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‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Media and Reviews

Post a review on Amazon.com.au or GoodReads and your quote could appear here.

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Book’d Out blogger review of Prey – ‘breathtaking moments of tension’

May 1, 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic authors like me have had all our events cancelled. Instead we’ve been hoping for support from the reading and writing community to help spread the word about our new books. And the support has been amazing. So I’d like to thank the bloggers who reviewed Prey, my latest thriller, and I’d like to begin by sharing this great review from Book’d Out which you can read here.

‘An action packed story with a plot of intrigue and a dynamic lead character, Prey is a gripping and exciting read.’

You can follow the Book’d Out blog via:

GoodReads

Facebook

Twitter

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Natalie Conyer and I talk to Malla Nunn on why our crime novels are set in South Africa

April 27, 2020

I was proud to launch the New South Wales chapter of Sisters in Crime with this online event: Deadly, Dangerous, Dazzling – the allure of South African crime fiction. Convener Catherine du Peloux Menagé welcomed viewers and introduced the panel: me, Natalie Conyer and Malla Nunn. In it we discuss our story locations, characters and inspiration.

In my latest thriller, Prey, journalist Olivia Wolfe must unravel the terrible secret that connects a British Cabinet minister, a Vietnamese billionaire, and a poor South African teacher to a series of gruesome murders. Wolfe is in a country she doesn’t know and surrounded by enemies. Who can she trust when her life depends on it?

Natalie Conyer’s debut crime novel, Present Tense, is set in Cape Town. It’s a hard-boiled police procedural about an ordinary cop trying to find his way in a thrilling and dangerous country.

Malla Nunn is the author of four internationally published adult crime novels set in 1950s Apartheid South Africa. Her debut YA novel, When the Ground is Hard, is set in a Swaziland boarding school where two girls of different castes bond over a shared copy of Jane Eyre.

Copies of our novels have been stocked by Gleebooks in Glebe, NSW. This wonderful bookstore was going to host this event until Covid-19 hit. They are offering pick up and free delivery to the Inner West of Sydney.

If you would like to join the NSW chapter of Sisters In Crime Australia, please contact:

Catherine du Peloux Menagé
0412 517 885
nsw@sistersincrime.org.au

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On writing suspense – guest blog for the Booktopian

April 21, 2020

To celebrate the launch of my new thriller Prey I was invited to write a guest blog for The Booktopian on the topic of creating suspense in thrillers. It was great fun to write and I hope you find it interesting. Here is the link. I want to thank Booktopia for the opportunity and you can purchase paperback and ebooks of Prey through their online store here.

Just in case you can’t view the article on the Booktopia site, here is the original article:

Before the world was turned upside down by the Coronavirus pandemic and we could no longer fly to other countries, I was at ThrillerFest in New York City. One of the big topics for panel discussion was how thriller writers create suspense. Having a suspenseful plot that builds to a satisfying climax is what thrillers are all about, after all. As well as writing crime-thrillers, I also teach thriller writing at the Australian Writers Centre and I always get asked: what is suspense. One of my favourite definitions is Alfred Hitchcock’s – ‘It is when you expect something bad to happen and you are powerless to intervene.’ At ThrillerFest, best-selling author Meg Gardiner defined suspense as ‘a state of mental uncertainty about how something will pan out.’ It’s the uncertainty that keeps readers reading, it’s the puzzle we want to solve. Add to that the rollercoaster of emotions that readers experiences: the pleasurable but nail-biting excitement and anticipation regarding an outcome, such as the detective finally catching the serial killer, or the mother, who has lost everything, finding and saving her kidnapped child.

When I was writing Prey, the first question I asked myself was why should the reader care about Olivia Wolfe, the central character? If the reader doesn’t connect with her then they won’t experience her joy and despair, her terror and moments of hope. Thrillers are very plot driven, but it is the characters people remember: Jack Reacher, Phryne Fisher, psychiatrist Joe O’Loughlin, detective Jane Tennison. Which is why I spend as much time creating my characters as plotting the story. Wolfe is no ordinary journalist. She travels the world exposing heinous crimes and in so doing makes powerful enemies. She’s flawed and troubled by a past she wants to forget which creates a dramatic tension because the reader suspects her past will catch up with her. But when and how? She makes mistakes – she’s human. She’s in love with the wrong kind of guy. We’ve all been there, right? So, we can relate to her. But she’s brave and risks everything to expose a terrifying criminal syndicate who sends an assassin to kill her.

I like to raise a question and set up a mystery in the first chapter. In the opening chapter of Prey a woman is murdered by a professional killer and her boyfriend is warned to back-off or the same will happen to him. This raises the question: why was this ordinary woman murdered? Why it was made to look like a suicide. What information does the boyfriend have that’s worth killing for? In chapter two, we meet Olivia Wolfe and discover that the murder victim had met with Wolfe the day before she died and Wolfe knows a small part of a bigger mystery. It’s not until the last few chapters that we discover what the series of murders in four different countries is all about.

Here are some more of my favourite ways of building suspense:
• Don’t reveal too much, too fast – the reader wants to fill in the gaps in their knowledge about the plot and characters along the way. Keep something back.
• Drip feed vital clues and hints to the reader throughout, but keep the final piece of the puzzle until the very end.
• Use plot twists that surprise the character as well as the reader, especially in the middle part of your story.
• It’s fun to have the reader sometimes know more than the central character and be powerless to stop the character making a terrible mistake. It’s that ‘Don’t do it!’ moment.
• Ticking clocks really ramp up the suspense in a thriller too. Can he stop the faulty plane taking off in one hour? Can they diffuse the bomb in fifteen minutes? Will the serial killer take his next victim at the next full moon?
• Cliff hangers are great. They leave the reader wondering if all is lost at the end of a chapter, or hint at something bad is about to happen.
• Keep your reader unsure who will win at the climax– the hero or the adversary?
This all leads to an adrenalin pumping climax. As Jeffery Deaver once said, ‘Always keep in mind that people don’t read books to get to the middle; they read books to get to the end’.

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Blog tour for Prey – giveaways and reviews

April 18, 2020

I’ve very excited to introduce to you the wonderful bloggers who are writing reviews and doing giveaways for Prey throughout the month of April 2020. Watch out for their activity on their blogs and on social media. These fabulous bloggers are:

Lauren Keegan https://laurenkeeganwriter.com/blog/

Carpe Librum http://www.carpelibrum.net/

Debbish dotcom http://www.debbish.com/

Book’d Out https://bookdout.wordpress.com/

Book Reviews For U https://bookreviewsforu.com/

Book Lover Book Reviews https://bookloverbookreviews.com/

Prey is available in paperback and ebook from Clan Destine Press (Australian publisher), Amazon Australia, and other online bookstores around the world through the UK publisher, Bloodhound Books, which includes Amazon UK

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