Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Bad Turn #13 Charlie Fox #Series by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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Bad Turn by Zoe Sharp ~ #13 Charlie Fox

Synopsis ~

Ex-Special Forces trainee turned bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox is back in this, her 13th adventure.

One bad turn…deserves another.

Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.

House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.

Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.

Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.

Guest Post ~ Real People Into Fictional Characters ~

Real People into Fictional Characters
BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13

by Zoë Sharp

Inevitably, when you write, you ‘borrow’ characteristics or mannerisms you’ve noted in friends, relations, enemies, or complete strangers. This is one of the reasons writers love to sit somewhere crowded and people-watch like crazy. A twitch, a tic, a nervous gesture, the way some people look down at their shoes and pace very deliberately when they’re taking a phone call. It’s all grist to the writer’s ever-hungry mill.

I freely admit there were aspects of different real people in the early Charlie Fox books, although I refuse to comment on which characteristics those were and what use I made of them! It wasn’t until I did an event at my local library while I was plotting book four in the series that I realised people might actually want to appear in my work.

My local library in Lancaster were hugely supportive of my first steps into the world of being a published author. So, when one of the librarians mentioned that another member of staff, Andrew Till, would really, really like to be a character in a book, how could I refuse?

When FIRST DROP came out, Andrew Till was an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge who plays a vital role in helping Charlie defeat the bad guys—even if he does try to arrest her the first time they meet.

Since then, I’ve used numerous real people as characters in the books. Over the course of the series they’ve taken on the roles of PIs, LAPD detectives and CIA agents, as well as billionaire philanthropists, Charlie’s principal, main suspect, and even the outright bad guy.

I usually try, if someone has made a bid at one of the charity auctions held at events like Bouchercon, to include quirks that the donor would recognise. When I included BG Ritts in FOURTH DAY, for instance, she particularly asked me to do so in such a way that only she would recognise herself! (Well, I like a challenge.)

I’m not sure, though, that I’ve ever included quite as many real people in a single book as I have in the latest Charlie Fox outing, BAD TURN.

I ran a competition among my subscribers for two character slots in the book—one female and one male. The female part was of the woman Charlie is hired to protect. She is the wife of an extremely wealthy international arms dealer living in New Jersey and, by common consent among others in the industry, supposed to be off-limits as far as threats are concerned.

Needless to say, things don’t quite work out that way.

The male part was of a very laid-back bodyguard of the arms dealer himself. I initially made him rather too laid back, and I had to trim back some of his idiosyncrasies after my Advance Reader Team had given the book a trial run.

I made random selections from the entries and in the final book Charlie’s principal became Helena Kincaid (née Hoare). Helena admitted that her last name was not perhaps the easiest one to work with, although she also pointed out that it meant ‘white-haired’ from the same roots as hoar-frost.

The bodyguard became Hermann Schade. Because he is a character whose motivation remains clouded for much of the book, having someone whose last name might conceivably be pronounced “Shade” was perfect. I’m not sure his first name gets mentioned, though. Not in this book, anyway…

The reason Helena has the married name of Kincaid in BAD TURN is because I had already decided that the arms dealer himself was going to be named in honour of Eric Kincaid, who I think of as My Absent Host.

I call him this because on several occasions now when I’ve visited New York, he has generously allowed me to stay in his apartment up in Washington Heights, but we’ve never actually met. Eric was away for an extended period looking after his parents, hence having room to spare. Repaying his hospitality by writing him in to BAD TURN seemed the least I could do to say thank you.

And finally, one of my favourite characters is Kincaid’s Personal Assistant, Mo Heedles, who is as good at treating gunshot wounds in the book as she is at arranging her boss’s schedule. Somehow, though, I always thought of the character as Mrs Heedles. I hope Mo doesn’t mind being referred to so formally!

BAD TURN was published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com

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Link to first 3 chapters of Bad Turn

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*Apologies to Zoe & Ayo, for the post being a day late.*

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #GuestPost Character profile: Edith – Dancing On The Grave by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction

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Dancing On The Grave by Zoe Sharp
Synopsis:

In one of the most beautiful corners of England,
Something very ugly is about to take place…

A sniper with a mission…
a young cop with nothing to lose…
a CSI with everything to prove…
a teenage girl with a terrifying obsession…

There’s a killer on the loose in the Lake District, and the calm of an English summer is shattered.
For newly qualified crime-scene investigator, Grace McColl, it’s both the start of a nightmare and the chance to prove herself after a mistake that cost a life.
For Detective Constable Nick Weston, recently transferred from London, it’s an opportunity to recover his nerve after a disastrous undercover operation that left him for dead.
And for a lonely, loveless teenage girl, Edith, it’s the start of a twisted fantasy—one she never dreamed might come true.

Guest Post by Zoe Sharp:

Edith in Dancing On The Grave: a standalone crime thriller
Zoë Sharp

I like conflicted characters. They make life interesting. When I started writing my latest standalone crime thriller, Dancing On The Grave, I originally envisaged that the story would centre around the two official characters, CSI Grace McColl (who I first wrote about in a short story called ‘Tell Me’) and DC Nick Weston. As is so often the case, however, the story changed direction in the telling.

Instead of being a straightforward police procedural, as soon as I introduced the ex-military sniper and PTSD sufferer, Patrick Bardwell, and the disturbed teenage girl, Edith Airey, who becomes his spotter, they owned the story. The sniper himself was a complicated mix of predator and victim, but Edith fascinated me.

Edith is seventeen, bored, misunderstood, lonely and loveless. She’s undoubtedly a very screwed-up kid, but not because of the conventional reasons. She’s never been physically abused, but she has been mentally neglected, her problems ignored by her family until they become part of a larger tragedy.

She partly grew out of conversations I had with a friend who took on school-leavers as apprentices in her business. She lamented the fact that the teenagers she employed were largely not prepared to start at the bottom and work their way up the ladder. They simply wanted to be famous. The explosion of semi-reality TV programmes, where it seems there are no depths people won’t sink to in pursuit of fleeting celebrity, cemented my ideas surrounding Edith’s character.

Where others might see the beauty of the Lake District surrounding Edith’s home as a privilege, she sees it as a prison. She feels trapped by the lack of opportunity, ground down by her parents’ lack of ambition—for themselves or for their daughter—and so desperate to escape her existence she’ll take any escape route offered to her.

She’s a fantasist who borders on being unable to discern truth from fiction. In some ways remarkably brave, quick-witted and inventive. And in others, terrifyingly naïve. I couldn’t bring myself to hate her for what she does, but I did end up feeling sorry for her, even so.

At one point in the story, Grace quotes Henry Thoreau in regard to Edith: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” To which Nick adds, “And go to the grave with the song still in them.” Although Thoreau is not thought to be responsible for the second half of the quote, nevertheless, it sums up Edith for me.

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Author Bio:
Zoë Sharp spent part of her life in the English Lake District, where Dancing On The Grave is set. A photojournalist for 25 years, she now divides her time between writing novels, crewing yachts, renovating houses, and international pet-sitting. She is currently working on the next in her award-winning Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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#BlogTour #GuestPost #FoxHunter by @authorzoesharp #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Action

*I have swapped #BlogTour dates with the lovely Ayo from Shotsmag Confidential, due to being in hospital, apologises to the author & publisher*

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Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp
Synopsis:
The dead man had not gone quietly … There was a time when I would have given everything I owned to be the one responsible for that.’

Charlie Fox will never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but she vowed a long time ago she would not go looking for them.

Now she doesn’t have a choice.

Her boss and former lover, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man’s butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf.

Sean’s partner in their exclusive New York close-protection agency needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything they’ve worked for is in ruins. He sends Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions:

Find Sean Meyer and stop him. By whatever means necessary.

At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he’s turned into a violent stranger. As the trail grows more bloody, Charlie realises that unless she can get to Sean first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.

#GuestPost:

THE IRAQ WAR AND CHARLIE FOX

Zoë Sharp

I deliberately did not set out to put Charlie Fox down into the middle of the Iraq wars. For a start, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that led to the Gulf War took place in 1990-1991, which is rather early for Charlie to be involved unless she enlisted in the army as a very young girl soldier. The second major Iraq War with Western allies, which ended in the fall of Saddam Hussein, finished in 2011, by which time Charlie had been back in civvy street for some time.

 

Considering the way time can be stretched and compressed in the world of a book, though, there’s no reason she couldn’t have played an active military role in any of the conflicts of the late 1990s or early 2000s. After all, when Robert B Parker wrote the first of the books to feature his classic private detective, Spenser, (THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT, published in 1973) the character was described as a veteran of the Korean War of 1950-1953. This would have made Spenser a somewhat elderly (but still remarkably agile) man by the time the fortieth novel in the series, SIXKILL, came out in 2011, a year after Parker himself died at his desk. However, because book-time was in play Spenser was able to remain ageless to the last, existing in a kind of floating ever-present.

 

I deliberately did not want to place Charlie into a full-blown military situation in my latest book, FOX HUNTER, as that period of her life belongs in the past. I know Lee Child has returned several times to Jack Reacher’s service as a military cop, but I have already made it clear that Charlie’s time in uniform did not end well, and I didn’t want to take her back there.

 

Not yet, anyway.

 

I do intend to return to Charlie’s army past in the project I’m currently working on, which will be a prequel to the series. It will detail not how she came to be thrown out of Special Forces training, but what she had to do in order to be chosen for it in the first place.

But that, as they say, is another story.

For FOX HUNTER, I wanted to take Charlie to the Middle East in general—and Iraq in particular—but in more contemporary, post-war times. I wanted to explore the roles of women in this uncertain and shifting landscape, both those working in the male-dominated profession of the private military contractor, and those living day-to-day amid the threat of violence and retribution. In this situation, Charlie is both an outside observer, able to empathise only too well with victims, and very much an active participant.

 

By focusing down onto individual stories rather than global themes, I hoped to portray a broader picture of this troubled area, where good and evil are rarely clear cut, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to behave with honour. Somehow, that felt easier to write in such an unsettled location. Having said that, as I read the news reports at home every day I think this story could have been transported back here just as easily.

We live, as the Arab curse has it, in interesting times …

Zoë Sharp was a photojournalist for almost twenty-five years before she quit to write fiction full time. She loves to travel—and has done so by all means including horseback, camel train, motorcycle, yacht, skidoo, and steam locomotive, as well as by more conventional forms of transport. She has so far achieved well over a million words in print, and there’s no sign of her stopping any time soon. www.ZoeSharp.com

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