Thursday 31 May 2018

Extract from Mine by Susi Fox

Debut novelist and GP Susi Fox's Mine is a chilling, unnervingly real portrayal of the darker side of motherhood. Sasha wake up in hospital after an emergency caesarean and is handed a baby boy, but immediately a chilling realisation hits her, this baby is not hers. What follows is a terrifyingly vivid account of a woman’s struggle against the systems that have been put in place to protect her – doctors, counsellors, even her own family – but what happens when none of these systems believe you? Everyone is against you; do you trust your instincts? Or is your traumatic past clouding your judgement?  As her reality appears to spiral out of control, Sasha begins to question her own sanity. But she’s a doctor – surely she would know if she were losing her mind?

As part of the Mine blog tour Shots his pleased to be hosting below an extract from the novel today. -
You’ve worked in a nursery before, I take it?’ 
Ursula says. I nod, even though it was only for a short time and long ago, during my paediatrics term as a medical resident. Like all young doctors, I rotated through multiple specialties, trying to find the one that suited me best. Obstetrics, paediatrics, emergency, psychiatry, among others. Ursula doesn’t need to know how little I remember of those early days; how much I’ve blocked from my mind. There must be twenty or so infants in here. I have no idea where my baby is.
Here we are,’ Ursula says, tugging me to a stop beside a humidicrib on the left, beside the window. ‘Your baby.’ My heart skips a beat. Part of me doesn’t want to look. I fixate on the outside of the humidicrib. It’s an unfamiliar model: matt-grey base with a rail strung along the side, see-through plastic over the top like a snow globe, enclosing another world. A rectangle of blue card is sticky-taped to the cot wall in front of me, coming unstuck at one corner.
Name: _________________
Baby of: Sasha Moloney
Sex: Male
Then a list of numbers: his weight, date and time of birth. I have to bend around the card to see him. There are wires taped to his chest, a tube emerging from his nose. He’s tiny – smaller, even, than the teddy I bought him, waiting in the cot back home.
His chest sucks in between his ribs, his abdomen ailing with each breath. He doesn’t look comfortable. His arms and legs are kindling-thin, with wads of padding at the knees and elbows for him to grow into, his skin almost translucent with purple streams of veins beneath. He looks like he’s struggling. Like he knows he should still be inside my womb. Him being born prematurely – I blame myself. As his mother, the one who was supposed to keep him safe, I know it’s my fault. Yet despite my guilt, there’s no stirring in my chest, no tightening of my heart.
He doesn’t look like the baby who appeared in my pregnancy dreams. I stare at him as I would any other premature newborn. I don’t feel like his mother at all. Fleetingly, I’m struck by a terrible idea: what if this isn’t my baby? But I reorder my thoughts, pushing that inconceivable notion to the back of my mind.

Mine by Susi Fox published by Penguin on 14th June 2018 (£7.99)
The baby in the cot is not your baby. You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, desperate to see your child. But when you are shown the small infant, a terrible thought seizes you: this baby is not yours. They say you’re delusional. No one believes you. Not the nurses, your father or even your own husband. They say you’re confused, potentially dangerous. But you’re a doctor – you know how easily mistakes can be made. Or perhaps it isn’t a mistake? Everyone is against you; do you trust your instincts? Or is your traumatic past clouding your judgements? You know only one thing… You must find your baby.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Amazon Publishing to Launch Brand New Series from Bestselling Author Patricia Cornwell

International bestselling, award-winning, and ground breaking author Patricia Cornwell will introduce a new heroine for the technological age with Quantum, coming from Thomas & Mercer in 2019

Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced it has closed a two-book deal with #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell, and will launch a new series from the groundbreaking writer beginning with Quantum in late 2019.

Thomas & Mercer acquired World English rights in the deal and will launch Cornwell’s new series with Quantum in 2019, with a second book planned for 2020. Cornwell is represented by Jeremy Barber, Partner, United Talent Agency. Thomas & Mercer Editorial Director Grace Doyle will serve as Cornwell’s editor.

Quantum weaves military action, espionage, and space age technology into the story of a young NASA test pilot/aerospace engineer, Captain Calli Chase, whose quest to uncover the secrets behind her fighter pilot twin sister’s murder takes her to the highest echelons of power: from NASA’s Langley Research Center to the White House to Scotland Yard to INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France. And beyond.

Patricia Cornwell’s all-in approach to writing her iconic Dr. Scarpetta series catapulted forensic science into pop culture, paving the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring all things forensic across film, television, and literature, and if her current adventures at NASA are any indication—she’s learning to spacewalk—we’ll all be experts on space science and exploration very soon,” says Mikyla Bruder, Publisher, Amazon Publishing. “We can’t wait to introduce Patricia’s new heroine to readers next fall.”

I wanted the very best publisher in the galaxy to launch Captain Chase,” says Patricia Cornwell. “I couldn’t be more excited about taking this journey with Amazon Publishing.”

Patricia is a groundbreaking author and a leader in her field. The emergence of Amazon Publishing as a global presence marks a significant shift within the publishing landscape,” says Jeremy Barber, Partner, United Talent Agency. “I'm excited by the potential this relationship has to reach readers worldwide.”

Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, in 1990, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. It went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize—the first book to claim all of these distinctions in a single year. Today, Cornwell has sold over 100 million books, and her novels and iconic characters are known all over the world.

Also known for her investigation into the Jack the Ripper case, Thomas & Mercer published Cornwell’s #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a FutureBook Book of the Year winner.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Ripley's Game

The close of Crime and Thriller conventions can be a tad melancholic, as for a few days we escape the strait-jackets that are our lives, interacting with our friends, spending late nights in the bar, laughing at the surreal nature of reality – so when the show unspools, one can be left feeling somewhat hollow.

The Crimefest Team addressed this matter, by closing the event with Mike Ripley’s surreal game I'm Sorry I Haven't A Cluedo.

To have a look at last year’s finale, click HERE

This year, Mike Ripley was again joined by his assistant, the writer, raconteur, broadcaster and literary commentator Peter Guttridge. Two teams of Crime and Thriller writers were assembled with political journalist and crime writer Ruth Dudley-Edwards captaining the Girls, with Alison Bruce and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir; while Lee Child captained the Boys with Andrew Taylor and Jeffery Deaver.

Crimefest as well as Mike Ripley allowed Shots Magazine to record the closing event, which we present here, in ten minute sections.

It was shot ‘gonzo style’ and will provide amusement, for laughter in the hands of the Talented Mr Ripley is indeed the best medicine, as far too many people take themselves too seriously.

Part One >

And remember Mike Ripley’s KISS KISS BANG BANG was presented with the 2018 HRF Keating Award; and click HERE for more information on the Golden Age of British Thriller Fiction.

The Genesis of Kiss Me, Kill Me

I first discovered the work of James Carol last year with The Killing Game, as together with my fellow readers at the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017 Judging committee, noted at the time -

“Cunningly structured Hollywood hostage drama that boldly explores the overlaps in fame and news-making between the spheres of media and terrorism. Carol’s world is peopled with troublingly realistic characters and disturbs in its portrayal of moral ambiguity. The cinematic pace never slows; totally absorbing.”

It became one of the six  thriller novels that found itself on the 2017 CWA Steel Dagger Shortlist.

So we were delighted when James Carol agreed to tell us a little about his follow-up, and how an idea can germinate within a writer.

“Where do you get your ideas” is a question writers get asked more than any other. The simple answer is that I don’t know where mine come from. Or rather, I don’t want to know. The fact that they appear at all is enough. I’m concerned that if I over-analyse things then the alchemy will stop happening. Ideas tend to pop into my head while I’m going about my day-to-day life. Some stray thought catches my imagination, collides with another thought, and before you know it I’ve got something that could maybe be a novel.
KISS ME KILL ME actually started life as a very different book. My agent was shopping around for a publisher for THE KILLING GAME, my first standalone, and needed an idea for a follow-up. I can’t remember what I was doing when the idea presented itself. Maybe I was in the bath; maybe I was out for a walk. The idea itself was an intriguing one: what if a woman woke up one day to discover her husband was a hitman, and that he was out to kill her. My agent needed a full outline to show to publishers. No problem, I said.
But it was a problem. A big one. Because that was how the story remained for years, just an outline. The way I write is to get an idea and run with it. What keeps me going through the long months of a first draft is that I’m curious to know how the story will finish. The problem here was that I knew how this one was going to end.

From time to time I’d revisit the outline, but I couldn’t bring myself to write the book because that spark wasn’t there. Then one day I was thinking about it and for some reason I started wondering if the wife might be pregnant. That was all it took to get me excited again. This one stray thought fired my imagination and took the story in a brand new direction. More importantly, though, I now had no idea where it was going to end. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Once the basic idea has been established the next stage is to choose a setting. Back in the nineties my parents lived in a small town just outside Portland, Oregon. The fact I’d been there was a bonus. I prefer to write about places I’ve visited since it enables you to get that extra layer of reality. Portland has a laidback arty feel that I thought would work really well. It’s also a very dynamic city and I wanted that energy in the book. Getting the right setting is crucial because it influences the whole vibe of the story.

While I’m working on the location I’m also thinking about the main characters. These tend to develop from the situation. With writing the trick is to create a reality that the reader can buy into. That’s the spell I’m trying to cast. With KISS ME KILL ME, you have a marriage that looks perfect on the outside but isn’t. Dan, the husband, is charming but ruthless, two attributes often associated with CEOs. That’s why he ended up running his own company. Zoe needed to be the opposite of that, so she is an aspiring writer, the artistic, creative Ying to his single-minded, driven Yang.

The story starts with Zoe at rock bottom and seeing no way out. When she discovers she’s pregnant she realises she has to do something because this isn’t just about her anymore. I love it when characters take on a life of their own and start doing unexpected things. Zoe in particular ended up being way more resourceful than I thought she would be. Put it this way, you’ll think you know where this story is going but chances are you’ll be wrong.

A lot of my research tends to be done on the fly and this is where the Internet is a godsend. With the first draft I just want to get the words down as quickly as possible; I don’t want the distraction of spending ages on research as this would disturb the flow of the story. The majority of my queries can be answered with a quick Google search, and then I can get back to the business of writing.

Inevitably though there will be something that needs to be researched in more depth. Amongst other things KISS ME KILL ME gave me an excuse to look more deeply into the Dark Web. This is basically an alternative version of the Internet that exists beneath the one that we all know and love. This is where you can go to buy the sort of things that you don’t find on Amazon. Drugs, weapons … a murder.

Every book is a learning experience and KISS ME KILL ME was no exception. It’s not just the characters who end up going into uncharted waters, I do too. Sometimes it feels like I’m just along for the ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s usually one hell of a ride.

KISS ME KILL ME by J.S Carol is published by Bonnier Zaffre on 31st May

For More Information:  

Books to Look Forward to from Headline, Tinder Press & Wildfire Press

June 2018
A senseless murder. A Terrifying legend. A Family haunted. 1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.  2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.  2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.  Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.  He is the Tall Man. He can make you special...  The Tall Man is by Phoebe Locke.

July 2018
The Story Keeper is by Anna Mazzola.  Audrey Hart is on the Isle of Skye to collect the folk and fairy tales of the people and communities around her. It is 1857 and the Highland Clearances have left devastation and poverty, and a community riven by fear. The crofters are suspicious and hostile to a stranger, claiming they no longer know their fireside stories.Then Audrey discovers the body of a young girl washed up on the beach and the crofters reveal that it is only a matter of weeks since another girl disappeared. They believe the girls are the victims of the restless dead: spirits who take the form of birds.  Initially, Audrey is sure the girls are being abducted, but as events accumulate she begins to wonder if something else is at work. Something which may be linked to the death of her own mother, many years before.

When Thea Paris's flight is hijacked over the Libyan Desert, her first priority is the two former child soldiers she is escorting to a new life in London.  As an international kidnap specialist, Thea Paris negotiates for hostage release as part of her job. She knows one wrong move could lead to deadly consequences.  After she is forcibly separated from the boys and the other passengers, Thea and her tactical team quickly regroup. And in their desperate search for the hostages that follows, unearth a conspiracy involving the CIA, the Vatican and the Sicilian Mafia, and a plot far more sinister than Thea could ever have imagined.  Skyjack is by K J Howe.

Lying to You is by Amanda Reynolds.  You’d know if you were lying to yourself, wouldn’t  you? When Jess Tidy was Mark Winter's student, she made a shocking accusation. Mark maintained his innocence, but the damage was done.  Karen Winter stood by her husband through everything, determined to protect her family.  Now, ten years later, Jess is back. And the truth about that night is finally going to come out . . .

No Time to Cry is by James Oswald.  Undercover ops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.  Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He's been executed - a single shot to the head.  In the aftermath, it seems   There's no place to hide, and no time to cry.
someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con's shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief... right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.

In the ring, Cameron King is known as The Hunter. A celebrated champion. A warrior.  But when her brother, science genius Nate, deliberately crashes the car they're in and vanishes without trace Cameron is left with a career in ruins, a reconstructed body and one burning question: why?  18 months later, working to find bail-jumping fugitives, Cameron discovers a dead body - apparently killed with her gun. As a detective comes through the door, she receives a panicked call from her missing brother: 'They're coming, Cam. Get out.'  Sucked into a lethal and sinister conspiracy hidden in the darkest shadows of power, Cameron is forced to fight her toughest, bloodiest battle yet - not only to survive, but to uncover the terrifying truth. The Hunter is by Andrew Reid.

August 2018
Grist Mill Road is by Christopher J Yates.  Everyone knows what happened there. No one knows why.   Matthew and Hannah were just playing in the woods, a little way from home.  But now he's tying Hannah to a tree. And she has never been so terrified.  Patrick is there too, hidden, watching. He can't move. He can't take his eyes off Matthew's gun.  Years later, in New York City, living adult lives they never would have imagined, the three will meet again. With even more devastating consequences.  It all began on Grist Mill Road . . .

The Girl I Used to Be is by Mary Torjussen.  How can you hide your mistakes when you don't know what they are?  Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.  A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .  But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.  Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can't control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past - and the truth about the girl she used to be.

November 2018
On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.  What drove her to commit this terrible act? It's left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.  Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie's darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all...  The Night She Died is by Jenny Blackhurst.

After Anna is by Lisa Scottoline.  Everyone deserves a second chance at happiness.  Dr Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, is finally content after marrying the wonderful Maggie. And they're both thrilled when Maggie gets an unexpected chance to be a mother to Anna, the daughter she once thought she'd lost forever.  But when seventeen-year-old Anna arrives everything changes - and the darkest turn of events will shatter their lives in ways no one could have imagined.  What if your perfect family becomes your worst nightmare?

Look Alive Twenty Five is by Janet Evanovich There's nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, coleslaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that's been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it's a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they'd better figure out what's going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.

They believed that it was over.  Having survived the lethal Pendulum conspiracy, photographer John Wallace atones for his past mistakes.  DI Patrick Bailey clings to the hope that he can, at last, return to a normal life in London.  But it’s only just beginning.  FBI investigator Christine Ash - alone and paranoid - hunts down the remaining members of the ruthless Foundation organisation.  Dark forces are rising again.  But when masked assassins strike at the heart of the UK government, a shocking new threat emerges that forces all three to reunite.  Deadlier than ever before. With time running out, they must defeat a lethal new adversary: a manipulative mastermind with sinister powers unlike anything they've seen before. Aftershock is by Adam Handy.

Cold Case is by Quintin Jardine.  Former Chief Constable Bob Skinner may have left the police service, but he's never far from a case. When his old mentor on the force, Jimmy Proud, finds himself in a desperate situation, Skinner gets pulled into a murder investigation that's been closed for thirty years.  The Body in the Quarry case was well-known around Edinburgh at the time: a popular priest found dead in a frozen quarry; a suspect with a clear motive charged; a guilty verdict. But with a journalist uncovering new evidence, the cold case has come back to haunt Proud - and only Skinner can help him.  With the clock ticking and his friend's reputation at stake, Skinner must uncover the truth to find out if an innocent man was convicted for murder. And if a killer is still on the loose...

So this is how it ends. It is clear to me now: one of us has to die.  Mark and Evie had a whirlwind romance. Evie brought Mark back to life after the sudden death of his first wife. Cleo, Mark's sister, knows she should be happy for him. But Cleo doesn't trust Evie... When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.  Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider - is there ever a proper defence for murder?  And So it Begins is by Rachel Abbott.

Other books being published include No Mercy by Martina Cole (October) and The Coldest Blood by J S Law (November)