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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