It’s always a real pleasure to be part of Bookouture‘s Books-on-tour, but today I’m more delighted than usual. Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite – originally self-published – was published again yesterday (16th September) by Bookouture: with its striking new cover, it’s now available via Amazon for kindle and in paperback, and in other e-formats via Apple Books, Kobo and Googleplay. My thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part – and for understanding my excitement and indulging me a little…
Way back in the mists of time – well, mid-2015 I think! – Barbara and I stumbled across each other on social media, where we both spend far more time than is good for us. I invited her as an interview guest on Being Anne in September 2015 (you can still read it here…), and in November 2015 I read and reviewed Flowers for the Dead. In my head, it was the first review of the book – it actually wasn’t, she already had a nice little handful – but from the moment I read it I knew I’d discovered a writer with a very special talent. I went on to read and review Invisible, her earlier self-published book (you’ll find the review here, and there’s a quote from it on the book’s front cover – as a relatively new blogger I was SO thrilled!): she then did me the great honour of asking me to beta-read The Darkest Lies, and it was every bit as special as her first two books. By then her writing had started to attract a large number of equally devoted fans, but she just couldn’t get that publishing deal she really wanted – and then, along came Bookouture, and she’d found her perfect home.
I read The Darkest Lies again when it was published in May 2017 (you can read my review here), and it was wonderful to see how it had been honed and polished by working with an editor who could clearly see what she was capable of. Since then we’ve seen Her Last Secret (you’ll find my review here) and The Perfect Friend – and Barbara now has legions of readers, all eagerly awaiting whatever she does next. I might not read as many thrillers these days as I used to, but I’ll never forget the unique thrill of reading Flowers for the Dead – and I couldn’t be more delighted that it’ll now reach the large audience it always deserved. And can I just add a personal note? Over the years, through all our ups and downs, Barbara’s also become one of my most supportive and valued friends – and living proof that good things can sometimes happen for the loveliest people.
Let’s take a closer look…
He sees her. The one. The sunglasses don’t fool anyone, she is clearly upset, her nose and lips swollen from crying. They are two lost souls and he knows his love can help her. After all, she is not the first girl he has followed home…
Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He pays attention, he buys flowers. He knows everything about Laura and looks after her every need. He cooks, he cleans – he even does the dishes without being asked.
But Laura has never met Adam. Still grieving after a devastating car crash that killed her family, she’s forgetful and struggling to pull her life together. She’d be horrified to know the depth of this unsettling fantasy in which she is the star. But there’s no denying the chill she feels every time she finds another elaborate bouquet on her doorstep, or wakes in the night sensing she is not alone.
Adam has been watching her every move, and now it’s time to act. Except, there’s one little detail he’s missed: Laura has been watching him too.
After everything she’s been through, Laura’s ready to fight back and stop being the victim in her own life story. But in Adam’s world, there are no happy endings…
An unputdownable thriller guaranteed to have you sleeping with the light on and questioning everything you think you know about serial-killer thrillers! Perfect for fans of You by Caroline Kepnes, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Dowling and The One by John Marrs.
When I wrote my original review, my comparisons were a little different. I mentioned there was a small number of books that – in my eyes – set the standard for what I expected when I read a thriller. Definitely Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Most certainly Nearest Thing To Crazy by Elisabeth Forbes. Her by Harriet Lane and Paula Daly’s Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?. But I concluded that Flowers For The Dead more than deserved to be included in that company – and that I found it mesmerising, terrifying, intriguing, very unsettling, totally compulsive and a fantastic read.
Here, just once more, is the rest of that 2015 review:
That blurb tells you the story, but it really doesn’t wholly prepare you for Adam. He’s a monster – but one of the most attractive and likeable monsters I’ve ever encountered. You share his thoughts, you know what made him what he is, you know what he plans to do – but you can’t help being on his side. There’s a real discomfort in that, but it’s quite perfectly handled.
You can’t help but love Laura too – the latest object of his affection. Her horrific background, her attempts to live her life, her suspicions that something strange is happening, her embarrassing visits to the police station, her adventures with cameras – you identify with her totally, but know far more than she does about what’s actually going on. It’s a really difficult one – you’re strangely rooting for Adam, but that inevitably means the worst outcome for Laura. You find yourself questioning where your sympathies really lie. I never did entirely resolve it, and I loved every uncomfortable moment.
This book is so cleverly constructed – the reader is the only one who knows and understands what made Adam who it is, and the background is woven into the story quite seamlessly, and without any impact on its relentless pace. Barbara Copperthwaite writes quite beautifully – the words flow easily and the pages turn, and she makes the chilling and dark, the absurd and horrific into easy reading. That’s quite a skill – and one that really makes me really want to read more. This is, without a moment’s hesitation, one of my books of the year.
I’m so jealous of those of you who’ll be discovering this book – and Adam – for the first time. I absolutely guarantee that you’re going to love it too…
About the author
Barbara is the Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers Invisible, Flowers for the Dead, The Darkest Lies, Her Last Secret and The Perfect Friend.
More importantly, she loves cakes, wildlife photography and, last but definitely not least, her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy (who force her to throw tennis balls for them for hours).
Having spent over twenty years as a national newspaper and magazine journalist, Barbara has interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.
When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.