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Criminal Shorts

Blog take over by Caroline Maston – over to you, Caroline.

The UKCBC is mine and my Dad’s joint venture, when we founded the group it was to give all the amazing UK crime writers a place to find a voice. It has grown far more than we ever expected and we’re extremely proud of what the members and admins achieve

This year with lockdown we’ve embraced live streaming to offer live crime writing festivals and regular live author chats. We’ve continued to offer our popular shorts events and combined 22 fabulous new short stories from new, indie and traditionally published authors together into one amazing anthology

Criminal Shorts is in aid of the red kite academy, a specialist free school in Corby Northamptonshire. I don’t have the privilege of working there but as a teacher who has spent the large part of my career in SEN (special educational needs) teaching I do know how much schools like this benefit from extra fundraising. Our small contributions could buy new equipment for a sensory room, aid provision of lessons or provide much needed equipment.

I’ve read all 22 of the shorts and contributed my photo for the front cover and they are all amazing, I’ve downloaded new books because of the quality of the stories involved. If you want to help out and have a fab read what are you waiting for.


This anthology is sold for the benefit of The Red Kite Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, a ‘richly diverse community in which children with many special needs, languages, cultures and religions learn together in harmony’.
The authors of these stories have donated their work free of charge. You may find a favourite author here, or discover new favourites. Their stories cover crime in all its aspects. You’ll find stories to terrify you, mystify you, or maybe even raise a smile. We hope you enjoy them.
Contributions from:
Andrew Barrett, Ben Bruce, T. G. Campbell, Brian W. Caves,
Lexie Conyngham, M. W. Craven, Robert Crouch, Jan Edwards,
Tony J. Forder, Susan Handley, Michael Kerr, Jon Mayhew,
Kath Middleton, Wilf Morgan, Barbara Norrey, Cecilia Peartree,
John Penfold, Jack Probyn, Will Templeton, Sam Thomas,
Bill Todd and Paula Williams

Thank you, Caroline, for posting. Criminal Shorts, raising funds for the Red Kite Academy. Available here and also on Kindle Unlimited.

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November Thriller Fest. Rona Halsall

Hi everyone,

I can’t believe that it’s the last day of November and the end of my Thriller Fest. Today it’s the turn of Rona Halsall, a well known and respected crime writer. If you haven’t read The Ex Boyfriend, you must.

Tell me how you got into writing and your latest book? 

I’ve always enjoyed creative writing – at school I was the kid who did other people’s homework! But I didn’t have the confidence to imagine I could write a book. Until I hit 50. Then I decided if I was going to write a novel I better get on with it. So I started playing around with an idea that had been bubbling in my mind for a while. It was a mishmash of genres, but once I’d finished, I knew I could write a book and I’d learned a heck of a lot in the process. Nobody was interested in that one as the storyline wasn’t commercial enough, so I tried again with more of a focus on genre and this time I was successful and got interest from an agent. They helped me to edit the story, submitted to Bookouture and the rest is history!

My latest psychological thriller is called The Ex Boyfriend and is set in Llandudno, North Wales, an area I know well as I lived there for 25 years.

This is the blurb:

The Ex-Boyfriend: A completely addictive and shocking psychological thriller Kindle Edition

He promised to love her until her dying day…

When Becca’s first love shows up on her social media feed, she can’t help but smile fondly. Once upon a time Connor was the love of her life, and though it was over ten years ago, he’s always held a place in her heart.

Then he sends her a message. He sounds happy – still kind and funny, still living across the world in Australia. But he wants to know everything about her life now. How can Becca tell him the truth? About her workaholic husband, her stressful job, and the challenges of caring for her elderly father and her longed-for, adorable but exhausting three-year-old daughter Mia?

Becca hesitates, knowing she shouldn’t even reply. But Connor lives on the other side of the world. Just how dangerous can becoming friends again be?

It feels harmless. Until Mia gets sick – in a way that no one can explain. And it starts to become clear – someone will do absolutely anything to make sure Becca never escapes her past…

This is the perfect read. It has everything and set in Llandudno too, where I also used to live. Available here

Now to those questions.

1, If there was a fire in your home, what one thing would you save? (excluding humans, pets, photographs and books)

It would have to be my MacBook. It is my portal to the world! It is also my office, so I’d still be able to write and all my favourite memories are on there.

2, Your first date?

I grew up in Cleveleys, near Blackpool. I think it went something like this… back seat in the movies, watching… who cares when you’re snogging the boy you’ve fancied at school for 6 months? Then off for chips and gravy and a walk down the pier. Home on the tram. Ah, those were the days!

3, If the tables were turned and you ended up on Death Row, what would your last meal be and who would you like to share it with?

My last meal would be char sui fried rice with curry sauce. Classy, I know! I would like to share it with Dead Pool because he just cracks me up and I’d be laughing so much I wouldn’t be thinking about what was going to happen next!

4, What keeps you awake a night?

My husband snoring!


5, What would you do if you were in a hostage situation with an axe wielding maniac?

I’d call Dead Pool of course and get him to come along with some of his X-Men mates to calm the situation down 😉

Perfect answers, Rona. Thanks for joining me today and thank you, dear reader. 30 days of crime and just before Christmas too.

Jenny x

About Rona

Rona is the author of Best Selling psychological thrillers published by Bookouture. Her challenge in writing is to find domestic storylines with twists that her readers will never guess

She was born in Nottingham, grew up near Blackpool and went to college in Leeds. She then moved to Snowdonia, North Wales where she brought up her family while working as a business mentor. She now lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and two guinea pigs.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful glens and beaches on the Island while she’s plotting her next book. She has three children and two step-children who are all grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories.

To find out more about Rona and her novels, visit her website:

One Mistake: A totally unputdownable gripping psychological thriller Kindle Edition
Love You Gone: A gripping psychological crime novel with an incredible twist Kindle Edition
The Honeymoon: An absolutely gripping psychological thriller Kindle Edition
Her Mother's Lies: A gripping psychological thriller with a stunning twist Kindle Edition
Keep You Safe: A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won't see coming Kindle Edition
Keep You Safe Audible Audiobook

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November Thriller Fest. Abigail Dean

Dear all,

Nearly finished. The penultimate post. Today I have someone very special to introduce. The author of GIRL A. You’ll be hearing a lot about this book in the coming months. Let’s meet the author.

Hi Abby, how did you get into writing?

When I was a child, I spent a huge amount of time writing, both on the juggernaut family desktop and in reams of notebooks. I single-handedly sent sales of gel pens soaring, I think. By the time I was 16, I was sending out extremely formal submissions to agents, none of which had any success. Growing up, I became pretty cynical about the whole thing. The idea of being an author seemed like a pipe dream; like something that happened to other people. 
For a decade or so, I wrote very little. I spent a lot of my twenties behind a desk, and although I’d still make vague statements about wanting to be a writer, I didn’t do much about it. With my thirtieth birthday coming up, I realized that I’d let the dream go – this thing that I’d really loved doing. So I took three months off between jobs, walked half an hour to Dulwich Library each day, and started working on Girl A. It was another year of chipping away, at evenings and weekends, before it was finished. 

Girl A tells the story of Lex Gracie. Lex doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, freeing her brothers and sisters, and exposing her parents’ crimes. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, Lex can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared. 
Girl A is out on 21 January 2021, and available for pre-order from WaterstonesAmazon, and local bookshops.

I have to admit that one of the attractions of inviting Abigail onto my blog was getting a cheeky ARC of GIRL A. It is astounding and has already made The List for my favourite read of 2021. Now the nitty gritty – those 5 questions…

If there was a fire at home what would you save?
1. Once the cats and photographs were safe, I would save our passports. My parents have kept each of their passports from when they first started travelling together, and I’m trying to do the same. I love looking at them as a record of travels: all of those old stamps, visas, memories of queuing up at a dark border at 2 am.

Oh I love this, especially now that we’re travel deprived. Great answer.

2. Your first date?

Shopping for CDs and posters in Affleck’s Palace, in Manchester. I think that about 90% of teenagers growing up around Stockport in the early 2000s would have the same answer.

3. If you ended up on Death Row what would your last meal be and who with? Champagne to start, followed by a classic ragu with plenty of red wine. I would share it with my husband, Richard, who would understandably be very disapproving about whatever I’d done. He’s also a lawyer, so we could discuss a last minute appeal.

Ha, love it. Always handy to have a lawyer in the family!
4. So, what keeps you up at night?

Usually, story ideas, or the absence of them. This year, pretty much everything. 

5. If you were locked up with an axe-yielding maniac what would you do?

I like to think that I’d charmingly manipulate them into letting us all go, using skills gleaned from multiple true crime podcasts and episodes of Mind Hunter. But in reality, I’d probably run as fast as I could.

I think I’d run faster! Thank you so much, Abigail Dean. I look forward to following the success of GIRL A.

Now tomorrow we have a treat, folks. The last post is saved for one of the nicest, kindest, most supportive of writers in the business. But all that doesn’t count for ‘a hill of beans’ in the book world. Rona Halsall also writes cracking books too.

Jenny x

About Abigail

Abigail Dean was born in Manchester, and grew up in the Peak District. She graduated from Cambridge with a Double First in English. Formerly a Waterstones bookseller, she spent five years as a lawyer in London, and took summer 2018 off to work on her debut novel, Girl A, ahead of her thirtieth birthday. She now works as a lawyer for Google, and is currently writing her second novel, The Conspiracies.

Girl A sold in the UK after a 9-way auction, and also sold in auction in the US. The novel has since been acquired in 23 other territories, and television/film rights have sold to Sony.

Abigail has always loved reading, writing, and talking about books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AbigailSDean.

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November Thriller Fest. Nadine Matheson

Hi everyone,

Today I’m over the moon to welcome Nadine Matheson onto my blog. Her debut, The Jigsaw Man, is outstanding and THAT COVER – My favourite cover of 2020!

Nadine, tell me how you got into writing and about your book?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. However, my best literary achievement may hae been at nine years old when I wrote my version of ‘The Labyrinth’ (the David Bowie movie). I started and stopped a lot of projects when I was at Uni but I started to take it seriously when I was in my mid twenties. I wrote my  first book about 15 years ago and it’s still sitting on a shelf and will probably never see the light of day.

My latest book, The Jigsaw Man will be out in the wild in February 2021. The Jigsaw Man is the first book in a series featuring Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley and it starts when body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, South-East London. Henley quickly realises that the murders matches the m.o. of the infamous serial killer, Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, but there’s a problem. Olivier is in prison serving a life sentence and he’s not impressed that he’s being imitated by a copycat and he has no interest in helping Henley. It’s now a question of of  who will catch the copycat first – Henley or the Jigsaw Killer.

Available here.

Now it’s time for those 5 questions

1, If there was a fire in your home, what one thing would you save? (excluding humans, pets, photographs and books) photo please –

My reformer pilates machine.  It’s been my lifesaver in lockdown and it has wheels, so I can wheel it out.

A unique answer!!!

2, Your first date –

I can’t tell you about my first date because my parents didn’t know that I went on a date.  But, I can tell you about a date I went on when I was 19. This guy must have asked me out about five times before I gave in and when on a date with him. We arranged to meet in Brixton outside a shop. He then brought me inside the shop where I met his entire and I mean his entire family, from baby cousins, mum, dad, uncle, gran. Everyone! That was the first and last date. I came home and my mum said ‘Clearly, that didn’t go well. Your lipstick is still on.’

3, If the tables were turned and you ended up on Death Row, what would your last meal be and who would you like to share it with?

 I want lobster and champagne and I would share it with my family.

4, What keeps you awake a night?

Random nonsense but last night, it was someone screaming outside that Dave was an idiot (I have no idea who Dave is ).

5, What would you do if you were in a hostage situation with an axe wielding maniac?

Talk, talk and talk until he was so sick of me that he would probably break the door down with his axe and kick me out.

Thank you, Nadine, for 5 perfect answers apart from the date one – but you can’t have everything. The very best with your book.

Tomorrow I have Abigail Dean on my blog. If you haven’t heard of Girl A yet, you soon will!!!

About Nadine

Nadine Matheson was born and lives in London. She began her working life at the BBC and now practices as a criminal defence lawyer. In 2016, she won the City University Crime Writing Competition and completed the Creative Writing (Crime/Thriller Novels) MA at City University of London with Distinction in 2018.

Her crime fiction novel, The Jigsaw Man, will be published by HQ on 18 February 2021 and Hanover Square Press on 16 March 2021.

She can always be found on Twitter @nadinematheson and contacted via email:

Nadine Matheson is represented by Oli Munson of A.M. Heath Literary Agents.

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Cover Reveal. The Girl in the Missing Poster

Today I’m delighted to reveal the cover of Barbara Copperthwaite’s latest, The Girl in the Missing Poster – isn’t it fab!!!


MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again.

I wrap my arms around the tree trunk, pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in and the missing poster is finally secured. I try not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to mine. Perhaps this will be the year someone comes forward.

Were crucial mistakes made by detectives from the very beginning?

Could the pressure of living two lives have led my sister to run away – or even end it?

Or did someone in her tight circle of friends and family have reason to want her gone?

Someone out there must know something.

But the last thing I ever expect is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt and completely alone in the world without the other half of me, I have no choice but to agree to his strange request:private, intimate details of my life in return for answers.

As the final moments of my sister’s life play out before me, I feel closer to her than I ever dreamed I’d be again. So close, it could almost be happening to me.But when I finally realise who is behind this terrifying tragedy, will I make it out alive?

From the bestselling author ofThe Perfect Friend, this absolutely gripping psychological thriller will keep you up all night and leave you sleeping with the light on. If you lovedGone Girl, The Girl on the TrainandThe Wife Between Usthis book is for you!

Available here. (Amazon)



Readers love Barbara Copperthwaite:

ALLTHE STARS!… If it’s twists you are looking for then READ THIS BOOK!… 5 stars across the board…*INSERT STANDING OVATION HERE*’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

WOW!! This book!!! Holy cow!!! So many lies… who can be trusted? NO ONE!!…I had to keep reading. So many twists and turns throughout the whole book…a psychological thriller unlike any other!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘This book is so good. I literally couldn’t put it downit kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn’t want the book to end but I needed to know what had happened… This is one of my fav booksWOW!!!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

WOW– I am speechless… I am absolutely blown away by this book… really, really got under my skin… I feel slightly dizzy now and need a lie-down with a soft pillow and lots of chocolate.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

OMFG this is her best book yet!!… just blew everything else out of the water. Seriously. This book had me on edgemy poor nerves were shattered. Buy it, read it, love it! This book gets ALL the stars from me!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

‘A darkly addictive and creepy page turner tha thad me on the edge of my seatbreathtakingly shocking… the final pages were absolutely brilliant. Left me with goose bumps!My Chestnut Reading Tree, 5 stars


Barbara is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. She has a new book coming soon!

Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.

Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.

The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.

When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.

To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to:

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November Thriller Fest. My favourite reads

It’s nearing the end of the year so, for this post, I thought I’d compile my favourite Thriller reads of 2020. Yes, I will be reading in December but the books on the pile are all out in 2021.

As I scroll through my Amazon purchases and NetGalley reviews, I notice a shift. In the first half of the year romance featured heavily, towards the end, hardly at all as I return to the dark side.

2020, the year that no one will want to remember, but I’ve found my reading mojo didn’t suffer and I also found a wealth of new authors. For instance why did I not know about Peter James before? Duh! His latest, I follow You, makes the top 5. SE Lynes demonstrated what a great writer she is in 2018/19. Her latest, The Housewarming, also makes this list.

There’s been solid reads from Karen King, Diane Jeffrey, Amanda Brittany, Barbara Copperthwaite, Vikki Patis, Chris McDonald Jacob Ross, Sue Fortin, Wendy Clarke, Abby Frost, Lisa Jewell, Karen Clarke, Shalini Boland, Clare Chase and Jane Bettany. While Rona Halsall’s The Ex Boyfriend is outstanding. I loved Louise Mumford’s debut, Sleepless, and Terry Lynn Thomas’s genre shift with The Betrayal gave me another favourite read. Lisa Regan, Liz Mistry, Noelle Holten, Tony Forder and Carol Wyer added strong additions to their police procedurals while Elly Griffith’s The Lantern Man was a delight. Louise Candlish is a new writer to me but not any more. There are 2 books by CL Taylor on the list and one from LJ Ross – the Imposter is brilliant as is BA Paris’s latest – The Therapist. Technically she can’t make the list as it’s not out until 2021 but: My blog. My rules 😁

Valerie Keogh continued to astound me with her prolific writing. The Three Women also makes the list as does the four books I’ve read by MA Comley this year.

David Jackson, a favourite of mine didn’t disappoint with The Resident. Mark Edwards made the list too along with John Marrs – he always makes the list!

But the winner. The writer that has taken the top spot with a book I can’t forget. That tooth! The Wedding Dress. The little person sitting opposite!

My favourite read of 2020 is by Charlotte Levin. Amazing. Unusual. Brilliant.

It’s Black Friday. Happy shopping.

Jenny x

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November Thriller Fest. Darren O’Sullivan

Hi Everyone,

Today I’m pleased to welcome Darren O’Sullivan over onto my Thriller Fest. This is a new writer for me but not for long as The Players as been added to my must read pile. Darren, how did you get into writing?

Hi Jenny, firstly, thank you so much for having me. You’ve had a lot of incredible authors on your blog. I’m honoured to be one of them. I started my life as an actor, treading the boards, singing the songs, I even did a bit of ballet. (terribly, I might add). In my early twenties, acting work was drying up and I took my hand to writing for the stage, so I could give myself a job, and for several years I wrote for small theatre companies, friends, and for myself to scratch my performing itch. IN 2011, I wrote a play called Pact. Read it with a  few actor friends, and discovered it was shit. Not the ‘oh your being too self-critical’ shit, but really shit. However, I couldn’t shake the characters, I couldn’t shake the story I so badly wanted to tell, and, six years later, it had evolved into my debut, Our Little Secret.

Since then, I’ve gone on to write five more, three of them are out, two are waiting in the wings. My latest, Dark Corner’s, came out in Aril this year, that’s right, slap bang in the middle of Lockdown.

Dark Corners follows Neve, who in 1998, lost her best friend, Chloe. Chloe vanished, never to be seen again, and the one who took her, the one they call the Drifter is never found.

Neve leaves her sleepy village, a miners village, and moved to London to forget. Two decades pass, then, she gets a message, another of her childhood friends has vanished, just like Chloe.

Somebody is watching, and will stop at nothing until the truth is known…

Cool, right.

Available here.

My next book, The Players was scheduled to be published this coming January, but it has been pushed back to May 13th 2021.

In this game it’s kill or be killed

‘Brilliantly dark, sinister and twisted’ Lisa Hall

A stranger has you cornered.
They call themselves The Host.
You are forced to play their game.
In it one person can live and the other must die.

You are the next player.
You have a choice to make.

This is a game where nobody wins…

I am so excited for that one….

Available here

Now to those 5 questions…

1: If there was a fire in your home, what one thing would you save? (excluding humans, pets, photographs and books.

I think I’d grab my beaten up old notebook, inside is every idea I have ever had, ever thought and twist and plot and character outline. It contains all but my debut’s ideas (that’s in another book) and it has outlines for about another 6 or 7 novels.

2: Your first date.

I was late to the dating game, I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, as a young man, and would get too nervous around women to even entertain trying to ask them out. My first girlfriend I met at a party when I was 17, and we were together until I was 21. When we split, I didn’t see another woman until I was 24, and even then, I wasn’t sure I was ready. So, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a wear a shirt and tie, flowers at the door, date. Quite glad really, I would have been that guy who trips over an untied shoelace and then sneezes in my dates face because of the pollen. Smooth, right.

3: If the tables were turned and you ended up on death row, what would you last meal be and who would you like to share it with?

I think my last meal would, have to be something light, full of energy, for a very specific reason, and I would share it with a locksmith, a really good one. The light meal wouldn’t impact on my ability to run and the locksmith would break us out of there.

Love it!

4: What keeps you awake at night?

Bloody characters from my books!!!! They just won’t quieten down.

5: What would you do if you we in a hostage situation with an axe wielding maniac?

Well, the puffed up, jaw leading, alpha male that is buried somewhere inside would like to think I would charge them, overpower and kick their ass. Might end up with a cool scar as a result. But really, I’d probably wet myself and then try to talk to them and find a way out for us both.

Ha, thank you so much, Darren for joining me, I have loved finding out more about you.

Jenny x

About Darren

Darren O’Sullivan is the author of #1 bestsellers, OUR LITTLE SECRET, CLOSE YOUR EYES and CLOSER THAN YOU THINK. His latest, DARK CORNERS came out April 2020. His next. The Players, is due for publication in Jan 2021

When Darren isn’t writing, he is usually rolling around on the floor, pretending to be a pirate with his 5 year old.

You can follow him on Twitter/instagram @Darrensully or on Facebook via his author page Darren O’Sullivan-author

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November Thriller Fest. Louise Mumford

Hi everyone,

Today it’s the turn of debut writer, Louise Mumford, who’s already set the literary scene on fire and her book isn’t out until the 10th December. A writer to watch!

Louise, how did you get into writing?

I’ve always written. As a child I used to write terrible pastiches of Anne of Green Gables – they all revolved around plucky young orphans! When I became a teacher I didn’t have much energy for it anymore but then, as I neared forty, I realised that I owed it to myself to give my writing a serious go. This is when I wrote ‘Sleepless’ which will be published by HQ Digital as ebook, paperback and audio on December 11th.

It tells the story of a desperate insomniac called Thea who accepts a place on a sleep trial, only to find that the trial doesn’t want to merely help her sleep, it wants to control it.

More about the book below but first it’s time for those 5 questions.

1) If there was a fire what would you save?

I figure I should save something I couldn’t replace so it would have to be my childhood cuddly lamb called Lamby Pie. He’s old now, not so much of a lamb anymore!

2) Your first date?

Not my first date ever, but my first date with the man who became my husband: he brought a newspaper with him in case the date got boring… I think he was joking…

Love this!

3) Roast potatoes. Just a plate of roast potatoes, it’s my last meal so I wouldn’t need a balanced diet. I would share it with my husband, because he could bring the newspaper – at least I’d have something to read!

Again, classic!

4) What keeps you awake at night?

I’m a bit of an insomniac so it doesn’t take much to keep me awake. Right now, it’s worryng about what people will make of my book.

5) What would you do if you found yourself with an axe wielding maniac?

Hmm, they are a maniac so I doubt reasoning with them is going to do much good. I’d try entertaining them so they don’t kill me before the rescuers arrive – I used to be a Latin American dancer as a child so I can still Cha Cha and Paso Doble.

Which is something I want to see!

Thank you so much, Louise. Sleepless is going to take the world by storm.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep… Available here for only 99p!!!

Thank you, Louise. Tomorrow it’s the turn of Darren O’Sullivan.

About Louise

Louise was born and lives in South Wales. From a young age she loved books and dancing, but hated having to go to sleep, convinced that she might miss out on something interesting happening in the world whilst she dozed – much to her mother’s frustration! Insomnia has been a part of her life ever since.

She studied English Literature at university and graduated with first class honours. As a teacher she tried to pass on her love of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is… stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)

In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.

Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and frightening things that happen in her head.

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November Thriller Fest. Peter James

Hi everyone,

We’re on the home run now with December twinkling around the corner. Now I’m very late to Peter James’ party but, after reading his latest, I’m a firm convert.

Peter, those five questions.

1, If there was a fire in your home, what one thing would you save? (excluding humans, pets, photographs and books).

The sculptor Giacometti was once asked, if his house was on fire and he could only carry one thing out with him, would it be his cat or his priceless Van Gogh.  He replied, ‘My cat.  In any decision between life and art, I would always choose life.”  But OK, I’m not allowed to save my cats here!  I’m going to assume I could save my laptop, because if my house burned down, I was going to be stuck in rental accommodation and could at least get on with my writing.  And naturally of course, I would then write about a house fire at the centre of an investigation…

Very good indeed. I’d choose life too first, always.

2, Your first date?

I was at a boarding school that was all male, at that time, Charterhouse.  All contact with girls was strictly forbidden, except for the annual school dance at which girls from a local school were brought over in coaches and we all stood in the school hall, the boys down one side, and across a 20 foot gap, the girls on the other side, while a school rock band or music would play.  For twenty minutes the boys would ogle the girls and the girls would coyly chat to each other.  On some unheard signal, all the boys would rush over at once and breathlessly ask whoever it was that met their fancy to dance.  It was awful!

But I guess my first real “date” was in my last year at Charterhouse, in the summer of 1967, that the era of hippies, free love, Scott Mackenzie’s, If You’re Going To San Francisco, Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair.  I’d just done my A levels (three Grade E’s I found out later to my parents’ horror!) and my father had given me my first car, an elderly MGA.  I was walking across the school grounds on a glorious July Friday, in a boater and blazer excited, feeling the world was at my feet.  Suddenly, in front of me, stood a total apparition.  A strikingly, tall, blonde, woman, in her late twenties.  Her name was Ana Marie and I found out she was a top model in her home country, Brazil.  She’d come down from London to see a cousin playing cricket asked if I could give her directions to the station.  I can’t explain it but there was an instant chemistry.  I asked her where she was going, and she said London.  I offered to drive her there.  We spent that night and the entire weekend barely moving from her flat in Bloomsbury Square – and it’s a place I still drive through with affection today.  When I returned to Charterhouse on Monday morning, having been completely incommunicado – no mobile phones back then, I was summoned to my housemaster’s office and expelled.  But he did write a leaving report of extraordinary vision, and which I have framed in my office today.  It ended with the words, “A literary career seems inevitable.’

Superb. I’m pleased being expelled didn’t pause your literary career.

3, If the tables were turned and you ended up on Death Row, what would your last meal be and who would you like to share it with?

As a Type 2 diabetic my last meal would have to include many of my favourite foods that I normally avoid!  Oysters Rockefeller.  Fish and chips with lashings of ketchup, and fried onion rings, then followed by all the steam puddings I’ve not been able to eat for years.  Suet pudding with golden syrup and custard, chocolate steam pudding with hot chocolate sauce and spotted dick and custard.  And perhaps finish with a lemon meringue pie…. After that I would be feeling so bloated and dreadful, whatever fate awaited me in the morning would be OK!

            As to who I could like to share my meal with, that’s a difficult one. It’s hardly going to be a convivial evening, so much though my favourite dinner companion would always be my wife, Lara, in normal circumstances, this would be a tough one for her.  I wouldn’t want the solemnity of a clergy person either, nor would I want the sharp intellect of an atheist assuring me I faced oblivion.  So, I’d settle for frivolity, the late, brilliant, Peter Cook is my favourite comedian of all time.  If he was free, I’d invite him and fritter away my last hours with frivolity and laughter. 

Perfect. Fish and chips and LMP, as it’s called in our household with a little Peter Cook on the side.

4, What keeps you awake at night?

Bad pillows!  I spent a night in La Moye Prison in Jersey back in February – raising money for the charity Shelter.  I love soft pillows and so often when I’m travelling I end up in a hotel with pillows that just don’t suit – and I sleep badly.  But the worst pillow I’ve ever had, by a country mile, was the one in my cell at La Moye.  It was like laying your head on a concrete breezeblock.  What made it even worse was it being several inches deep, so my head was at an angle.  I ended up dumping it on the floor and making a pillow out of my jeans and a towel.  So, I can heartily recommend to anyone in the Channel Isles who is thinking of committing a crime – don’t!  You might end up in La Moye.

The night stay unit in Guernsey is no better. I asked for a tour recently, for research purposes, and I agree about the pillows!

5, What would you do if you were in a hostage situation with an axe wielding maniac?

I have actually been close to that situation when out with a Brighton Police Response unit, some years ago, during research for a Roy Grace novel.  I and two young officers were trapped in a cul-de-sac by a hulk of a man, high on drugs wielding a scimitar.  This was in days before tasers.  To their eternal credit the officers very slowly and tactfully talked to him until he had calmed down.  I’ve heard many police officers I’ve been out with on research, in different countries around the world all say the same thing:  That the best weapon a police officer has is their mouth.  So I would try to talk to my axe wielding maniac. 

And I’d hope it works or no more delicious books. I follow You is Peter’s latest. Set in Jersey around the local hospital I was riveted to my seat, tearing through the pages. A definite 5 star read. Available here.

When Dr Marcus Valentine slams on the brakes of his Porsche to avoid hitting a pedestian, he is shocked to see that the runner he narrowly misses looks exactly like his teenage ‘one that got away’. As he tries to fight against his obsessive thoughts about the woman he saw, fate puts her literally at his table, when Marcus and his wife throw a dinner party and invite a friend’s new fiancée. After finding out that his target, Georgie, is a keen runner, Marcus, a charmer and a highly respected gynaecologist,  begins to use a GPS running app to track her movements, to try and worm his way into her life and her heart. Events take a tragically unexpected turn, and his obsession threatens to destroy both their worlds…

I Follow You is inspired by the real-life experiences of Peter James’ wife, Lara, a marathon runner who uses a popular app to track her progress. After waving to a fellow runner while out one day on an isolated rural path, she noticed soon after that he appeared to start taking the exact same routes as her. She realised how easy it would be to stalk someone using one of these apps: “It wouldn’t take much before you could look up someone’s patterns of when they run, where they live, when they’re away.”

About Peter James

Known for his fast-paced and gripping stories that thrust regular people into extraordinary situations, Peter James has proven himself to be one of the world’s most successful writers, delivering number one bestsellers time and time again. His Superintendent Roy Grace books have been translated into 37 languages with worldwide sales of over 20 million copies and 16 number one Sunday Times Bestsellers. The ITV adaptation of the first two Roy Grace novels, Grace, will be in production in Brighton in late 2020, starring John Simm as Roy Grace and written by Endeavour’s Russell Lewis.