Feb 14, 2017

The Last Night At Tremore Beach, Mikel Santiago

Composer Peter Harper has lost his muse, shut up on the rugged Irish coast and still licking his wounds over his recent divorce. He’s pretty sure he’ll never write another award winning score again. The night of one of the worst storms in living memory Peter accepts an invitation from near neighbours Leo and Marie to have dinner with them. On the return journey Peter is struck by a massive bolt of lightning. He wakes up in hospital, seemingly unscathed and then the visions start. He sees a smashed fence, a desperate woman, only the fence is fine and the woman is perfectly safe. The visions only get worse, Peter can’t tell if he’s awake or in some lucid dream. 

Did the lightning fry his brain or amplify a latent power, or is he simply losing his mind?

Whatever is happening to him he’s certain of one thing; Leo and Marie are hiding something and it threatens the lives of everyone he loves.

Feb 7, 2017

Winterlong, Mason Cross

Winterlong, a top secret government group has a simple severance policy, a shallow grave with your name on it. Former Winterlong operative, Carter Blake is a rare exception. Five years ago he and colleague walked away from Winterlong after negotiating a pact of mutually assured destruction with the old director. Since then both have kept their heads down.  The new director wants his head on a pole and she’s coming after him with every asset she can muster. Blake knows every trick in the book, problem is Winterlong wrote that book. Armed only with his wits and some formidable fighting skills Blake goes on the run saddled with the added complication of a rogue software designer he was ‘retrieving’ for a client. Both sides are hurtling towards an explosive East coast climax during one of the worst snow storms in living memory.

N.B. This is book three in the series first two are Killing Season and The Samaritan

Jan 31, 2017

Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough

David and Adele Martin are the perfect couple; rich beautiful people and Louise Barnsley, David's part time receptionist, is in a perfect mess. She's having an affair with one and the other has just become her best friend. Who is playing whom though? Louise thinks she knows; however she's not even close to divining the couple's secrets, the ties that bind them and the secret one still keeps from the other.

The love triangle between David, Louise and Adele starts to spiral out of control; each of them thinking they can control the other two, bend them to their will, get what they want. Things aren’t looking good for Adele…

Come find me at the store so that we can talk about that ending.

Jan 24, 2017

The Girl Before, J.P. Delaney

One Folgate Street is the high tech dream of feted architect Edward Monkford. Prospective tenants have to meet his very exacting standards and only he can decide who lives there. Most of the time the place stands empty and then along comes Jane, still getting over the loss of her unborn child. She needs an uncluttered life and One Folgate seems to offer a perfect solution. 

Except, for the flowers regularly left on her doorstep for 'Emma' who bears a startling resemblance to Jane leading Jane to ask the question, who was the previous tenant, the girl before and why did she leave? A twisty little psychological thriller.

Jan 10, 2017

The Dry, Jane Harper

You lied. Luke lied. Be at the funeral.

Federal Agent Aaron Falk wasn’t going to go to his former best friend’s funeral. Too many memories and he hasn’t been back to Kiewarra since he and his father were chased out twenty years ago. Back then Ellie, his girlfriend was found dead and Luke was Aaron’s only alibi. Now Luke is dead, seemingly by his own hand. Aaron returns to his hometown and finds it slowly being sucked dry by the unending drought. His reluctant investigation into Luke’s death could be the spark that burns Kiewarra to the ground.

This is a great debut novel, wouldn't be surprised to see an Edgar headed Jane's way. 

Her Every Fear, Peter Swanson

When Kate was growing up she always assumed the worst about everything and everyone, until the worst actually happened; almost robbing her of her independence and her life. 

Kate now lives in a pokey little London flat so the offer of a flat swap with her American cousin Corbin sounds too good to be true. Soon Kate is arriving in Boston. But all is not well in her new apartment block, people are watching her, the girl across the hall is dead and the police won’t say how, just that Corbin is a person of interest. Does Kate really know her cousin at all? 

The tension ratchets up until Corbin’s past and Kate’s present violently intersect in another corking standalone thriller from Swanson. 

A Q & A with Jane Harper

1) There was a pretty heated auction that happened for THE DRY. But I also hear you had some other important stuff going on that day...

I think the day a novel goes to auction is something any author would treasure, but for me the memory is especially clear as by coincidence it was also my wedding day! Why celebrate just one life-changing event when you can celebrate two? I managed to resist any urge to check in with my agent and just concentrated on enjoying the day itself, but it definitely added to the excitement knowing the auction was taking place. I was so thrilled by the offers when I heard from her the next day, so it was a really crazy but wonderful few days for me.

2) Where did you see your first copy of The Dry on sale and what went through your head when you saw people buying it?

The first time I saw copies 'in the wild' was at my local bookshop in St Kilda, near Melbourne. I was walking past and the store had a huge window display with posters and copies of The Dry advertising the novel's launch event being held there a few days later. It was thrilling as that was the moment it all suddenly seemed real. I still absolutely love to see it in stores as the idea of seeing it on a bookshop shelf was something that really motivated and inspired me while I was writing it.

3) Who are some of your favorite authors? What authors inspire you?

I like to read widely, but my favorite books tend to be fairly fast-paced and with a few twists and turns along the way. I've been a big fan of writers like Lee Child, Val McDermid and David Baldacci for a long time, and in recent years I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and I love books by fellow Aussie authors Liane Moriarty and Hannah Kent. I do like to mix it up though with both commercial and literary titles because I think great books can be found across every genre.

4) Who would you cast as Aaron, Luke, Ellie and Gretchen in the movie version of THE DRY?

I get asked this a lot and I never have a good answer! I'm always a bit reluctant to pin the characters down to any particular actors because I like readers to imagine the characters in their own way. I'm also usually more interested to hear who other people would cast -- sometimes I completely see why they've chosen that person, and sometimes they have imagined the character in a completely different way to me, which I always find fascinating!

5) Was the setting for The Dry inspired by any particular place?

The fictional town of Kiewarra features heavily in the novel, and is a drought-stricken community in regional Victoria, Australia, five hours from Melbourne.

The town itself is an amalgamation of many rural communities I visited while working as a journalist in Australia and the UK. While none of those places were anywhere near as dysfunctional as Kiewarra, they helped me get a sense of what it is like for people so reliant on things they cannot control, such as the land and the weather.

I was also interested in those communities where people have known each other, for better or worse, for most of their lives.

6) How did the main character Aaron Falk develop?

Aaron Falk left Kiewarra under a cloud as a teenager and built a new life for himself in Melbourne as an officer with the Federal Police. He is a financial investigator who is reluctant to return to Kiewarra and even more reluctant to stay for any length of time.

I wanted his character to be very much at odds with the people he left behind in the town – he is fairly quiet and cerebral and is a fish out of water on his return. The fact that he is such an outsider allows him to be the readers' eyes and ears and it is through him they experience the shock at just how far this community has fallen.

7) What was the road to publication for The Dry?

I applied for the Curtis Brown Creative 12-week online novel writing course in late 2014, and as part of the application process submitted a synopsis and 3000-word extract. I came up with an idea for a murder-mystery set in regional Victoria, that eventually became The Dry.

The course started in October 2014, and I completed a first draft during the 12 weeks. I knew of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and set myself the goal of entering, primarily as an artificial deadline to myself to get the novel into shape. I entered the award in April 2015 and in May found out I had won.

On the back of that I gained agent representation through Curtis Brown Australia; the novel was sold at auction to Pan Macmillan in August 2015 as part of a three-book deal. The Dry has since been sold in separate three-book deals to Flatiron Books in the US and Little, Brown in the UK, as well as being sold for translation in more than 20 territories.

8) What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a novel due out in Australia in 2017, and in the US and UK the following year. The main character from The Dry, Aaron Falk, returns and the book is once again based in Australia, but in a different setting. It is similar in tone and feel to The Dry, with a crime and mystery element. The book will build on Falk's character but can be read in its own right rather than as a direct sequel.

9) What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I firmly believe writing is a skill that can be taught and learnt. Some people will find it comes more naturally than others but, like any other creative skill such as painting and dancing, most people benefit from expert tuition and advice.

I had tried a few times to write a novel and never got past the first few chapters. I ended up writing The Dry as part of a 12-week online course run by Curtis Brown Creative out of London. I found the external pressure and feedback helped me to really make progress, and start to believe I could actually finish my book.

I would advise anyone who is struggling to complete a novel on their own to consider a good quality course and see if that helps bring things together.

10) What's been the best part of the experience?

There have been so many fantastic moments with The Dry. My dream was always to write a novel that would get published, so one of the absolute best things now is being able to pick up a finished copy of the book and see my own words printed inside.

My thanks to Jane Harper and to Amy Einhorn and Amelia Possanza at FlatIron Books