Q&A with June Taylor, author of psychological page-turner Losing Juliet

Category: Author Post

‘A gripping tale, beautifully told, and with a shocking twist. A pitch perfect evocation of time and place. Unputdownable’

Frances Brody, author of the Kate Shackleton Mysteries  



What sort of psychological thriller do you like?

I love a good twisty, turny, gets-under-your-skin type of suspense rather than an all-out thriller. I think Rebecca has to be my favourite of all time.

I’m interested in characters who are pretty ordinary on the face of it, but, when tested will do whatever it takes. So I love Patricia Highsmith novels. It’s that: What would I do in that situation? I find fascinating. Because none of us really know. There’s a criminal in all of us quite possibly!


What makes a book in this genre stand out?

For me it’s two things: brilliant writing, and coming at it from a slightly different angle. So other favourites are Room, Girl on the Train, Notes on a Scandal, The Lovely Bones, The Woman Next Door. In this ludicrously overcrowded market, and given that there are apparently only seven basic stories to be told, you have to write one that sets itself apart.


You come from a scriptwriting background…

Yes. So I think that helps me think visually and is a good discipline. I love strong female characters. My favourite film is Thelma and Louise. And Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley is just brilliant TV.


So tell us about Losing Juliet

When an old friend gets in touch, the past is painfully reawakened and unlocks a dangerous truth, putting one mother in an impossible position as her daughter demands to know more. Her quest for the truth gathers a momentum which, in the end, no one can control. And what will happen once it’s out there?


You can contact June via Twitter @joonLT or her website.

Losing Juliet is available on Amazon now.



Top 5 Characters to Lock in a basement from Sunday Times bestseller Katerina Diamond

Category: Author Post

In The Secret by Sunday Times bestseller Katerina Diamond, a policewoman is kidnapped, left in a basement, and has her memory mysteriously wiped every night by her kind, gentle captor. So, naturally, we asked Katerina Diamond which fictional characters she’d want to lock up in a basement if she had the means to…


“Obviously there are several different angles to approach this from – first of all I would need to check my own motive? Why am I locking people in basements? Am I trying to kidnap them? Protect them? Protect other people? Imprison them? Or finally have that dinner party no one can get out of – literally. I love characters, I really do – we are allowed to love them and we are allowed to hate them because they aren’t real, except to me. I love it when a character is alive on the page, there is nothing more exciting. I decided that these would be characters I would lock up because – well – if I was nuts (if?) then I would want their company, as and when I chose.


How do I pick 5 people? I would need categories – wit, intelligence, storytelling ability, charm and quirkiness.


Wit: A character I find witty is Tyrion Lannister from the Game of Thrones series of books, his brilliant quips and comebacks would definitely keep me entertained. No stranger to imprisonment either.


Intelligence: Kissin’ Kate Barlow – from the book Holes. The school teacher driven to revenge when her one true love ‘Sam’ was murdered for being the wrong colour, taking the money of the people in the town and avenging poor Sam, leaving behind only a lipstick kiss on the face of the men she murdered. She would certainly keep everyone else on their toes.


Storytelling ability: Captain Nemo of the Nautilus – from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. When I was a kid I loved Jules Verne’s books and I loved the idea of travelling the world in a luxurious submarine. He kept diaries of all of his adventures – hours and hours of entertainment! Plus he would be used to being kept in claustrophobic spaces.


Charm:  This one is tricky, because what I find charming isn’t actually that charming. It’s got to be Batman, dark and brooding in the corner, constantly plotting a way to get out, analysing my weaknesses in an attempt to escape – what’s not attractive about that? Also he might feel right at home in my dark and scary basement.


Quirkiness: There’s quirky and there’s quirky, and I would rather err on the side of harmless quirks. So I pick Trillian from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books: the Female space adventuring Human Pilot who flies around with Zaphod Beeblobrox in his craft – she’s used to being abducted, too.

Seriously why isn’t the Holodeck from Star Trek a thing yet? Imagine all the fictional fun we could have?”


Cops Behaving Badly  

Category: Author Post



It’s that time of year again, when we frolic on the dark side, flirt with bad spirits and inexplicably spurn perfectly-functioning reverse digits to ‘bob’ for apples.

As I turn off the houselights, hide my confectionary and sit in the dark until it’s all over, it seems the perfect moment to celebrate those perennial anti-heroes of Hollywood: the bad ass cop.


In my novels Alone with the Dead and Dance with the Dead, main character Donal Lynch is a rookie cop propelled into the ‘dark side’ every time he encounters a freshly-murdered body. Like all the fiendishly-immoral, deviant characters in the list that follows, he doesn’t so much wrestle with his inner demons, as dust them down and take them out for a gloriously irreverent can-can before the bewildered faces of authority.




No.5 Captain McCluskey [Sterling Hayden]: The Godfather, 1972


Bent Irish mob patsy Captain McCluskey isn’t just irredeemably corrupt, he breaks Michael Corleone’s manly-but-tender jaw in an eye-watering fit of pique. What joy then when Al Pacino spoils his Italian lunch by despatching a slug into his great big Irish potato head before he even has the chance to order a Machiatto.


No.4 Captain Louis Renault [Claude Reins]: Casablanca, 1942

The police chief of the Vichy-controlled Moroccan capital cosies up to Nazis, inveigles young immigrant women into his bed and sends noble political refugees back to Europe and certain death.

But Renault, played with oily urbane charm by Reins, finds redemption and ‘beautiful friendship’ in the shape of Bogart’s crumpled, lovelorn but oh-so -manly reluctant hero.


No. 3 Bad Lieutenant [Harvey Keitel], 1992

Although the title somewhat gives it away, Keitel’s unnamed degenerate plumbs fresh depths of depravity during a routine traffic stop that will make you think twice about unwinding the window next time you’re pulled over. No amount of AA / RAC marketing could have sent so many motorists scampering out of the cinema to check on the functionality of their tail lights. At least he isn’t sporting his ‘Winston the wolf’ moustache in this one. Only he and de Niro can make facial hair look so sinister, or comedic [check out Mr Potato Head de Niro in Cop Land.


No.2 Captain Dudley Smith [James Cromwell]; LA Confidential, 1997

Forget about framing suspects, stealing drugs and whacking cops, Cromwell’s singular most=heinous crime in this classic has to be his Orish accent [why are bent cops always Irish?].


No.1 Gerry Boyle [Brendan Gleeson]: The Guard, 2011

He may pop drugs [albeit opportunistically], sleep with prostitutes, strike deals with IRA men and make racist comments… no, not the latest Tory Northern Ireland minister… but the anti-hero to top all others. Writer and all-round genius John Michael McDonagh and actor Brendan Gleeson deliver a true Irish Marlowe, a knight errant figure and soulful rebel who lives by an Homeric code of honour, albeit his own.