Ten comedies and three best-selling crime series later, I’ve taken another leap of faith and written my first psychological thriller.
Behind Closed Doors is set in and around Morecambe, Lancashire. I first visited this area in 2021 and immediately fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve made numerous return trips to research extensively for this new book (and to sit by the sea with giant ice creams).
I’ve wanted to write standalone thrillers for some considerable time and this particular one sat in note form for a few years, until I managed to fit in writing it between DI Kate Young books.
The protagonist, Stacey, suffers from a serious form of amnesia (dissociative amnesia disorder) which has caused her mind to block out a terrible incident from her childhood – her own kidnapping.
Psychology has always fascinated me and as somebody who can’t remember her own early childhood – only isolated incidents which I’m not sure I actually remember or have conjured thanks to my parents telling me they happened – I have nothing but a giant blank until I turned ten years old. I have my suspicions as to why I can’t remember such a large expanse of time, and the answer lies in one of my earlier crime books, although I am unwilling to discuss the matter with anybody. Some things are best forgotten.
Like Stacey, I have a love of old black and white films which began as a teenager. One wet, Saturday afternoon, my mother decided we would have some ‘us’ time and turned on the television. It’s a Wonderful Life was showing and I really enjoyed it. Watching black and white films on a Saturday became our thing – time for me and my mum. I still have a soft spot for that film even though my favourite is Psycho!
The new book is unlike my crime novels. There is no police procedural element in it and no detectives, apart from a couple of retired ones. Stacey is a divorced, career-minded journalist who finds herself hurled back in time when her stepdaughter is kidnapped. Dark and twisty, I hope you will find yourself plunged into her confused world where truth and fiction are impossible to separate and yet only by accessing her buried memories can she possibly save Lyra from a horrific fate.
Behind Closed Doors comes out December 6th and will be available as an eBook, paperback and audiobook.
Two kidnappings, thirty years apart. Can Stacey face her own dark past in order to save her stepdaughter?
When Stacey’s ex-husband turns up on her doorstep begging her to help save his kidnapped thirteen-year-old daughter, Lyra, the terror is all too familiar. Stacey’s own violent kidnapping thirty years ago was never solved, and while a severe case of amnesia spares her from recalling the specific horrors, she remembers enough…
Stacey knows her father never paid the ransom—she has the missing pinkie finger to prove it. She knows she was only saved because of an anonymous tip-off to the police. And she knows her captor was never apprehended.
Lyra’s kidnappers have made it clear the police must not get involved. But Stacey can’t shake the eerie similarities between the two cases, and she’ll use whatever she can, from her journalistic powers to her shady contacts, to save Lyra from the same nightmare. Desperate to find any link between Lyra’s abduction and her own, Stacey forces herself to revisit her forgotten, traumatic past for clues.
But can she make sense of the terrible secrets she unearths in time to save Lyra? And if she does, is she ready to face her own tormentor?