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Barbara Copperthwaite

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS TO GIVE YOU SHIVERS

‘Perfect’ #BookReview THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE @JoannaCannon @BoroughPress via @bcopperthwait

‘Transports you inside the characters, making you feel exactly what they are feeling’ 

THEY SAY

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

I SAY

Joanna Cannon is such a unique author. I was a huge fan of The Trouble With Goats And Sheep, her debut, which was told largely from the point of view of children. This time, the author spins her magic around a senior citizen.

On the surface of it, this book may seem almost like a cosy crime, but it is so much more than that. In its own humorous and touching way it is a study of humanity.

The author’s eloquence is unusual, original, and so perfect for the moment she is attempting to capture. She transports – and by that I don’t simply mean the feeling that you are… TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

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Flowers For The Dead and a Guinness World Record – strange but true! #writerslife

I feel as though part of my book has come to life and stepped from the page

Recently, a Guinness World Record holder got in touch with me about Flowers For The Dead. Why? Well, believe it or not, there’s a link between the two that may surprise you…

When I was creating the character of Adam, from Flowers For The Dead, I knew he had to be a complex person – how else would I stand a chance of making people understand why he did the terrible things he did? After all, there aren’t many serial killers you can empathise with. His journey from innocent child to a stalker who kills the women he loves is the backbone of the book, but in addition to his history, I also gave him a number of hobbies to illustrate not only his intelligence but also that constant, driven insecurity has given him, courtesy of his parents’ judgements.

He forced himself to stay in control with his exercises, with his hobbies, even with his matching clothes and neat and tidy bedroom. They helped him keep a lid on his anger so that he could think clearly. That meticulous mind, so good at seeing how to fix problems with clocks and computers, so patient at sowing seeds in his garden then waiting for them to grow, oh, so slowly, was working on the problem of his mother all the time now.

I imagined him working out on his own all the time, always pushing himself to the limit after being laughed at by his father for being weak – and I decided burpees would be one of his favourite exercises. They’re hard work, as you go from standing, down into a push up, jump your feet back below your shoulders, and stand again. Out of curiosity, I wondered how many it was possible to do, and looked up the World Record.

The amount was staggering – 10,105 burpees in 24 hours! The man who had done it was an American called Cameron Dorn, who had found a very different inspiration from Adam – he wanted to raise funds for disadvantaged children. What a stunning achievement (particularly as I’d be hard pushed to manage one!). I was so impressed that I just HAD to mention it in Flowers For The Dead.

The push-up burpees are Adam’s favourite, as even when he is away from home they are easy to fit into his routine and keep him strong. Last year, whilst bored because he had no one to love, he had read about a burpee world record set by a man named Cameron Dorn, who had performed ten thousand one hundred and five burpees in twenty-four hours. Out of curiosity, Adam had broken it, achieving ten more. He had not bothered telling anyone, of course, it had been enough for him to know that he had the mental and physical strength to do it. His father would have been so proud.

Recently, a friend of Cameron’s read Flowers For The Dead and was amazed to see him mentioned. Cameron got in touch to let me know how cool he thought it was – and also that he’d raised over £17,000 for those children. Incredible! He now has a signed copy of Flowers For The Dead on his book shelf. As for me, I feel as though part of my book has come to life and stepped from the page – it was an amazing and rather surreal feeling to chat with Cameron.

If you’d like to know more about Cameron and his amazing achievement, click here.

Books endings, and new beginnings #amwriting #amediting #writerslife #rescuedogs

I’ve finished my new book! Yippee!
A belated Happy Easter to you all! What have you been up to? I hope you had a wonderful time, relaxing with loved ones and perhaps finding time to read a good book or two?
Apologies for the lateness, but once you hear why, I’m sure you’ll understand… I’ve finished my new book! Yippee!
I’ve sent it to my editor and am now waiting nervously to hear back from her. This is always the worst part of the writing process, because there is always The Fear squatting in the back of my mind that she’ll hate it (hence my new, oft repeated mantra ‘please like it, please like it!’). Argh! So please keep everything crossed for me that it will be good news, and she’ll reply back with only minimal changes. This, of course, is where a good editor is vital and can make all the difference to a book – and I’m so lucky that my editor and I have such a brilliant relationship. I trust her totally, and her suggestions always push my work that little bit further, improving all the way.
While I’m waiting to hear back, I’ve enjoyed a couple of days off getting to know my new dog, Buddy. He was rescued from a kill station in Gran Canaria by a fabulous Facebook group called Foreign Furries, which I’d really recommend to anyone. Despite being a stray before, he’s settling into his new home really well and, although he and Scamp mainly ignore each other, there are some wonderful moments of play, too. It’s hard to believe he’s only been with us for a week!
While all of us were out for a walk over Easter, an idea popped into my head. One that is refusing to budge…I’ve made some notes…I’ve got an idea for the opening chapter, which I’ve had to write down before I forget it…I’ve started writing again. What’s that saying about there being no rest for the wicked?!
xx

The end (of my book) is nigh! #amwriting #crimefiction #writerslife

“That conveys to the reader and they feel that same sense of urgency”

This morning so far I’ve managed to open the curtains and discover five or six inches of snow that fell in the night, light my fire (it’s a lovely stove that is going beautifully now and it’s so cosy) and I’ve also been out to feed the birds. Sparrow, wren, and thrush have visited thus far, and the pair of wood pigeons won’t be far behind them. It’s so lovely to see them taking the water and eating the seeds and fat, then hiding in the hedge, fluffed up against the cold.

Looking out across my tiny garden is such a joy as I’m writing – and right now I’m writing like a demon. I’ve reached that fabulous tipping point in the tale, when momentum really gathers, so that I’m rushing towards the end and can’t wait to reach it. If I feel like that as a writer, then hopefully that conveys to the reader and they feel that same sense of urgency as they’re reading story. This is the stage that is hard for me to put down; and as I don’t like to take a day off I plan on working through this weekend. What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, stay safe, stay warm and keep reading! x

‘Brilliant whodunit’ #BookReview FORCE OF NATURE @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK via @bcopperthwait

‘The plotting is clever and intricate’

THEY SAY

FIVE WENT OUT. FOUR CAME BACK…

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice’s welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them.

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

I SAY

The thought of a team building exercise is enough to strike fear and dread into most people’s hearts at the best of times, but in Force of Nature it is the clever launching point for a brilliant whodunit.

One again, a strong sense of place is key as Aaron Falk investigates; although this time it is the cold, drizzle-encased bushland of Australia. It is a slow burner, with…to read in full, CLICK HERE

‘Evocative & raw’ #Bookreview THE CHILD FINDER @renedenfeld @benwillisuk @orionbooks

‘Heartbreaking, stunning, beautifully-phrased, and delicately judged’

THEY SAY

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own experience, that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. As she relentlessly pursues the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce defences that have protected her for so long. If she finds this child, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

I SAY

I started this book immediately after finishing The Dry, and the two setting couldn’t be more different – The Dry being set in the heat of drought in Australia, while The Child Finder takes place in a snow-filled forest. It gave me shivers, not simply through evocative sense of place, but also the horror of the story playing out.

It’s not often the phrase ‘beautiful’ can be used about a crime book, but The Child Finder really is something quite special, utterly unique in its ability to spin a gorgeous fairytale over the horror of child abduction. Doesn’t sound possible, does it?…TO READ IN FULL, CLICK HERE

#BookReview THE DARKEST LIES via @geekbibliophile

‘What an intense read this was! It kept me guessing from start to finish, and I think I suspected pretty much everyone that was mentioned in the story.’

Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than knowing a reader has loved one of my books. So I’ve a big smile right now, thanks to a great review of THE DARKEST LIES over on The Geeky Bibliophile.

So just who is The Geeky Bibliophile? ‘As the name suggests, most of what I write about here on TGB is bookish in nature—reviews of books I’ve read, author interviews (there’s only one so far, but I’m planning to do more), and just about anything having to do with books and reading. But I love to get my geek on about other things—such as my favorite TV shows,’ she explains.

So what’s she got to say about The Darkest Lies?

‘What an intense read this was! It kept me guessing from start to finish, and I think I suspected pretty much everyone that was mentioned in the story.’ To read the review in full, or to find out more about The Geeky Bibliophile, click here.

 

‘Impossible to put down’ #Bookreview THE DRY @janeharperautho @LittleBrownUK

‘Transports the reader so that I wasn’t simply reading these things, I was right there’

 THEY SAY

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

I SAY

The huge, relentless sky; the sun beating down; the vast open space; the claustrophobia of a small community that suddenly realizes one of their own has committed the most terrible of murders – The Dry, by Jane Harper, transports the reader so that I wasn’t simply reading these things, I was right there. Even in the cold of the British winter, I could feel the stifling heat of the Australian summer.

I’m late to the party with this book, and deliberately so. I went into it feeling neutral, rather than with high expectations from all the hype, and I’m so…TO READIN FULL, CLICK HERE

‘Clever, twisted, & different’ #Bookreview BRING ME BACK, @BAParisAuthor @HQstories @HarperCollinsUK

‘B.A. Paris has what it takes to have real longevity as a writer.’

THEY SAY

The Disappearance:

Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.

The Suspicion:
He told the police the truth about that night.
Just not quite the whole truth.

The Fear:
Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

I SAY

Clever, twisted and quite different from her previous novels, with Bring Me Back B.A. Paris goes darker. This is an author who goes from strength to strength, and by slightly moving away from the more straightforward domestic noir, she is cleverly repositioning herself, proving she is not a one-trick author. B.A. Paris has what it takes to have real longevity as a writer… TO CONTINUE READING, CLICK HERE

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