Sunday, September 22, 2019

BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13 With A Little Help From My Friends

The brand new Charlie Fox crime thriller, BAD TURN, is due to be published this coming Friday—September 27.

Hard as it is for me to believe it sometimes, this will be book thirteen in the series. They do not get any easier to write.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Mostly, though, I feel that’s the way it should be. If something is worth having, it should be worth struggling for. And I do agonise over the story, the development of the characters and the continuing journey of my main protagonist, Charlie herself. I always try to find a slightly different problem to throw at Charlie, a different means of testing her.

This time, the question I posed at the outset was, having resigned from the executive-protection agency run by Parker Armstrong and been forced to give up her company-subsidised apartment in New York, has she gone over to the dark side by taking on a job for a shady international arms dealer?

Usually, you have the reassurance of your agent and publisher behind you. They are excited by the initial idea, approving of the outline, and then they get to go through the delivered manuscript, line by line, to give you their feedback and advice.

Or not, as the case may be. I’ve delivered books to publishers before now only to be greeted by weeks of silence before the copy-edits turn up with no comment on the work other than corrections to punctuation and spelling.

It can make the approach of publication day something of a nail-biting experience.

This time, however, is different.

In the past I’ve always used beta-readers. A few people whose opinion I trust to give it to me straight but without cruelty. After all, the idea is to be encouraged to improve the story rather than to be left wanting to run the whole thing through the shredder and start again.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
By the time you’ve finished working on a book to the point where you’re prepared to show it to somebody, your own judgement on it is usually fried. You have been over it so many times that you find it boring and predictable, or just…ordinary.

So, once I’d finished BAD TURN and it had been through its initial edits and proofing, I decided to let the people who really matter have their say.

My readers.

Not just casual readers, but the ones who are keen enough to sign up to my email newsletter. Earlier this year I asked my existing subscribers if any of them would like to join an Advance Reader Team. They get the latest book well before publication in return for giving me their feedback and, if they’ve enjoyed it, to recommend it to other people who might not have come across the Charlie Fox series before.

I have to say, if I was surprised by the enthusiastic take-up to join the ART, I was overwhelmed by the support I’ve received about the new book. Retailers like Amazon do not accept reviews until launch day but the reviews and ratings on goodreads for BAD TURN have been amazing.

If anything was going to keep me chained to the keyboard well into the night working on the next book, it’s encouragement of the kind these wonderful people have given me. I’m just blown away by it.

So, this time I am approaching launch day on Friday with a huge sense of excitement and maybe even a cautious optimism.

Just in case you’re interested enough to take a look, here’s the short synopsis for BAD TURN: 
One bad turndeserves another.

Charlie has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of luck.
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.
The book is available for pre-order in ebook format at a special price (it will be going up shortly after publication) and is also available in mass-market paperback, hardcover, and Large Print formats.

Read the opening three chapters from BAD TURN and see if it grabs you.

This week’s Word of the Week is atelophobia, meaning a fear of imperfection.

Upcoming Events:

I'm doing a 10-day Blog Tour for BAD TURN, starting on launch day, Friday, September 27.


  1. Sounds exciting, Zoe! Congratulations on the publication of Lucky 13 next week!

    1. Thanks, Michael. Charlie Fox 14 is already formulating...

  2. I'm looking forward to it. For all her skills, can Charlie build a dry stane dyke?

    1. Don't think she can, Caro. I, on the other hand, may just be able to manage it!

  3. Congratulations! I will have to be very old to have that number of books under my belt.

    1. Thank you! I feel very old at times, but I have this painting in the attic...

  4. YAYYY!!! We rural New Jersey residents have been anxiously awaiting Charlie 13!! Congratulations.

    1. And why not, when I've shamelessly commandeered your home territory for parts of the book, Jeff :-)