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Barbara Copperthwaite

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March 2016

Review: THE GIRL IN THE ICE, Robert Bryndza

The Girl In The Ice, by Robert Bryndza. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“Heart-pounding, tense, and horrifying”

THEY SAY:

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

A page-turning thriller packed with suspense. If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter, discover Rob Bryndza’s new series today – at a special launch price.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

I SAY:

What a killer start to a novel! Heart-pounding, tense, and horrifying, it had me on the edge of my seat. And from that moment, I was hooked.

The author, Robert Bryndza, has created a fabulous cast of characters. The title of this novel, The Girl In The Ice, could as much be about the main character in this book as it is about…TO READ FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE.

‘WHYDUNITS’ & SCARING MY PARTNER: Linda’s Book Bag interviews me

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“Now he’s used to me discussing the best place to dump a body…”

Oooh, it was so much fun being interviewed for the fabulous blog Linda’s Book Bag. She had such different questions to ask! We chatted about why I call my books ‘whodunits’…how I scared my partner when I first met him, but now he’s used to me discussing the best place to dump a body…how it felt quitting my job on a whim, to become an author full time…and what makes me feel out of control. Plus, my top tip for people thinking of becoming a full-time author.

To the interview in full,  CLICK HERE.

Thanks, Linda, for a brilliant interview!

SALE! BAG A BESTSELLER FOR 99p!

Flowers For The Dead, best-selling psychological crime thriller by Barbara Copperthwaite, is 99p for a short time only. Hurry!

“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed,” SUNDAY MIRROR

It’s Easter! And I don’t know about you, but I plan to put my feet up and enjoy a couple of days of well-earned rest…aka gluing myself to the sofa and reading my way through books like a locust plague munching through fields. I’m probably not alone in this cunning plan! So I thought I’d cut the price of FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD to celebrate!

From 8am today, for a limited time only, my psychological crime thriller will be just 99p.

Readers and reviewers have loved it, so if you haven’t read it already, now is your chance to find out what all the fuss is about!

“A chillingly drawn serial killer. Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror

“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine

ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS YOU.

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?

To buy FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD at this bargain price, simply CLICK HERE.

BLOOD TYPE: DAVID VIDECETTE

Blood Type: every fortnight top thriller & crime authors spill their guts about writing to Barbara Copperthwaite

“I’m a big fan of detailed character biographies”

CRIME AUTHORS SPILL THEIR GUTS ABOUT WRITING. Every fortnight topnotch authors of psychological thrillers and crime fiction share their writing secrets – and the secrets to their success – with you and me.

This week: DAVID VIDECETTE Author David Videcette, interviewed by Barbara Copperthwaite

Tell us about yourself…

I’m a former Scotland Yard investigator in the Metropolitan Police with specialisms in terrorism and organised crime. During a twenty year career I’ve searched thousands of properties, interviewed hundreds of witnesses and chased numerous dangerous criminals. Today I use all of that knowledge in my writing, as the author of a series of detective thrillers starring DI Jake Flannagan.

‘The Theseus Paradox’ is the first novel in the series and is based around the five years of my life which I spent investigating the 7/7 London bombings as a detective with the Anti-Terrorist Branch. ‘I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story…’

I live in London and have two children. When I’m not writing or doing ‘dad stuff’, I consult on security operations for high-net-worth individuals and can also be found commentating on crime, terrorism and policing for various broadcasters and newspapers.

How do you go about plotting your books?

I use real events as the baseline for my stories, so the plot is largely already planned out for me. This is both an advantage and a hindrance all at once – obviously I don’t spend too much time thinking about the plot, but trying to get a ‘story’ to nestle in between the facts can be extremely difficult.

Most of the planning takes place in my head but sometimes I do use ‘mind maps’ on paper to…TO READ INTERVIEW IN FULL, CLICK HERE

Review: BETWEEN YOU AND ME, Lisa Hall

Between You and Me, by Lisa Hall. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“The narrative leads you skillfully along a path that is tense, violent, and full of deception”

THEY SAY:

They say every marriage has its secrets.

But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.

And sometimes those doors should never be opened…

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

I SAY:

Well written and well researched, Between You and Me makes for uncomfortable reading and is a brilliant, honest portrayal of domestic abuse, that doesn’t…TO READ REVIEW IN FULL CLICK HERE

Facts, fiction & the FBI: ‘Chelle’s Book Reviews interviews me

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“Midlife crisis, anyone?!”

It’s still very strange for me, a journalist, to be on the receiving end of questions. It’s always been my job to ask, and now suddenly I have to, horror of horrors, answer them and talk about myself. I’m really not that interesting! But I’m finally starting to get used to it, and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Shell Baker, of ‘Chelle’s Book Reviews. From taxidermy, to prison, to the FBI, we covered a lot of ground, so if you want to learn more, read my interview in full by clicking here.

Many thanks, Shell, for having me on your blog!

THE NAME GAME: GETTING CHARACTERS RIGHT

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“I’ve rejected possible names before, because they have sounded ‘made up’.”

Complex plots, twists no one can see coming, deep psychological insight…all these things come easy to a writer compared to the one thing that many seem to struggle with: naming characters.

They must seem real, suit the ‘person’, and give little clues to the reader about them, whether the clues involve their personality or their background. For example, in Behind Closed Doors there is a wonderful moment when B.A. Paris’s character explains why he is called Jack Angel.

Names must ‘look right’ somehow when written on the page, and I often say them, too, to see how they feel in the mouth and sound when spoken. It might sound silly, but I’ve rejected possible names before, because they have sounded ‘made up’.

Some authors are big fans of names starting with the same letters or sounds. The results are definitely attractive, memorable, and sound good said aloud, but to me this always feel a little ‘comic book’. Think Peter Parker, Lois Lane, Clark Kent.

Others choose names because of what the names mean (for example, Barbara means ‘beautiful stranger’, apparently).

Charles Dickens was possibly the greatest master of character names, choosing ones which summed them beautifully – and if he couldn’t find a real one, he would make one up. Estella in Great Expectations is beautiful, cold, distant, just as the star-like moniker suggests. Bentley Drummel is a bully who pummels people and drums his opinions home forcefully, and doesn’t his name push that point home? Uriah Heep, from the novel David Copperfield, is a name which seems to tumble from the mouth, mimicking the ‘I’m so very humble’ bowing and scraping act of the character, while all the time he manipulates.

Although I don’t take it as far as Dickens, I certainly want names that suit my characters. Adam Bourne, the main character in Flowers For The Dead, slotted together very nicely. Adam is the world’s first man, and it seemed perfect for someone so alone to be named thus. In some ways he is as innocent as a child, as a new born almost, despite the horrors he inflicts on people, and so Bourne came into being.

I wanted something traditional and simple for Adam’s latest victim, who was born into a happy family. As I was casting round for something, I spotted a byline in a newspaper by Laura someone or other. I grabbed on to Laura, as it instantly felt ‘right’. But where did Weir come from for her last name? For me, it is spot on for someone with such a turbulent past and present, for someone with so many emotions inside her like a raging torrent threatening to drown her.

Mike seemed a solid, reliable name for a cop, but what about the last name? Again, I wanted something that would suit his personality. Something with gravitas to show the hidden strength beneath the pudgy tummy. But what? King was the obvious option, but it was too awkward when I said it aloud. Mike King. Quite nice to look at, but clunky to say. So I opted for Bishop. He is, after all, a very good guy, as the ecclesiastical connection would imply.

Adam’s gran was almost impossible to name, though. I kept changing it all the way through. At one point I rather fancied Ava – a sophisticated name for a sophisticated lady. But then I realised how close it was to Adam and felt frustrated that I’d have to change it…until inspiration struck. I should make her name even closer to Adam’s. And so, Ada was born, and I wove in the story of how he was named after her. Having names so alike perfectly illustrated how close they were to each other, and was a constant subliminal reminder to readers.

Of course there are plenty of other ways authors come up with names, too. Searching a telephone directory or newspaper is a popular one. I’ve even made up a name inspired by a favourite character from a television programme I’m watching at the time (Sandra Yang, in Flowers for the Dead, is inspired by Greys Anatomy. I took the last name of the character, Christina Yang, and the first name of the actress who plays her, Sandra Oh, to create one of Adam’s victims).

I’ve employed a variety of techniques in my latest work in progress – you’ll have to see if you can spot any hidden hints to personality in the names when you read it! But I’ve also named characters after people who have won competition, so do look out for more of those opportunities in the future, if you want a character named after you.

One thing is for sure though, when you’re asking yourself, “what’s in a name?” the answer can be far more complex than you imagine.

Review: MISSING, PRESUMED, Susie Steiner

Missing, Presumed, by Susie Steiner. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“The plot beautifully and painfully slowly unfolds”

THEY SAY:

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

I SAY:

Police procedural novels, while interesting, can sometimes read more like a manual than a novel. Not this book though. The lead, DS Manon Bradshaw, despite the odd name, is someone… TO READ FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE.

WEEKLY ROUND UP: The write stuff

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Secrets and lies and layers are added as I go.

Wow, another week has whizzed by! Aside from launching Blood Type, my fortnightly chats with crime authors about their writing process (to read the first one, with Lesley Tither, click here. It’s really fun and informative) the picture sums up my week. Writing, writing, writing. My story is growing really well now, and bits of it are weaving together nicely.

It’s amazing watching how the kernel of an idea grows into something complex as I write. Secrets and lies and layers are added as I go. I’m past the stage where I’m dotting about all over the place, writing random bits of scenes without much of a clue as to how they will come together. Instead, I now have them all linked in my mind and am writing chronologically through the tale.

Of course, then I get ideas about how a bit I’m writing will later influence something else that happens, and I have to scroll through the manuscript to a point where I might be able to use that idea, and WRITE IN BIG CAPITALS THAT THAT BIT MUST BE SLOTTED IN HERE. In fact, my first drafts are always incredibly messy, capped up, note-filled creations. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? and DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? and a particular favourite of mine RESEARCH MORE!!

When I finish, I look back at the final document and the one I started out with, and it always feels like a miracle has happened by magic. That what started as random words is made into sentences, paragraphs, scenes, pages, chapters…and finally a book. 

This morning, though, I won’t be writing. The sun is shining into my bedroom as I type, and it’s making me itch to get outside with Scamp! I’m heading out with my camera now to lose myself for a few hours.

Have a fabulous weekend, whatever you’re up to! xx

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