#ThePerfectVictim #CorrieJackson #Review #Q&A #BlogTour


Today I am thrilled to be part of the Blog Tour for The Perfect Victim with both a review and a Q&A with Corrie! A brilliant way to start of the week! 

THE PERFECT VICTIM
Corrie Jackson 

Husband, friend, colleague . . . killer?

*My thanks to the publisher from whom I received this book in return for being part of the Blog Tour and for writing an unbiased and honest review*

I really enjoyed Corrie Jackson's debut, Breaking Dead, which introduced us to the protagonist in this series, journalist Sophie Kent. I was thrilled to read the next instalment and think with Sophie, Jackson has created an engaging, likeable and original character who brings a fresh and exciting twist to crime fiction and murder mysteries. As a journalist, Kent has a different kind of access or flexibility in the way she can investigate a crime which means although this book centres on the investigation of a murder, it is not a straight forward police procedural. 

Not only is Kent a journalist, but in The Perfect Victim, she is also the best friend of the man accused of murdering a young woman. I found this really intriguing and it was gripping to watch Sophie as she tried to make sense of the evidence in front of her, of what she was being told by Emily - Charlie's wife - and what she knew about Charlie from her years of friendship. The stakes are raised, the tension is palpable and it certainly makes for a much more multilayered plot. 

Charlie and his wife Emily appeared to be the perfect couple, but as investigation into the woman Charlie is accused of killing continues and Sophie tries to clear Charlie's name, she is pulled deeper and deeper into their marriage and realises that it was not perfect. Each of the characters in the book is faced with struggles, they are grappling with issues that are engulfing them as they try to survive and continue as if everything is fine. As Sophie learns more about Charlie, Emily and the dead girl, she is forced to uncover more than she bargained for and has to reassess all that she thought she knew. 

Jackson's writing is punchy, direct, full of authentic dialogue which captures the characters vividly. She presents the challenges of working in a newspaper office with conviction and the pressure felt by the journalists, the office politics and the dynamics between the colleagues is portrayed with brutal realism. The impact of each revelation, twist or new piece of evidence was heightened because the journalists are constantly up against deadlines, the search for a sensationalised headline and desperate to be first with a good story. And of course, with Sophie's personal connection with the case, the twists and turns have a huge impact on her emotionally, creating conflict and additional pressure.

As well as writing with such vitality and energy, Jackson is also capable of writing very powerful, evocative scenes and I think the opening to this novel is particularly captivating. It shows how skilful Jackson is as a writer and it was impossible not to be hooked after reading the first two pages of this novel. She is able to convey a lot of emotion in her words which also ensures her characters are also well crafted. 

This book asks lots of exciting questions about friendship and marriage and it will keep you guessing until the end. Jackson's controlled storytelling ensures that there is a great balance between action, characterisation and pace and the reader is pulled along, desperate to see what might happen next. 

The Perfect Victim is full of energy and is a fantastically gritty read, I like Sophie Kent a lot, I think she's a refreshing female lead character and I like Jackson's unflinching use of dialogue and language. It is a page turner, it is compelling, it is addictive and it is well worth reading. This is a great sequel and this is an exciting new series in Crime Fiction. 

If you like Angela Clarke, Steph Broadribb and Nicci French, you will love Corrie Jackson. 

The Perfect Victim is published by Bonnier Zaffre on 16th November 2017.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour! Here are the other stops with lots of reviews and guest posts.



Q&A WITH CORRIE JACKSON

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Corrie along to my blog today! Thanks ever so much Corrie for answering my questions about The Perfect Victim. 


Sophie Kent is a journalist and you also worked as a journalist.  Was this your main reason for creating a protagonist who was a journalist or did the inspiration for Sophie come from somewhere else?

I’ve been a journalist for fifteen years so it was certainly easier for me to write the role of a journalist than, say, a police detective. However, my background is in women’s magazines (Harpers Bazaar, Grazia, Glamour) so Sophie’s gritty world of criminal reporting was a steep learning curve. But I did my homework. I interviewed lots of reporters to get a sense of the job – especially in today’s 24/7 news industry. I struck up a friendship with the award-winning Canadian reporter, Jana G. Pruden. Jana’s tenacity, along with her ability to think on her feet, were instrumental in shaping Sophie’s character in my mind. I also relished the challenge of basing a series on a journalist, rather than a detective. A detective can walk onto a crime scene because he/she belongs there, but a journalist has to think outside the box. In THE PERFECT VICTIM, Sophie hits a dead end on a crime scene and her editor tells her: ‘Find me ten ways around the word no, Kent.’ In today’s ruthless world of news, it’s no good coming back empty-handed. In another life, I would love to have gone down the investigative reporting route. There’s huge appeal in solving a puzzle, righting wrongs, exposing the truth. Still, now I get to sleuth away without leaving my house (or getting dressed).

It’s great to see Sophie is back and hopefully there are plenty more instalments to come! What do you think are the main differences between planning and writing a book that is part of a series as opposed to two novels that are completely different and separate?

I’ve never written a standalone so it’s difficult to say. But series fiction sparks challenges, for sure. The central character needs to resonate with readers, and needs to be engaging enough to compel people to buy your next book. Committing to a series has given me the chance to dive deep into a character, which I love. And I didn’t know everything there was to know about Sophie Kent before I wrote the first book. I’m peeling back layers as I write. She’s smart, she’s stubborn but she can be intense, which is partly why I decided to split THE PERFECT VICTIM into two viewpoints. You get Sophie, and you also get Emily, the wife of the prime suspect. It was nice to jump into someone else’s headspace for a while.

Lots of writers talk about the challenges of writing their second novel. What did you find challenging about writing book 2 – or about the launch and publication of book 2?

There’s a reason why people talk about the dreaded second book! With my first, I wrote at a leisurely pace with no idea if it would ever see the light of day. Book two was all about hitting the deadline. I had a lot of other crazy stuff going on in my life. I started the book eight weeks after my daughter was born and finished it the night before a removals company packed up our stuff to move us to America. It was a frantic time in my life – but having the ability to disappear into a fictional world was surprisingly therapeutic.

As with your first novel, there are some tough and gritty scenes in The Perfect Victim. Charlie’s personal life is very emotionally complicated and Emily also has a lot of issues. How did you find writing about these characters? How did you ‘switch off’ at the end of a day of writing?

The great thing about being a crime writer is that you get to leave your comfort zone without actually stepping foot outside your house! For this book I immersed myself deep inside an unraveling marriage. It was both fascinating and unsettling, and it very much made me appreciate my own boring life. One thing I never cope well with is the research. I’m a total wimp. I don’t want to give too much away but I had to research a particular creepy/psychological crime for this book. It warped me for weeks. My husband was travelling a lot around that period and I had to sleep with the lights on. As for the switching off part, I have two young kids. I often go straight from writing a dark scene to bathing my kids, so switching off is never an issue!

When we spoke last September, when Breaking Dead was published, you said Sophie was a great character to write as she was constantly surprising you. Was there anything that Sophie did or that happened in The Perfect Victim that surprised you about her?!

Absolutely. Although I’m a total planner when it comes to plotting, lots of things occur as I’m writing. There are two major twists in the book that didn’t exist in the planning stage. They appeared out of nowhere as I was hammering away at my keyboard. Both occasions I got goosebumps. Hopefully, the fact that I was surprised means the reader will be surprised, too.

I think Sophie Kent is a great character. What do you think it is that makes her so appealing and engaging to readers?

My favourite thing about Sophie is that she doesn’t take crap from anyone. I really enjoy living vicariously through her! She’s talented, sharp and compassionate, but she’s also deeply flawed. She makes stupid decisions, particularly in her personal life, and I think most of us relate to that.
And then there’s the younger brother, Tommy, who dies just as book one opens. Tommy’s death cuts Sophie in half, and the reader shares in her struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Fun fact: we both have brothers called Tom. I named Sophie’s brother Tommy when I was writing the first draft because I needed to draw on the protectiveness I felt towards my brother as a kid. I planned to change the name but it stuck. Much to the bemusement of my brother (who is now six foot five and needs very little protecting).

Both books are set in London although in real life you now life in America. Would you ever consider changing the location of your novels from London to America? 

I love writing about London. It’s the greatest city in the world! For me, London is the backbone to this series so I can’t imagine uprooting her yet. Also, selfishly, now that I live in the US, writing about London makes me feel closer to home. Having said that, I’m all for mixing things up. Could Sophie head Stateside? Yes. Preferably Southern California so I can travel there for ‘research’.

What’s next for Sophie Kent? Is there a book 3 coming?
Yes, for sure. I’m in the planning stages now.

And, as a bibliomaniac, I can’t let you go without asking you these two questions!

What’s your book recommendation of 2017?
My favourite book of the year so far is The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. It blew me away.

What are you reading at the moment? 
I’ve just started Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and am totally gripped. Her first book was a gem.

Thank you so much Corrie for such fantastic answers! It's been such a pleasure to have you along today and I've loved hearing your answers about writing, Sophie Kent and The Perfect Victim. Good luck with book 3 and I can't wait to read it! 



You can find out more about Corrie Jackson here:


Comments

  1. Fantastic interview I can tell you like Sophie Kent as much as I do :-)

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