Latest Newsletter

March 28th, 2017
A Writer Reads
I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. Dead Woman Walking – I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this excellent novel by Sharon Bolton, and as many of you know she is one of my favourite authors. It begins with a dramatic hot-air balloon ride and a view from above of a killer. With a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming, the tension never drops until the last page. Although not published yet, Dead Woman Walking is available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Woman-Walking-Sharon-Bolton-ebook/dp/B01KL65GTM/         Wrong Place – Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Davies’ first novel, Gone Astray, I was keen to read the next story in the DC Maggie Neville series. Neville is a Family Liaison Officer, and this gives a unique spin to a police procedural. Wrong Place is the story of a woman ...
March 30th, 2017
Interesting links
Here are a few interesting links that I thought you might enjoy. Is it way past time you finished that novel you’ve been carrying around in your head? Try this article for inspiration! https://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2017/mar/20/how-to-finish-a-novel-tracking-book-progress-wyl-menmuir Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing describes his perfect reader perfectly! ‘They have no gender or age, but they are in for the night, and looking to get lost in, and maybe a little scared by, a book.’ Sounds good to me! https://www.ft.com/content/e9c39ac4-f529-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 An interesting and timely read? I think so: Margaret Atwood on what The Handmaid’s Tale means in the Age of Trump http://nyti.ms/2mo9wkr If you have any interesting links you would like to share, just let me know!
March 30th, 2017
Featured Reader – Beth Moist
Thank you all so much for responding to my request for featured readers – now I have a library of you! I’m going to start off with Beth Moist from Phenix City, Alabama, USA who has some very interesting memories to share. My love for psychological thrillers comes from my childhood. My father was a police officer and he used to ride me around in his patrol car and he would take me in the back of the jail with him. It was so exciting. My father also used to take me on his adventures into ancient Native American burial grounds where we would search for old pottery, arrow or spear heads. The mystery of looking and what I might find was a great thrill for me. My big brother Tom and I would often play and explore in the woods, looking for a secret cave or hide out, pretending ...
March 30th, 2017
Dying to write – the opening line challenge
This month I’ve picked out some great opening lines from psychological crime thrillers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with one sentence that could start off a book that cannot be put down. My latest book The Sixth Window starts like this: “It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.” So get your thinking caps on – you need ONE sentence that will hook the reader who’s desperate to walk down the dark path, the one who will go into the basement with a faulty torch when they hear something scratching to get in… The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. SJ Watson, Before I go to Sleep An hour before her shift started, an hour before ...
March 30th, 2017
The new novel is underway!
I am so happy to have started work on my next novel! As a writer, it’s such an exciting time as the characters and story begin to take shape in my imagination. Not all writers work in the same way, of course, but for me character definition is a critical part of the writing process. As soon as the overall plot is clear in my mind I begin defining the detail of each of the individuals that the reader will meet along the way. I already have a clear idea in my head of what each of them will look like, but I also like to find a photograph of somebody that is close in looks to my idea. That way I can refer back to it whenever I need a visual reminder. I search Google with a broad description and sometimes find an actor that fits the bill, or ...
March 30th, 2017
Forthcoming events – April 2017
This month I’m going to be out and about, and it would be great to meet up with some of my readers. I’m off to Denmark first to speak at Krimimessen in Horsens on April 1 but I don’t suppose I will catch up with many of you there. http://krimimessen.dk/ And later in the month I will be travelling to the North West of England, visiting Oldham, Bolton, Warrington, Denton and Wallasey. Do let me know if you’re likely to attend any of them so that I can say hello.   Moving on a month, I will be speaking at the Guernsey Festival on 11th May http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/ and at New Writing North on 20th http://newwritingnorth.com/   Later in the year, I’m looking forward to being a judge for the Kindle Storyteller Award, a new literary prize recognising newly published work in the English language across any genre. The prize is ...

Recent Posts

Chapter Two reveal

The Sixth Window – Chapter Two

(Have you read the Prologue and Chapter One yet?  Click here for the Prologue.    Click here for Chapter One.)   It seemed remarkably quiet in the office for a Monday morning, and DCI Tom Douglas couldn’t help wondering what particular set of circumstances had deterred the underworld of Greater Manchester from causing the usual weekend chaos. His thoughts were interrupted as footsteps approached his office, and he struggled to hide his pleasure as he studiously pretended to focus on the spreadsheet of crime figures in front of him. The footsteps stopped, and still he didn’t look up. ‘Ta-dah!’ Tom slowly raised his eyes to the figure standing in the doorway, posed with arms spread out from her body as if taking a curtain call on stage. Tom said nothing. ‘Glad to see me back?’ Becky Robinson grinned at him expectantly. Tom was struck by how much thinner she was

Chapter One reveal

The Sixth Window – Chapter One

(Have you read The Prologue yet? Read it here first.) Eighteen Months Later The sound of a door closing upstairs should have given Natalie Gray sufficient warning that she wasn’t going to be alone for much longer, but her eyes were locked on to the computer screen and her heart was pounding. ‘Oh God,’ she whispered as she stared at the images in front of her. ‘Please tell me this is work-related.’ Her words were barely audible, but finally Ed’s cheerful whistling penetrated her consciousness as it grew ever closer and she quickly and silently closed the lid of his laptop and hurried across to the kettle, snatching it off its base and thrusting it under the cold tap, as if she had been standing by the sink all the time. She shouldn’t have been looking at Ed’s computer, but she had wanted to check the weather for the day.

The Sixth Weekend prologue reveal

The Sixth Window – Prologue

It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window, still dark at this pre-dawn hour, she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more. She raised her eyes to seek out the stars in the gaps between the buildings, but the sky was never completely black in central Manchester, the heavens polluted with endless street lights and overly bright shop windows. The incessant rumble of traffic created nothing more than background music that she had long ago learned to filter out, but sleep had eluded her once again because she never knew when the cries of the dead would pierce the silence and shatter any semblance of calm. As the first resident in the north wing of this newly converted building, she had relished the isolation and was almost resentful of

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Come to the party!!

Let’s lift the curtain on this party! Come along to the launch of my latest book – THE SIXTH WINDOW – and the seventh outing for everyone’s favourite detective, DCI Tom Douglas. In an exciting new twist, I will be coming to you LIVE by video – technology permitting – so get your questions ready! **** I’m so happy to invite you to the launch of THE SIXTH WINDOW, which will be available on Amazon from 21st February. Please join me for an online party on Facebook to celebrate its release. Throughout the afternoon and early evening (GMT) there will be competitions and prizes. You will be able to display your knowledge of Hitchcock in Dial M for Murderously Good Fun; my hometown of Manchester gets its very own music scene quiz and in addition there will be a hitlist of killer songs to get us all up and dancing!

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Christmas with bestselling author Sharon Bolton

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Sharon Bolton agreed to be interviewed for my newsletter and blog. I have been a fan since I read Sacrifice about eight years ago. Since then, I have devoured every single book she has written and enjoyed them all. Read on to find out more about this wonderful author and her views on Christmas.     What do you think is the best thing about Christmas? The way it turns the darkest of seasons beautiful. I just love the look of Christmas: twinkling lights in the black sky, sumptuously wrapped presents, wreathes on cottage doors, exquisitely decorated trees and tables groaning under piles of delicious food. One of the great joys of Christmas for me is making my home beautiful for the holiday, and seeing my neighbours do the same. What will you be eating for Christmas lunch, and are you

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Special Book Offers

This month there are some great special offers on some of my books, one in the UK and two in the US. UK offer The Back Road – my second novel – has over 1300 FIVE STAR reviews in the UK and for this month only it is on offer at 99p – which is over 70% off! A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane. A driver drags her body to the side of the road. A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting. The quietest places hide the darkest secrets. Click here to learn more.     US offers The Back Road is also available to US readers too (although as you see, the cover is a bit different!) Just $2. Click here to learn more.       Only the Innocent – the book which introduces readers to DCI Tom Douglas is

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A Writer Writes – December 2016

In October’s post about writing, I talked about the editing process, and mentioned that I read my whole manuscript out loud when I get near to the final version. I have always done this, and highly recommend it. But it was only when I was going through my new book that I was reminded why it’s so effective. The eye skims over words, and so it helps with spotting errors, but the most important benefit, as I discovered this time, was finding repeat words. It may be that the same word or phrase is used several pages apart, but when reading out loud I find that I ‘hear’ it, much more accurately than I ‘see’ it. It’s not the wrong word, so it wouldn’t stand out normally. But if you listen to your own voice (or maybe even record yourself) your book will be all the better for it. If

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Christmas Links

A festive treats for you! Whether you are looking for something to read, want to escape, or you’re thinking of making the most of 2017, we have some suggestions for you. Best 100 Books for Christmas. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, The Telegraph gives you a luxuriously long list of Christmas beauties on paper. The Best Places to Spend Christmas. All worn out by the thought of hanging stockings, lighting fires or stuffing turkeys? Get away from it all with these suggestions. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to become an international best-seller. Check out The Guardian on art holidays and creative writing retreats.

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Featured Cake

It’s Christmas, so this week’s featured reader is actually a FEATURED CAKE! We like the blood red colouring, here at Team Abbott – it could disguise a multitude of sins!! Christmas Velvet Cake Ingredients Cake: 0.5 cup butter 1.5 cups sugar 2 eggs 2.5 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 2 tablespoons red food coloring 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons cider vinegar Frosting: 1.3 cups semi-skimmed milk 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1.3 cups salted butter, softened 1.3 to 2 cups icing sugar, sifted 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract Instructions To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch layer pans or two 9-inch layer pans; line bottoms with greaseproof paper. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour alternately with buttermilk; beat until blended. In a small bowl, whisk cocoa and

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A Writer Reads – December 2016

I love Maeve Binchy, if at any stage I need I reassuringly accomplished read I turn to her. For this Christmas I would recommend A Week in Winter. It is set in one of her familiar small towns on the west coast of Ireland where everyone knows everyone else, perhaps a bit too well. The main character Chicky Starr lives in a decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is eccentric at best. But Chicky, who has just returned from something of a veiled existence in America, sets about rebuilding her life and she is not short of other eccentric individuals to help her – look out for the clairvoyant librarian among many others. This is Maeve Binchy’s last novel and has been described as sketchier than some of