‘Queen of Crime’ P.D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the very best of these have been rescued from the archives and are published together for the first time. P.D. James’s sparkling prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at enforced family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide enjoyable puzzles to keep the reader guessing.

From the title story about a strained country house gathering on Christmas Eve, another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, and two cases for James’s poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh — each treats the reader to James’s masterfully atmospheric story-telling, always with the lure of a mystery to be solved.

SLEEP NO MORE: As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each. Bullying schoolmasters receive their comeuppance, unhappy marriages and childhoods are avenged, a murder in the small hours of Christmas Day puts an end to the vicious new lord of the manor, and, from the safety of his nursing home, an octogenarian exerts exquisite retribution.

The punishments inflicted on the guilty are fittingly severe, but here they are meted out by the unseen forces of natural justice rather than the institutions of the law. Once again, P. D. James shows her expert control of the short-story form, conjuring motives and scenarios with complete conviction, and each with a satisfying twist in the tail.


Come on, these two collections of short stories are from crime-writing royalty, so there really is little to say apart from ‘I loved them’. My mum and I have a Christmas tradition: every year we read to each other. The lights are turned down low (not too low, otherwise we can’t see!) and we choose seasonal crime stories or ghost stories to share. It’s something that is so much a part of the festive season for me, that to do without it would be the same as not putting up a tree.  For the last couple of years, we’ve chosen to read stories from The Mistletoe Murders collection (the stronger of the two books, in my opinion) – to my mind, that says more than any review could.


Twelve Days of Winter: Crime at Christmas (short stories), Stuart MacBride


A collection of interlinked tales of crime and retribution laced with dark humour, set around the festive season – from the No. 1 bestseller Stuart MacBride

Thieves, drug dealers, lap-dancers, gangsters and even the odd good guy populate these twelve tales exploring the seedier side of life in North East Scotland.


I like crime, I like Christmas, so this was bound to be a hit with me. Plus, I am a huge fan of MacBride’s Logan McRae series.  This time the talented crime writer takes the theme of the twelve days of Christmas to create twelve short stories which not only involve the festive season but a lot of murder, gore and tension. What is clever is the way each chapter works not just as a stand-alone story, but also has implications for the tale that follows. Ingenious, imaginative, and featuring MacBride’s signature dark, gritty humour, this is a fantastic book for this time of year – and it’s only 99p, too, so is a real bargain.


HER LAST SECRET, by…ooh, me!


Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?


Okay, I’m a little biased, so won’t tell you what I think of this twisty psychological thriller, which counts down through the final eight days before Christmas. Each day that passes brings you closer to revealing just what happened that fateful festive morning. I’ll leave you to make up your own minds about this book, and hope you let me know what YOU think!


Five of the Best (November 2014 to November 2018)

Really honoured that FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD has been included in Cleopatra Loves Books’ ‘Five of the Best’ feature. To this day, I’m blown away by this quote from the review: ‘[Flowers For The Dead is] Perfect for the winter nights when the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down, and you are safe inside – or are you?’

Cleopatra Loves Books

5 Star Reads

In 2015 to celebrate reviewing for five years I started a series entitled Five of the Best where I chose my favourite five star reads which I’d read in that month. I will be celebrating Five years of blogging later this year and so I decided it was time to repeat the series.

So without further ado let’s see what books November has brought to me over the last five years!

You can read my original review of the book featured by clicking on the book cover.

In November 2014 I read a book which happens to fall into my favourite type of sub-genre that of fiction inspired by true crime, the book being The Perfect Mother by Nina Darnton. This book’s inspiration was the murder of Meredith Kercher and although the circumstances in this book were different it was a book that made me think about what I…

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Good news, bad news, & lovely news!

There’s good news and bad news within this post. Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been around much on social media or my blog. Why? Because I’ve been ill since August.

It also means that my writing has been put on the backburner, so although my new book was supposed to be coming out in the new year, it is still languishing half-finished on my laptop. As soon as I’m well enough, I’ll be writing again, though, so don’t worry that you’ve heard the last of me!

In the meantime, there’s plenty to celebrate. THE PERFECT FRIEND has been having a brilliant month, actually.

At the end of October, Cosmopolitan compiled their list of 22 of the best psychological thriller books to add to your reading list – and sitting at number one was The Perfect Friend!

Click here to read the article in full.

Needless to say, I was over the moon. It meant all the more to me, as they’d also chosen it as a firm favourite for summer! That article can be read here.

The Perfect Friend also been back on Amazon’s bestseller’s list in the UK, hitting Number 5 in the Best Psychological Fiction category, and Number 44 overall. Thank you to everyone who has bought it.

One of my older books, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, also received a lovely boost this month, when it popped into the Noir bestsellers’ list over on Amazon in America, peaking at Number 17 – and it hit No 2 in Crime Fiction!

But even more exciting than that was the fact that, four long years after it was first published, Flowers For The Dead is finally available in audiobook. It’s worth the wait, I can tell you! It’s been created by Tantor Audio and narrated by the very talented Shaun Grindell, and I’m so happy with the finished product. I do hope you love it, too.

If you’d like to find out more about the audiobook (and listen to an excerpt!) here’s the link

So you see, there’s far more good news than bad news – and fingers crossed I’ll soon be well enough to get back into the swing of things.

Have a great weekend x

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